Black Coast of Krasnodar Territory stretches for hundreds of kilometers. From Anapa to Adler, there are a great number of resort settlements, however, Sochi is still the main seaside resort of Russia.
To be more exact, we mean not only the city of Sochi itself, but so-called «Greater Sochi», which covers the territory of 140 kilometers from the settlement Magri to the border of Abkhazia on the Psou River. This area includes four districts: Lazarevsky, Central, Khostinsky, and Adler. At one time these were separate settlements (Lazarevskoye, Loo, Dagomys, Khosta, and Adler), but with the growth of population and development of infrastructure they merged in a single resort zone.
In Soviet time they sang a song about Sochi: «In the land of magnolias the sea is lapping». It sounds quite romantic, but it`s true. The fact is Sochi is the northernmost subtropical region in the world. The climate is due to the tall range of the Caucasian Mountains, which shields the resort from cold northern and eastern winds. From the south the resort is favored by the winds from the Mediterranean Region and the sea. That’s why there are growing magnolias, palms, mimosas and the other subtropical plants.
The snowy peaks of the Caucasian Mountains look rather unusually against the back-ground of this subtropical vegetation. Downhill skiing resorts are literally 50 kilometers of the beaches. So, you may have a rest there all round the year: to go skiing from December to April, and bathe and get browned from June to October.
However, if you really plan to go to Sochi, you should remember not only the songs about magnolias. The problem is the resort infrastructure of Sochi is very different from that of Egypt or Turkey. As a rule, even big hotels haven’t their own premises here, and most of them are rather far from the beach. So, when you reserve a hotel room, you should ask how far the hotel is from the beach.
The beaches of Sochi are covered with pebbles, and in the residential districts (Central, Adler, and Dagomys) concrete breakwaters are also spaced 50 meters apart. Alas, these don’t make the beaches of Sochi any more picturesque.
In the Soviet period Dagomys, Adler and Khosta were the most popular resort settle-ments. So they are today. They are small settlements, and what is more important, you can go on foot from your hotel to the beach or some other entertainment centers.
Central District is too big and overloaded with traffic, so that you can feel the resort atmosphere in full. There are almost no seaside hotels. However, most part of night clubs, concert halls, conservatories, arboretum, museums and theatres are located just in this district.
Adler would be the optimum variant. It is located near the entertainment places of the Central District and the airport. Adler has good beaches, and it is just from there that you could most easily go on excursions to the mountain regions of Krasnaya Polyana (Red Glade) and Abkhazia.
The Caucasian Mountains are what you should go to Sochi for, and even shut your eyes to certain infrastructure inconveniences. The famous resort Krasnaya Polyana is only 39 kilometers of Adler. It is just there that Winter Olympic Games 2014 was held. In Imeretinskaya valley Olympic park is located.
You must plan mountain excursions, if only one day long. If you have some basic training, you should buy 2-3-day mountain tours. If you go to the mountains for several days, you will need a guide, however, if you go on a day excursion, you can do it alone.
Apart from mountain excursions, it will be very interesting to go to Abkhazia. In Soviet times resorts of Abkhazia - Gagra, Pitsunda and Gudauta, - were the most popular recreation zone on the coast of the Black Sea. They are actively being developed today.
If you go on excursion to Abkhazia, you must visit New Athos Monastery and adjoining New Athos Cave (in fact, the largest cave in the Western Caucasus), as well as Ritsinsky Forest National Park. In this park Ritsa Lake is located, the most famous and most beautiful lake in the Caucasus.