March in Sudak

We, the peninsula dwellers, can’t understand a tourist who is coming to «sightsee» the Crimea in summertime. Hot weather, stuffy air, vacationers swarming everywhere… An excursions conveyor running in a scorching sun, snapshots (a must — you are to report to all of your friends!). Crimean wine in the evening in a roadside cafe… Not a minute of peace- «recreation» from morning till evening.
Real connoisseurs would savour the Crimea in the off-season. Only then, when you are sipping it as an old wine, the Crimea will open its soul wide. Caps of clouds touching the mouncain tops, the purest air, smelling of sea and just a bit -of wet cypresses, half-empty beaches…

Wherever on the peninsula you found yourself, in spring and in autumn some special state of grace condescends to you. A universal peace… A gentle breeze pulling your hair slightly, your head is clear and empty, and only your eyes absorb and absorb the Crimean water-colours to collect them and keep for a long-long time … Here you see a sea wave that on rolling on a wet beach is rolling foaming away. Here is a cloud clinging to the top of a huge Crimean pine. And here is a Crimean steppe spreading over by the smell of soil and grass. Here is a little girl playing on a stone which still remembers Pushkin and the count’s corteges…

Winter in Yalta
Only the off-season, having given its soul to the four winds of heaven, is able to dissolve centuries and epochs, and then the scenes of the past would emerge before you: the ancient Scythians drinking wine, the Genoese defending their fortress, admiral Nakhimov standing on the Grafskaya Pier, the crowned Romanovs splashing in the sea…
All these are the gifts from the Crimea -given sincerely, with a generous hand, allowing you to get a feel of each small stone, each blade of grass, each salty drop of seawater…

The Crimea — rest all the year round.

The Crimea is always beautiful. Any season of the year adds its specific charm to the peninsula. Most people take fancy to the summer Crimea. When the caressing rays of the sun make the sea waves warm, the holidays season sets in and millions of tourists rush here from all over the world. In summer, the Crimea resembles an enormous bee-hive, inside which bees, dial is, holiday-makers, are swarming, enjoying a sweet nectar -the sun, the sea, strolls and sea-side amusements.
But there exists another Crimea: the off-season Crimea, Crimea from autumn to spring. A velvet autumn colors forests and mountains in inimitable shades to be followed by a short-term winter, which covers the peninsula with a fluffy snow blanket and does not even have time to get used to this land, to be followed by spring with its babbling playful streams.
Changes in nature entail changes in the tourist Crimea features. In late August the coastal Crimea empties as parents take away their children home — time to go to school. No sooner has the joyful hubbub of children’s voices disappeared — the «haut» season is officially closed. But the sun is still heating the sea, the fruits are still ripening, hospitable Crimeans are still expecting guests to come. And after a couple of days’ calm, the Crimea revives again -the «velvet» season sets off. The word combination — «velvet season» — is of a purely Crimean origin and took root more than a hundred years ago. In the imperial Russia, as soon as lots of couples with hurrying to schools children left the Crimea, wealthy metropolitan public headed for to the Black Sea coast. These people were fond of bustle-free lying on the beaches alternated with unhurried walks in the city’s waterfront promenades and adjoining neighborhoods. The distinctive feature about people of this class was their richly decorated velvet clothes — which gave name to the season itself, «velvet».
As it was in olden times, the September Crimea of today is receiving people of a «higher class». It is just in September that all the Crimean hotels of a three to five stars level are completely full. It is just in September that strolling yachts and «president» excursion auto cars are booked up weeks ahead. A genuine «golden» autumn is visiting the Crimea: to match the nature glittering with the gold of leaves, glittering with genuine gold are vacationers sauntering along the Yalta’s sea-side promenade.
Another significant component of the autumn vacationers flow is guests of the Crimean sanatoriums. In autumn, the costs of sanatoriums accommodation are lower, while healing qualities of the Crimean nature are even better, which draws those who wish to seriously improve their health. During this period health institutions of Saki, Yalta, Evpatoria health resorts attract Germans, French, Italians.
In late October, when most of schools have their holidays, hundreds of school-children’s groups from Ukraine anil Russia start for the Crimea. For such groups, the Crimean Touring agencies offer three — five days’ excursion tours around the Crimea. In the main, these are excursions about Sevastopol, Bakhchisarai and Yalta.

