According to tour operators, up to 50% of tourists vacationing in the resorts of the Kuban come there by car. ATOR Vestnik correspondent personally tested the way from Moscow to Sochi by car. There is an interesting life hack for those who want to use their car on vacation, but do not want to endure the hardships of the road.
Traveling by car is freedom, we thought. In almost everything, from the choice of route to the amount of luggage. And in the context of the increased price tag for air travel and rail transportation, a road trip to the South also promised to save at least a couple of tens of thousands of rubles. Such thoughts were enough to decide to go from Moscow to Sochi by car.
Our team of three people went to Sochi for the first time. A year earlier, we tested the route from Moscow to the Elbrus region. By the way, although it is 500 km longer, it turned out to be many times easier than to the main Black Sea resort of Russia.
BY CAR FROM MOSCOW TO SOCHI: TIPS AND USEFUL INFORMATION
Advice from the category “prepare your car carefully for the trip”, “take extra money with you in case of unforeseen situations”, “do not forget the spare tire” we will not give we will. Everyone already knows this.
What time to start. The total mileage from Moscow to Sochi is just over 1,600 km. You need to leave Moscow as early as possible, with the first glimpses of dawn – around 3 o'clock in the morning. This way you can avoid traffic jams on the first leg of the journey.
The M4 “Don” highway in summer. Photo by ATOR
Where are traffic jams on the highway. In the direction of Rostov-on-Don, traffic was hindered only a few times. But in the opposite direction, about 200 km to Rostov-on-Don, they are actively repairing the road and shifting the asphalt, because of this, cars have to move at a snail's speed. There is a traffic jam for at least 10 km.
Traffic jam on the M4 highway at the road repair site. Photo by ATOR
But if everything is more or less calm before Rostov, then after Rostov everything is more complicated.
Choose toll roads. How much do they cost? If you want to get to Sochi normally, without unnecessary nerves, then toll roads cannot be avoided. If you choose only free ones, you will get eternal traffic jams.
The fare for the toll sections that are encountered on the way to Sochi, both with and without a transponder, is now the same. In total, about 2,500 rubles are spent on toll roads (12 toll sections, length – about 850 km) on the section from Moscow to Rostov-on-Don.
Toll collection point on the M4 “Don” highway. Photo ATOR
Also, a couple of years ago, a toll section was introduced between Rostov and Krasnodar. You will have to pay another 450 rubles for it on weekdays. A little more expensive on weekends.
But keep in mind that there are no paid free sections on the last section of the journey to Sochi, and traffic jams cannot be avoided. We covered the distance of 250 km from Goryachiy Klyuch to Sochi in 9.5 hours.
What to do if a car breaks down along the way. We had such an experience on a paid site. There are signs on the highway with phone numbers for the breakdown assistance service.
They can be used to call a tow truck, which will take the car for free only to a safe area on the highway (the nearest “sump pocket”). You can call a paid tow truck (the phone of such services will tell you by a toll-free number) and drive to the nearest settlement with a car service.
How much money do you need for gas and food on the road?Our spending on gasoline amounted to about 7 thousand rubles from Moscow to Sochi. But we had a car with low fuel consumption.
Gasoline prices at gas stations along the M4 highway are about the same. Photo by ATOR.
As for spending on food on the road, then everything is individual. We took food with us, but on the way we still bought coffee, water, ice cream. As a result, it took us more than 3000 rubles with our food. for three persons.
Tip: the section from Rostov towards Krasnodar has the most good and cheap roadside fairs. They sell watermelons, melons, apricots, nuts, honey, etc. If you wish, you can stop and buy.
Where to stop along the way. We recommend that everyone who decides to go to Sochi by car, be sure to make transit stops. As a rule, everyone does the first (or the only) one in Rostov-on-Don (at night, and leave for Sochi early in the morning).
Sunset fields of sunflowers at the entrance to Rostov-on-Don. ATOR photo
From Moscow to Rostov – a little over 1000 km (11 hours of pure travel time). The terrible traffic jam that has accumulated at the entrance to Rostov-on-Don for several years is gone now. The road was repaired there.
Why is a stop necessary? Ahead of you are the mountain serpentines of Sochi. They are not long in mileage, but exhausting and long in passing. A hotel in Rostov-on-Don can be found for 2 thousand rubles. per night for a double room. You can rent an apartment – 3 thousand rubles. per day and 2 tons. deposit (which will be returned later).
