The Official Sochi Survival Guide

What you need to know to get by in Sochi.

MoreMall

Commuter trains

Commuter trains connect multiple villages and are the quickest and most affordable way to travel around Sochi. The railway links Adler to Tuapse and most trains will stop at every large community. High-speed Lastochka trains are more comfortable than regular commuter trains, but they are also more expensive and might skip some of the smaller towns. Purchase tickets at railway stations or from self-service machines. You can also buy tickets on the train, but if you do that you’ll have to pay the full price of the entire route.

Buses and Marshrutkas

Over 200 bus routes operate in Sochi, covering all the Greater Sochi districts (including most distant mountain villages). Most buses are comfortable, air-conditioned, and some are even equipped with WiFi. Pay the driver as you get on (for the inter-district buses), or before you get off (for the inner-district buses). Route numbers from 1 to 99 are city buses while numbers 100 and above serve suburban routes. The fare is 22 rubles on inner-district buses. The fare on inter-district buses depends on your final destination.

Marshrutkas are minibuses that mostly duplicate the routes of city buses — but they are much more frequent. To flag an approaching marshrutka, just wave at the driver. Similarly, ask the driver to stop when you are close to your destination. Most marshrutkas will only pick up passengers at designated bus stops, but you can get off wherever you want. Pay the marshrutka driver upon entry or exit — just follow the other passengers’ lead.

Taxis

Mobile apps such as Uber, Gett and Wheely operate in Sochi in a very laid-back manner. Also, Sochi drivers may refuse to take passengers if they consider the journey too long. Avoid hailing cars on the street, as taxi scams are common.

Safety

The Sochi region is one of the safest in Russia. However, petty crime does happen and is mostly targeted at tourists. Keep your passport on you at all times; Russian police have the right to check your identification and sadly, it is a great excuse for law enforcement officers to harass or fine you.

Pharmacies

Most pharmacies operate 24 hours a day, but buying medicine without any knowledge of Russian can be problematic. Look for a large green cross sign or the word “apteka.”

Medical treatment 

There are no foreign-run inpatient clinics in Sochi. Private hospitals include UroPro, MediEstetik, Medical Clinic Nadezhda, and Armed. The staff at these clinics don’t necessarily speak English, so practice your Russian. Public hospitals are best avoided.

Grocery shopping

In Sochi, the quality of service at the Perekrestok chain of supermarkets is noticeably lower than in other major cities, but it is manageable. One of the most popular places for weekly purchases among Sochi’s citizens is the Okay supermarket located in the MoreMall shopping center. Fresh fruits, vegetables and local specialties can be found at the Central Market.

Clothes shopping

Visit the MoreMall shopping center to pick up some basics from H&M, Levi’s, Zara and other mass-market brands. High-end designer shops can be found along Ulitsa Vorovskogo — a tree-lined alley filled with upmarket boutiques, salons and restaurants.

Repair services

Look for signs that say “masterskaya po remontu odezhdy” for clothes repair services, and “remont obuvi” or Dom Byta for shoe repair services. At Dom Byta you can also have your suitcases or jewelry repaired.

Emergency numbers

If you require urgent assistance from medical services, police or the fire department, dial the free 112 emergency number, accessible from both landlines and mobile phones even if there is no SIM card or if your number has been blocked. Operators speak Russian and English.

Read more