In November, the Crimean tourism sees some lull in its activities which literally explodes by the New Year and Christmas holidays. During a week of Christmas holidays, the Crimea becomes as packed with tourists as at the height of August. Most popular are hotels with a well-developed infrastructure, and, in particular, with swimming-pools: Yalta- Intourist Hotel, Oreanda, Sosnovaya Roshcha, Planeta, Sudak, Morye and others. The hotels compete with each other in the exquisiteness of their New-Year menus and gala entertainment programs.
But not only coastal guest-houses and hotels are welcoming guests to their New Year parties. Extremely popular are scarce tourist centers situated in the mountains: TOK Orliniy Zalyot (Eagles’ Haven) in the village of Sokolinoye, Halt Tourist Hotel in Bakhchisarai, private «hunter lodges».

Demedgy in March
Immediately after the New Year Holidays, the Crimea becomes a place of pilgrimage for groups of students of schools and other educational institutions whose vacation begins. And again ancient «cave towns», legendary piers of Sevastopol and luxurious palaces of the southern coast are filled with laughter of young tourists.
Every year, winter kinds of tourism are getting more and more rooted in the Crimea. Though Crimean winters often bring little snow, the mountain summits -yailas — enjoy rather long-staying snow covers which attracts an army of mountain skiing and snow-boarding lovers. Most popular are the mountain skiing trails of Ai-Petri, which feature a number of rope tows, and in the winter season of 2005 a mountain skating-rink were launched. The top draw for locals from Alushta and Simferopol is the Angarskiy Pass skiing trail, on the eastern slope of the Chatyr-Dag mountain mass. Here a mountain infrastructure is briskly developing — in addition to the lift and the trail proper, a chain of cafes, equipment rental points and a mini-hotel are under construction. A few years ago, one more mountain trail was open to tourists — on the lower plateau of Chatyr-Dag in the vicinity of Mramorniy (Marble) Cave Complex. It is not big and mostly used to receive the tourist complex visitors.
Of late, as it is observed all over the world, extreme kinds of recreation have been coming inro fashion in the Crimea. Winter is the best season for super extremes in the Crimean Mountains. Wild snowy summits of the Crimean Mountains, blown on all the sides by winter stormy winds, are an ideal spot for winter hiking enthusiasts. Of special popularity with extremes lovers is Karahi Highland in the eastern Crimea. Here, a January-February period features a snow cover of up to 1.5-2 meters high, icy stormy winds and snow storms occurring on a constant basis, combined with a remote location from any settlements. When well-outfitted with up-to-date tourist gear, guided by an experienced instructor, these tough tours bring along a real joy of the gained in the battle victory of man over the elements.Winter on Ay-Petry
February -March is the quietest time for Crimean tourism, which is actively used by the Crimea’s touring operators (or getting ready for the forthcoming summer season. It is at late February — early March that an Annual Tourist Fair is held. It is hosted by the Yalta-Intourisr Hotel Complex and brings together all the Crimea’s tourist organisations which present their products to be surveyed by their colleagues from other areas and countries. This is a time for active get-togethers with the partners on the Crimean soil, an ideal opportunity to conduct business-tours and promotion -information tours around the Crimea tnr the partners to see in reality everything the tourist Crimea can offer.
The Crimean spring is one of the most gorgeous on this planet. Joyous streams roll downhill into the blue sea, donating life-giving moisture to thousands of multihued wildflowers which cover with a marvelous carpet the entire Crimean land. Many tourists make it a point to choose for their holidays exactly this period, when spring is awaking the nature of the Crimea from its winter sleep. And it has become a tradition to come to the Crimea for a span from 1st to 9th May when a week of holidays falls for a majority of people in Ukraine, Russia and other neighboring countries.  At this time, most of the Crimea’s guest-houses and hotels are almost filled up, huge queues lining up at the excursion sites, and waterfront promenades at coastal towns again looking like a bees’ swarm, consisting of thousands of sauntering people. May holidays are a kind of rehearsal conducted by tourist Crimea before the summer season.
As you have seen, the Crimea is really always beautiful! And it is a gross misunderstanding to believe that recreation in the Crimea is only confined to summer months.