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Crimea joined Russia in 2014, and by the constitution of the Russian Federation, it is officially part of the country. It was said right away by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, that from now on Crimea is part of Russia and Russia will not give it back no matter what.
Ukraine, EU and United States do not recognize the annexation of Crimea, and that’s why they imposed restrictions and sanctions against. All the international flights to Crimea were canceled and the only possible way to get to Crimea, right now, is from Russia.
In this guide, I’ll tell you everything on how to travel to Crimea in 2016, how to get to Crimea from Russia (Moscow, Krasnodar, Anapa). We will look at current prices and I’ll give you few tips on what you need to keep in mind and be aware of while you are traveling to the peninsula.
Why Should You Visit Crimea?
Without looking at the politics, Crimea is a beautiful place to visit. It has so many awesome places and things to see, such as Chufut-Kale, the Swallow’s Nest Castle, Livadia Palace.
Crimea has always been a popular tourist destination and it still is – even after all the restrictions and sanctions from the EU and the US.
Crimea is a popular place for summer vacation – thanks to the clean waters of the Black sea and nice breezy weather pretty much all year round. You can read more information about popular destinations and resorts in Crimea on this page.
Another good reason to visit Crimea for vacation in 2016 is the money aspect. Because of the fall of the Russian Ruble compared to the other currencies, everything in Russia is now much cheaper than it’s used to be.
Let’s say you are going to buy a train ticket to Crimea, and its price is 3500 Russian Rubles. If you did this last year, converted to US Dollars, it would be around $100. But with today’s rate the same ticket will cost you less than $60. Thanks to the sanctions, right?!
Is it Safe to Travel to Crimea in 2016?
EU and US governments recommend not to travel to Crimea in 2015-2016, but it doesn’t mean that it is not safe. The situation in Crimea has never been bad, even last year during the crisis in Ukraine. Actual war never got to Crimea – thanks to the Russian annexation. People in Crimea live their normal lives like nothing even happened.
In my opinion, it is absolutely safe to travel to Crimea, just like anywhere else in Russia. The level of crime in Crimea is very low. Locals are friendly and a lot of them speak English. If you are very concerned about your safety, you can hire a local private guide and he will accompany you during your stay. This way you’ll be able to fully enjoy your time in Crimea.
I recommend you to watch this video to better understand the current situation and life in Crimea.
How to Get to Crimea from Russia
Like I’ve already mentioned before, the only possible way to get to Crimea right now is from Russia. Let’s take a closer look at all of the available options.
For the moment as of 2016, no international airlines are operating their flights to Crimea. From Russia, you’ll find plenty of options to fly to Simferopol (Crimea) from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, Adler, Ekaterinburg.
Such airlines like Aeroflot, S7 Airlines, Ural airlines, Orenair operate their flights from Russia to Simferopol in Crimea. These flights are not that expensive, for example, one-way flight from Moscow to Crimea will cost you 4000-5000 Rubles (less than $100).
Non-stop flights between Moscow and Simferopol are approximately 2.5 hours long.
You can look for a flight to Crimea by using JetRadar flights search engine. This service will find you the best and cheapest available option on flights from Russia to Crimea. I also highly recommend you to check out my other post “How to get cheap flights to and within Russia“.
By train + bus + boat – “Ediniy bilet” to Crimea
If you don’t like flying, taking a train to Crimea might be another option for you. It will take a longer time and it sounds complicated, but if you are hungry for some adventures and new experiences… Then, why not?!
After Crimea joined to Russia last year, Russian Railways started selling “Ediniy bilet” – train + boat tickets to Crimea, which avoid going through the territory of Ukraine. You pay only once for all the transportation.
If you get this “Ediniy bilet” from Moscow to Crimea, you’ll be first traveling by train to Anapa or Krasnodar. From there, you’ll be taken by bus to port Kavkaz, where a ferry will wait for you to take you over to Port Kerch in Crimea.
And the last, from Kerch you’ll be picked-up by bus to your final destination in Crimea (Feodosia, Evpatoriya, Sevastopol, Yalta or Simferopol). Minimum total travel time on the route from Moscow to Kerch is 27 hours 40 minutes.
The price for “Ediniy bilet” from Moscow to Simferopol starts at 3000 Rubles. If you are traveling from Krasnodar, a one-way ticket (bus + boat) to Crimea costs 750 Rubles, from Anapa – 350 Rubles.
Remember to Bring Cash With
When traveling to Crimea, you must have enough of cash on you. Or another way you will be screwed – with all the sanctions the two main financial systems Visa and Mastercard suspended their service in Crimea (American Express too). In other words, none of your credit/debit cards will work there, you’ll not be able to make any payments or take out cash at the ATM’s.
In other words, none of your credit/debit cards will work there, you won’t be able to make any payments or take out cash at the ATM’s.
That’s why it is important to have enough of cash for the whole time of your visit. You can bring with you cash in Russian Rubles, US Dollars or Euros, which you can exchange to the Russian currency at one of the banks when you get to Crimea.
Prices in Crimea
Like you’ve probably figured, Russian Ruble is the current currency in Crimea.
Overall I would say that the prices in Crimea aren’t bad at all. It’s cheaper here compared to Moscow, St. Petersburg or Sochi prices.
Let’s see some examples of prices in Crimea (as of 2016).
- You can find decent hotels in Crimea for 2000-4000 Rubles per night;
- To have dinner at one of the nice restaurants in Yalta with soup, one dish and a glass of wine will cost you around 1500-2000 Rubles;
- Some examples of food prices at the grocery stores in Crimea: bread – 20 Rubles, milk – 40-50 Rubles, 1 kg of chicken filet – 200 Rubles, 1 kg of beef – 400 Rubles, 1 kg of pork – 300 Rubles;
- Approx. taxi prices from Simferopol airport to Yalta – 3000 Rubles, Feodosia – 3500 Rubles, Sevastopol – 3000 Rubles, Kerch – 5000 Rubles, Bakhchisaray – 2000 Rubles;
- Public transport in Crimea is very cheap, prices start at 7 Rubles on the routes in the cities; for example, the trolley ride from the train station in Simferopol to Yalta (80 kilometers distance) will cost you only 87 Rubles (which is less than $2)!
As you see, Crimea is a very interesting destination, especially now after they are joined to Russia.
This summer 2016 Crimea will be a hot spot for visitors from all over the world and if you have a chance you should take into consideration traveling to Crimea.