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Odessa -> Crimea 2-week itinerary

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Hello all. I am planning a 2-week itinerary beginning in Odessa, then going to Yalta in Crimea. From Yalta, we would like to stay a couple nights in Alushta and a couple nights in Sudak before going on to Simferopol for the return flight.

1) Has anyone ever used the katamaran service from Odessa to Yalta? I can't seem to find any information about the schedule or prices.

2) Is it possible to go to Vylkovo south of Odessa via bus? It is described as being the "Venice of Ukraine." Are there any hotels there?

3) I am having trouble finding reasonable accommodation in Yalta. Any suggestions?

4) How is the travel between Yalta and Alushta and Alushta to Sudak? Is it possible to travel with a rolling carry-on size bag?

5) Is Sudak worth it? I'm interested in seeing Novy Svit. (This part of the trip is mainly for beaches.)

6) From Sudak we will go to Simferopol and spend one night there. Would it be possible to travel in the morning to Bakhchysaray and visit Khans’ Palace, Uspensky Monastery and Chufut Kale and make it back in time for a 7:30 pm flight?

Thanks for any help you can offer on any of these points. I've been doing as much research as I can. Sorry to be so long-winded with questions.....

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    You're going to have a hard time doing all this if you don't speak Russian or have a guide. Once there, you won't find much help unless you employ someone to be helpful. Many years ago, on my first trip, I used the following service for Odesa and Yalta, and they were pretty good:
    http://www.odessa-ua.com

    1) Has anyone ever used the katamaran service from Odessa to Yalta? I can't seem to find any information about the schedule or prices.
    ** The ferries and other such services are seasonal. It is very doubtful you will find any info on these, unless you know someone there to check on it for you.

    I suggest you plan on taking the train between Odesa and Simferopol, and then a taxi into Yalta. There is a cable car type bus that is available between Simf and Yalta and relativley cheap, but it takes a couple of hours and it can be a long hot ride. The taxi is usually worth it.

    Another possibility, can be to go from Odesa to Nikolayiv and then fly from Nikolyiv to Simferopol. But, you will most likely need someone to arrange this for you.

    2) Is it possible to go to Vylkovo south of Odessa via bus? It is described as being the "Venice of Ukraine." Are there any hotels there?
    ** Sorry, don't know. But, you could rent a car/driver (this is the most typical way for tourists, but it does tend to be expensive).

    3) I am having trouble finding reasonable accommodation in Yalta. Any suggestions?
    ** The cheapest is probably the Yalta Hotel, but better accomodations for the price can be found at Vremena Goda (Seasons) Hotel and would be my first choice: http://www.hotel-seasons.com/ENGLISH/index.htm

    Another place to try is the Bristol, which is right on the seawalk (check Trip Adivsor for reviews on both the Yalta and Seasons hotels).

    4) How is the travel between Yalta and Alushta and Alushta to Sudak? Is it possible to travel with a rolling carry-on size bag?
    ** Alushta is not far, a taxi will do.

    Besides just hotels, there are sanitorium of varying prices and quality all over the area ...it makes for very exhaustive research. But, regarding your itinerary, I would suggest just staying in Yalta (or maybe Alushta) and do day trips to the other places. This would be more convenient and you won't be dragging your luggage all over. Yalta has ferry service along the coast (and actually stops right at the Yalta Hotel) to many of the following sites you don't mention:

    Swallow's Nest, Vorontsov's Palace, Livadia Palace, Masandra (wine tasting & summer home), the Nikitsky Gardens (just 5 minutes or so up the road from the Yalta Hotel). Also, on a day trip into Sevastopol you can see the little Church at Foros (recently rennovated), the greek ruins of Chersonesus, the little pointed church (sorry I never remember it's name) at the war memorial and Crimean War diorama.

    There are also a number of other places to visit, and generally day trip(s) with a car and driver who knows the area well is the best bet (especially if you don't know the language well).

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    Hi, I visited Ukraine in September and we roughly visited all the sites you mentioned. We came from Kiev, went to Odessa, took the bus to Vylkovo and back. Then we rented a car and drove to Backschysaray, Yalta and Feodosiya. On the way, we visited Sudak (the fortress). And, we only know about 10 Russian words :-). So:

    1) Has anyone ever used the katamaran service from Odessa to Yalta? I can't seem to find any information about the schedule or prices.

    Nope. We rented a car at www.vrc.com.ua. Not very expensive and a great experience. However, you have to pay $ 150,- extra if you want to drop off the car in Simferopol.

    2) Is it possible to go to Vylkovo south of Odessa via bus? It is described as being the "Venice of Ukraine." Are there any hotels there?

    Yes, but it's a very small town. We took the bus from Odessa. You have to buy a ticket to Vylkove (that's how it's pronounced). The bus left at (as I remember correctly) 11.20. The bus takes about 3,5 hours.
    There is a hotel in Vylkovo, called Venezia, but nobody speaks English there. And it was closed when we went there, because the power was down. However, we met Victor, who was very helpful and he called Nina. Nina spoke English and Victor guided us to another hotel (without a name...). Nina was our guide the next day on our trip through the delta. If you want, I'll mail you her phone number (I don't want to post it). She's very helpful and friendly and a great tour guide.

    3) I am having trouble finding reasonable accommodation in Yalta. Any suggestions?

    Yes. Try to find the White Eagle hotel. It's hard to find, but definitely a great pick. The staff speaks English.

    4) How is the travel between Yalta and Alushta and Alushta to Sudak? Is it possible to travel with a rolling carry-on size bag?

    5) Is Sudak worth it? I'm interested in seeing Novy Svit. (This part of the trip is mainly for beaches.)

    We only visited the fortress. That was nice, but can be visited in one hour. I wouldn't be suprised if nobody speaks English in Sudak, but everybody is very helpful.

    6) From Sudak we will go to Simferopol and spend one night there. Would it be possible to travel in the morning to Bakhchysaray and visit Khans’ Palace, Uspensky Monastery and Chufut Kale and make it back in time for a 7:30 pm flight?

    I think so, but I would recommend to take the taxi back. There's a trolley bus from Simferopol to Bakhchysaray. It's quite a long walk to Chufut Kale, so be sure to bring your walking boots.

    Good luck!

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    You don't need a guide, but do make sure your guidebook has Russian, not just Ukrainian! Do you have the LonelyPlanet guidebook? I think they've added Russian since the edition I used in 2006 (see http://wilhelmswords.com/eur2006/index.html for my TR).

    I used http://www.blacksea-crimea.com/ and http://www.travel-2-ukraine.com/ to make my hotel reservations. In Yalta I stayed at Otdykh, which was a fine budget choice, but if I were going back I'd probably try the Bristol which was more central and had good food.

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