Ялта (Yalta). The name is the same in Ukrainian and Russian. Legends say that Yalta was founded by the ancient Greeks, the name itself probably means something like "seashore". Until the 15th century, the town was rather known as Yalita.
Yalta is a small town at the southern coast of the Crimea peninsula (more about Crimea under →Simferopol). The town is sandwiched between a high mountain range in the north and the sea in the south - thanks to those mountains, the climate is considerably more moderate, if not even subtropical.
|The Livadia palace - here, the famous Yalta
conference took place in 1945
Yalta has around 80,000 inhabitants
Yalta is worldwide famous for some reasons. As there are a spectacular scenery and almost subtropical climate. Not to forget the historic Yalta conference in 1945, during which a good deal of postwar Germany's fate was decided (more see below). All rulers appreciated the lovely surroundings of Yalta - first the Tsar and his family, next communist leaders and today the Ukrainian government. They all frequented the place and made Yalta a chic holiday resort.
Getting there / transportation
There's no train to Yalta. The small town is around 80 km away from →Simferopol, the main gateway to the Crimea. From there, a trolley bus takes you all the way to Yalta. This is the world's longest trolley bus route! Sounds spectacular, but it isn't. As a matter of fact, it's just damn slow. The bus starts in front of the train station in Simferopol and needs more than 2Â½ hours to cover the distance. The fare is 7 Grivna only. However, the bus doesn't go to the centre of Yalta but to another bus terminal outside the city. From there, trolley bus No.1 will take you to the centre. It's faster to take the microbus from Simferopol - it takes less than 2 hrs, the fare is 9 Grivna. It starts at the train station as well.
The centre of town is quite small and everything is within walking distance. Yalta is only one of many holiday resorts lining up along the southern coastline. Many famous playwrights and poets visited and praised the place - among them Dostoyevski, Mark Twain, Pushkin, Chekhov just to name but a few. The latter lived in Yalta for a long time. His house is now used as a museum showing Chekhov's life.
|View of the centre of town and the surrounding
mountains from the balcony of Hotel Krim (Crimea)
Пл. Ленина (Pl. Lenina)
Lenin square is right in the middle of town and impresses with its big Lenin monument. There's a McDonalds (it could have been such a nice place without...) between the square and a small harbour next to the centre. There, a vibrant and beautiful waterfront promenade stretches to the west with countless (and not always recommendable) restaurants and a fairground lining up among all the palm trees. The centre lacks the usual dull concrete apartment blocks. Instead of that, there's a lot of green and much space, and so it's fun to stroll around.
Ласточкино Гнездо (Lastochkino Gnesdo)
The landmark of the southern Crimean coast is definitely the so-called Swallow's Nest, a miniature castle built in a very exposed position. The castle imitates the gothic style of castles lining up along the Rhine river in Germany. Actually it's neither an architectural nor a historic highlight, it's just about the location. Swallow's nest towers 40 meters above the sea atop a cliff at the tip of Cape Myis Ai-Todor. It was built in 1911/12 by the German Baron von Stengel, an oil magnate living in Baku. The castle was allegedly presented to the Baron's mistress. Today, the castle is occupied by a luxurious restaurant, but it's possbile to enter without ordering. Admission fee is 2 Grivna. Swallow's nest is not far away from Yalta - it's easy to get there with marshrutkas (shared taxi) 27 and 32 from the marshrutka terminal in the centre of Yalta opposite the Lenin square. Tell the driver where you want to get out. When you get out, walk left, not right!!! The swallow's nest is some kind of a must-see in the area.
|The Swallow's nest towering the Black Sea|
Ливадийский Дворец (Livadiiskii Dvorez)
Even if the Yalta conference wouldn't have taken place - the Livadia-Palace near Yalta would still be worth a visit, since it's a magnificient place. Livadia is one of the 'suburbs' of Yalta nestling snugly at the foot of the Crimean mountain range. The Black Sea coast isn't far either. The Tsars of Russia knew exactly about the value of the place, and so Tsar Nikolai II. decided to build his summer residence in 1911 in Livadia - coincidentally the same year the Swallow's nest was erected. The architecture of the palace itself, the surrounding garden and the interior are extraordinarely beautiful and stir the wish to be a Tsar. Many rooms remained unchanged after the Tsar's reign and contain a lot of old furniture and pictures of the royal family.
|Conference room inside Livadia palace|
Other rooms are dedicated to the famous Yalta conference, which started at 4 Feb 1945 and took about one week. Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt discussed postwar Germany's fate as well as the future development of Eastern Europe and Russia's role in the ongoing war against Japan - as one of the results, Japan lost the southern Kuril islandes.
The palace is quite big but well-hidden between other villas and lots of green. Marshrutka (shared taxi) #27 and #32 stop near Livadia palace on their way to Alupka and Swallow's nest. You won't see the palace from the microbus stop, so it's better to ask someone. Admission fee is 10 Grivna, photo permit costs a hair-raising 25 Grivna. The hall on the picture to the right was the one and only room without a supervisor (maybe he or she was ill!?), so without a photo permit you won't get a chance to take a picture of the interior. The palace closes at 5 pm.
