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Yalta Travel Guide

Located on the crimean peninsula, on the Black Sea, Yalta is famous as a holiday destination and this Yalta Travel Guide was developed to make Yalta Travel more enjoyable. The Promenade is the centerpiece of Yalta which is pulsating with activity all night long. This is a long pedestrian walk-way lined with restaurants, shops and amusement arcades. You will find street musicians, entertainers and people offering to photograph you with monkeys, peacocks, lizards. One night we even encountered an out-door strip show at one of the open-air restaurants. For the sake of orientation: on one end of the promenade is the hotel Oreanda on the other end are the Hotels Bristol, Venezia, and Crimea. At the beginning of the Promenade stands a large statue of Lenin. Lenin seems to be looking directly at the McDonalds Restaurant. One can only imagine what he is thinking.

 
Nightlife in Yalta
One of the highlights of  Yalta travel is walking along the promenade. On many nights we would simply walk the promenade and enjoy the life that was there. However, there are many discotheques and restaurants available. A selection of these is described below.

Voltaire
Located about mid-way along the promenade, this was our favorite restaurant. The restaurant is on two floors, it has high ceilings, with a pleasant atmosphere and very polite and efficient wait staff. It offers Chinese, Vietnamese, and European cuisines. The food was excellent; prices reasonable for the quality offered. There was live music when we were there, which we truly enjoyed. We preferred the atmosphere on the lower level. Don’t let the plastic plants deter you. If you enjoy a quality restaurant, the Voltaire shouldn’t be missed (In Russian, the name looks something like Bolbterb).

Cactus Club
Authentic Tex-Mex food in Yalta! The quality was excellent. Don’t miss the Cheese Sticks, Strawberry Margaritas and the wonderful Key Lime Pie! The Cactus Club is located across from the Bristol Hotel and is marked by two huge luminous palm trees.

La Mer
Great atmosphere and very friendly staff. The two nights we were there, La Mer offered live music. Food is inconsistent, but particularly recommended is venison with mushrooms for dinner and vareniki with fresh berries or potato pancakes with mushrooms topped with sour cream for breakfast. Consider eating at the Voltaire and coming to La Mer for drinks afterwards to enjoy the music. Look for La Mer on Massandra Beach. (In Russian the name looks something like Ra Mep, except the R is backwards). Click Here

Hispaniola
The food was not special, but the view was terrific. This is an old “pirate” ship which serves food on deck. Located across from the Oreanda hotel, it is directly on the sea. We chose to sit at one of the tables below on the grounds next to the boat, under a tent-like covering. If the weather is not good, one can also select to sit inside the boat, in some very attractive rooms.

Discos
Above the Cactus Club there is a disco with a cover charge.
At the far end of the beach below the Oreanda Hotel there is an outdoor disco which has a cover charge. Follow the foot path near the Hispaniola Restaurant and just keep going to the end of the beach. Don’t miss the Matrix, which belongs to the Oreanda hotel. In a separate building directly behind the hotel, you will find three floors of dance music. On the top floor techno music is played in a large, modern disco where “smoke” is pumped in for atmosphere. One floor below popular music is played, in a restaurant with a small dance floor. There is a cover charge, which seems to vary depending on the night and season.

Beaches
You don’t come to Yalta for the beaches. There are no sandy beaches here; instead the beaches are covered with small stones. In addition, when we were there, the water was full of small jellyfish. The jellyfish did not sting, but didn’t make for welcome company.
The best places to sun bathe are the so-called “solariums” on Massandra beach (near the Bristol Hotel. Go to the end of the street and veer left). The solariums are the piers built up above the sea. For a few dollars you can rent a beach chair and an umbrella. They are much less crowded than the free beaches below and infinitely more comfortable than lying on the rocks.
At the other end of the promenade (near hotel Oreanda) there is another beach, a bit less popular with no solariums (only wooden benches with shade created by plastic ceilings) but still quite nice. There are many small cafes and restaurants on both beaches where you can have something to eat or cool yourself down with a cold beer. In addition, the beaches offer a great variety of inexpensive, fast, take away foods such as traditional Ukrainian Hachapury (layer cheese pie), Chaburek (deep fried meat/cheese pie), Buritos, Shwarma, sweet Baklavas, freshly made Donuts, and various seafood such as prawns, smoked/fried mussels etc.

