The 2014 Winter Olympics help to put Sochi on the map as a preferred tourist destination. While the allure of walking in the footsteps of some of the world's best athletes is an enticing draw, we became curious about what else Sochi has to offer visitors. In addition to providing great rates on Sochi car rentals, Auto Europe also offers insight on other interesting reasons to visit this up-and-coming locale after the games are over.
Turning a sleepy seaside village into a winter sport mecca wasn't an easy undertaking, and the city's updated amenities were estimated to cost over $50 billion, making the Sochi Games the most expensive Olympics in history. Although ticket sales for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi were some of the lowest ever recorded, and the games themselves were highly controversial, local administrators are hopeful that the substantial monetary investments that were put into the city will put Sochi back on the map, and entice travelers for years to come. In order to prepare the city for this year's events, developers built new hotels and improved Sochi's infrastructure to increase the region's capacity for tourism, while focusing on making Sochi attractive for visitors and television viewers. Although journalists arriving in Sochi several days prior to the start of the games were shocked to discover that venues and hotels were still in the process of being finished, we're quite confident that by the time you arrive all of the finishing touches will have been made!
A subtropical climate, palm trees swaying in the breeze, and panoramic beach-front views might not be the first characteristics that come to mind when you think of the backdrop for the Winter Olympics, but that's exactly the type of setting you'll find in Sochi. However ironic the setting may be, visitors are privy to an elaborate array of scenery during all seasons. The Caucasus Mountains provide travelers with incredible views of the region's sprawling landscapes and enchanting seascapes. Within the Sochi region, the Caucasian Biosphere Reserve is the second largest of its kind in Europe. Spend some time exploring Devil's Gate Canyon, a section of the reserve that boasts several freshwater pools that are great for swimming. Sochi's Botanical Gardens are home to more than 1,500 species of trees and bushes, most of which are arranged into corresponding geographic regions: Japan, China, Caucasus, the Mediterranean, North America, South America and even Australia. Climb to the top of the gardens and look out onto panoramic views of the Black Sea.
Eager travelers may already be picturing themselves skiing on the same slopes as this year's Olympians, but they may be surprised to learn that they'll have to commute roughly 31 miles outside of Sochi Proper in order to get to those slopes, as most of the outdoor events like skiing were actually hosted within the Krasnaya Polyana resort area in the western Caucasus Mountains. This resort area has been Russia's ski capital since Soviet times, and if the snow facilities were somewhat modest before this year's games, the XXII Winter Olympics has upgraded Krasnaya Polyana to a truly world-class standard, offering phenomenal skiing from December through April.
The summer months are considered to be some of the most attractive for visiting the region, allowing for temperate swimming conditions, with water temperatures peaking around 77 F during the month of August. If you're going to Sochi during the early fall, which is often referred to as the 'velvet season', you will find the beaches to be less crowded and prices to be slightly lower. Even though Sochi is first and foremost known as a beach resort, and its proximity to the Caucasus Mountains makes it an ideal location for ski trips, you don't need to spend all your time sprawled out on a beach towel, or zipping down the slopes. There are numerous one-day excursions throughout the Sochi region that will leave you feeling energized, relaxed and rejuvenated.
When it comes to eateries in Sochi, you might expect the usual resort-quality seafood establishments, serving up decent food at very expensive prices. But, if you know where to go in Sochi, the city harbors some delicious restaurants and cafes that serve local and international cuisine at prices that won't break the bank. Brimming with farm-fresh produce, Sochi's central market also offers a great selection of sun-ripened fruits and vegetables, perfect for travelers who are interested in preparing some of their own meals. In terms of nightlife, Russia is home to a very active club culture and Sochi is no exception, so when the sun goes down, things heat up! Just like Sochi's daytime activities, there are options to suit every taste and every traveler when it comes to after-hours fun.
Not only has 2014 been a great year for the Winter Olympics, but this year also happens to be Auto Europe's 60th anniversary! We have been helping clients get the best prices on car rentals in destinations around the world since 1954, and look forward to helping you plan your next trip! Pick up your car rental at the Sochi-Adler International Airport and start your Russian Riviera Rendezvous, or if you're interested in flying into a different Russian city like Moscow, Auto Europe can make arrangements for you to collect your rental car there as well. Reservations can easily be made online using our secure three-step booking engine, or if you would like to speak with one of our reservation agents directly, simply call us toll-free at 1-888-223-5555.