Sochi is located in the south of Russia and is the second-largest city of Krasnodar Krai. It has an exit onto the Black Sea coast, and you can arrive by travelling around 600km south of Moscow.
Given that it exits the Black Sea, Sochi is known and often called the ‘Summer Capital’ of Russia, or the Black Sea Pearl.
This is because this city is Russia’s most popular and busiest summer resort. Yes, you heard it correctly, summer resort in cold Russia!
And tourism works great here, too, attracting more than four million visitors annually: as it has to offer fantastic mountainous views, great beaches and vibrant nightlfe.
It’s so successful, in fact, that Russian celebrities love to spend their holidays here, too. The most famous international visitor of Sochi was Bono, who was invited to spend some time at President Medvedev’s residence back in 2010.
Warnings & Dangers in Sochi
OVERALL RISK : LOW
As a popular summer tourist destination, Sochi is safe as much as other cities in Europe. However, if you’re planning on traveling to Sochi, keep in mind that you should always keep your guard up and remain aware of your surroundings, just in case.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Generally speaking, transportation in Sochi is safe, but you should still remain vigilant on public transport, especially in the buses called “Marshrutka”. Keep in mind that the most dangerous areas where small crime tends to occur are the underground walkways, called “perekhods”. Only use official services like Yandex Taxi, Uber or Gett taxi.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Pickpocketing is common in Sochi, especially around resorts and beaches. Pay attention to your belongings, don’t leave them in plain sight and be especially careful in crowded places like stations or near tourist attractions.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
Sochi isn’t particularly susceptible to natural disasters. Though Russia is famous for blizzards and snow storms, this isn't the case in Sochi.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
The situation is pretty good when it comes to kidnappings and muggings in Sochi. Generally, never accept free drinks or food when you’re in a club or a bar. Drink spiking and then attacking and robbing the victim have been reported on numerous occasions.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
After the recent terrorist attack in the subway in St. Petersburg the probability of this situation happening again anywhere in Russia is rather high.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There are many scams in Sochi, usually performed by children trying to distract you and then steal some money from you. Never talk to strange kids on the street. Also, you should avoid playing street gambling games.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Women are generally safe in Sochi, though you should avoid finding yourself alone in clubs or bars, and of course apply all normal precaution measures like avoiding remote and poorly lit streets and areas.
So... How Safe Is Sochi Really?
You’ll be pretty safe in Sochi, don’t worry, because Krasnodar Krai is probably one of Southern Russia’s most safe regions.
Sochi has never had higher crime rates, and that’s still true today, though it does pay to be a little extra cautious.
What you should bear in mind, following the Russian saying “Nights are dark in Sochi”, is that during nights is fairly easy to get lost in this city.
This is why you should try and avoid poorly lit areas and dark spaces. Also, petty crime might be your biggest concern here, when it comes to crime.
Beware of pickpockets in crowded places, such as markets and transport terminals, as well as beggars at stations and beaches.
When it comes to the authority officials, you should keep in mind that they usually don’t speak English, so don’t expect any English by them outside of the major cities.
Bear in mind that if you are a member of LGBT community, there is no reason to avoid Sochi altogether but you should refrain from any public displays of affection.
As of June 2013, “homosexual propaganda to minors” is prohibited, which basically means that any discussion of gay rights or homosexuality issues in the presence minors is punishable by law.
- Visas - Most countries do need a visa in order to enter Russia, and if you’re a U.S. citizen you must possess both a valid U.S. passport and a bona fide visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate. None of the nationals that do need a visa can acquire one upon arrival, so make sure you apply for your visa in advance. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Russian ruble is the official currency in Sochi. ATMs are widespread throughout the country and credit cards are accepted everywhere.
- Weather - Sochi belongs to that tiny part of Russia that enjoys the subtropical climatic zone. Unlike the rest of Russia, Sochi has a very high humidity level, but despite high precipitation, Sochi enjoys 300 sunny days annually.
- Airports - Sochi International Airport is an airport servig the city of Sochi, Russia. It is located in Adler District of the resort city of Sochi, on the coast of the Black Sea in the federal subject of Krasnodar Krai, Russia. It is among the ten largest Russian airports.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we advise getting travel insurance when traveling to Sochi, because it would cover not only medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.