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Friday 26 May 2017

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Amble through the Crimean mountains by trolleybus at just 30mph

An old Skoda at Simferopol station, one end of the longest trolleybus ride in the world

The route from Yalta to Simferopol, Ukraine, is officially the world’s longest trolleybus ride…

Snaking its way through 86 kilometres (around 54 miles) of the Crimean mountains, at the pace of a snail, is the Yalta to Simferopol trolleybus. Built in the late 1950s, this is officially the longest trolleybus ride in the world, which may seem reason enough to do it simply to include in your list of travel achievements. But add to that the breathtaking views as it climbs through the Yaila mountains across the Angarskiy Pass, reaching 752 metres (almost 2,500 feet) at its highest point before dropping down to the Black Sea coastal town of Alushta, from where the remaining 41 kilometres to Yalta twists its way above some stunning seascapes, and you have an essentially sublime experience.

If you fancy doing this, leave plenty of time if you have to catch a flight at Simferopol airport – the old Skoda trolleybuses (do try and get on one of these old charmers if you can, although from 2010 they are slowly being replaced by more modern, but not nearly as much fun, Bogdan variants) pootle along at about 30mph, so you’ll need to allow a good two to two-and-a-half hours to make the entire trip, and you might want to consider allowing even more time for the not too infrequent break-downs. An alternative, of course, is to do it the other way round if you’re intending to spend some time in Yalta, at least that way you shouldn’t have any particularly pressing deadlines.

Well worth taking the time to do if you’re happy to sit back and take the slow road through a stupendous mountainscape and enjoy the amble. At around 15 hryvnias (about £1.20) it’s a very cost effective journey on an ecologically sound transport system. Win, win!

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