World, meet Sochi. Sochi, meet world. Russia's Black Sea holiday destination, located near Russia's border with Georgia, is best known as a summer hot spot—the sort of place where you can take a leisurely swim and then indulge in regional favorites like beer and dried fish. But Sochi, which was one of Trip Advisor's Travelers' Choice 2012 destination winners, is expanding its reputation to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
As it prepares for its moment in the spotlight, the city is undergoing a major face-lift to yield a massive new sports complex, new hotels, and hundreds of miles of new roads and railways.
Venues: Sochi's will be the most compact Winter Games in Olympic history. Two clusters of multisport event venues—one in the mountains for downhill events and one in the city for the opening and closing ceremonies, ice hockey, skating, and curling—will make it easy to get from one event to another.
Tickets: No word on ticket prices or dates yet, but you can sign up to receive news and updates.
Getting There: Russia is big, and Sochi is somewhat isolated. Since the train ride from Moscow takes upwards of 24 hours, it's worth springing for an intracountry flight, which cuts the travel time down to about two hours.
Russia: Sochi, Olympic Stadium (Photo: Martynova Anna/Shutterstock.com)