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In the 2012-13 season of the Biathlon World Cup the last two events take place in Russia: Sochi (March 7-10) and Khanty-Mansiysk (March 14-17). The next Winter Olympic Games (2014) also take place in Sochi, but I don't know how good is the infrastructure already (compared to Khanty-Mansiysk).

I want to know which of the two locations is closer to an aiport I can reach from Frankfurt (Germany). It should be also easy to get to the hotel with public transport.

I have never been in Russia before, and I am not keen on skiing, so I am also interested in sightseeing around the towns to spend the time after the competitions.

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challenge accepted –  VMAtm Dec 11 '12 at 12:52
    
I am not sure what you meant by closer? While there may not be direct flights from Frankfurt to either location there are direct flights to both from Moscow. –  Karlson Dec 11 '12 at 15:22
    
I want to get there as fast as possible, without to pay too much –  Dirty-flow Dec 11 '12 at 15:52
    
@Dirty-flow From where? Frankfurt->Sochi->Khanty-Mansiysk->Frankfurt? Or Frankfurt to either one of these locations and back? –  Karlson Dec 11 '12 at 16:15
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I think tags must be edied to include air-travel –  VMAtm Dec 12 '12 at 8:13
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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

First of all, it's definitely Sochi (but sounds more like TCH), this is official transliteration of the Ч.

Secondary, as others mentioned, you must do a stop during your flight at Moscow - unfortunately, in Russia many flights are made with such stop. I suggest you to stop for a day in Moscow, just for another sightseeing there.

Also:
Flight duration from Moscow to Sochi - 2 hours
Flight duration from Moscow to Khanty-Mansiysk - 3 hours, and flight by is made from other airport than you'll land from Frankfurt!, if you choose the UTAir.
You can choose the TransAero, but it's not as cheap as Sochi flight.

And most important part: sightseeing and weather.

Khanty-Mansiysk's average temperature is -9,8 °С, and sometimes there is cold weather,
down to -40.1 °С (March, 1st, 1966).
Sochi's average temperature is +15 °С, with sea temperature up to +9 °С. You can try it out - extreme, but quite fun :) There will be a snow machines for Biathlon in Sochi, but natural snow is in Khanty-Mansiysk.

As for the sightseeing, in Khanty-Mansiysk is all about the World Cup - people there love skiing, and you will be bored there if you are not a fan of it. There are quite small quantity of the sights in Khanty-Mansiysk (in Russian), and even less of them you'll be interested in during cold weather.

As for Sochi, you'll find much more fun there - because it is a very popular touristic center during long time. And because of preparing for the Olympic games, there are much more easier for foreign tourist to get information about city - people started to study languages, and whole touristic situation changed in a good way.

So, make your choice, but if I were you, I'd start with Sochi (plus 1-2 days stop in Moscow) - for start it will be enough. But if you want some extreme - choose the Khanty-Mansiysk, it will be a journey of the year for you.

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Just FYI. UTAir flies direct from Vnukovo and there are 2 flights daily from Frankfurt to Vnukovo Direct (LH 1470 & LH 1472) –  Karlson Dec 12 '12 at 15:54
    
Just to add to my comment about UTAir. They also offer direct flights from Saint Petersburg, so no need to transfer airports either. :) –  Karlson Dec 12 '12 at 17:52
    
ch and tch don't have different sounds in English, they're purely spelling variations for the same sound, /tʃ/, so it can't really sound more like one or the other. –  hippietrail Oct 31 '13 at 18:50
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Go to Sochi (or Sotchi?). It is much easier to reach from Frankfurt than Khanty-Mansiysk. The international airport is located some 30 kilometers south of Sochi. Sochi is a touristic place and you don't have to worry about the infrastructure.

For the dates you specify a flight from Frankfurt to Sochi, via Moscow Sheremetyevo, takes 7 to 9 hours, including transit time. It costs less than 500 EUR return. And you have some choice regarding the schedules.

Khanty-Mansiysk costs more than 1500 EUR return, it takes much longer and there is no choice regarding the schedules.

By the way, the Georgia route mentioned in one or the comments is not a serious option. It won't be cheaper and it will take longer. Tbilisi to Sochi is more or less 500 kilometers as the crow flies. The road will then be at least 700 kilometers. And the terrain is difficult, physically and politically.

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By the way, is it Sochi or Sotchi. The russian name is Сочи and the character "ч" is more like "tch" than "ch". Any Russian speaker out there? –  PERSONA NON GRATA Dec 11 '12 at 19:36
    
the name in wikipedia is Sochi –  Dirty-flow Dec 11 '12 at 19:52
    
@MarcelC. Yes and it's 'ch'. And the Tblisi to Sochi will take you through a conflict zone either with Abkhazia or South Ossetia. Terrain notwithstanding. If the border with either wasn't closed you'd have train service which you do not. –  Karlson Dec 11 '12 at 21:48
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As far as the travel to either place is concerned you can fly to either place with a single stop in Moscow. For example at present you can use TransAero though flights to Khanty-Mansiysk may not be available every day. Current costs: ~$900.

You can use UTAir to get to Khanty-Mansiysk which books with LuftHansa for international flights. EDIT They offer direct flights from Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Now as far as Sochi is concerned you have more options then you can count.

So pick your poison play with dates flights, etc.

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