The unusual subtropical climate around the "Russian Riviera" city of Sochi makes it a popular destination for the Russian elite.
The post-Cold War boom in tourism has resulted in a sprawl of resort hotels and condominiums along its once-pristine coastline. Further development took place in advance of the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
Located on the southern border of Russia, sandwiched between the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains, Sochi is a resort city for all seasons. Enjoying a subtropical Mediterranean-type climate that is not common to Russia, this vibrant city is best known for its traditional dachas, or Russian summer houses, and its main boulevard, Tsvetnoi, stretching along its famed coast and lined with palm and banana trees.
Looming behind its pebble beaches are the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus Mountains, which offer world-class skiing and a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Biosphere Reserve.
Among the tour options in Sochi are a visit to a tea chalet overlooking the town of Dagomys and a more sobering tour to Josef Stalin's camouflaged dacha, called Green Grove.
A Russian visa is required to explore on one's own, but group visas are provided for those participating in cruise-ship tours.
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