I'll be in Kiev this summer and would like to take a trip to Crimea. What are my options for doing so?
From the Ukrainian point of view, Russia illegally occupied the Ukrainian region of Crimea in 2014. As a result, transport options have been restricted from both the Ukrainian and the Russian side. In addition, it is now necessary to have a Russian visa (or visa-free passport) in order to access the Crimean territory.
In September 2015, all flights between Russia/Crimea and Ukraine have been suspended. So it would take at least two transfers from Kiev in order to reach Crimea:
On September, 16, 2015 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine passed the Resolution No 722, amending the Procedure for entry to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and exit from it regarding the entry to and exit from Crimea by foreign nationals, inter alia:
Extract from the Para 3 of the Resolution:
Foreign nationals can entry and exit from temporary occupied territory of Ukraine through special check points by presenting a passport and special permission issued by territorial body of State Migration Service of Ukraine or territorial body of Department for Migration Service of Ukraine in Novotroitsky or Genichesky district of Kherson oblast.
This permission can only be issued to persons having relatives/property in Crimea or journalists. Therefore this option is probably not reasonable for most travelers.
The land border can be crossed on foot, but that option requires a special permission (see the
Bus section above).
No direct trains connect Ukraine to Crimea, however it's possible to take a train to the Ukrainian border in the Kherson region. From the border region one could in theory cross on foot (see the
On Foot section above).
Going from Crimea to Ukraine
Unless you've previously acquired the above-mentioned special permission and entered Crimea via Kherson, it's impossible to cross into Ukraine from Crimea over land. The Ukrainian border guards could either deny you entry or arrest you for illegally entering the Ukrainian territory through Russia.
Flying via Moscow is probably the only feasible way for most tourists. Note that this option is technically illegal from the Ukrainian point of view, so I would avoid talking about Crimea to Ukrainian border guards in the future.