What to see, do in Sochi during the Olympics

A view of the Arboretum in Sochi. (Martynova Anna/shutterstock.com)

A view of the Arboretum in Sochi. (Martynova Anna/shutterstock.com)

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, Last Updated: 11:37 AM ET

With its unique mix of climates, botanical gardens and moderate winter temperatures, the city of Sochi is often referred to as the Russian Riviera. As the resort town on the edge of the Black Sea prepares to welcome the world next month, here's a closer look at the host of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games.

It's a bit of a contradiction for Sochi to be chosen to be host of the winter games. Spread out among the foothills of the Caucasus along the Black Sea, subtropical Sochi actually lies on the same latitude as Nice and Toronto, and is one of the warmest cities in Russia.

Average temperatures hover between 8 to 10 degrees Celsius in winter along the coast, while dipping to sub-zero temperatures in the mountains, creating ideal skiing conditions. In summer, temperatures can spike as high as 38 to 40 degrees.

Known as the summer capital of Russia, the resort town welcomes flocks of Russians looking to recharge at the beach, one of their many wellness spas, and botanical gardens.

Adventure seekers also descend on the area for the breadth of outdoor activities available like river rafting, cave exploration, waterfall excursions, horseback riding and mountain trekking.

Here's a list of tourist attractions and things to do suggested by the Sochi Olympics:

The Arboretum
Located in the heart of the city, the park is home to Russia's biggest collection of oak trees, as well as palm, cypress and other subtropical species. Visitors can also head to the aquarium which recreates the marine life of the Black sea.

Trinity Georgian Convent
It's said that those who undertake the pilgrimage to the cathedral, hidden deep in the Caucasus mountains, and pray before the Vladimir Mother of God, find healing, hope, faith and love.

Achishkho Ridge
With sweeping views of the Caucasus Mountains and home to subalpine meadows, adult-sized flowers and cascading waterfalls measuring up to 30 meters tall, the Achishkho Ridge is described as a gem of a destination.

Tea time
Between visits to health resorts, spas and mountain treks, be sure to squeeze in a visit to a traditional tea house. Wash down sweet cakes and jams with smoking samovars filled with strong, rich Russian tea -- one of the most popular beverages among Russians.


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