Difference between revisions of "Simferopol"
Revision as of 18:14, 2 February 2013
All roads coming to Crimea leads to Simferopol, it is the undisputed transport hub of the region.
Simferopol International Airport (IATA: SIP)  is a major hub and have both domestic connections and several international, mostly with Russia and CIS-countries. The most popular route is from Kiev which have several flights each day. Popular international routes include Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Istanbul. There are no flights from western Europe, an option might be to fly via Riga which has daily connections.
Marshrutka buses leave from across the car park outside the arrival area, look for the large Krimtrolleybus sign. Buses leave for city centre and the railway station every few minutes. Bus №49 connects with Central Intercity Bus Station, №115 or №98 with the railway station and the Kurortnaya bus station which have connections to sea-side cities such as Sevastopol, Yalta, Sudak and Yevpatoria. Also, there are lots of annoying private taxi drivers at the airport, if you take a taxi always agree on a rate before you board a cab and make sure that the price is for the entire route (not for each kilometer).
Simferopol has very good train connections with all major domestic destinations and several international routes too. There are several daily trains from Kiev (15 h) via Dnipropetrovsk (6 h). Dontesk (10 h), Lviv (25 h) and Odessa (12 h) also have daily connections. International connections are mostly with Russia, there are daily overnight connections with Kaliningrad (44 h) via Minsk (30 h), Moscow (23 h) and Saint Petersburg (38 h). There is also a daily night train service from Yekaterinburg (68 h) in the Ural. Direct trains from central Europe have now disappeared with the twice-weekly night train from Berlin via Warsaw being withdrawn in September 2011.
Domestic trains are handled by Ukrainian Railways  while international connections with Russia are handled by RZD . Notice that domestic trains not always carry a restaurant wagon, be sure to supply yourself with food and drink.
There are about a dozen a day bus and marshrutka rides from Sevastopol each day. They get busy, particularly at weekends, and it is best to book some time in advance. If you are unable to take public transport, taxis will take you there; from Sevastopol station to Simferopol airport, do not accept a fare of more than 300 UAH.
A convenient way to get around is by public transport, and Simferopol has a wide range of it! The most popular is called marshutka or a minivan, minibus, or taxi. Taxi of course is most expensive but is a fastest alternative. A ride on the minivan or the bus however, will cost you only 2.75 griven (UAH). (US$1=8 UAH, €1=11 UAH). The public transportation will bring you almost all around the city.
Taxi - always agree on a rate before you board a cab. If driver offers you a cheap price make sure that this price is for the entire route not for each kilometer. Be warned that it's difficult to communicate with drivers, as they speak virtually no English or any other foreign language.
Taxi cost of 1 journey to any place of the city can be between 30 to 50 gr. To order taxi by phone is a way to save money. Some numbers: +380 (63) 250-3350, +380 (652) 547200, +380 (652) 710071 from mobile phone or 1504, 1567, 1568 and some others from local phone.
It's not the most interesting city, but there are a few things to see.
There is always a time where you can run out of things to do in this place. Nevertheless if you look hard enough, you will find something to occupy your time with.
In the harsh hot weather during the summer with temperate ranging over 40-45 degree Celsius, you may take a stroll in the park. There are horse riding activities, boating, feeding ducks. Besides that, the best thing to do is rehydrate yourself as often as possible, and protect yourself with some SPF (read SPF 30 and above).
Then comes the other extreme - the cold chilly winter. Temperature may dip down to as low as -25 degree Celsius in late January and February. Skiing in Ai Petri is a great getaway from the town. In the centre itself, there is a skating rink. Besides that, you may opt to drink some vodka to keep yourself warm.
The most popular place for shopping is in 'Silpo'. Its quite a big supermarket with all essential items and food stuff. There are also several boutiques in it.
There are also supermarkets like 'Furshet' and 'Rainford' located around the city. Best would be to ask a taxi driver to take you to these places, or get familiarised with the names of the roads, and you can easily take a minivan there.
Minivan No. 62, 10 and 74 can take you to the newly built shopping place called "Foxmart".
Debit and credit cards are accepted in most shops in the city, but not accepted in rural area and markets. There are a lot of ATM.
The number one must eat food in Simferopol is the Plov. It's a local version of the Indian Biryani or the Spanish Paella. This rice dish is oily, so those with a heart problem may want to abstain from it. One plate of plov cost 7 UAH, approx €1 at the Central Market.
Number two must eat food is meat on skewer, cooked over charcoal. It's called Shashlik by the locals. Goes very well with raw onion with vinegar and with Lepeoshka ( round bread).
Number three on the list is Lagman. A local version of Noodle soup.
In fourth place is the local's favourite Borsh. It's a vegetable soup, generally ate with bread. Solenka, is also a local soup that is worth trying.
Crimean wine, best to buy in supermarkets or in a company outlet shops. Also drink Ukrainian vodka - horilka. "Hortitsa" brand of horilka is recommended.
There are many women at the station offering rooms, but be prepared for cockroaches and, in worst case scenarios, even fleas.