Novorossiysk, a Soviet Hero City most never even heard of, is located in the Krasnodar Krai, between the popular resort towns of Anapa and Gelendzhik in the Tsemes bay.
It’s one of the Russia’s largest port that is ice-free all year around, loading daily lots of feights and oil.
I visited Novorossiysk in the summer 2022 and I was positively surprised and very much enjoyed my few days there. The city has Southern beach vibes, Soviet history in every corner and its backcountry hides Russia’s best sparkling wine.
Novorossiysk is in my opinion a place not to be missed if you travel between Krasnodar and Sochi.
This guide contains everything you need to know to visit Novorossiysk, including how to get there, where to sleep & eat, and must-visit places around the city.
The city of Novorossiysk was founded in the 19th century on top of the Turkish fortress of Sujuk-kale.
Well before that, archeologists say that the place was inhabited since the 5th century B.C. Novorossiysk was once called Bata, a Greek town of the Bosporus Kingdom trading mostly grain and fish.
Bata was destroyed in the 2nd century B.C by the Alans. Circassian tribes moved in before getting kicked out by the Khazars and Mongols and moved to the mountains.
In the 13th century, the Tsemes Bay belonged to the Golden Horde. Then the Batario fortress was built by people from Genoa, as they controled the sea trading routes between East and West. It defended the town from the Circassian tribes.
In 1943 a handfull of soviet soldiers including L. Brezhnev, heroically defended the city from the Nazis. It reveive the Hero City title in 1973.
Today the city of over 270 000 inhabitants is the naval base of the country’s Black Sea fleet and one of Russia’s largest sea port loading freights and oil each day.
Not so fun facts : #1 There are sanctions on the Novorossiysk commercial port since spring 2022. However it doesn’t look like it when watching the constant traffic of cargos in the bay.
#2 The Tsemes bay is sometimes hit by windstorms and bora winds, reaching up to 220k/h.
How to get there
Where to sleep
Novorossiysk is a city for business more than leisure, but there are lots of accomodation for every budget.
I’ve stayed at Chocolate hostel. It was a last minute booking in the middle of summer so I didn’t have much choice. Very clean, nice staff, no english spoken, no windows in the rooms. This is the one on the right side of the road coming from the city center. Booking only with a russian bank card.
Where to eat
I’ve stayed a couple of days in Novorossiysk and I have 2 very nice places worth to mention for tasty food, friendly staff and cosy environment.
A couple of other places I passed by that looked great but had no time to try out : Nabokov Khizhnaya Kofeya for coffee and books, Restaurant Kavkazsky Dvoruk if like me you love Caucasian food. I also spotted a halal stolovaya in front of the marshrutka bus station and overall the city is dotted with super nice places to eat various food.
If you have no time to go to Abrau Durso, you can still taste their wine in 1870 Abrau restaurant.
Places to visit
Novorossiysk is all about Soviet history and here are the best places to visit around the city :
I loved the city for a few reasons : the people are friendly and laid back, the fyord-like bay, it is way less touristy than the resort towns of Sochi, Tuapse, Gelenzhjik or Anapa along the Black Sea and it’s a Soviet city of historical importance.
There you have it, a complete travel guide to the Soviet hero city of Novorossiysk. Let me know in the comments if it’s on your Russia travel bucket list !