Unwinding on a Budget in Evpatoria
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Sunny Evpatoria

 

Why Go

Located on the west coast of Crimea, Evpatoria's famous spas and sunny beaches attract hundreds of thousands of tourists craving a rest and the chance to restore their health. Many families also vacation here, too. The conditions are pretty much ideal; nature gave Evpatoria about 260 sunny days per year, and the dry climate and warm waters of the Gulf Kalamitsky mean a great chance to go swimming in all four seasons. In addition to the beautiful sandy beaches, people are attracted to the healing combination of steppe and sea air, 21 mineral-rich mud. These pleasant conditions are only made better by the fact that Evpatoria is a quite environmentally friendly city, with no large factories or pollution-laden industry. It's all fresh air and healing elements, which can be a welcome retreat compared to other more overrun and overdeveloped beach resorts. 

In addition to its balmy weather, Evpatoria is also famous for its history—this is a city that is more than 2,500 years old! Founded by the Greeks, the city's name translates from Greek as "grace." It is said that one of the first people here who breathed in the salubrious air was the legendary Hercules, and that certainly energized him to perform new feats of strength. To this day, a sculpture of Hercules can be seen on the promenade. History has left Evpatoria a Greco-Scythian mound, the remains of the ramparts Kirkinitida, excavations in the mound, an exciting maze of subterranean galleries,  the church of St. Nicholas, medieval Turkish baths, and many other interesting sights. Those enamored with history and lore will be thrilled exploring the land, while water lovers can hit the beach or lake, have fun in the Crimea's largest water park, and even swim with dolphins.

 

A photo-op, Evpatoria


Insider Tips

  • In Evpatoria, you can get around by rental car, by taxi (the minimum price will be around 10 UAH),  and public transport. Both the bus and cost a single UAH, and are sometimes the most straightforward way to get from place to place. Be careful with taxi drivers; sometimes the drivers quote you one sum at the beginning of a trip, and then try to charge you a figure several times larger at the end.
  • Evpatoria is located on the Crimea in Ukraine, where the local currency is the Hryvnia (UAH). You’ll get about eight Hryvnia for one US dollar and about 12 for a single Euro. 
  • You may need to get acclimatized to the warmth in Evpatoria. It’s better not to plan any excursions entailing heavy, prolonged sun exposure at the beginning of your vacation, and instead first let your body adapt. If you have children or elderly relatives with you, make sure you avoid the hottest hours of the day, and have loose clothing, hats, and sunscreen with a high SPF.
  • As in other popular resort areas, do be vigilant about your belongings. When you go to the beach, don’t bring valuables, and don’t leave your things unattended. Entrance to the beach should be free (a fee is only charged for the rental of deck chairs and other beach equipment), but sometimes you’ll still encounter scammers trying to get you to pay an entrance fee. On the other hand, if you want to relax on the private beach of a resort that is technically only for hotel guests, you can try personally to "negotiate" with the personnel there for a reduced entrance fee. There are also toilets, showers, and other beach services available, all of which will cost less than a dollar. It’s better not to buy any food, however, as it may easily be spoiled from being in the heat too long. Take your own or go to a reputable café or restaurant.
  • In the city center and closer to the waterfront are the highest priced cafes and restaurants. Get better quality food at better prices by getting off the beaten tourist path to places more frequented by locals. 
  • If you want to bring home a bottle of one of the famous Crimean wines, then buy it in a wine shop. In most specialty stores, you can even taste the wine before you buy it. 

 

Tasting Crimean wine, Evpatoria

 

Down by the water, Evpatoria



Where to Stay

Villa Arkale (Puskin Street 70/42) stands out from other hotels in Evpatoria with its modern and beautiful rooms. While the hotel may be smaller than more sprawling resorts, by focusing on delivering superior service to a small group of people, Villa Arkale excels. Renovated bathrooms, tidy spaces, and a welcoming and friendly staff are just a few of the reasons to choose this hotel. Rooms consist of two floors, and the building itself is very beautiful, with plenty of old touches. There are also pretty balconies and a lovely courtyard area with a barbecue. Best of all, from the villa, most of the popular sights in Evpatoria are very near.  

Villa Arkale, Evpatoria, Yevpatoria, Crimea, Ukraine

 

The Oren-Krym Sanatorium (Frunze Street 17) is very clean, but the interior is reminiscent of the Soviet past, with older furniture and decor. Nevertheless, the food was tasty, though traditional, and the entire staff was pleasant and friendly. We liked that the resort has a travel agency, since with that, making arrangements to visit interesting spots around the city became much easier. A swimming pool with clean water makes taking a dip somewhere other than the private beach something that's fun and easy.

