"A formerly closed city trying to get it's sea legs" Top 5 Page for this destination Sevastopol' by Dabs
Sevastopol' Travel Guide: 160 reviews and 403 photos
After arriving at the laughably small airport in Simferopol, we located our hotel arranged driver and headed to our hotel in Balaklava, 12km from Sevastopol. This driver was even crazier than the driver in Kiev, he swerved in and out of lanes, passed on up hills and down hills, all with Euro technopop blaring in the background.
Our Bradt Ukraine guidebook said about Balaklava that "Ukraine's rich and famous have recently discovered" it and that "they have their eyes on making this their own elite hideout". So you can imagine our surprise when we check into our room at the nicest hotel in town, having splurged on a balcony room and finding that our view was of a small inlet filled with Ukrainian military ships and the gravel mine across the street! I think there's a bit more work to do before anyone mistakes this for Cabo San Lucus....
In hindsight, I would not stay again in Balaklava, instead I would stay in Sevastopol and make Balaclava a daytrip. Balaklava's dining options were extremely limited, we spent a lot of time taking marshutkys and buses to get where we needed to go.
On our 2nd day in the Crimea, we hopped on a #9 marshutky and headed to 5km which is about halfway between Balaklava and Sevastopol. As it was a Sunday, the market area around 5 km was swarming with people and the entire market area was open, anything and everything you could possibly want to buy. After wandering through most of that, we hopped on a bus and headed towards the city center, with the help of a local we got off the bus near the Panorama, visited that, walked to Traktir, a local Ukrainian restaurant for lunch. We continued walking towards the harbor area, viewed some of the monuments, went on a 1/2 hour cruise through the Ukrainian and Russian ships that are docked there, walked back to Celanteno's for pizza and then caught a bus to get back to Balakava.
Our third day in Crimea was spent visiting the Khan's Palace and Chufut Kale cave city in Bakchysaray, about 1 hour away. Three days in this area was just about right, 1 day for Balaklava, 1 day for Sevastopol and 1 day for Bakchysaray. Once you are finished with your visit here, it's very easy to catch connecting buses to the rest of Crimea, we caught a bus from Sevastopol to Yalta which took about 1 1/2 hours.
You can't avoid the military when visiting Sevastopol, the harbor is home to a multitude of Ukrainian and Russian naval... more travel advice
Drinking and smoking are quite common in public throughout Ukraine, I caught this young man doing both outside the bus... more travel advice
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