A pretty former Crimean Tartar village east of Yalta, built on a steep hillside, with delightful lanes, steep, pebbly beeches and crystal clear sea – from the road above you have a clear view of Ayu Dağ, Bear Mountain, which, true to its Tatar name, resembles a crouching bear, from its stubby tail to its snout.
Piers built out over the sea offer beer, wine and chebörek. The highway sweeps past out of sight, high above the village. No cars are allowed inside the village, but the turning off the highway for Artek, a famous Soviet scouts' camp, brings you to a leafy square where you start walking.
This is a far cry from the razzmatazz of Yalta, with its baroque promenade entertainments. Yet it is no backwater. From the 19th century it was a fashionable resort. The royalist Duke of Richelieu built a villa and laid out a park here in 1811, to entertain guests. He had joined the Russian army after the French Revolution, and risen to be governor-general of New Russia.
What you will see
One Crimea’s prettiest seaside villages. Perfect out of season, with a pier that you can set out on and drink and snack on to your heart’s content. The houses that line Gurzuf’s narrow lanes and stone steps recall Provence. The golden, pebble-strewn beach is thronged in summer, but in autumn and spring it is a soft an gentle place, the perfect place to land after a long flight.