Pop open a bottle of Russian champagne - well, what else would you drink in a former Soviet workers' playground?

Eat breakfast in style

08.00: Wake up in the understated luxury of the five-star Grand Hotel and Spa Rodina (00 7 8622 539 000; steinhotels. com/rodina), where rooms start at 12,000 roubles (£225) per night. Take a morning swim, then fill up at the hotel's decadent buffet.

Fly high for a top view

10.00: Get your bearings with an overview of Sochi from its viewing platform at the top of the botanical gardens, at 74 Kurortny Prospekt. The platform is best reached via cable car - the ride will cost you 210 roubles (£4).

Meet the local wildlife

11.00: Stroll back down through Sochi's gardens, which include more than 1,800 types of rare trees from across the globe. Check out the ostrich farm on the way.

Champagne anyone?

12.30: Have lunch at one of the many seafood restaurants that line Sochi's promenade. If you want to do as the Russians do, order a bottle of Soviet champagne, a cold sparkling white wine that will go well with any seafood you choose. Consider dropping into the Tinkoff beer restaurant, at 19 Primorskaya Street (00 7 8622 951 111) just above the promenade. One of a nationwide chain, it offers decent home-made beers and tasty steaks.

Have a snooze on the beach

14.00: Relax with the locals for a spot of sunbathing on one of Sochi's many pebbled beaches - pack a thick towel - followed by a reviving dip in the Black Sea.

A glimpse of the past

15.30: For an atmospheric taste of Russia's dark history visit one of the dictator Joseph Stalin's favourite holiday retreats, Zelenaya Rosha (Green Grove). Set in thick woodland, this was the dacha where he took decisions that affected the lives of millions. Visitors can take a tour of the large pastel green-coloured building with a guide, price 300 roubles (£5.60). Pace Stalin's dining room, walk round his surprisingly small and shallow private pool (he wasn't a good swimmer), and see the exhibition devoted to his life and times complete with a waxwork of Uncle Joe. You can even sleep in his very own stubby bed at the dacha, from 1,700 roubles (£32) per night (00 7 8622 621 842; rosha@sochi.ru).

To market, to market

17.00: Hit the market. Being so close to Georgia, Sochi's market is awash with exotic cheeses, breads, meats and spices. Indeed, most of the market traders are Georgian or Abkhazian. Wander through the stalls savouring the aromas and don't be afraid to try before you buy.

A tipple by the water's edge

18.00: Enjoy a waterside drink. One of the cosiest places is a café called Brigantina at Sochi's small port. Order a cold Baltika beer and watch Sochi's amateur fishermen trying their luck, while ogling the nearby motor launches owned by some of the town's wealthier citizens. Ferries from Turkey and Georgia dock here but the main attraction is the magnificent wedding cake Stalin-era port building crowned by a five-pointed Soviet star that has survived Russia's transition into a capitalist society.

Tuck into an exotic dinner

19.00: Time for dinner. Plump for a traditional Caucasian meal at one of the many Georgian or Uzbek restaurants dotted around town. These eateries specialise in skewered meat kebabs (shashlyky), cheesy breads (khachapuri), and exotic salads. Or for a quieter more refined meal consider one of the two restaurants at the Hotel Rodina.