Located in the south of the country, the Crimean Peninsula contains the most popular holiday resorts in Ukraine. The peninsula is flanked by the Black Sea and the Azov Sea, and is the traditional holiday destination of Russian royalty. Though a small connection with the Ukrainian mainland at the western end makes it officially a landbridge, the region is sometimes referred to as a 'microcontinent' because of the diverse array of landscapes and ecosystems it contains.
The coastal beach cities are packed with tourists from Russia and other Eastern European countries in the summer months, and are largely overlooked by Western tourists, meaning that there are real bargains to be had in accommodation and entertainment. Yalta is the most popular resort in Ukraine, containing the former palace of the Russian Czars and other fascinating monuments; and Koktebel is also a favourite, with good beaches and a carnival-like atmosphere.
Inland, the coastal mountains of the Crimea are made up of untamed landscapes with a number of secluded caves and lakes to explore, and some rewarding hikes for adventurous travellers who don't mind roughing it. The plains region has pretty farms and landscapes that are enjoyable to pass through by train.
A holiday in the Crimea is an undiscovered pleasure for most of the Western world but, as Ukraine increasingly interacts with the rest of Europe, more tourists will no doubt discover its charms.