Cruise ships dock at the port of Yalta. From the gangway it is a fairly long walk to the coaches. Once outside the port terminal, the town center can be easily reached on foot (1.5km) . Taxis are generally available at the pier, but English-speaking drivers may be in limited supply. Be sure to establish the fare before starting out.
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Yalta and its surroundings are protected on three sides by mountains, which account for the region's exceptionally mild climate and its reputation as a favored vacation destination. Situated on the southern tip of the Crimean Peninsula, is the area's largest and most important resort and as such has catered to pleasure lovers and health seekers for more than a century.
Here at the Golden Riviera, Russian aristocracy built their elegant summer palaces and palatial villas that rivaled those of Nice and Cannes. Livadia became the summer residence of the tsars and earned fame as the site of the 1945 Yalta Conference.
Noted literary greats made Yalta their home, among them Tolstoy, Chekhov and Gorky. Following the 1917 Revolution, the aristocracy was forced to relinquish their grand estates to the People. Most of the opulent mansions were converted into sanitariums where Soviet citizens came to recuperate.
Today, restoration of many of the palaces has returned them to their former glory, making them popular attractions for visitors from all over. In addition to opulent palaces and historic sites, Yalta's spectacular setting adds much to its reputation as a popular Black Sea playground. Just stroll along the bustling seafront promenade and you will have no trouble finding some local residents eager to talk to you about their city.
Swallow's nest is open for tourists. The entrance is free of charge. All you have to do is to walk up. On the top, there are no restaurants, but an exhibition hall. If you want to visit it, you will have to pay. If you do not, just visit the Swallow's nest for free. Many boats also go here. Check the schedules in port.
Many inexpensive minibus tours are offered at the pier.
The center and harbor is a great place to walk around. The locals always dress up and walk around the harbor front at night - it's a great way to pass the evening away, or you can watch the people go by or enjoying a drink at one of many cafes. The waterfront is well over a mile long.
Explore the region around Yalta - it is steeped in history and there are many interesting places to visit within an hour's mini bus ride from the city. Do be aware in the summer months Yalta is one of the main destinations for Russian and Ukrainians to take their holidays, so it becomes very crowded.
Taxis are everywhere. Negotiate.
Livadia Palace This was the last Tsar's vacation residence. It was host to Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt for the Yalta Conference in 1945, in which they reportedly planned the division of Europe at the end of World War II. You can go inside and walk past the hall where the meetings took place, which has been set up to correspond with the historical photos of the meeting. You can also see the imperial family's private chapel, which is beautiful. The Palace itself is about 100 years old, though the gardens on the grounds were planted long before the Palace was built. There is a good view of the Black Sea and Yalta from the palace grounds.
Nikitsky Botanical Gardens Located just outside of Yalta on a hilltop above the sea, these gardens were established in 1812 and feature a vast collection of ornamental plants.
Massandra Palace, which is outside of town, in the hills. It was built as a summer picnic palace by Alexander III, and is supposed to look like a romantic French chateau. The grounds are very pretty, with bucolic countryside surrounding it. It is situated a longish walk from the main road and uphill, so make sure you wear appropriate footwear.
The principal shopping area extends along the Roosevelt and Lenin Embankments. Matryoshka dolls, lacquer boxes, traditional embroideries and amber jewelry are popular buys. Other interesting items may include caps, caviar, vodka, hand-painted wooden articles, balalaikas and pins. The local currency is the hryvnia.
To shop you will most certainly need local currency (hryvnia).
1 UAH = 0.18 USD (1 USD = 5.05 UAH)
1 UAH = 0.134 EUR (1 EUR = 7.44 UAH)
1 UAH= 0.099 (1 GBP = 10.03 UAH)
Ukraine is a predominantly cash economy. The network of bank offices and ATMs is growing fast and has become sufficient in the large cities.
The Euro and US dollar are generally accepted as alternative forms of currency, particularly in tourist areas.
Avoid using your credit cards for payments at establishments in smaller towns as retailers are not trained and controlled enough to ensure your card privacy.
Ukrainian is the official language. English is taught in school to youngsters.
Large state or department stores tend to open Mon-Fri 0800-1900, whereas small boutiques are generally open 0900-1800.Some shops stay open as late as 2000. Smaller shops may close for an hour at lunch, usually from 1300-1400 or 1400-1500.
1 Jan New Year's Day.
7 Jan Orthodox Christmas Day.
8 Mar International Women's Day.
Apr Orthodox Easter.
1-2 May Labour Days.
9 May Victory Day.
Jun Orthodox Pentecost.
28 Jun Constitution Day.
24 Aug Ukrainian Independence Day.
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