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The Miami of Northern Europe
When your MSC
cruise of the Mediterranean takes you to Sochi, at first you wouldn’t think you’re in Russia, albeit on the shores of the Black Sea.
There are more villas, parks, palm trees and yachts in Sochi than in the rest of Russia. And, above all, an average annual temperature of 14 °C. During your visit to Sochi, you will see that its territory is perfectly integrated with its National Park and the natural reserve of the Caucasian biosphere, a UNESCO world heritage site.
In Sochi it is worth visiting the monuments built in 1934 under Stalin, who had a holiday home here, which has been turned into a museum which, it is whispered, still hosts his ghost. An excursion ashore will give you the opportunity to visit the port, where your MSC cruise ship is docked, the train station, the majestic, classic style Winter Theatre, the Museum of Art. Amongst the historic features of interest is the sculpture by Israeli artist Frank Meisler dedicated to Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin: the only monument in the whole of Russia dedicated to the Allies of the second World War.
To invigorate mind and body, take some time out in the Matsesta Spa, where you can enjoy treatments with mineral and sulphuric waters, mud baths and a dip in the “fire” waters, known as such because they turn your skin red. And if you want to catch a glimpse of the alpine aspect of Sochi, book an excursion to Krasnaya Polyana, the most modern and well equipped centre for skiing and snowboarding, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 2014, just 50 kilometres from the town.
Open all year round, it is ideal in the winter season, especially for off-piste enthusiasts (snow here can be up to seven metres deep), and for walking in the unique Caucasian nature in the warmer months.