If you failed to leave Rostov in the very early morning, it is advisable to make one more stop. It would seem that Sochi is only a little over 600 km from Rostov, but due to insane traffic jams, accidents and serpentine, you can’t drive even in 12 hours.
We recommend making the second stop for the night in Hot key or Dzhubgaand start from there to Sochi.
Landscapes of the resort Hot key. Photo by ATOR
An apartment in Goryachiy Klyuch costs 3000 rubles. per day. In the evening the city is beautiful, you can relax in the city park near the fountains.
MOUNTAIN serpentine to SOCHI: PREPARE FOR THE MOST SERIOUS TRAFFIC TRAFFIC
We left Goryachiy Klyuch towards Sochi at 3:30 in the morning. On the way we stopped to look at the sea. But the serene trip was short-lived.
Mountain serpentine to Sochi seems endless. The road is not easy. At first it is beautiful and almost empty.
A serpentine begins behind this turn. Photo by ATOR
But then you run into a crazy traffic jam that hardly moves. As a result, we covered 250 kilometers along the coast of the coveted Black Sea in 9.5 hours. And here we are in Sochi.
Entrance to Sochi. Photo by ATOR
HERE WE ARE IN SOCHI. THOUGHTS ABOUT THE ROAD BACK HOME
After resting after the trip, we go down to the embankment, saturated with the smell of the sea and barbecue. Darkness falls and Sochi blossoms with all sorts of bars, restaurants and discos, from where Russian hits of the 80s and 90s are heard.
Summer Sochi. Evening outdoor bar. Photo by ATOR
That evening we met tourists from Yakutsk and Chelyabinsk. As a result of communication with them, we had a not quite standard idea: “what if we send the car back to Moscow by train?”. And the second: “was it possible to do this on the way from Moscow to Sochi?”
HOW TO SEND A CAR FROM ADLER TO MOSCOW BY TRAIN AND HOW MUCH IT COSTS
I started the next morning with a call to Russian Railways and inquired about the tariffs for transporting the car from Adler to Moscow. Next, I compared them with guaranteed and possible expenses that await us on the way back.
Here are the calculations (of course, we do not include the cost of car repairs).
Our expenses in driving distances:7000 r. (gasoline) + 3000 (food on the road) + 3000 (toll roads) + 3000 (hotel in Rostov-on-Don). It turns out 16,000 rubles. If we count two transit stops, then it will be 19,000 rubles (for all).
Sending a car by train from Adler to Moscow on a turnkey basis (with insurance, etc.) came out in an amount comparable to our expenses: 15,700 rubles (this is for a car weighing up to 1.5 tons, all that heavier is more expensive). But for us, the time and condition of the car were much more important.
The procedure for registering a transportation service is as follows. Approximately 4 days before the expected date of departure of the car, you need to call the Russian Railways cargo transportation department in Moscow and make a reservation by phone.
Specialists from Moscow contact their colleagues from Adler and they already mark the reservation with them. At the Adler railway station, train tickets for cars are issued at a special counter on the ground floor (entrance from the sea). There you fill out a simple questionnaire, where you indicate passport data, vehicle data. Then – payment and a ticket is issued for your car.
On the appointed day, you bring the car to the Adler depot. How to get there, of course, they will tell you. There you sign a couple more papers, the car is checked and driven into the car.
Loading a car into a wagon in Adler. Photo by ATOR
“No, my car didn't break down. But it is too expensive for me to “beat” it along the Sochi serpentines. But I myself am not rich enough to travel around Sochi and its environs by taxi, the rates of which have grown noticeably this year. And I just feel sorry for my time, but at the same time in Sochi itself I want to be in my car. I have been sending a car by train to Sochi for five years, every summer, and I myself arrive in Sochi by plane,” a tourist from Moscow told us, who issued a return ticket for his car in Adler.
After 26 hours, or after 42 hours (depending on the train), the car arrives in Moscow. You need to get it at Kazansky railway station.
Issuance is carried out in the cargo department, it is located right at the station, a couple of minutes from the subway exit. When I arrived, several trucks were already waiting for loading. When asked where you were sending, they answered – in Sochi.
Cars are issued in Moscow at the Kazansky railway station. Photo by ATOR
According to a specialist who works in the Russian Railways freight department in Adler, Moscow residents are increasingly traveling to Sochi with their car, which is transported to the resort by rail. And the same way back.
