There are a large number of excursion routes in Sochi and new ones are being opened every year. The routes vary by their range of difficulty and diversity. The major sights of Sochi are presented, but it's far from the full list: more than dozen of waterfalls and caves can be counted in Sochi area – 33, Zmeikovskie, Agurskie, Orehovskie waterfalls, Ahtirskaya, Voroncovskaya caves.
One of the most interesting place of active rest in Sochi is Krasnaya Polyana mountain-ski resort. Here, in summer period, the most popular activities are: hikes and mountain climbing; camping and picnics; rock climbing; fishing; canyoning; paintball, horse riding and mountain bike; helicopter and paraplane flights.
In winter period Krasnaya Polyana is favourite place of skiers and snowboarders and the only place in Russia to heli-ski.
THE GREATER AKHUN MOUNTAIN
The tower on the top of the Akhun mountain was built in 1936 by architect S. Vorobieov. It is 663 meters high or above sea level and definitely worth visiting. It presents a stylized image of original fortress towers in the Caucasus.
There is an observation platform, from which you will enjoy a vast panoramic view over the National park, the Greater Caucasian range, the Sochi coast, and the sea. From the other side of the tower the wonderful view on Adler and Central Sochi is very enjoyable too. There are about 20 caves in its depths.
Akhun is also famous for the rich greenery (over 200 sorts of plants). A well-known tower of 30 meters high welcomes tourists all year round. A restaurant and several cafes located near the tower offer splendid Caucasian cuisine.
THE AGOURA CANYON
The Agoura canyon is one of the oldest attractions in Sochi . One can unmistakably recognize it in tourist pictures taken in the XIX century. There are three waterfalls in the canyon-It is a very popular route for walking tours. The canyon is narrow, with steep slopes rising, it seems, to the very skies. The Eagle Rocks mountain seems particularly magnificent from the bottom of the canyon.
YEW AND BOXWOOD GROVE
The yew-and boxwood grove in Sochi is as old as the mountains. It is a unique and lucky remnant of wild prehistoric vegetation that -was screened by mountains from extensive glaciation in the Ice Age.
The grove is taken care of and is a part of the Caucasian State Biospheric Preserve. Many extinct plants on its grounds have been entered in the Red book of endangered species. One has to be very careful not to step off the track, not to damage endemic saplings.
Honey is yet another reason for holidays in Sochi . Of all places in Russia this is the only area where you can buy chestnut honey, "which never gets sugared, and whose curative properties are described in legends. The rich Caucasian honey comes in a variety of tastes and types, of which honey of alpine meadows is most popular.
DENDRARIUM (Arboretum, Botanical Gardens)
The Sochi Dendrarium is the largest Russian subtropical park. It was founded in 1892 and features over 2,000 species of plants brought from different climatic zones of the world, from every continent.
There are strawberry trees, iron trees, soap trees, tulip trees, eucalyptuses, palm trees, sago trees, cypresses, bamboos, and other exotic plants. In the bottom part of the park there is a fish aquarium representing a number of typical species of the Black Sea fauna. The upper part of the park is populated with peacocks and ostriches. French cast-iron vases and Italian sculptures give the park the most sophisticated romantic image.
ANCIENT GRAVES – "DOLMENS"
Five thousands years ago ancient people used to build massive stone constructions called dolmens. They were cut from stones or rocks. The front wall usually had a little entrance hole.
Scientists believe that dolmens were used as graves and patrimonial shrines. Some people think that dolmens have a great spiritual power influencing human's soul. Over a hundred dolmens have been found in Sochi vicinity. Along with idols of Easter Island and Pyramids of Egypt dolmens have remained a riddle for humankind.
Dolphins populate the Black Sea. With a bit of luck one can watch them from a boat, or from a beach. There are many stories about dolphins coming to rescue the most unfortunate or negligent swimmers. Local people believe that dolphins love and accept us as intellectual equals. Who knows?
Centuries ago the Greeks chose the name "Delphos" to call them, and the word means "a brother". In the Sochi Dolphinarium you can admire their performances and marvel at their creativity: dolphins draw pictures, dance, sing and display their affection to people.
