TOP 10 PLACES TO VISIT IN UKRAINE
The capital and the heart of Ukraine. You can spend a week in this city and you will not get bored. Kyiv is different and it gives this city its own unique charm. You can visit churches which are so impressive and make you speechless. One of the main world’s religious sites is Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, the complex of Orthodox male monasteries which are included to UNESCO Heritage List. You can explore one of the tallest world’s monuments – the Motherland Mother Monument and the II World War Museum right under the monument. This places gives incredible views to the Left Bank of Kyiv!
The city center of the capital is full of different architecture styles and you can notice it just by walking from one street to another.
To feel yourself real local, go to the main street of Kyiv – Khreschatyk, visit 1-euro bar to drink a glass of tasty liquor, go to the new Pedestrian Bridge, enjoy listening to street musicians and take a ride on a funicular!
And here you can read about the Top 10 places to see in Kyiv!
The soul of Ukraine. Being under the influence of different nations had great effect on the city now. Some say that Lviv is “little Krakow” but we believe that it’s unique and beautiful by its own. Visiting marvelous churches and cathedrals, strolling along the tiny streets of the old town and learning the stories of locals would give you a pure pleasure.
The whole downtown of Lviv is the UNESCO Heritage Site and is the pedestrian zone, so you would feel safe on the streets. The acquaintance with this city starts on the Rynok Square with the City Hall right in the middle of it. Choose any of the cobblestoned streets and get lost in the labyrinth of alluring turns and lanes. Meet fascinating Dominican cathedral, visit the Armenian quarter and its church and explore marvelous Opera House.
Lviv is the best city for coffee lovers! Unlike locals in Central Ukraine, locals in Lviv are used to slow lifestyle, they can easily skip some tasks to have a cup of aromatic coffee with colleagues. That’s why this city is full of different cafes and confectionary shops because what can be better that enjoying your morning relaxing on a terrace of café and drinking the tastiest cappuccino?
The Ukrainian capital of humor. Odesa is usually called “the pearl of the Black Sea” as it’s located right on the coasts of it. The city is famous for the sense of humor of the locals and the stories about the greatest thieves and scammers of XIX century. All swindlers are faded in history now, but it feels that Odesa is impregnated with an aura of the last centuries.
The buildings are tall and decorated with millions of small figures and details, streets are full of trees, which give shade and cool during sultry summer days. You will definitely fall in love with the Opera House, which look like a marzipan sweet! Derybasivka street is one of the most popular places in Odesa, it looks especially good in the night time when the restaurants are full with guests, musicians are playing outside, tourists make photos and the positive vibe is in the air. You will surely fall in love with it!
The local food in Odesa deserves another full articles and the secret of it is “on a plate”. The city has a sea port, so #1 thing to do is to try Black Sea fish. Jewish culture has brought the traditional appetizers and hot dishes. Moldovan cuisine offered species and bakery products. But the local Odesa cuisine combine all of them to great ensemble of tastes and flavours.
Real highlight of Ukraine. Mysterious, exciting and sombre – these words describe Chernobyl in full. The catastrophe of 1986 left many towns and villages abandoned forever. Now, thousands of tourists come every year to learn the tragic history. During the tour you will learn the real information about radiation and its effects on people and nature, you will see the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant and Reactor 4 with new shelter object Safe Confinement 100. Ones of the most impressive places besides Pripyat are the Duga-1 system (aka Russian Woodpecker) and the abandoned kindergarten, where you can see old toys, empty bunk beds and the teacher’s journals.
One more interesting thing you will experience – lunch at the local canteen. Do not worry, all the products are ecological clean and radiation-free. That a great chance to get a real throwback to Soviet times!
Exploring the town of Pripyat, which was the hometown for more than 47 thousand people, is one of the most popular activities among foreigners and stalkers. No wonder why; this place is the one and only in the world. Trust us, you will not find this experience anywhere else. Time has stopped there and nature has started to create its own rules. It would be hard to find the pavements and wide prospects through the trees. Massive, crumbling buildings are decorated with bushes.
You can Join our Daily 1 Day Tour to Chernobyl and Pripyat – click HERE
The Palace of Culture, supermarket, the hotel Polissya, schools and the stadium are all ghosts of humanity which was last seen there 34 years ago.
This place is definitely worth visiting. It is the only way to understand that humankind is not the king of the world and it cannot control the power of nature.
Missile Rocket Forces Museum, Pobuzke village
Unique place hidden in the middle of nowhere!
This museum was created on a real Soviet missile base and we are not sure if you can find such kind of museum anywhere in the world. At the base you can see samples of rocket engines, cars – rocket carriers, tankers for rocket fuel and a model of a nuclear warhead. During the excursion you can see with your own eyes the missiles that played a key role during the Cold War and visit one of the most classified objects of the USSR. You will learn the history of division and the army. Workers of this museum will create the unique atmosphere around you. Most of the workers are officers who had worked at the missile base before it became the museum. The real highlight of the tour is visiting the command center where you can press the red button.
This museum was mentioned as the “Wow-place” by travellers who have been on our 15 Day Best of Belarus, Ukraine & Moldova Tour or you can book your Private Tour to The Missile Rocket Forces Museum HERE!
Chernivtsi National University, Chernivtsi
Like a University of Magic. The main highlight of Chernivtsi is surely the National University of Yuriy Fedkovych. The building was constructed in 1882 by Josef Hlavka. Nowadays visiting the university, which is put into the UNESCO Heritage Sites List, makes the tourists feel lost in a majestic castle with colorful roofs and tall arches. There is a saying “Being in Chernivtsi and not visiting the University as same as being in Rome without seeing a Pope”. Don’t miss a chance to visit this marvelous place when you are in Chernivtsi!