Internet:
If you require frequent access to the internet, you will find several alternatives in Yalta. We found four: The telecom building near the market, a tent on Massandra beach with the name INET, a tent on the beach below the Oreanda hotel, and one just off the promenade near the Edam café (which is close to the Oreanda hotel). Walk 20 meters from the Edam cafe down the side street to Internet Center. This was our location of choice as we rarely had to wait to get access to a computer. The price was a bargain. If there is a wait, you can enjoy a drink in the small café right outside. You can request to be called when a free computer comes available.

Excursions from Yalta:
Yalta is wonderfully located: it is in the center of major Crimean tourist sights. When you travel yalta, you may book tours, in Russian, to places such as Alupka Palace (Vorontsov’s Palace), Livadia Palace, Botanical Gardens, Swallows nest, Gurzuph resort town, Aui Petri Mountain etc. Or you can go to most of these places on your own by Taxi-Bus or boat. We particularly enjoyed a visit to the Dolphinarium. For a few dollars you can see a 1 hour show with performing Dolphins and Whales. After about 2 or 3 times the enrance fee, you can have your photo taken or swim with them in the pool. The dolphinarium is located on the grounds of the Yalta Hotel
 
Hotels in Yalta
We visited several hotels in Yalta before selecting the Hotel Bristol. However, due to its popularity, it was fully booked for two days of our stay and we had to leave during this period. We stayed at the Crimean Hotel during this time. Then at the end of June, the rates jumped for peak season when we moved to the Palace. Therefore, during our stay we had the opportunity to visit several of the hotels in the resort town. Below is a brief review and our perceptions of the various hotels we saw.

Hotel Bristol
By far the best quality hotel, highly recommended if you travel Yalta. The rooms are modern, clean and spacious. The staff is friendly and professional. During the period we were there (end of June) we got a very nice double room, breakfast included for a very reasonable rate. During the peak season which started in July, the price rose dramatically. The location, 2 minutes from the promenade and 1 minute from the beach is perfect. While there we stayed in two rooms. The first (209, towards the rear of the building) was very quiet. However, from the second room (303, towards the front of the building) we could sometimes hear the beat from a nearby disco into the early hours of the morning. Therefore, we suggest requesting a room towards the back of the building. Click Here

Palace
Tel: +380 654 324380
This was our alternative of choice to the Bristol. The rooms are large and comfortably furnished. The decor is out-dated, but the price is still a bargain. They are gradually renovating the rooms though the room we stayed in was not renovated, but still acceptable. The Palace is located about mid-way along the promenade but one street away. The Palace might charge a small fee if you reserve in advance! This seems to be a tradition from the USSR days that hasn’t yet gone away in some places. So, you can take your chances and walk in on your day of arrival. If you are not arriving in July or August, this is probably not too risky.

Hotel Venezia
Small inexpensive hotel near the Bristol. The room we were shown was modern and well furnished though a bit small. What concerned us was the bathroom did not look as clean as we would have liked. Otherwise it was fine.

Hotel Yalta
There are several classes of rooms, but the one we saw (double with air-conditioner) which was very small and sad looking. They told us it was newly renovated which made us wonder what the non-renovated rooms were like. For some, the location might be an advantage. It is about 2 km out of the center of town, up a long steep, exhausting climb. The only practical way to reach it would be by taxi or by mini-bus. This hotel is a USSR built monstrosity with hundreds of rooms. It includes its own beach access, swimming pool, etc. The dolfinarium is located on the Yalta premises. To see the hotel website Click Here.

Hotel Crimea
Tel: +380 654 271703
A very simple hotel located very close to the promenade. The rooms have high ceilings, air-conditioning and cable TV. But the furnishings are very old and the plumbing seems to be older. Sometimes the bathrooms can be smelly. This was the least expensive hotel of all that we saw in Yalta. But we were happy to move to the luxury of the Bristol when they had vacancy.

Hotel Oreanda
A very expensive, though beautiful, hotel built directly on the Promenade. When we requested to see a room, the hotel was fully booked out and none were available for viewing. Therefore, we are not able to compare it with the other hotels. But it does give a very impressive appearance. The lobby is large and impressive; the grounds in the back look quite luxurious. If you are not bothered by paying a fortune for a room, this would probably be your first choice. Otherwise, start at the Bristol or the Palace. Click Here