Oren Krym Sanatorium, Evpatoria, Yevpatoriya, Crimea, Ukraine

 

A hotel close to the Evpatoria waterfront is a must


What to Eat

Crimean Karaites are a community of Turkish-speaking Jews who were some of the earliest inhabitants of the Crimea. Traditional Karaite cuisine is quite hard to find, but Cafe Karaman (Ulitsa Karaimskoy and Ulitsa Efeta) offers these rare treats. Try the chir-chir, meat or vegetable pastries, the Dolma-Hamuro (soup with small dumplings, yantyki (boiled meat with vegetables in a pot), and akalvu, a sweet white halva with nuts. All of the traditional dishes here are delicious, and you can also try the old Karaite drink Buza. It is made from millet, wheat flour, sugar, and yeast. It’s not only refreshing, but also a low-alcohol beverage. Prices are reasonable, and the Cafe opens at noon each day, making it a perfect spot for lunch. Plenty nearby food vendors also offer traditional snacks at even lower prices, though without the same ambiance. 

 

Traditional snacks, Evpatoria

 

In the house where Anna Akhmatova once lived is now a literary café, Café Anna Akhmatova (Ave. Anna Akhmatova, 21/16, on the left of the university’s main library entrance). The café has two rooms, one indoors and one outdoors. There is a large selection of pastries, cakes, and bread, all of it homemade, making this a perfect spot for visitors craving sweets. The cuisine at Café Anna Akhmatova is quite international, and there are many varieties of coffee (more than 10), and also an excellent range of teas and wines. The atmosphere is very much of the jazz age back in the 1920s and 1930s, with pictures of Anna Akhmatova hanging on the walls, inviting wooden furniture, and plenty of music. In the evening, the jazz switches from records to a live pianist tickling the ivories. Prices in the cafe are the same as in other nearby establishments, but service here is better. There's even a non-smoking area.

 

What to See and Do 

The Museum of Local Lore (Duvanovskaya Street 11; branch at Gagarin Street 16) was built in the early 20th century. Before the revolution, it was a private summer residence of one of the merchants. A museum since 1921, visitors can explore several thematic exhibitions on local nature and history. Here, you can learn about all of the natural features of Evpatoria, the sandy beaches and riches of the Black Sea, and even get acquainted with all the birds and fish from the area. History lovers will be interested in the vast collection of ancient Greek and Scythian weapons and coins. It's also possible to see remnants of the city's first necropolis and fragments of the original city, including stone statues and other figures. 

 

A vibrant history, Evpatoria

 

Old Town EvpatoriaAt the Maritime Museum (Bartenev Street 5) you can see the findings raised from the bottom of the Black Sea. Those with a sense of adventure will appreciate the chance to gaze at parts of sunken ships, utensils, and other household items. It's an excellent museum pick for budget travelers with young visitors who have a sense of wonder about life at sea and in ancient times. It's also worthwhile to just wander the streets of the Old Town and check out notable architecture as it's discovered. 

Sometimes called the Friday Mosque--according to tradition, the Prophet Muhammad was born on Friday--Juma Mosque (Revolution Street 36) is the largest and most magnificent mosque of Crimea. Built in the 16th century by the talented Turkish architect Sinan Khoja , it's definitely a building worth visiting; its architect was also responsible for one of the most famous mosques in Istanbul. Recently, the mosque was restored and it is now clearly visible from the shore and sea. Sign up for one of the mosque tours, which usually last approximately 40 minutes. To enter into it, one must be suitable dressed. Women should wear long gowns and scarves (you can take the entrance marked for women), while men in short shorts (ones that go above knee) should also be dressed in robes.

Heading to the water in Evpatoria means the chance to soak, to sun, and to take part in more adventurous sports, like parasailing or waterskiing. Those who want will find plenty of outfitters willing to negotiate prices, though it's best to go for the person who has the most professional-looking rig. 

 

Some aquatic adventure, Evpatoria

 

For another religious site, try Karaite Kenassas (Karaite 68),a whole complex of buildings. The entire space consists of current prayer houses, a dining room, and the Karaite religious schools. Beautiful patios with ornate details are one reason that travelers visit, and a marble fountain for washing hands before prayer is another beautiful touch. In the marble courtyard, the slabs can be read like religious poetry, as they detail the most important events of the lives of the Karaites. The oldest plate is making reference to events from the 18th century. The spacious patio also has benches, for relaxing, and a beautiful garden completes the serene atmosphere. This space is still the spiritual center of the Karaites in the Ukraine and in Russia. 

Evpatoria sunset, Crimea, Ukraine

 

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Photo Credit: Andreika, o0bsessed, Andrey Okonetchnikov, lukasz.kryger, ozluzus, alexitstudio

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Picture?type=large Vladimir O. commented 31 Jan 2014
Very lovely description of beautiful Evpatoria. This article made me reminisce my birthplace.
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