BIt is clear that in the minds of the vast majority of fans of holidays on the Crimean Peninsula, this very holiday is associated with summer, beaches, hot sand and the hot sun. But maybe it’s worth considering the possibility of traveling to Crimea in the winter? Will this decision be a gamble and a waste of time? In this article I will try to answer these and other questions related to winter holidays in Crimea.
Resort and climatic zones of Crimea
To begin with, the total area of the Crimean Peninsula is more than 26 thousand km2. It should be taken into account that its relief is heterogeneous and therefore the division of the peninsula into resort areas determined by their geographical location. The geographical location of the territories also shapes climatic regions of Crimea.
The peninsula is far from uniform both in temperature and in general weather conditions, including humidity, precipitation, strength and duration of winds, and the number of sunny days per year.
Historically, the main climatic regions of Crimea generally coincide with its resort areas, but the latter are more extensive.
RESORT AREAS OF CRIMEA:
- Southern coast of the peninsula;
- Foothills and mountains;
- Steppe territory.
Resort and climatic zones are heterogeneous. Currently highlighted five macro regions And twenty micro regions, each of which has characteristic temperature and other climatic features.
It is unlikely that microclimatic regions can have a significant impact on the quality of your vacation, but knowledge of the characteristics of the five main climate zones will help you make the right choice and not be disappointed in your expectations.
CLIMATIC ZONES OF CRIMEA:
- Steppe continental;
- Steppe coastal;
- Foothill forest-steppe;
- Mountain forest;
It should definitely be noted that the Crimean climate does not cease to be therapeutic either in autumn or winter, which is due to its unique location. On the southern coast of Crimea, individual factors have successfully combined: mountain air, increased levels of natural insolation, sea air and the unique flora of the peninsula.
FEATURES OF THE CLIMATIC ZONES OF CRIMEA:
- Climate steppe continental zone characterized by dry and hot summers and winters with little snow, during which the ambient temperature can approach -10 -15°C, but on average remains within the range of at least -3 -4°C.
- Climate steppe coastal zone softer compared to the continental steppe with high humidity and often strong winds.
- Climate foothill forest-steppe zone differs from the previous two in that it has a more comfortable temperature in the winter months. Proximity to the mountains provides a certain protection of the territory from winds, high humidity and plenty of precipitation.
- Climate mountain forest zone itself is diverse, and is determined by the altitude of the area above sea level. The foothills of the mountains have the climate characteristics of the adjacent zones (foothill forest-steppe and sub-Mediterranean). With an initial increase in altitude to five hundred meters, the humidity increases. Winters here can be described as mild. Above that, humidity decreases and winters become moderately mild. At altitudes above seven hundred meters, humidity increases again, reaching its maximum at the peaks, where the climate is characterized as cool.
- Climate sub-Mediterranean zone - This is a Mediterranean and subtropical climate with all the ensuing consequences. Heat, periodically rainy weather and relatively low humidity are the main characteristics of summer. Winter is also rainy, even higher than in summer. Daytime temperatures in some winter months can reach +15 +18°C and less often drop below 0°C, with average values of +2 +3°C.
Advantages of winter holidays in Crimea
Are there any advantages to holidaying in Crimea in the winter? Of course, although for many they are not obvious at first glance. Some of them are indisputable for everyone, while others will be decisive for a certain category of vacationers.
ADVANTAGES OF WINTER RECREATION ON THE CRIMEAN PENINSULA:
- The most obvious and indisputable thing for everyone is a significant decrease in housing prices at this time of year. Moreover, we are talking about luxury hotels and small hotels, as well as boarding houses, sanatoriums and the private sector;
- Accessibility of popular tourist sites of cultural and natural heritage. No rush of queues and crowding;
- A wide selection of active winter sports, including sledding, tubing, skiing, and snowboarding. The most popular ski resorts are Mount Ai-Petri and Angarsky Pass;
- Opportunity to take part in festivals and celebrations related to winter. Also, sledding or tubing is often combined with various competitions and performances, which, if desired, can be completed with tea with aromatic Crimean honey or a steam room in a Russian bath.
- An opportunity to see the historical sights of the peninsula in a new light. For example, famous Palace "Dulber""and its ancient botanical garden are simply delightful during snowfalls.
- If you do not consider yourself a fan of the heat and are not a particular fan of crowds, then the winter months are the ideal solution for you.
