Discover Russia: Sochi, the Host of the XXII Olympic Winter Games
Moscow and St Petersburg are by far the most popular destinations in Russia but there is a lot more to see in that country. Amazing nature and views of Lake Baikal in Siberia will not leave disappointed any nature lover; a trip across Russia with the Trans-Siberian Railway shows how vast and different that country is; the towns and cities of The Golden Ring attract with their history and traditional architecture; Volga river cruises will show you Russia in its provincial charm… If you have visited Moscow and St Petersburg, it doesn’t mean that you have seen Russia. We, the Russians, say that real Russia is outside Moscow.”
You have probably heard about a city in the south-west Russia on the Black Sea coast called Sochi. Its mild subtropical climate makes it hugely popular with the Russians – it is a wonderful summer resort on the coast and winter wonderland higher up in the mountains in winter. Sochi came into the limelight a few years ago when it was chosen to host the XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games in 2014. Another sport event taking place there is the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix which also starts in 2014. Film lovers attend Sochi International Film Festival every year in June. There is also a number of parks and gardens, museums and galleries, spas and therapeutic hotels in Sochi itself and in the surrounding area.
Due to the fact that Sochi is going to host the Olympics, at the moment the city infrastructure is being developed and renovated, so it is becoming more inviting and convenient than ever. For example, not many people speak English in Russia, even where they are supposed to do so – in hotels, airports, stations, etc. But with the international Olympic guests coming to Sochi, the local government issued a regulation according to which representatives of public services should be able to speak English. So, in Sochi you will find it easier to get assistance if you do not speak Russian.
As Sochi is the most preferred resort in Russia, if you make up your mind to go there, it is best to arrange your accommodation in advance, especially in summer. Another important thing to remember is that if you require a visa to enter Russia, you must obtain it before you travel as you cannot get it on arrival. Visa processing time may take a few days and require some research, so if you are not sure how to go about it, you can contact a visa specialist and not to worry about your application.