We do not stay very often in hotels right at the central square. In Yalta, we did - partially because of a sleepless night before that, but also because it was a good bargain. Hotel Krim at Lenin Square charged 140 UAH (around € 24) for a suite - all double rooms were already taken. It's a very nice hotel in the centre of town with a view on the Sea, the mountains and the centre. Incl. a large balcony and friendly staff. Address:
Ul. Moskovskaya 1/6
|98670 Yalta · Koreiz,45 Sevastopolskoe highway|
Number of floors: 15
Number of rooms: 59
Rates from: US$175
|Set in a prime location of Yalta, Respect Hall Resort and Spa puts everything the city has to offer just outside your doorstep. Both business travelers and tourists can enjoy the hotel's facilities and services. Laundry service/dry cleaning, safety deposit boxes, Wi-Fi in public areas, tours, poolside bar are there for guest's enjoyment. Designed and decorated to make guests feel right at home, each room comes with shower, air conditioning, mini bar, bathrobes, satellite/cable TV. Enjoy the hotel's recreational facilities, including garden, steamroom, indoor pool, sauna, water sports (motorized), before retiring to your room for a well-deserved rest. A welcoming atmosphere and excellent service are what you can expect during your stay at Respect Hall Resort and Spa.|
|98600 Yalta · Roosevelt Street 10|
Number of floors: 5
Number of rooms: 108
Rates from: US$78
|The 3.5-star Bristol Hotel offers comfort and convenience whether you're on business or holiday in Yalta. The hotel has everything you need for a comfortable stay. Take advantage of the hotel's coffee shop, safety deposit boxes, 24hr room service, room service, concierge. Designed and decorated to make guests feel right at home, each room comes with refrigerator, in room safe, hair dryer, television, in room video games. Enjoy the hotel's recreational facilities, including sauna, steamroom, fitness center, water sports (non-motorized), indoor pool, before retiring to your room for a well-deserved rest. For reliable service and professional staff, Bristol Hotel caters to your needs.|
|98600 Yalta · 50 Drazhinskogo street|
Number of floors: 16
Number of rooms: 1140
Rates from: US$90
|Hotel Complex Yalta-Intourist is a popular choice amongst travelers in Yalta, whether exploring or just passing through. The hotel offers a wide range of amenities and perks to ensure you have a great time. To be found at the hotel are elevator, bar/pub, restaurant, laundry service/dry cleaning, nightclub. Designed for comfort, guestrooms offer desk, air conditioning, coffee/tea maker, mini bar, television to ensure a restful night. To enhance guests' stay, the hotel offers recreational facilities such as massage, pool (kids), games room, kids club, tennis courts. Discover all Yalta has to offer by making Hotel Complex Yalta-Intourist your base.|
|98600 Yalta · Morskaya Street 3A|
Number of floors:
Number of rooms: 32
Rates from: US$279
|Stop at Villa Elena Hotel to discover the wonders of Yalta. The hotel offers a wide range of amenities and perks to ensure you have a great time. Salon, concierge, business center, room service, restaurant are on the list of things guests can enjoy. Internet access – wireless, in room safe, bathtub, air conditioning, balcony/terrace can be found in each guestroom. Entertain the hotel's recreational facilities, including sauna, steamroom, spa, massage, pool (kids). For reliable service and professional staff, Villa Elena Hotel caters to your needs.|
|98635 Yalta · Lenina Street 35/2|
Number of floors: 4
Number of rooms: 114
Rates from: US$173
|The 4-star Oreanda Premier Hotel offers comfort and convenience whether you're on business or holiday in Yalta. Featuring a complete list of amenities, guests will find their stay at the property a comfortable one. Service-minded staff will welcome and guide you at the Oreanda Premier Hotel. Guestrooms are fitted with all the amenities you need for a good night's sleep, including refrigerator, shower, in room video games, internet access – wireless (complimentary), non smoking rooms. Enjoy the hotel's recreational facilities, including kids club, garden, spa, private beach, pool (kids), before retiring to your room for a well-deserved rest. Oreanda Premier Hotel combines warm hospitality with a lovely ambiance to make your stay in Yalta unforgettable.|
|98648 Yalta · 57 Nikita Botanical Garden|
Number of floors:
Number of rooms: 16
Rates from: US$100
|Stop at Royal Park Hotel to discover the wonders of Yalta. The hotel has everything you need for a comfortable stay. Service-minded staff will welcome and guide you at the Royal Park Hotel. Guestrooms are designed to provide an optimal level of comfort with welcoming decor and convenient amenities like separate shower and tub, balcony/terrace, television, daily newspaper, refrigerator. Access to the hotel's massage will further enhance your satisfying stay. Friendly staff, great facilities and close proximity to all that Yalta has to offer are three great reasons you should stay at Royal Park Hotel.|
- www.yalta.com.ua/yalta_engl/ Commercial website about Yalta - not very extensive, but still with some useful information about the town and other resorts along the Southern Crimea.
Do you have or do you know a good website about Yalta? Don't hesitate, let me know! After checking it, I would love to add it to the link list. You can submit a link by using the →contact form. Note that commercial websites will be treated differently.