THE AKHTYIRSKAYA AND VORONZOVSKAYA CAVES
Of over 400 vertical, horizontal, cascade-plan, labyrinth-shaped and other incredible caves in the area, the Akhtyrskaya and Voronzovskaya
Caves are the most popular ones. They belong to the historical and archeological heritage of Sochi , and are on the local list of must-sees.
The Monkey nursery located in the southern part of Sochi region (Adler) is neither zoo nor menagerie. This is a large Scientific Research Center having an area of 30 ha. Numerous scientists' staff and personnel work there.In the nursery monkeys of over thousand different exotic species are kept in roofed-in cages. After the Sukhum Monkey nursery closing a significant number of monkeys were moved here. In laboratories scientists work out how to cure diseases that were incurable some time ago & the nursery inhabitants' help is invaluable for them. During the excursion tourists are introduced to the “monkey population” & a scientific worker who tells many interesting things about these mammals.
THE RUSSIAN TEA PLANTATIONS AND A RUSSIAN TEA PARTY
In 1896 a delegation of Russians returned from its distant voyage to China . They brought 130 pounds of seeds of exquisite Chinese tea, which were planted in a Georgian settlement near Batumi . Only 5% of them proved to have germinating capacity, for the wily Chinese had obviously scalded the tea. However, five years later the first Russian plantation appeared in Sochi .
A five-kilometre-passage of whitewater river can be quite a challenge to those who like rafting and seek the excitement of spectacular splashes, rough turns, adventurous jumps, and races ahead of all possible fears. Experienced instructors guarantee your safety aboard the raft. So even beginners can be proud of their first experience in this challenging sport in Sochi. There are moderate rafting programs for children.
Some people can watch waterfalls for hours. There is no exact data on the number of waterfalls in Sochi area, and each waterfall has its peculiar feature and legend. On your way to the Zmeikovskiye or Orekhovskye waterfalls, or to the valley of 33 waterfalls, you will be stunned with the sights of rocky banks of transparent rivers in the mountains, dense shade of lavish Colchis forests, curative springs and many other -wonders of local nature.
STALIN'S SUMMER RESIDENCE (Temporary Under Construction)
Former summer residence of "all nations leader" was built in 1930-s. Nowadays conditions of those times are carefully kept unchanged. The flame is glowing in the fireplace, the valuable wood floor are still the same.
Stalin's presence is felt and on the second floor his wax figure is seating at the desk on the leather sofa with a smoking pipe in its hand. Tourists are allowed to take photos with Stalin's wax figure.
This is the biggest breeding farm in Russia where a genofund of the most valuable species of trout was formed. One of the species was brought from America in 1911. In rivers trout lives for 12 years and reaches 35 kilos of weight. On the farm it lives for 4 years and reaches 10-12 kilos. There are 111 ponds on the farm. Each pond is 100 meters at length.
During the excursion tourists are told everything about trout breeding and cooking. After that they may taste dishes cooked with trout in a tavern "Canyon" which is very near the farm. Fishing lovers have a wonderful opportunity to compete in sport fishing.
THE TREE OF FRIENDSHIP
The Tree of Friendship is real "monument" of friendship. In 1934 F.M.Zorin planted a little lemon tree. Then Japanese tangerine, Italian lemon, American grapefruit, Spanish orange, Chinese kinkan and others were joined to the Tree. Forty five sorts of fruits grow on it. It's amusing in spring while it's flowering.
The 1st engrafting was done by a popular researcher O.U.Shmidt in 1940. Since that time presidents, cosmonauts, scientist, painters and musicians from 167 countries left their branches on the Tree of Friendship.
SOCHI DISCOVERY WORLD AQUARIUM
Sochi Discovery World Aquarium is the largest aquaium in Russia. On the territory of 6000 square meters there are 29 aquariums. Total amount of litres of the Aquarium equals to 5 million. The entire exposition of the Sochi Dicovery World Aquarium fascinates by the gently splashing fresh "lakes", bridges, "wild" forests, rocks and waterfalls: in this filigree frame the Jewelry of Russia's largest collection of the best, most beautiful works of nature look particularly fascinating.
