While staying in the cozy and quiet bay town of Balaklava, you will go on day trips to Crimea’s main cultural attractions. See the ancient monuments of Сhersonese and visit Sevastopol, immerse yourself in Crimean Tatar culture in Bakhchisarai, and climb up to the cave monastery. A suprise awaits you in the mountains of Crimea: a gastronomic dinner with a view of the vineyards of Russia’s best winemaker, Pavel Shvets. Along the road to Yalta, you will visit the magnificent palaces of the Russian aristocracy and the imperial family, as well as the White Dacha, where Anton Chekhov wrote his world-famous plays.
Arrive at Simferopol Airport (a 2-hour flight from Moscow). Simferopol is the administrative capital of the Republic of Crimea, but the peninsula’s main attractions are concentrated on its picturesque southern shore, where a ridge of the Crimean Mountains comes right up against the Black Sea.
Leave for Balaklava (1.5 hours), a small village sheltered by mountains on a deep bay. Your hotel is located here in Balaklava.
Lunch at a local restaurant.
Leave for Sevastopol to go explore Chersonesos, a former colony of ancient Greece and the largest ancient polis to the north of the Black Sea.
You will visit the ruins of the theatre with seating for 3,000 spectators, a basilica with preserved fragments of a mosaic floor, and a defensive tower. The bell hanging on the seashore, according to historians, was taken to Paris after the Crimean military campaign and hung in the Notre-Dame Cathedral and then returned to the Russian Empire prior to the start of the First World War. Saint Vladimir Cathedral is located near Chersonesos. It is believed that it was precisely here that one of the most important events in Russian history took place—the baptism of Russia by Prince Vladimir of Kiev in 988.
After the excursion, there will be a walking tour of Sevastopol.
There is an optional dinner at a seafood restaurant in the evening.
Return to Balaklava.
Breakfast at the hotel.
This day will be dedicated to a trip to Bakhchisarai, and will end with wine tasting at Crimea’s best vineyard, Pavel Shvets’ Uppa Winery. The route to Bakhchisarai passes through hills covered with coniferous trees and fields of vineyards (50 km). Bakhchisarai is the main centre of Crimean Tatar culture on the peninsula and the former capital of the Crimean Khanate. Visit the Khan’s Palace with its ancient 9th century mosque, magnificent sofa room, and the fountain of Bakhchisarai, which inspired poet Alexander Pushkin to write his famous poem of the same name. After visiting the Khan’s Palace, climb up to the limestone cliffs surrounding the city. Pay a visit to the Assumption Monastery, with its temples and monastic cells carved out of the cliffs according to the example of the first Christian settlers who moved here during the era of the Byzantine Empire.
Lunch in Bakhchisarai at a Tatar cafe: lamb soup, chebureks (meat pastries), tea made from Crimean herbs.
Transfer to the village of Rodnoe and take a tour of Pavel Shvets’ Uppa Winery. Besides the excellent ‘Riesling’ and ‘Pinot Noir’, amber wine is also produced here—there are only 50,000 bottles made each year, but everything is done strictly according to the rules of biodynamic production.
After the wine tasting and excursion, there will be a gastronomic dinner in the panoramic restaurant overlooking the Crimean Mountains.
Return to Balaklava.
Night at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. This day is dedicated to the southern coast of Crimea. You will set off along the peninsula’s most picturesque road that runs along the mountain ridge on the edge of the seashore. There is a stop at the Foros Church, erected at the top of a 400-metre cliff; the church was commissioned by the well-known merchant, tea trader Kuzmichev.
Stop in Alupka to visit the Vorontsov Palace, built in neo-Gothic style for the hero of the war of 1812 and the governor of the Russian south, Count Vorontsov. During the Yalta Conference, the palace received a guest of honor, Winston Churchill.
The next stop is in Gaspra with a tour of the Swallow's Nest castle, the romantic dacha of the oil magnate Baron von Steingel. Arrive in Yalta and walk along the embankment.
In the afternoon, you will visit Chekhov’s house, where the writer spent the last years of his life and wrote the world-famous plays The Cherry Orchard and The Three Sisters. Not far from Yalta, you will go on a tour of the Livadia Palace, the magnificent summer residence built for the last Russian tsar Nicholas II.
The Yalta Conference was held at the palace in 1945, where there were not only new borders defined on the map of Europe, but also a new order determined in the entire post-war world.
Leave for Simferopol Airport (80 km, 1 hour, 40 min.).
Fly to Moscow.