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Later this year I expect to visit Krasnodar as a part of a commission for my day job (assume August or September 2016). I would like to combine this visit with a brief holiday to see friends and relatives in Simferopol, and hopefully attend a football match there. On paper this is all one country.

My plan is to leave Krasnodar by car on the E115 and then to join the E97 near Anapa. And from there eventually arrive in Kavkaz where I can take the ferry to Kerch. This is one of the few ferry sites in the region that traces its origins to pre common-era antiquity and has great attraction to me for that reason. I have never taken this route before, so I am a first-time traveller and don't know what to expect.

Overall my objective is to minimize the time spent in various queues, either those waiting to board the ferry or those operated by the Border Service.

I am aware that there was (or is) a border control point on the E97 because the Crimea used to be a foreign country. After the Crimea was repatriated, the route is presumably all one country, but part of the thrill and excitement of Russia is you can expect anything and everything anywhere along the way.

Question: is this control point in the Krasnodar region still operating? I do not need visas or other travel documents, but have concerns about the waiting times.

Also, I am informed (albeit only by rumour) that the queue to take the ferry can stretch back as far as 5 miles, even at pre-dawn. Can this be substantiated? If so, is there a way that this wait can be avoided?

Finally, is the Border Service operating ad-hoc, secondary control points in and around Kersh (i.e., the Crimea side) that might further delay my arrival in Simferopol (including any local vigilante militia)?

There's a YouTube video made by a tourist (I assume American because of the accent) who followed this same route and filmed all of the locations mentioned in this question. It was made prior to the repatriation of the Crimea so does not have current details about the border check point. It's nauseating in some places and the audio is sadly incoherent most of the time, but it does include a great vista of the strait taken from the memorial and is worth seeing for that alone.

  • The vacation season is just starting so waiting times are going to be different based on dates and no there is no border control. – Karlson May 31 '16 at 2:23
  • Despite the actions of the Russian army, Crimea and Simferopol are actually a part of Ukraine, so in a different country. Ukraine might ban you from the country for entering Crimea via illegal border crossings (i.e. Russian controlled crossing) – mcfedr Apr 20 '18 at 11:04
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First of all, August and September are "two big differences", as they say in Odessa. September the 1st is the start of school year, so lots of families with children will end their vacations near end of August. The worst you can do is try to leave Crimea in the last week of August. On the other hand, getting there at the same days may be easier than usual.

Second, waiting times for cars may indeed be long. There is, however, another way to get to Crimea and see the ferry on the way. Book a ticket on the train "Moscow - Simferopol". It doesn't pass through Krasnodar proper, but it has a stop in Timashevsk, some 50 km away. There is no bridge yet, so the passengers disembark in Kavkaz port and take a ferry to Kerch, just like motorists do. There will be almost no waiting time since the ferry is reserved for train passengers.

  • I don't think that train Moscow - Simferopol is an option for now, as it went over Ukraine. You still got an option to use a train + bus as united ticket, but not only by the train. – VMAtm Apr 18 '17 at 15:10
  • @VMAtm that's what I was talking about. The OP wanted to take the ferry; that's exactly what the train passengers do. AFAIK they don't take bus; there is a railway line in Crimea as well. – IMil Apr 20 '17 at 16:56
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    There is railway, but for now it's not operating the trains from Russia. For now Russian railways offers United ticket - you take a train to Krasnodar/Anapa, after that you take a bus to ferry station, then ferry itself, and another bus from there. – VMAtm Apr 20 '17 at 17:14
  • Yes indeed, seems that in this year the route has changed. Maybe the passenger trains can no longer come right to the ferries because of the bridge construction. – IMil Apr 21 '17 at 0:56
  • I think that Ukraine shot the trains, as even last summer my family used the buses – VMAtm Apr 21 '17 at 1:08
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You can easily determine what your wait times and everything else on the site of the Kerch ferry (Russian).

Currently it lists wait time at 3 hours and you can see what the queue actually look like and guesstimate your own wait times on webcameras but as far as the border crossing is concerned: there aren't any.

  • Does the site allow also to book tickets in advance to avoid waiting? It seems it does (but I did not try and saw the site today for the first time), then probably you could add it to the answer too. – Petr May 31 '16 at 3:53
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    @petr You'll need to register to find out how far in advance you can do it. – Karlson May 31 '16 at 4:07
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Russia consider Crimea as own territory. So there isn't any border control between Krasnodar krai and Crimea. The checkpoint on the E97 you meant isn't a border control point now, but just a security checkpoint.

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This can be useful for you View from webcams near port where cars get on ferry http://www.gosparom.ru/webcams/video.php You can view and evaluate queues by yourself.

And yes - Crimea and Russia are one country. You don't need visa or extra documents for visiting it from Krasnodar.

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