Thinking about the beginning of the article I realized, that there should not be the special reason to go to Crimea. You should go to Crimea just because you can. It is easy to take flight tickets for 121$ for round trip, rent a car at the airport and enjoy just because you can. And OK, if you need reasons, you get it:
- Nature. The same climate with Adriatic coast for less money: mountains, coniferous forests, sea coast. Do not miss that. Not the same infrastructure with Adriatic, unfortunately, but it is getting better;
- The heritage of big empires. Crimea has been a part of Roman, Greek, Turkish, Arab, Russian empires. It saved the signs of each epoch and each culture in ruins, cuisine buildings and people. It is a must to feel it.
- Every point of the list below. I collected a small must-do list of Crimea. Most of the familiar things you will be able to do in other places, but here it is cheaper and closer.
1. To taste Massandra wine and visit Massandra wine plant
Where: Massandra, near Yalta
It is the oldest wine plant in Russia. I strongly recommend visiting the plant and take the excursion. In the case of great luck, the excursion will be provided by a nice old man. You will know him. He has been working there for several decades and he is a perfect story teller.
After that excursion, I bet you will feel the pride of Russian winemaking with its history and technologies. I will not tell all the details here how they keep the right temperature and humidity there or how they built the plant. The old guide will tell and show everything. I will just add, that Crimean wine, both from Massandra and Inkerman, is really really good.
2. To pretend you are in Miami on the west coast
I could not even imagine, that so clean, nice, good-looking and long beaches can be in Crimea. But they exist. Moreover, they are not crowded, so, your pictures will be fantastic. Just as an example this kind of beaches are located near Olenevka on the west coast of Crimea.
The only advice except for necessity to go there is the transport – try to rent a car to go there. Unfortunately (and maybe it is a plus, there are no rather big towns near these perfect beaches
3. To walk through Galitsyn path
Being on the east coast of Crimea do not miss a chance to walk through Galithyn path. It is a well-prepared route through the sea coast in a national park near Sudak. While walking you will visit several beaches, coniferous forest, high crags with breathtaking views. It will take 3-4 hours and you will have to pay just 1,5$. It is so great, that there is a rotation of walking sectors and beaches on your way, so, just at the moment, when you are tired of height, a beach will appear. After freshening up you will be ready to go on.
4. To swim in high seas in Balaklava
You can rent a small private yacht and take a little excursion near Balaklava with the opportunity to swim in clean water of high seas. A 30-minutes excursion is something about 50$. It is very important to look at Balaklava from the sea because it is a unique bay. The secret is in the rocks, which are located the way, that you do not see the bay from the seaside. And when you come closer it seems, that rocks open just like the portal. They say, that this place was the basis for Homer’s famous scene in the book “Argonauts” when the rocks open in front of ancient travelers.
5. To taste Tatarian cuisine
Where: Alupka, Bahchasaray
I do not like making photos when I am eating. Especially when the food is delicious. And in Crimea, it is usually sooooooo good. Many Tatars live in the Crimea, which means, that you will be able to taste their food. For my taste, it is rather fattening, but for vacation, it is just fine. I will recommend tasting desserts, of course, famous chebureki (fattening dish of forcemeat and dough). As a place, where to taste all these things, I would recommend Roomi – a small cafe in Alupka – tasty and not expensive.
6. To climb on I-Petri
Where: near Yalta
If you want to see the best view in Crimea, you are going to I-Petri, no doubt. This is a small mountain, which is located near Yalta. Everything is rather well organized: there are buses, taxi to the top. Funicular is also working. My advice – to go there in the morning. The funicular opens at 10 a.m., be there at 9:30 to buy tickets and get your place in the line.
The view is breathtaking, there are a lot of paths and directions to walk and climb, several restaurants and, of course, a market with Tatarian souvenirs. But the view and the mountain itself is fantastic, and it is made by nature
7. To visit Aivasovskiy gallery
To be honest, there is nothing special is in that Gallery, except the fact, that you do not have to waste several hours and pay thousands of roubles to see the pictures of Aivasovskiy like it is in Moscow. Just a usual building, a regular price, but the pictures are excellent.
8. To walk through Sevastopol and visit Hersones ancient ruins
I do not know how to explain it, but when you are in Sevastopol, you feel these actions, which took place here years ago. All this courage, stamina, fear of local citizens during all wars: the Second World war, Crimea war. You see, feel, how it happened. And, I do not know why, you see, that not regular people live here. They understand, that it is a special responsibility to save in memory the history of that place. I also want to add here, that I have been to Sevastopol twice: in 2009 and in 2016, and in 2016 it looks mush better.
Just the opposite part of Sevastopol is Hersones. It is also a historic place, but it is about ancient history. It seems that there is no reason to visit Athens and other centers of the ancient world: theaters, columns, ancient buildings, and temples are in a good state of preservation. And it is FREE.
9. To caress little lions in Taigan Safari park
Taigan is a special place. I have visited a lot of zoos in my life, but I have never seen happy animals there. OK, in Taigan they are not totally happy, but they are normal.
- First of all, animals, especially lions, have a huge territory. And there are special paths above their territory. Fantastic. On the territory of the main zoo rabbits, peacocks, and other birds just walk without chains.
- Feed the animals. Yes, feed them. Buy an ice-cream and give it to a bear. Take a carrot and let your son feed a horse or a giraffe. Isn’t it great?
- Play with little tigers and lions. For the special fee of 8$ you can touch little lions, play with them and take a picture. They are really nice and funny.
There is a restaurant, gift shop, a hotel on the territory of the safari park. The infrastructure is quite fine, the animals are cool.
10. To touch the ancient walls of Genoese fortress
Where: near Sudak
Actually, there are 4 Genoese fortresses in Crimea, but the one in Sudak is the biggest and renovated. It is very big, it is located on the hill, there is a magnificent view from there. You cannot miss that fortress if you are somewhere near Sudak. The entrance fee is like 6$.
More photos are in Photo Gallery