A travel guide to the Krasnodar Krai

A travel guide to the Krasnodar Krai

Mount Argun in the Krasnodar Krai with view on the Black Sea in the North Caucasus

The Krasnodar Krai located along the Black Sea is an all in one region. It’s home to Russia’s famous beach resort town Sochi as well as Krasnaya Polyana the best ski resort in the country.

Everybody seem to be living in the Krai : Circassians (the true natives) Armenians, Georgians, Greek pontic, and even Assyrians. Without surprise, this great mix of people and cultures brings tasty food !

The Krasnodar Krai is also famous for having the northern most tea plantations in the world and is one of the top wine region of the country : try the Abrau Durso sparkling wine and you will be pleasantly surprised !

In short : warm sea, high mountains, laid back and friendly people, tasty food, great drinks, good tourist infrastructures make the Krasnodar Krai an awesome travel destination !

Last updated : 16/02/2024

Aerial view of the Black Sea coast and beach in the Krasnodar Krai near Sochi in the North Caucasus of Russia
Like it ? Pin it !
RUssia travel insurance

It’s mandatory to have an insurance to travel in Russia and apply for a russian visa (including the e-visa)

I recommend Attollo Assistance (24/7 assistance, medical expenses up to 35 000 €, repatriation)


General informations

  • Capital : Krasnodar (Краснодар)
  • Population : About 5.6 millions inhabitants
  • Language : russian, and all the minorities languages like Armenian, Circassian etc.
    Despite being a very touristy region, don’t expect english to be spoken by everyone. The younger ones will unless being shy.
  • Religions : Orthox Christianity and Sunni Islam.
  • Dress code : None, unless you enter a church or a mosque.
  • Visa : The Krasnodar Krai is part of the Russian Federation so you will need a russian visa if necessary depending your nationality.
  • Best time to travel : All year round.
  • Weather warnings : The Black Sea is sometimes hit by storms, tornadoes (no kidding) and floods, from Sochi to Novorrosysk.
  • If you go hiking in the mountains around Krasnaya Polyana, make sure to take the right gears and check the weather forecast. The weather can change very quickly. I’ve experienced it in summer 2022 : From sunny and hot to foggy and cold within 20 minutes.
  • Money : If you have Euros or US Dollars, a bunch of guys change on the black market right in Moskovskaya street in Sochi, roughly here. They have a small table and a sign, can’t miss them. The rate is much better than at the bank obviously and they are super friendly.
  • Border : The Psu border next to Adler to enter Abkhazia is not legal but everyone can cross including foreigners. If you wish to travel to Georgia you must make the detour through Vladikavkaz in North Ossetia and cross at the Verkhniy Lars border.

The Circassian genocide

The ethnic cleansing of the Circassian tribes by the Russian Tsar’s army started in 1864. In about 3 years up to a million and a half people have been massacred and kicked out of their historical land. Circassia used to be half of the North Western Caucasus and within a few years has been swipped off the map.

The Circassians who managed to survive fled to the Ottoman Empire through the Black Sea. There are now diasporas in the Balkans, Turkey and the Middle East. Up to this day, Moscow refuses to recognise the Circassian genocide.

Where to sleep

Tourist infrastructures are great around the Krasnodar Krai. There are tones of resorts, hotels, hostels, guesthouses, homestays etc around the region.

Even during the high season, you will find somewhere to stay at the last minute.

You can book your accomodations on Zenhotels, the best alternative to Booking.com in Russia.

You can also wild camp in the mountains. However if you wish to stay overnight in the Western Caucasus Nature Reserve, you need to buy a pass which is 300₽/day and stay at designated campsites. You can buy the pass online if you own a russian bank card or in Krasnaya Polyana.

I have written a guide to hiking in Krasnaya Polyana with plenty of resources.

Transport

If you plan on travelling the south of Russia, you can directly fly to Sochi international airport from let’s say Turkey. Many airlines fly there and the airport has never been shut unlike Krasnodar’s during the SMO.

At the time of writing, Kranodar’s airport is still closed and there are no flights to/from Moscow or else. You must fly to Sochi if you want to reach the region by air. Update : they may be some national flights in the coming spring but I highly recommend you to avoid them.

However, there are many trains from the main russian cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg to Krasnodar, Novorossysk, Sochi and all the way into the mountains of Krasnaya Polyana. A high speed train named Lastochka travels daily from Krasnodar to Adler. You can book them directly with your foreign Visa/Mastercard on Russiantrain.com.

Buses are available throughout the Krai and long distances buses are available to other regions of Russia and Crimea.

For more informations on transport booking platforms, check out my travel resources page.

Safety

The Krasnodar Krai is with Adygea one of the North Caucasus region with no warning from Western governments (now it’s the whole country, hey). There is no safety problems in the region politically and ethnically speaking.

However, as stated previously I highly recommend you to check the weather forecast before starting any hikes in the mountains.

My top 5 experiences in the region

4 1

#4 Hiking in the only Subtropical forest in Russia

5 1 1

#5 Drinking tea in the highest tea plantations in the world

Statue of Cossacks in the city of Krasnodar in the North Caucasus of Russia
Like it ? Pin it !
Don’t forget to share this post !

Enjoy what you read and learn? Think about buying me a chai to support the blog !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *