The Great Sevastopol Trail : My Guide & Tips for Hiking in Crimea

The Great Sevastopol Trail : My Guide & Tips for Hiking in Crimea


The Great Sevastopol Trail is Crimea’s only long distance trail. Known in russian as the Bolshaya Sevastopolskaya Tropa, It’s an 117 kilometers long trail around the Sevastopol municipality from the village of Liubymovka in the north of Sevastopol city to the small town of Balaklava.

Although the way is set, there are many ways to hike the trail plus additional routes one can take to make it even longer. The trail passes through the highlights of Sevastopol’s region.

The Great Sevastopol Trail was my very first muti-day hike. I walked it solo in the summer 2022 and in this post I’m going to tell you all about this little known but gorgeous longue distance trail.

GST pin 1
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Where and What is the Great Sevastopol Trail ?

The Great Sevastopol Trail is an almost 118 kilometers long distance hiking trail located around the Sevastopol’s region in Crimea.

It was built in 2015 after Crimea’s annexation by Russia and the project was approved by the local authorities.

The trail goes from the village of Lyubimovka in the North of Sevastopol city to the popular Bay of Balaklava, passing through historical sites, forests and stunning coastal areas.

The Great Sevastopol Trail Route

The trail is divided into 8 sections and 10 additionnal routes. I went the regular way without adding any side paths.

The sections vary from 11 to 23 kilometers for the longest and 3 to 20 for the additional routes. In total it’s almost 220 kilometers of marked trails. Most of them start and finish next or close enough to a village or road with a bus stop.

GST Map 1

Getting to the starting point

You can start the trail from either Balaklava or Luybimovka. I choose the other way around as I wanted to finish on the coast which to me was the most beautiful part of the trail so I definitely recommend that way.

• From Sevastopol take a bus to Balaklva from the “5 kilometers” bus station

• From Sevastopol city center, take a ferry (26₽) to the Severnaya Bukhta (South bay) boat station (next to the North bus station) then a bus to Luibymovka only 5 kilometers north.

I took the ferry to Severnaya Bukhta, had a quick lunch in Uchkuyevka park, walked to Liubymovka.

How long does it take to walk the Great Sevastopol Trail ?

How long it takes to walk the Great Sevastopol Trail is really up to you and might depend on your physical abilities. However, it is designed to be hiked in 6 to 8 days, normal pace. If you hike the additional routes then it will take you a bit longer.

I hiked it in 7 days (but could’ve made it easily 6 days, I just stop for snacks, chill and views too much) and consider myself a normal fit and regular speed walker.

My experience walking the Great Sevastopol Trail

• Day 1 : Liubymovka – Urochishchiye Gornyi Kliuch – Tourist Camp “2nd Cordon”

No even half an hour in and I had already lost the path, ended up in a sort of abandonned complex, found it again and after going up an down through plain, a bit for forest and the low mountain foothill for a few hours I stopped for an ice cream in the quiet village of Dalnie. Met 2 russian men hiking the trail together, very nice and very suprised to meet a westerner there.

This section finishes in a campsite and as it was only about 5pm I decided to keep going and hike the second section to the Tourist Camp “2nd Cordon”. Next to the Kamyshlovsky train bridge from the 1870’s there are superb views over the Belbek valley, it goes up for a while before entering the forest. I bumped into the 2 russian men again, walked an extra kilometer and camped away from the trail. Fell asleep with the sound of rockets flying away in the distance … (there a military base north of Sevastopol).

• 1st section : Любимовка – урочище Горный ключ | 15 km
Some villages, phone signal along the way, small Produkty shops off trail.

• 2nd section : урочище Горный ключ – турстоянка “2-ой кордон” | 11 km
No village, no phone signal near campground.

• Day 2 : Tourist Camp “2nd Cordon” – Tourist Camp “Goristoye” 

Woke up with a deer casually walking through the wood 50 meters away from me ! It went up and up half of the morning, then it’s a nice walk on top of the ridge, passing by the Chelter-Marmara and Shuldan monasteries overlooking the Shul valley.

I think I took the wrong path next to the Shuldan monastery. The way I went was VERY dangerous so be carefull.

I was almost running out of water and bumped into what look like to be a newly built tourist base house but there was a tank with drinkable water so I filled everything up. Didn’t see anyone on that section even though it’s supposed to be touristy near the monasteries. The views are truly stunning from up there !

I walked a few extra kilometers of the following section. I set up camp in the bushes next to the trail, heard another hiker passing by, mumbling a hell lot of rusian swear words because like me he seem to struggle finding his way ! (more on that bellow)

• 3rd section : турстоянка “2-ой кордон” – турстоянка “Гористое” | 14 km

Some phone signal on top of the ridge, found water twice on the way.

• Day 3 : Tourist camp “Goristoye” – Peredovoye village

Headhog attack at midnight, slept like sh*t, woke up at sunrise around 5ish am due to wild boars digging nearby. Started walking early. It went up for a while (very steep), then a nice beech forest and slow decent to the village of Peredovye.

I think this part would be great in spring, there are rivers, waterfalls on the way but unfortunetely for me it was all dried up in August. The weather was super pleasant though, very quiet, I met no one until I reached the village. Downside : I had a big blister on my right foot …

I decided to call it a day and treat my injured foot. I walked into Peredovoye, met a nice local who told me to come back early during the year to see the waterfalls, grabbed a “pizza” and a soda at the local produkty store and chat with a friendly babushka at the bus stop while waiting for the bus to Sevastopol.

• 4th section : тоянка “Гористое” – село Передовое | 13 km

Phone signal but not all the way, small Produkty store and bus stop in Peredovoye.

• Day 4 : Peredovoye village to tourist camp “Uzundzha”

With my foot being better and tapped up, I went back to Peredovoye by bus from Sevastopol 5 kilometers bus station.

I really enjoyed this part of the trail, it’s going down to the Baydar valley, and one part goes along the road in the Uzundzha canyon (not a single car). Lots of scenery changes along this section including empty river/waterfalls and also forest where I managed to fall twice (daydreaming).

• 5th section : село Передовое – турстоянка “Узунджа” | 13 km

• Day 5 : Tourist camp “Uzundzha” to Baydar Gate Pass

As I had walked a couple of kilometers further the ending section of the previous day, I started that morning with a very steep 1000 meters elevation gain in 7 kilometers. That was the only hard part of the trail in my opinion.

The panomara from the top is gorgeous and well worth the steep hike of the morning, the Black Sea coast is clearly visible. The section finishes by the road next to the Baydar Pass (19th century Yalta – Sevastopol highway), make the tiny detour to the impressive Baydar Gate to see Foros from above before keep going on the trail.

• 6th section : турстоянка “Узунджа” – перевал Байдарские ворота | 23 km

• Day 6 : Baydar Gate Pass – Laspinsky Pass

I struggled a bit to find the path at the beginning of this section, it felt like rock climbing so I advice caution especially if it’s wet. It went up for the frst 2 kilometers and then mostly downhill-ish open space with great views on the coast, Foros, the Laspinskaya Bay and the Baydarsky mountain pass.

I bumped into day walkers a couple of times.
At the end of this section you can take the trail heading down to the coast to reach the beach.

• 7th section : перевал Байдарские ворота – Ласпинский перевал | 11 km

Phone signal most of the way.

• Day 7 : – Laspinsky Pass – Balaklava

The last section of the trail is most probably my favourite, with beautiful views along the coast. I also got very lucky because it was foggy in the morning and then all sunny and clear !
There’s small part going down over rocks like the previous day and some super thin path to follow sometimes so I again recommend caution even if it’s dry. The trail goes along the edges of cliffs, there was no rope or anything.

The closer I got to Balaklava the more day walkers I met, so it’s definitely the most popular part of the trail. Part of this section goes through the Cap Aya Nature Reserve.

• 8th section : Ласпинский перевал – Балаклава | 18 km

The trail is easy to follow, I didn’t miss any signpost. Phone signal most of the way and even water source.

How hard is it to walk the GST ?

In terms of physical abilities, I think it’s a relatively easy trail to hike as long as you made some time for trainning and are use to walk long distances with a full backpack.

In terms of actually following the trail and signposts, it’s hard ! The route isn’t what I would call well-marked nor easy to follow. I was pissed off the first couple of days (like that russian swearing hiker I spoke about) because I honeslty struggled to find my way multiple times, I had to look at my phone so often to realise I was off trail, that the path to take next to the post sign was the least obvious one (basically you see two paths next to the sign, one good and one bad, take the crappy one !). I didn’t find the trail well maintained but hopefully they fixed it since then.

GST difficulty 1
Fallen sign & rock climbing

Tips & stuffs to get the most out of your Great Sevastopol Trail hike

Download the App. Unfortunetely it’s all in russian but you can follow the path directly on your phone and trust me, that will come in handy !

• Check the Great Sevastopol Trail’s website (you can translate the pages in your browser for details of the trail sections and a bit of history on the places).

• Make time for training before hiking this trail, it could be challenging if you’re not used to it.

• Carry a lot of extra water (and a water filter) if hiking in the summer. I had 4 liters in mid august, it is hot in Crimea.
• Tell someone where you will be and add the number Assistance line of the МЧС (ministry of emergency situations) to your phone +7 3652 510 110 and the phone number of the emergency in Russia is 101. I’m sure they will find somebody who speaks english. I texted my daily route to a local friend.

• Watch your steps. Don’t be like me, daydreaming, stupidly falling and hurting myself in the meantime.

• I choose not to carry a stove because again in was summer, hot and super dry so be carefull not to set anything on fire. I don’t remember seeing any sign prohibiting campfires on the trail but for example it is forbidden in the Yalta Nature Reserve.

• Food : you can easily find tuna cans, halva, snacks full of seeds and nuts any Russian/Crimean supermarket. If like me you like to carry couscous (can cook with cold water), I suggest to add some adjika sauce (Abkhazian) to spice it up.

• I strongly believe you can’t get lost for long in the south of Crimea. There are villages scatterred around and within short walking distance of the trail.

• Animals : Appart from thief hedgehog, a deer, a scolopendra centipede (they can definitely bite !) and hearing wild boars a few times, I didn’t come across any dangerous animals exept for the centipede. Even though there are no deadly poisonous snake species on the peninsula, it’s possible to encounter yellow-bellied snakes and steppe vipers; they can bite but won’t kill you.

• The Great Sevastopol Trail can be hiked year-round but if I had to do it again, I would choose spring.

• I had no rain at all during the entire hike (almost none in my month and a half in Crimea except in Simferopol). I only took my rain jack and used my bivy bag without tarp.

• For general information on travelling to Crimea, read my detailed guide here.

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