|The Crimean Peninsula, more Russian than Ukrainian ethnically, is one of the most fascinating corners of Ukraine, with the most varied scenery and climate, the most ancient history, and the greatest opportunities for tourism. The sub-tropical climate of Crimea's South Coast is near-Mediterranean, making Crimea's beaches a prime holiday destination for millions of Ukrainians and Russians and growing numbers of foreign tourists each year. Just a few kilometers from the Black Sea, the Crimean Mountains rise to 1500 m above the sea level.
Crimea's most famous resort town is Yalta, which became a prestigious vacation destination in 19th century Tsarist Russia after the first road was built from Simferopol. Sevastopol, Balaklava, Alushta, Sudak, Yevpatoriya, Koktebel, and Feodosia are also well-known resorts. Sevastopol on the west end of the peninsula is more of a regular city than a resort; it is a navy town with shipyards and the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. Yevpatoriya and Saky on Crimea's west coast are known for their soft sand beaches - a Crimea holiday maker's dream.
At that, if you enjoy hanging out at crowded beaches in the daytime and having fun at night, these Crimean resorts are for you. If you'd like to have more solitude, Crimea has plenty of that to offer too. There are hundreds of kilometers of undeveloped coastal areas. Here you may come across folks who spend the entire summer living in caves by the beach or groups that spend weeks practicing yoga or meditation in remote corners of the peninsula.
In general, Crimea's incredibly varied terrain and scenery provides wonderful opportunities for all kinds of outdoor recreation, including: mountain hiking, cycling, mountain biking, horseback riding, spelunking, rock-climbing, hang-gliding, scubadiving, wind-surfing.
Apart form that, the Crimean Mountains are home to magnificent caves, forests of beech, oak, pine, juniper, and endemic species and windswept mountain plateaus. The mountains are most accessible from Simferopol and the old Tatar town of Bakhchisaray, but you can also use an aerial cable car that goes from Miskhor (between Alupka and Yalta) to Ai-Petri Mountain at 1200 m above sea level.
Among famous tourists’ attractions one should also mention:
* Livadia Palace that is a summer residence of the last of the Russian Tsars, Nikolai II, and in 1945 home to the Yalta Conference, where Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met to re-draw the map of Europe at the end of the 2nd World War.
* Nikitsky Botanical Garden designed in landscape style with its picturesque terraces descending to the sea, it is considered to be one of the finest in Europe. Its parks are a peculiar open-air museum, which comprises more than 18,000 species of plants from Mediterranean countries, South-East Asia and South America.
*Ai-Petri Mountain, one of the most spectacular peaks in Crimea (1,234 m), that is supposed to be the weathered remains of a huge coral reef formed millions of years ago, when this area was under the sea.
From the village of Miskhor near Alupka Palace, you can take one of the longest cable-car rides in Europe (3.5 km) to get to the peak.
*Vorontsov's Palace built in 1828-1846 after the design of Edward Blore, one of the best English architects. Its bold, unusual design and original architecture, as well as marble lion sculptures create an inimitable character. The immense park around the palace is one of the finest on the Southern Coast of Crimea.
Of course, it is difficult to mention all masterpieces of Crimea - one should merely come and see this entire splendor!
Thus, Khersoness area on the outskirts of Sevastopol that is one of the most important archeological sites in Crimea is really worth visiting. The columns and portico of an early Christian church from the 4th century AD stand next to the sea among the remains of a city which was originally a Greek colony founded around 420 BC.
Apart from that, you should also visit the Church on the Rock (Foros), the Khan's Palace, Uspensky Cave Monastery, Chufut Kalev Cave City (Bakhchisarai), Aivasovsky Gallery (Feodosiya) and many other tourists’ sites.
No doubt, it is possible to narrate about Crimea unceasingly, for this region of Ukraine along the shores of the Black Sea is so amazing not only in its diverse history but also in its outstanding beauty. It’s better to come once and see everything with own eyes…