The Crimean Peninsula, with its voluptuously curved Black Sea coast of sparkling cliffs, is paradise—with Riviera-grade vistas but without Riviera prices. Balmy with 300 days of sun a year, the place served as the playground of tsars and Politburo fat cats. Russians practically wept when, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Crimea was pulled out of the orbit of Russian rule and became part of an independent Ukraine.
Tip: English isn’t spoken widely outside the major tourist areas. Bringing a Russian phrase book and learning a few basic phrases before your trip will make it easier to ask directions, order food, and interact with locals.