“Since the beginning of July, we have already sent more than 20 cars this way. Taxis are expensive, many people no longer want to rent cars in Sochi, carsharing has risen in price: at least 2 thousand rubles. in a day. Therefore, it is easier for them to send their car by train,” he said.
IN THE SURROUNDINGS OF SOCHI IT IS BETTER TO TRAVEL IN YOUR OWN CAR
The benefits of owning a car in Sochi become obvious from the first days stay at the resort.
For example, to get to the pretty place “Devil's Gate”, walk there to the canyon, take a steam bath if you wish and eat national dishes, you need to drive just over 20 km from Adler. For such a trip, a taxi asks about 750 rubles one way.
Devil's Gate Canyon near the Khosta River. Photo by ATOR
It is a little more than 30 km from Adler to the health-improving center “Place of Power” with a beautiful pool overlooking the mountains, in the village of Monastyr. Taxi fare – 1000 rubles one way. And to Krasnaya Polyana from Adler – less than 50 km, a taxi asks from 1900 rubles one way.
From Sochi to Krasnaya Polyana less than 50 km. The road is good, there are no traffic jams. Photo by ATOR
Since the car was with us all the days of rest, after visiting Sochi itself for a couple of days, we decided to go to Krasnaya Polyana.
Why is there so little on the sea? There are several reasons: the sea is cool, the water temperature was in mid-July at around 22-23 degrees.
The second reason is the huge, simply incredible number of vacationers and all the ensuing consequences in the form of noise, crowds on the streets and terrible traffic jams. In general, such a vacation has nothing to do with relaxation.
WHERE TO GO BY CAR IN KRASNAYA POLYANA AND WHERE TO PARK
For the first time in the mountains, we lived not on Rosa Khutor, but on Krasnaya Polyana . We liked it.
Early morning in Krasnaya Polyana. Photo by ATOR
It has its own atmosphere, somewhat different from Rosa Khutor. It is simple, truthful and very romantic. We woke up to the cries of roosters. We gathered and went to a coffee shop located near our boutique hotel, and then enjoyed the bizarre curves of “fluffy” green mountains and the smells of plants.
The territory of one of the boutique hotels. You can rent a room in the mini-hotels of Krasnaya Polyana for 3 thousand rubles. per day for three. Photo by ATOR
By the way, if you are there, go for lunch or dinner at the cafe “Province”. Its appearance is completely unremarkable, but the food there is very tasty. For three huge bowls of soup, fried lamb liver, lamb roast, baklava and pita bread, we paid 2 thousand rubles.
It takes 10 minutes to drive from Krasnaya Polyana to the center of the Rosa Khutor resort. Photo ATOR
From Krasnaya Polyana to the center of the Rosa Khutor resort, it takes 10 minutes by car. But keep in mind that there are practically no free parking lots. Tourists, at their own peril and risk, park cars on the sides of the road near the Perekrestok store.
The cost of official parking is from 200 rubles per hour. You can also stand near the My Russia complex for free.
The road to the mountainous Olympic village is amazing. Photo by ATOR
Another free parking lot is at an altitude of 1170 m, near the mountain Olympic village. We recommend to go there. The quality of the road surface is excellent. The road is serpentine. The views are beyond praise.
If you make a stop on the way from Rosa Khutor to the Olympic Village, you can take beautiful shots. Photo by ATOR
In the Olympic village you can take a walk, swim in the outdoor pool against the backdrop of the mountains, ride the amusing rodelbahn ride and, of course, eat delicious food. If you want to save money, go to the Cafe 28 canteen. You can have a hearty meal there for 800 rubles for two.
IS IT WORTH TO GO TO SOCHI IN YOUR CAR FROM MOSCOW? PERSONAL CONCLUSION
As for our way back without a car, we got to Moscow by plane. We managed to find tickets for Pobeda at a price of 5 thousand rubles. per person. And in flight, you can also see mountains through the window.
When you fly from Sochi to Moscow, carefully look out the window. It's very beautiful there. Photo by ATOR
Will we go to Sochi again by car? I think no. The nerves and costs are not worth it. If you already go by car to Sochi, then act according to the plan: the car – by train, and yourself – by plane or by train.
Either you already go by car not to Sochi, but to Tuapse or Dzhubga. Because these resorts are located in front of the traffic jams of Sochi and outside the zone of the eternal traffic jams of Adler and Sochi.