6 best places to visit in UKRAINE
Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe, known for its grand gold-domed Orthodox churches and the Black Sea resorts. And, sadly, also as a place where the worst nuclear disaster in history has happened. Everyone knows Chernobyl, right? Especially now, after the HBO series, that turned out to be such a huge hit.
In our opinion, Ukraine is one of the most beautiful countries in Eastern Europe. And yet, surprisingly, it does not attract as many tourists as the Czech Republic or Croatia do.
There are plenty of interesting places to visit and amazing things to do in Ukraine.
To help you prepare for your trip, we have created this list of some of the best things to do in Ukraine.
6 best places to visit in Ukraine
Ukraine’s capital Kyiv is a surprisingly colorful and interesting city with plenty of amazing places to visit.
What comes to mind first when thinking of Kyiv? Orthodox churches. Yes, that’s right. There are a lot of magnificent orthodox churches in Kyiv.
Set on grassy hills above the Dnipro River, Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra (also known as the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves) is a historic Orthodox Christian monastery that has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most important pilgrimage centers in Ukraine and a popular tourist attraction.
The Saint Sophia Cathedral, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, is another beautiful orthodox church we would recommend to visit.
Set on Volodymyrska Hill, St. Andrew’s Church is one of the iconic landmarks of Kyiv. The upper neighborhood of Kyiv, where the church is located, is connected to the city by the Andriyivskyy Descent. It is one of Kyiv’s oldest and most beloved streets sidewalks of which are lined with numerous art galleries and souvenir shops. The street sometimes is advertised as the “Montmartre of Kyiv”.
Head to the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War for beautiful views of the city.
The museum is a large complex located on a hill not far from the city center. A part of the museum complex is a grand titanium statue – the Motherland Monument. This giant monument celebrates the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany.
Definitely visit Maidan Nezalezhnosti. It’s the most central part of the city and the place where Euromaidan, a wave of demonstrations, took place in late 2013 to early 2014.
Lviv by some is considered as one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe. Sometimes it is even referred to as the “Little Paris”.
Just like Kyiv, Lviv has plenty of places of interest.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Lviv is its old town which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Picture perfect cobbled streets, imposing old buildings, numerous orthodox church domes, cathedrals make it a great destination both for a photography lover and a culture enthusiast.
Lviv has a number of hip cafes and restaurants. Fixage Cafe-museum, Gasova Lampa and Atlas cafe are some of the coolest ones.
When traveling to Lviv, definitely visit its flea market. It’s the place where to shop for souvenirs that aren’t mainstream. Old books are sold there, too.
The Yard of Lost Toys is an unusual tourist attraction we recommend to visit. It’s an ordinary-looking Soviet-style yard with a bunch of old toys scattered around.
Odesa is the Black Sea gem of Ukraine.
It’s the third most populous city of Ukraine and a major tourist hotspot.
Known for its beaches, resorts, and parties, it’s a place to relax and have some fun.
4. Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
Yes, not many will want to visit the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone when traveling to Ukraine. But those who will be surprised to know that it is possible, and it’s very easy.
To travel to Chernobyl you have to join a guided tour. This is the only way to get to the exclusion zone. The process of joining a guided tour is very easy and straightforward.
Tours can be bought from a number of companies in Kyiv, or online. You can use GetYourGuide.com to book a Chernobyl tour. Tours start at 90 EUR.
Top tip – book the tour at least 5 days in advance. Last-minute tours are twice as expensive.
There are several types of tours available. But the most popular ones are the day trips to Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
During your day trip to Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, you’ll visit Chernobyl town and the abandoned Pripyat town, and will see the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (including the Rector No 4) from the outside. You’ll also have lunch at the local canteen which serves typical Eastern European food.
5. Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle
Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle is a grand historic castle situated in the historic city of Kamianets-Podilskyi.
Are you surprised that there are castles in Ukraine? Well, there aren’t so many castles as there are in Germany, but Ukraine still has several beautiful ones.
Kamianets-Podilskyi is one of them. It’s a medieval fortress featuring several original towers. Kamianets-Podilskyi is a former Ruthenian-Lithuanian castle and a later Polish fortress located in the historic city of Kamianets-Podilskyi.
Chernivtsi is a beautiful city in western Ukraine.
Chernivtsi is sometimes dubbed “Little Vienna”. It is because the city became a part of the Austrian Empire in 1775.
Chernivtsi is a multicultural city, with a rich history that dates back to the 15th century. The city is known for its Chernivtsi University which was founded in 1875 and features Romanesque and Byzantine architecture. The university building is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The city is surprisingly colorful and feels very cozy because of its little streets and colorful buildings. Look at the buildings in the squares of the city! So colourful!
Ukraine travel tips
- You don’t need a visa to travel to Ukraine. EU citizens are entitled to visa-free entry for up to 90 days within any 180 day period.
- While Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine, Russian is spoken everywhere in Ukraine. If you know Russian, it will be very easy for you to communicate in Ukraine.
- English is spoken in major cities, but mostly by the younger generation. If you are traveling outside the largest cities, learn basic phrases in Ukrainian and use an offline dictionary.
- The most popular mode of transportation for tourists are intercity trains. Tickets can be bought online (starting from 45 days in advance) or at the station.
- Buses, in general, are not great, but there are some bus companies that have semi-comfortable overnight coaches. For short trips, you can use marshrutkas (minibusses). You don’t have to prebook the ticket if you are traveling on a marshrutka.