I had the opportunity to go to
This is intended as a quick-reference guide for anyone planning a trip to the region. I have a full travelogue as well if you want more detailed descriptions of my experiences and recommendations.
Sea Fleet —the name says it all. In the
harbor near plosha Nakhimova.
Also nearby is a monument to Nakhimova,
and a monument to the fleet that was sunk by the Russians as a barrier.
· Khersoneus—ancient Greek ruins on the waterfront. Absolutely beautiful.
· Chekhov House-Museum —A home of Chekhov. Includes the desk where he wrote some of his plays, and a piano that Rachmaninoff used to play on.
· Naberezhna Lenina—a waterfront boardwalk with shops and restaurants.
Nest—a castle built for a rich
German man that juts out on a cliff over
. It looks like something out of a fairy tale. Yalta Bay
former Tsar’s palace (dvoretz) where the Yalta
Conference (Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt) was held. Livadia Palace Roosevelt stayed here during the conference.
—Churchill stayed here during the Yalta
Conference. Now it’s a museum. More
interesting to me, though, was the nearby park and exquisite bathrooms (1 UAH). Alupka Palace
· Massandra—vineyards of a well-known Crimean wine. Tastings and tours are available (you had better like sweet wine, though).
, Livadia, and Alupka all have
fantastic beaches. The beaches are
pebbly but the sun is strong and the water is clear. They are probably even more fantastic in the
summer when the water warms up. Yalta
There are a lot of fish restaurants in Yalta, but I never found one that was good. In fact, the best meal I had on the waterfront was at a Russian blini restaurant (look for the advertising with the pancakes). Another good place I ate at was Tiflis, a Georgian restaurant one kilometer from Livadia. The environment was woodsy but the restaurant was elegant.
· Most trains from other parts of Ukraine (i.e. Kyiv) go overnight to Simferopol . From there you can take a taxi (~60 gryvnias, or 20 gryvnias per person) and be in Sevastopol in less than 2 hours, or take a regional train (that costs 5 gryvnias per person) and be there in three hours).
· Within Sevastopol there are a few different trolleybuses and lots of marshrutkas (minivans used as buses). Taxis are easy to get as well.
· I HIGHLY recommend taking a marshrutka or bus from Sevastopol to Yalta. The view of the mountains on the left and the Black Sea on the right is amazing.
· In Yalta, the main trolleybus line (#1) is slow. The marshrutkas are better. They can be caught in one of three places: the main bus station; the rynok square; and “Spartak” bus terminal. If you can tell the driver of one marshrutka where you are trying to go to, he can usually point you to the right place.
I stayed at Hotel Otdikh, a small, quiet hotel. I got a double room (two twin beds) for 64 UAH (12 USD) with a breakfast that was more like a dinner. But there was hot water round the clock, and I was so close to the ocean (with view) that I could hear the waves. And the staff speak a little bit of English. I would stay there again.
ATMs are fairly easy to find. Some ATMs even issue dollars. If you are coming from Kyiv and want to use cash, I would exchange your dollars or Euros in Kyiv, since the exchange rate will be better there. I think there are places that accept credit cards, but I wouldn’t use a credit card in Ukraine.
Even though technically Crimea is in Ukraine, the people consider themselves to be Russian. Not many people speak English. I would go to Foreign Languages for Travelers site to learn some Russian. And bring a phrasebook.