One of Russia’s premier resort towns, Sochi is popular all year-round thanks to its sub-tropical climate, sandy beaches and nearby high mountains. The busy summer season will be finished when the 2019 Russian Grand Prix is held on 26-29 September, but there’s still plenty to see and do in Sochi and surrounds. Here’s your 2019 Russian Grand Prix travel guide!
- Visas: the majority of tourists need to apply for a visa before travelling to Russia, which can be done at the Russian consulate in your country. You’ll first need to obtain a ‘Tourist Voucher’ and a ‘Tourist confirmation’ document – these can be provided by your hotel when you make your booking. Your hotel will also need to register your visa after you arrive in Russia.
- Currency: Russian Ruble (RUB). At current exchange rates, $1 USD = 63 RUB, €1 = 71 RUB. ATMs are readily available and most large establishments accept electronic payments, but you’ll need to carry some cash as electronic payments are not possible in all situations.
- Language: Russian, which uses the Cyrillic alphabet. We recommend downloading a translation app such as Google Translate to your smartphone ahead of your visit.
- Time Zone: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
- In an Emergency: dial 112.
- Power Sockets: Type C and F, the same as continental Europe.
- Weather: the Russian Grand Prix falls at the end of the summer season. The weather should be sunny and warm, with a medium chance of rainfall. Temperatures average a high of 21°C (70°F) and a low of 14°C (57°F) in September.
Arrival & Getting Around
The 2014 Winter Olympics left a very positive legacy on transport infrastructure in Sochi, including an upgraded airport and new train lines. The bad news is that getting to Sochi Airport (AER) can be very difficult. There are no direct flights from Western Europe or the Middle East – the best connections include a stopover in either Istanbul or Moscow. On the ground, modern trains get you from the airport to the center of Sochi, and also travel along the coast to Sochi Autodrom. Local buses, taxis and Uber are also good options. More information: 2019 Russian Grand Prix – Getting Around Guide
Where to Stay
We recommend staying in Adler, close to the Sochi Autodrom. There’s a good selection of accommodation, from apartments to international chain hotels, in the vicinity of the circuit. F1 Experiences offers a 4-night stay at the Bogatyr Hotel, which is within walking distance of the circuit. The Bogatyr is connected to a theme park and hotel guests get free entry! Add accommodation to your Official Ticket Package today!
Things to See & Do in Sochi & Surrounds
- Check out Olympic Park: Sochi Autodrom is just one of the landmarks making up the impressive Olympic Park complex next to the beach in Adler. The largest is the 45,000 seat Fisht Olympic Stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies in the recent Winter Olympics, plus several games in last year’s World Cup. Other points of interest include the Bolshoi Ice Dome, Adler Arena and Poyushchiye fountain. If you’re travelling with kids, they’ll probably drag you along to Sochi Park, a huge theme park with scores of rides and attractions.
- Discover downtown Sochi: a city of parks, museums and beautiful neoclassical buildings, Sochi has a very different feel to most Russian cities. Best discovered on foot, attractions in the city centre include the Central Embankment, or main esplanade, the cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel, Theatre Square and the seaport. Riviera Park, which features art galleries and historic monuments in addition to some of the city’s best green spaces, is also a must-see in Sochi.
- Visit Krasnya Polyana: the mountain resort that hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games is just 40km from the Sochi Autodrom. There’s unlikely to be any snow in late September, but the 400,000-hectare national park at the heart of a region known as Russia’s Switzerland features some incredible scenery and is perfect for a day or two of hiking. Head to Roza Khutor, home to the vast Olympic village during the recent games, for restaurants, shops and extreme sports. You can reach Krasnya Polyna from Adler via the A148 motorway in about 40 minutes or the new Lastochka electric train in about 90 minutes.
- Spend a day at Matsesta: Sochi’s popularity as a resort town can be traced back to the discovery of sulfuric water springs in the Matsesta region between Sochi and Adler early in the 20th You can still sample the bath houses and health resorts, many housed in beautiful historic buildings. Other attractions in the area including Joseph Stalin’s summer home, the world’s most northern tea plantations and the observation tower on Akhun Mountain, which offers sweeping views of the sea and mountains.
- Enjoy the great outdoors: between the mountains and the sea, Sochi offers the full range of outdoor pursuits. Popular activities in the summer season, which runs until October, include rafting, horse riding, rock climbing, mountain biking, windsurfing and other water sports. Lovers of extreme sports should check out the Sky Park between Sochi and Krasnya Polyana, which has the longest suspended pedestrian bridge in the world, as well as bungee jumping, zip lines and other adrenaline-fueled activities.
Eat & Drink
The Olympic Park precinct where Sochi Autodrom is located has a good selection of restaurants, cafes and bars to suit all tastes and budgets. Here’s some of the best places to check out on Russian Grand Prix weekend:
- Open from breakfast until late into the night, La Luna is a very popular restaurant near the beach serving Russian and European cuisine.
- A popular Irish bar and restaurant between Olympic Park and the beach, O’Sullivans Pub is guaranteed to have a good atmosphere on Grand Prix weekend.
- You can choose from an a la carte menu or a self-service menu at Vermishell, a popular restaurant serving Russian and Caucasian dishes at affordable prices, including plenty of local seafood.
- With great service and an inviting interior, Pizza Fisht serves us some of the best Italian cuisine in Sochi.
- After dark, Bestuzhev Bar is the place to go for late night cocktails, DJs and people watching while Treugol'nik has live rock music and a great atmosphere.
Get a seat in the best grandstands at Sochi Autodrom or experience VIP trackside hospitality in the Formula 1 Paddock Club. Official Ticket Packages to the 2019 Russian Grand Prix also include access to additional activities only available with F1 Experiences, including F1 driver meet-and-greets, guided tours of the track, access to the F1 Paddock and more.