It is small cozy town with close location to the Romanian border. People usually compare this town to Vienna. Why? The question is very easy! If you have been to Vienna, you have probably noticed that all the buildings look like wedding cakes! So many small details of the exterior make them look airy and festive. Such as in Chernivtsi! But we would compare it to the delicate chocolate sweets (not to wedding cakes), maybe that is the reason why some say Chernivtsi is “small Vienna”.
Highland village. Carpathians mountains are huge and that is the main historical reason why different ethnographic groups were created. Verhovyna – is the capital of Ukrainian Hutsuls. The people from this ethnographic group will inspire you with their freedom-loving spirit. Driving through the Carpathian Mountains is a good adventure and good chance to see how people live high in the mountains. Locals love to share their lifestyles with tourists and Verhovyna is full of different museums and houses. Let us tell you more about two the most interesting ones!
Ukraine is famous for its colorful national clothes. It’s called vyshyvanka or embroidery. Craftswoman Halyna will invite you to her house and show you her great collection of vyshyvankas. She will lead you through the history of this craft and let you know the secrets of Ukrainian embroidery. All the symbols and styles are different in every Ukrainian region, but they mostly mean the same – life and love.
Did you know that the longest horn in the world was created in Ukraine? It is called trembita and it can be 6-meters long! Mykola, trembita player, hosts the Museum of Musical Instruments and Hutsuls Lifestyle. You will see what was used as lunch boxes and backpacks, feel the atmosphere of highland pasture and try to play traditional Ukrainian music instruments.
Definitely the experience you will never forget!
Khotyn Fortress, Khotyn town
Pearl of Bukovyna. Built in XIV century, Khotyn Fortress is one of the main highlights of Western Ukraine now. The name “Khotyn” is translated from old Ukrainian as “desired” because it protected one of the best ferry places over Dnister. The construction is impressive and massive and feels like it’s hidden between hills. The fortress will surprise you with its role in Ukrainian history and smart protection system in it. By the end of 17 century the Turks captured Khotyn and kept a huge garrison of 20 to 30 thousand people. The Orthodox church in the fortress was converted into the mosque with a minaret next to it. The new part of the fortress was built by the Turks in 1715 to hinder the Russian empire efforts to take over the Ottoman empire and prove Russia’s worth as a “Third Rome”. It took Russia three times to finally conquer the fortress in 1806. Under Russian rule all buildings but the St. Olexander’s church in the new fortress were demolished and sold as building materials. The St. Olexander’s church still has the icons of 19 century which were presented by the perishes. Huge battles took place near this place and it feels like the walls of the fortress still remember those times.
Kamianets-Podilskyi – Old Town
Little town on the island. The old part of the city is located on a peninsula which makes it one of unique places in Europe. Only Bern (Switzerland) and Krumlov (Czech Republic) can boast of the same feature. The island is pretty small but has a very great history. The city was a home for Ukrainians, Polish and Armenians. Moreover, each community had their own privileges and rights similar to the Magdeburg Law and was independent from the other two communities. It is hard to believe but in 1919 Kamianets was a capital of Ukraine for 5.5 months!
The main reason why tourists come to Kamianets-Podilskyi is the Fortress. Undeniably, huge construction on the hills above the canyon looks impressive and take you back to Medieval times, but believe us the town itself has a lot to offer. Colorful buildings, rocky churches and cobblestone streets create the atmosphere of a fairy land, when friendly locals give you the feeling of being welcomed. Take you time to visit antique shops and hear the story of every manufacture from shop’s owner. As a real tourist you have to take a photo with a Monument of Tourist! Explore secret descents and yards to feel the uniqueness of this place and make a wish near the Monument of Deer to be back there again!
The Golden Horseshoe of Lviv
Castles of Galicia. Dive into the majestic atmosphere while exploring Pidhirtsi, Olesko and Zolochiv castles.
- Zolochiv Castle, Zolochiv town
Zolochiv Castle was constructed in XVII century and had very important historical role. The good location gave the possibility to control the roads to Lviv and reflected the invasions of the Tatars and Turks.
Now this castle attracts a lot of tourists and couples come there to make lovely photos. The light pink colours of the exterior of the buildings and French-style garden give this place the feeling of ethereality and lightness.
- Olesko Castle, Olesko village
To feel the ambiance of the Medieval Times, you should go to Olesko Castle. This is the oldest castle of Ukraine, located on 50-meters high hill. It has the unique elliptical shape and the entrance gate is decorated with a massive bas-relief with portraits of Polish kings, symbolic figures and chimeras. You will enjoy walking through the big garden around the castle.
Don’t miss a chance to visit one and only museum of wooden sculptures of XIV-XIX centuries made by Pinzel and his students.
- Pidhirtsi Castle, Pidhirtsi village
The masterpiece of Renaissance and Baroque architecture which is located in 90 km from Lviv. It was built as a residence and fortification for Polish Hetman Stanisław Koniecpolski. The castle will impress you with its beauty and mystique. You can hear a lot of stories from the locals saying that the ghost of murdered lady is walking down the halls and rooms.
The castle has been under the reconstruction for a long time. Now it is open for visitors, you can explore some rooms and a huge outside territory.
As you can see, Ukraine has a lot to offer for new discoveries. We mentioned 10 best places which surprise visitors with its history and atmosphere. But believe us, there is much more to see and explore! We are always ready to help you with creating your unique experience in Ukraine, just leave us your request. Also, offer you to check our Fantastic Western Ukraine Small Group tour, which includes most of the places above.