Sochi is a resort city on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, about 1500km south of Moscow. Sochi Grand Prix circuit is located in the city’s Olympic Park in the Adler district of Sochi. Its an easy 7km from Sochi International Airport and about an hours drive from the centre of Sochi.
Getting to Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix
As you might expect from a city that has the reputation of Russia’s ‘summer capital’ there is no shortage of accommodation in the region. There are hundreds of hotels in Sochi and Adler but all along the coast there are options including campsites. The town of Lazarevskoye has some decent options for fans on a budget, though the longer commute to the circuit might be too much especially if you’re attending the circuit on all three days.
Flights to Sochi
Sochi International Airport (AER) is the main point of entry for most F1 fans from Russia and elsewhere. There are direct flights to Sochi from Vienna and Istanbul but most international visitors are likely to have a stopover in Moscow. See the Getting around in Sochi section below for info getting to and from the airport from central Sochi.
Trains from Moscow or Saint Petersburg
Going to the Grand Prix will for many be the only chance to experience Russia and flying to Moscow or St. Petersburg offers a chance to explore some of the country’s other attractions on your trip. From here you could catch another flight, though a more interesting experience might be to take the overnight sleeper train.
St. Petersburg is separated by about a 4 hour train journey from Moscow which is then another near 24 hour train ride to Sochi. Tickets can be bought at the station the day before travel or through an agency. Train tickets in Russia are sold as either 1st class (spalny vagon), 2nd class (kupe) or 3rd class (platzcart) depending on your desired comfort level and sense of adventure! Second class tickets from Moscow to Sochi cost approximately €60-100.
Ferry from Turkey
An alternative to flying all the way is to take a ferry to Sochi from Trabzon in Turkey. Besides being a potentially interesting way to extend your trip you also get to avoid the tedious Russian visa process – visitors arriving at the sea port of Sochi have visa free entry to Russia for 72 hours, perfect if you’re only attending the track for one or two days.
Do Foreigners need a visa for the Russian Grand Prix?
We can all hope that there will one day be a visa free option for F1 ticket holders in the same way that World Cup fans have in 2018. For now though nearly all international visitors to the Russian Grand Prix will require a visa to enter the country.
Getting around in Sochi
Ground transport in the region was modernized for the 2014 Winter Olympics and inaugural Grand Prix, so getting around in Sochi and getting to and from the circuit and the airport is quite straight forward. Most visitors to the Grand Prix make use of the free Lastochka trains but taxis, hire cars and buses are also available. In central Sochi walking around can be quite pleasant.
The high-speed rail network of Lastochka trains connect Sochi Autodrom with the airport, central Sochi and the outlying district of Lazarevskoye. During the Grand Prix weekend travelling on these trains is free for F1 ticket holders on certain routes.
From central Sochi the train takes about 50 minutes to reach the Olympic Park station. From here its a short walk to be at the circuit entrance. Getting to the airport it takes about the same amount of time to reach the Airport Sochi (Adler) station.
© Misha Tenetko Flickr
Taxi & Uber
Most taxis in Sochi don’t use a meter so unless you know how much your ride should cost or you have your hotel arrange a ride for you, you might be better off using Uber and getting a fare estimate in advance.