The first aquarium exhibition is dedicated to freshwater fish. One of the peculiarities of the freshwater zone is a waterfall in a tropical forest. The open ponds are inhabited by the spectacular carp "Koi". In the aquariums you will see over 100 species of freshwater fishes of Amazon, Ecuador and Australia. Some of them are piranhas, discus, cyclides, gourami, others.
There is a room for the inhabitants of the seas and oceans, which includes 13 small aquariums and a flowery tunnel. The largest tank contains almost 3 million litres, its length is 44 meters!
All the visitors do much enjoy the play of the seahorses, fish, unicorn fish, the cow-fish, the fish-urchin, the surgeon-fish, all kinds of stingrays and catfish from microscopic size to the giant.
Krasnaya Polyana is the most sophisticated ski and snowboard resort in Russia and it is a host of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Sometimes called the "Russian Courchevel", Krasnaya Polyana village is famous for its unique nature, gorgeous alpine meadows, well-maintained pistes, quality apres-ski, comfortable mini hotels at the village and cozy apres-ski bars. During the excursion you will get acquainted with the unique monuments of nature, discover local traditions of the indigenous peoples, explore the Olympic infrastructure.
Khmelevskie Lakes are the small group of quite large and densely covered with vegetation water areas, which origin id tectonic. This lakes are natural monument and all the lamd around them is covered by the beech forest with minor touches of Alpine maple and Caucasian bilberry, blackberry and cherry-laurel. It is the home of several dozens of different species of mammals. In summer this place is visited by numerous tourists who are drawn here by unique beauty of the lakes, their landscape and also by amazing panorama of the surrounding mountains.
The Orlynye Rocks stretch along the right bank of Agura River, 379 meters above sea level. They are covered with white limestone and yellow om. The mountain tops are covered with pines, oaks and oriental hornbeams. There are also several karst caves nearby. An ancient legend of the natives of the Caucasus Black Sea costline connected with the Orlynye Rocks has much in common with ancient Greek myth about Prometheus. The legend says that Prometeus was chained to the rocks at this place. There is the statue of Prometheus near the very edge of the rock.
Navalishenskoye canyon is one of the most beautiful excursion sites in the Sochi Regon. Its sloped walls are covered with relic trees like tes and boxwood. The total lenght of the Navalishenskoye canyon is 1500 m. Tourists may enjoy the rocks of fantastic shapes and sizes, 4 m high waterfall, a small forest lake and Alek cave. In its neighborhoods you can see the ruins of old temples, castles and fortifications.
RUINS OF BYZANTINE TEMPLE
The temple was built between the XI-XII centuries. The ruins are a church architectural monument. Temple walls were made od sandstone and shale, thats why they have been completely preserved. The temple was illuminated by narrow windows with fornications, made of limestone slabs and limestone tiles. During the excavation fragments of a greenish-blue windowpane were found. On the maps of the Black Sea of the XIX it was marked as a fortress' ruins. This sight is well known and attracts more than 70 thousand visitors a year.
Natural monument 33 Waterfalls is one of the most popular tourist attractions. They are small in height, but numerous. Special scenic are given by thickets of boxwood. There are many rare and endangered plants, 33 waterfalls, 7 spillway faces and 13 thresholds.
There are a lot of sightseeing places in Sochi: canyons and caves, rivers and lakes, theatres and museums. You can choose anything you want and you will have wonderful time to remember.
SPHERE Travel Company will be pleased to assist you in excursion and other kinds of activities arrangements (Canyoning, Hiking, Cycling, Fishing, Caving, Yachting, Rock climbing, Helicopter flights, Paintball, Diving, other).
Skypark is a new and unique adventure park on a great hight. Moreover, it is a joint Russian and New-Zeland project with AJ Hackett International, which founded bungy-jumping all over the world. More information look out here http://www.csochi.com/news/63/.