Disadvantages of winter holidays in Crimea
Just like any coin has two sides, a trip to Crimea in winter has its pros and cons. But in fairness, it must be said that for some these disadvantages are not such at all.
DISADVANTAGES OF WINTER VACATION ON THE CRIMEAN PENINSULA:
- The most negative fact that stops beach lovers from traveling in winter is the lack of opportunity to swim in the sea, and then lie on the warm sand, enjoying the hot young sun;
- Due to the “off-season” in the tourist flow, certain food establishments and places of entertainment may be closed or operate on a reduced schedule;
- Crimean winters are rainier than the summer months, and at a temperature of +5 +10 ° C they are not pleasant;
- Real frosts cannot be called a frequent natural phenomenon on the peninsula, however, increased humidity caused by sea air and winds can subjectively lower the real temperature of the surrounding air;
- The winter months are considered windy, and the weather itself at this time is characterized by changeability - temperature swings.
That's probably all of the disadvantages of holidays in December, January and February. If these shortcomings do not bother you or are not such for you, then feel free to plan your next trip.
What to do in Crimea in winter?
In fact, the vast majority of vacation activities that can be implemented in Crimea in winter are also relevant for summer. However, in addition to purely seasonal entertainment, every guest of the peninsula can personally understand and experience the difference between the same activities and entertainment in winter and summer.
Wellness holiday: health comes first
For starters, it would be a good idea to take care of your health. As they rightly say, it is never superfluous. Therefore wellness holiday can be considered a priority. The south of the peninsula is famous for its health-improving institutions: sanatoriums, dispensaries, and other specialized facilities. Tours and vouchers with reasonable prices can be viewed on the website putevka.com/krym.
The treatment profile in Crimean sanatoriums is practically unlimited, and the experience accumulated over decades will provide a stable therapeutic effect. Inhalations, ozone therapy, high-quality massage, salt caves, mud treatment, hydrotherapy, herbal medicine - this is not a complete list of what the peninsula's medical institutions can provide.
Quite a few sanatoriums have their own year-round swimming pools, which will be a pleasant addition for lovers of swimming and water treatments. Of course, a swimming pool cannot replace swimming in the sea, but they also have a certain charm.
Let's remember once again about the wonderful healing Crimean air. And if you are lucky with the weather, then walks through snow-covered gardens or just streets will not only be beneficial for your health, but also a pleasant, unexpected and beautiful memory of your vacation.
Active recreation: sports and physical activity
Leisure, associated with winter sports, is something that many unexpectedly discover in Crimea. The Angarsk Pass and the famous Ai-Petri Mountain are perhaps the most popular objects in this direction. If you choose between them, then of course preference should be given to Ai-Petri. Here we can talk about a solid ski base, a variety of slopes and opportunities for good recreation, which will appeal not only to adults, but also to children.
Mount Ai-Petri itself is one of the most popular and visited places by tourists and local residents. For example, at the very end of September 2023, the Ai-Petri Fest festival was held there in honor of the 520th anniversary of Bakhchisarai. The program was simply excellent. But even in winter the mountain does not remain lonely; in extreme cases, you can always go tubing - you don’t need any special skills here.
By the way, winter on the peninsula is not at all an obstacle for lovers of ATV rides or for those who just want to get acquainted with this exciting entertainment.
The only difference between winter ATV trips and summer ones is the exclusion of individual mountain routes and a reduction in their total duration.
However, in general, the program remains the same and, if desired, you can plan a stop to cook barbecue and stop at interesting places. But much in this case is determined by the specific month and weather conditions.
Historical tourism: along the waves of memory
Historical tourism in Crimea is one of the most exciting activities that a traveler or tourist can indulge in. A rich history full of incredible events, battles, the rise and fall of eras, peoples and rulers will not leave anyone indifferent. To at least list everything historical sights of Crimea The format of a separate article is not enough. Therefore, we will dwell on several of them, undoubtedly worthy of attention.
Rock city Chufut-Kale
Chufut-Kale is a legendary city that stands apart from other rock towns in Crimea and boasts its relatively high level of preservation.
The city is located on the hills, near the half-century-old Bakhchisarai. Nature itself and the characteristic landscape took care of protecting the settlement from invasion. Defensive structures that were erected at various times made it an impregnable fortress. Presumably, the beginning of the foundation of the settlement dates back to the 6th - 11th centuries.
