The shallow sea

19.07.2013 | Leonid Uzvar

Everything you need to know about vacationing on Azov coast

Despite the fact the resorts of the Black Sea are prestigious, the majority of Ukrainian tourists prefer a warmer sea with a soft climate which is beneficial for the health of children and adults. The prices on the Azov Sea are also lower and the beaches are not too crowded. KW has discovered the best places for going for some healthy rest and relaxation on the coast of the Azov Sea

Towns and villages

The Arabat Spit. The long Arabat Spit stretches 120 km from Henichesk to Crimea. The Azov coast of the spit is teeming with resorts with accommodation for UAH 100-120 per day and vacation homes for UAH 40-60 a day per person. On the other side of the shallow Sivash lagoons there are villages. There are long buildings in courtyards that resemble motels offering reasonably comfortable rooms for vacationers for UAH 170-200 a night. Almost all the rooms are equipped with air conditioners and there are cozy yards and cookhouses on the territory. There are also grocery stores a 15 minute walk away. The sea coast is just the same distance away, but for that price it is quite normal. The Azov coast of the Arabat Spit is a beach of cracked sand shells. At the start of the spit near Henichesk the sea is shallow and full of algae. Closer to Strilkove, it is deeper on the coast and there are less algae.

Kyrylivka. This village has long been fighting the reputation of a resort for the poor. Today, it is more renowned as a popular youth hangout resort and its local windsurfing school.

Kyrylivka is the most overpopulated resort of the Azov Sea but it is still looks quite empty compared to Alushta, for example. Also, the waters of the Azov Sea in Kyrylivka are considered the purest, as there are no cities or ports there. Only in a store, the water becomes muddy because of the sand.

Kyrylivka has a coastal village with a bus station, market and private houses. There are two spits adjacent to Kyrilivka Peresyp and Fedotova. Peresyp is a dozen kilometers of civilized resorts offering accommodation, food, cafes and entertainment. Vacationing here is calm and comfortable and suitable for any wallet from de-luxe (UAH 200) to wooden houses with no conveniences inside (UAH 25 per person). The place also offers attractions for children.

Fedotova Spit is longer and also has entertainment centers, though it is quite noisy due to the numerous nightclubs and rather dirty. It is close to the sea, though, and there is a reputable windsurfing school there. In short, it is heaven for those who love partying and extreme sports on a small budget.

Prymorsk. This place is ideal for a family vacation. Nearly all noisy bars and discos are located on the territory of resorts and tourist bases (a room there costs UAH 30-40 per person). There are fewer of those in Prymorsk than in other resorts on the Azov Sea. This is precisely why the seaside resort looks cozy and homey. The sea and beaches, however, are the same as in Kyrylivka. There are more sunny days here than anywhere else on the Azov coast. An added benefit is that it is very easy and convenient to get there, with one but in the peak season, it is very difficult to buy a train ticket to get to the nearby city of Melitopol.

Berdyansk. This is another resort for family vacation. There is not much to do here: there is no drive like in Kyrylivka or sites comparable with those of Crimea. The huge aquapark (UAH 160-235 for adults, UAH 105-195 for children) wont is the only entertainment attraction. However, the city and the spit within walking distance are relatively clean. Any type of accommodation can be found in Berdyansk. In the city, there are hotels (UAH 150-200), apartments (UAH 200) or rooms (UAH 35-40 per person) and resorts and vacation homes on the spit (UAH 100-180). The prices for accommodation in the city depend on the district.

Lysky on the coast of the bay (10 minutes walk to the sea) is considered the cheapest of those near the coast.

Slobodka is a bit more expensive and it takes 30 minutes to walk to the aqua park from there. AKZ is a district remote from the sea and you can only get there by a a route bus or climb a hill, which is why the prices are lower there. It is replete with resorts and vacation homes. In the center there is a post office, a market, grocery stores and accommodation offered by private home owners. The further part of the spit is not very suitable for vacationing due to its undeveloped infrastructure. While accommodation on the spit is quite expensive, it is worth because the air is clean unlike in the city center. The prices of products at the local market are 10-15% higher than at the public market in the center.

Mariupol. Despite the fact that Mariupol is an industrial city, it still remains a comfortable seaside resort. The nearby villages Yalta, Yuriyivka and Urzuf offer cheap and comfortable vacationing. In the day, you can lie on the beach and in the evening eat Azov fish and drink beer at a local pub. That is all for entertainment there. If you want to take a mud bath, go to Yalta on the Azov. Due to the silt at the bottom of the Yalta bay, swimming there is not so comfortable. But, you can always cover your body in curative mud.

Along other stretches of the coast the beaches are covered with sand and sea shells and the water is shallow. Due to its proximity to large factories, this region is not very ecological. However, you should be no problem finding accommodation, as the owners of private homes are constantly looking to accommodate tourists offering them apartments for UAH 50-150 a day.

Shchelkino. The entire town has approximately one hundred 5- and 9-storey buildings on the sea coast (an apartment can be rented for UAH 150-250). Walking distance to the beach from the most remote part of the town is no longer than 10 minutes. There are no particular sites of interest on the coast, but it is easy to go from there on excursions around Crimea.

On the other hand, the Kazantip reserve is a real find for those who enjoy being closer to nature. There you will find landscapes of the Azov Sea coast that have not been touched by man. They differ largely from the northern coast. Cape Kazantip got its name (in Tatar bottom of the lake) thanks to its unusual shape resembling a crater of a volcano.

There are 20 km of beaches near Shchelkino. Further from the city, they become nearly deserted. Although Shchelkino was built as a city of atomists, there are no industrial enterprises there and the sea is clean. Kazantip is ideal for water sports such as windsurfing and kite surfing: the coast is a chain of bays divided by capes. If the water is still in one bay, there can be wind and waves in the other bay.

How to get there

To get the unofficial capital of the Arabat Spit Henichesk you can take any train that goes through the Novooleksiyivka Station (a ticket from Kyiv costs UAH 70-150). Prepare to get off the train in advance, because it stops at Novooleksiyivka for only a few minutes. From the station to Henichesk, you can take a commuter train (UAH 2.5), bus (UAH 2) or taxi (UAH 30-40). To the populated areas on the Arabat Spit, a bus trip will cost UAH 5-10 and a taxi will cost from UAH 40 to UAH 120 depending on the distance.

It is best to travel to Berdyansk by train (UAH 75-170). From there you can get to the coast of the sea through the Zaporizhzhia oblast by route taxi for UAH 40 on average. You are best off getting to Kyrylivka from Melitopol (a ticket from Kyiv costs UAH 70-165) and to Prymorsk from Berdyansk. In 17 hours you can get to Mariupol by train for UAH 90-180. From there, you can take a route taxi for UAH 20-30 and get to any populated area along the Azov Sea coast. There are two ways to get to Shchelkino. The first one is optimal by trains that go to Kerch. It will cost you UAH 70-160. Get off at the Sim Kolodyaziv (Lenino) station. Shchelkino is only 19 km from there. You can take a bus for UAH 2.50, a route taxi for UAH 3 or a regular taxi for UAH 40.

The alternative is traveling to Feodosia for UAH 70-150. A taxi will cost around UAH 150 or take a bus ticket for UAH 15.

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