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Sochi Travel Advice: What Else Is There To Do In The 'Russian Riviera'?

01/15/2014 01:55 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:56 EST
AFP via Getty Images
A view taken on January 14, 2014 shows general view of the Olympic Park in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. The Olympic Park will be able to accommodate about 75000 visitors when full, and all the ice arenas will be within walking distance of one other. Sochi will host the 2014 Winter Olympics that start on February 7, 2014 . AFP PHOTO / MIKHAIL MORDASOV (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL MORDASOV/AFP/Getty Images)

(Relaxnews) - With its unique mix of climates, botanical gardens and moderate winter temperatures, the city of Sochi is often referred to as the Russian Riviera. As the resort town on the edge of the Black Sea prepares to welcome the world next month, here’s a closer look at the host of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games.

It’s a bit of a contradiction for Sochi to be chosen to be host of the winter games. Spread out among the foothills of the Caucasus along the Black Sea, subtropical Sochi actually lies on the same latitude as Nice and Toronto, and is one of the warmest cities in Russia.

Average temperatures hover between 8 to 10 degrees Celsius in winter along the coast, while dipping to sub-zero temperatures in the mountains, creating ideal skiing conditions. In summer, temperatures can spike as high as 38 to 40 degrees.

Known as the summer capital of Russia, the resort town welcomes flocks of Russians looking to recharge at the beach, one of their many wellness spas, and botanical gardens.

Adventure seekers also descend on the area for the breadth of outdoor activities available like river rafting, cave exploration, waterfall excursions, horseback riding and mountain trekking.

Here’s a list of tourist attractions and things to do suggested by the Sochi Olympics:

The Arboretum

Located in the heart of the city, the park is home to Russia’s biggest collection of oak trees, as well as palm, cypress and other subtropical species. Visitors can also head to the aquarium which recreates the marine life of the Black sea.

Trinity Georgian Convent

It’s said that those who undertake the pilgrimage to the cathedral, hidden deep in the Caucasus mountains, and pray before the Vladimir Mother of God, find healing, hope, faith and love.

Achishkho Ridge

With sweeping views of the Caucasus Mountains and home to subalpine meadows, adult-sized flowers and cascading waterfalls measuring up to 30 meters tall (98 feet), the Achishkho Ridge is described as a gem of a destination.

Tea time

Between visits to health resorts, spas and mountain treks, be sure to squeeze in a visit to a traditional tea house. Wash down sweet cakes and jams with smoking samovars filled with strong, rich Russian tea -- one of the most popular beverages among Russians.

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