In the most ancient part of the settlement, visitors can see the ruins of a mosque, as well as a mausoleum where the remains of the princess and daughter of Khan Durbe Janike Khanum are buried. Initially, both Tatars and Karaites lived in the city, then gradually the Tatars left the city.
After 1870, the Karaites received some privileges from the Russian Empire and also gradually left the city, leaving a relatively difficult existence in it, moving to Yevpatoria and Bakhchisarai.
The Palace of the Khans is the most important monument preserved in Crimea, which is a “living” reminder of the power of the Crimean khans. It was built in the middle of the 16th century by order of Khan Adil-Sachib-Girey.
Nowadays, the historical complex consists of an area of 4 hectares, built up with guest houses, a harem, mosques, and fountains. It should be said that initially the territory of the palace complex occupied an area of more than 12 hectares. There were orchards adjacent to the palace, meadows stretched further, and all this splendor was completed by the city cemetery.
The largest mosque in Crimea, the Hanjami Mosque, was also built here. Next to the historical building there are two slender minarets. The mosque owes its monumentality to Khan Seliamet-Girey, who took an active part in its restoration after the notorious fire of 1736.
The name of this palace comes from the Greek “liwadion”, which means lawn, meadow or clearing. At the beginning of the 19th century, the territory where the palace is now located was owned by the colonel of the Greek battalion Revilote, from whom it was bought by Count L. Potocki, who founded his estate there.
But in 1860, Livadia was bought from Pototsky by the royal family, which took over the further construction and development of the complex. An architect from Italy named Monighetti rebuilt the house of the former owner of the site into a palace, and then created a small palace.
Beginning in 1910, Tsar Nicholas II became the new owner of the Livadia Palace, and soon his summer residence arose on the site of the former palace, which became known as the Great or White Palace.
Palace of Count Vorontsov
This is one of the most interesting palaces of the Crimean Riviera, created in the first half of the 19th century in three different architectural styles: Gothic, Moorish and Baroque. And yet the palace is famous because it is in fact a real pearl of Greater Yalta.
The “project” was led by British architect Edward Blore, who is known for completing Buckingham Palace for the Royal Family in Great Britain. However, the design of the palace in Alupka glorified him no less.
The facade of the palace, facing the sea surface, is made in the Moorish style. On the other hand, the gray-brown walls, as if they came from the Middle Ages, the shape of the window openings and the characteristic supports send us straight to the ancient times of knighthood.
Another name for the fortress is Sudak, and today it is the best preserved monument from the times of prosperity and prosperity of the Italian state called the Genoese Republic. The fortress in its generally known form was built by the Genoese after their victory over the troops of the Crimean khans in 1371.
The fortress was built on a mountain more than 150 meters high, which is directed towards Sudak Bay. It should be noted that the Genoese were far from the first to pay attention to the extremely “useful” “high-rise” in strategic military terms, which the Crimean Tatars later began to call Genevez-Kaya or the rock of the Genoese.
The fortress (mainly its walls) is well preserved, it is not some kind of ruin, which is why it attracted many Soviet film directors who skillfully used its color and real surroundings for the corresponding filming. More than thirty paintings boast views of the Genoese fortress. Someone may remember the films “Pirates of the 20th Century” in 1979, “The Gadfly” in 1980, “The Odyssey of Captain Blood” in 1991 or “Solo Voyage” in 1985.
Swallow's Nest Castle is located on Cape Ai-Todor near the small village of Gaspra, 11 kilometers west of Yalta. The rock, about 40 meters high, called Aurora, somehow attracted the attention of the slightly out-of-pocket, but still wealthy German baron Steingel, who made his fortune trading Baku oil.
The castle was built in 1912 in the then fashionable neo-Gothic style, designed by architect Leonid Sherwood. But don't expect a grand scale when you see the castle. It is “miniature” and its area does not exceed 300 meters, since its width is close to 10 meters and its length is 20 meters.
After the 1917 revolution, the castle was used as a base for tourists, a library and finally a cafe, and at the end of the 20s of the last century, a powerful earthquake collapsed a small part of the supporting rock. This fact limited access to the castle until 1971.
For those who appreciate stunning views of the sea, a visit to this now historical site should definitely be included in their trip to Crimea. Moreover, visiting the Crimean peninsula and not seeing the Swallow’s Nest is considered something out of the ordinary.
And finally, look at a few photos taken in Crimea in 2022-2023 during from the end of November to the end of February.