While palm trees in winter are often dusted with a coat of snow (this is Russia after all) the area's normal 400,000 population swells to millions at the height of the summer - when the area is alive with both Russians and international tourists soaking up the Sochi sun.
The country's industrial might is nowhere to be seen in Sochi, so the air quality year round is as pristine as the pebbly beaches that line the coast like a Russian string of pearls.
Between the mountains and the sea: Sochi is a rarity in Russia -- a year-round resort.
Along with beaches and spa resorts the exotic flora and fauna of the nearby Caucasian Biosphere Reserve remains another huge area attraction.
So what gives Sochi its world class WINTER resort reputation? As any Russian native will tell you it's the surroundings.
Nestled in between the Caucus mountains and the sea, the area's higher elevations are a scenic wonder -- and ideal for skiing and snowboarding every winter as visitors flock to Krasnaya Polyana, a major ski and mountain resort just east of Sochi and a main venue for the 2014 Games.
Year-round, the city's historic architecture, arts festivals, and lively culture all combine to make Sochi an up-and-coming player in the European tourism industry and a major world travel destination.