There's been much in the news recently about the pitfalls of travelling independently to the Winter Olympics in Sochi. We've put together some information that should help you remain aware of what to look out for and to give you a little more confidence negotiating your way around the Olympic city.
Getting to Sochi
There are no direct flights from the UK to either Krasnodar
or Sochi Airports
. There are several routes involving connections and the best seem to be to fly easyJet to Istanbul then get the Turkish Airlines flight to Sochi or fly to Oslo with Ryanair and get the Scandinavian Airlines flight to Sochi from there.
If flying to Krasnodar, choose easyJet again to Istanbul then Pegasus to Krasnodar.
The drive from Sochi Airport to the city is a beautiful one, following the Black Sea coast. The airport is inland a little from the cities of Adlerskiy and Adler, just off the A148 motorway. The airport is bordered by the Mzymta River on its south eastern boundary, the A148 and M27 on the south western flank and the A148 to the north west.
To get from the airport to Sochi, take the A148 south west before joining the coastal motorway, the M27, which takes you directly into Sochi.
How long is the drive?
It's 19 miles to Sochi from the airport but with good roads, you're looking at an average journey time of 25 minutes.
Travelling to Sochi from Krasnodar Airport
Are there any alternatives?
Some travelling to Sochi are choosing to fly into Krasnodar Airport, some 160 miles away. It may seem a long distance but flights are cheaper and car hire is a lot less expensive. If you've got the time and the inclination, the 2.5 hour drive is attractive in many places with several small towns and villages on the way where you'll find food and fuel. The roads you'll need are the M4 and M27 which are both in good condition, fast and not overly busy.
You need to be aware that you will be passing through a mountainous region and should be prepared for snow and ice. Roads should be cleared quickly during the games but, if hiring a car, asking for winter tyres or snow chains is sensible.
What about road tolls?
Russia is new to charging for using their roads and only 383 km are currently chargeable – that's less than five hundredths of a percent of major roads. As you might expect then, you are not going to encounter any toll roads on your journey from Krasnodar or Sochi Airports.
How do I get from Sochi to the Olympic venue?
Perversely, the Olympic Park is very close to the airport so by staying in Sochi, you'll actually be further away from the games. Some nice hotels which are nearer to the venue are actually in a different country- Georgia! Try those on Kheivani Beach or Gantiadi Beach. Staying there will mean you can enjoy temperatures mild enough to sit out whilst being close enough to the Olympic Park and the road that will take you north for the outdoors events in Krasnaya Polyana.
How much is petrol in Sochi?
In Russia, petrol averages around the equivalent of 56p a litre but across the border in Georgia it is 50% more expensive.
Will I be safe in Sochi?
Sochi and its region are renowned for being areas of low crime. Organisers do expect there to be a rise in the number of pickpocketing crimes, street scams and possibly muggings during the games. As with any country, sensible advice is to stay in the tourist areas, especially at night and don't carry lots of money and valuables around with you.
Read our full guide to driving in Russia