Ukraine zz

Best places to visit in Ukraine

best places to visit in Ukraine: Kyiv
(Last Updated On: 26/11/2018)

Ukraine is probably the most misunderstood country in Europe. The crisis that hit it not so much time ago is still very vivid in our minds – I bet we all remember from the news the tragic events at Maidan in Kyiv or a war zone in Donetsk. Sadly the situation in the East is still very unstable and affected the tourism in the whole country. But I will tell you a secret – Ukraine is a safe place, a huge country and you can easily travel in most of it, exploring best places to visit in Ukraine!

best places to visit in Ukraine: Ivano Frankivsk


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Why you should visit Ukraine now?

I’ve always thought Ukraine is one of the most overlooked countries in Europe. The majority of people don’t really know what to expect from it but in reality this is a true gem! From incredible cities with golden domes or magnificent Central European architecture and charm to sandy beaches of Black Sea or lush hills of Carpathian mountains – Ukraine has it all. And now is the best time to go.

Due to the economical crisis and unstable situation in the east of the country the local currency – hryvnia – dropped a lot, losing around 3 times of its value in comparison to 2013 (pre-Maidan events). Visiting Ukraine is crazy cheap these days. I, for the first time ever, felt guilty for spending that little for such a good quality (accommodation, transportation and eating / drinking out).

For example a train ticket from Kiev to Odessa in a 4 people sleeping compartment was around 13€ or a really good hotel in the very center of Ivano-Frankivsk, with big breakfast cost 20€ for double room. You can’t beat these prices anywhere! It’s a win-win for everyone: you have a wonderful time for the best possible prices and local people and economy are happy to host you there!

Is Ukraine safe?

I’ve already discussed this issue in another post of mine (click here to read about safety in Ukraine) but I will repeat it again: yes, it is safe! As long as you stay away from east part of the country, especially areas around cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, you will be fine!

I’ve travelled to Ukraine numerous times, solo or with friends, also after the revolution and each time I felt very safe there. Even walking alone and tipsy in the evening in Kiev was fine. Actually I feel much safer in Ukraine (as well as in other countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans or Caucasus) than in Western Europe… And I’m not the only one – everyone I was talking to shares my opinion and I haven’t heard of any bad accident that happened to people visiting Ukraine.

best places to visit in Ukraine: Odessa

Best places to visit in Ukraine

By now I’ve visited Ukraine some 10 times and have a long list of best places to visit in Ukraine. At the same time my mind is still full of destinations I yet have to see there – it’s just such a big country to explore! Those places listed below are just my favorite there, I’ve been to some of them couple of times. It’s just such a pleasure to return there and spend some more time getting to know them. And I can recommend you with my whole heart to visit these places too!

If you would like to explore Ukraine with local people I can recommend you tours organized by my friends at JC Travel Ukraine. Julia and Alexandr are some of the nicest people I’ve met this year and I’m sure spending time with them and learning about their country they are so passionate about would be just the best way to discover Ukraine. The tours they offer are small and you will be really well taken care of. They cover all the places mentioned above and even more! Check their website for more details!

best places to visit in Ukraine: Kamianets-Podilskyi

So, without further ado let me show you my personal list of best places to visit in Ukraine!

Kyiv – the incredible capital

For me Kyiv is the most underrated capital in Europe as it offers so much yet still not so many tourists tend to visit and discover it. Kyiv is a perfect getaway to grand Eastern Europe that we always picture, with golden domes and mighty Soviet architecture.

Monasteries – St.Sophia and Pecherska Lavra – are listed on UNESCO World Heritage List and they surely deserve this title as they are stunning and look like from a fairy tale, especially in the sunny day when the sun shines in the rich ornaments. Khreschatyk street and Maidan Nezalezhnosti might feel overwhelming with their powerful architecture but these are still nothing in comparison with Mother Motherland statue with its total high of 102 meters!

Once you’re tired with sightseeing (and you need at least 3 solid days to get to know the city) there are numerous parks, bars and cafes where you can relax!


Read more on Kyiv:

In Kiev I recommend you staying in the center, somewhere near Khreschatyk. You will be close to all the attractions and with a very good public transport connections just about everywhere! Click here to check out to best deals on accommodation in Kiev!


Odessa – the Black Sea gem

The major port on the Black Sea and the main summer getaway for most Ukrainians (getting a train ticket in the summer season might be a challenge, I’m speaking from my experience) – that’s how Odessa is. Not only it has sandy beaches where you can relax all days long (renting a sun bed with an umbrella was 3€ in summer 2016!), the sea is warm and inviting too.

But Odessa isn’t only about the seaside! The city has always been an important place, being the main trade center for Russian Empire. The old town of Odessa is really splendid, with parallel streets, hidden in the shadow of the rows of trees. The stunning Opera House, second biggest in the world after La Scala in Milan, will take your breath away – it did the trick for me every time! But the key to really get to know Odessa and fall for it is to peek into the yards – that’s a completely different and unique universe!


Read more on Odessa:

When it comes to the accommodation in Odessa it depends what you’re interested in. If you’re after relaxing at the beach then part of the town called Arkadia would be the best for you but if you’re into sightseeing then the center – area between the train station and the harbour – is where you should stay! Click here to check out the best deals on accommodation in Odessa!


Kamianets Podilskyi – more than just a grand castle

The reason why most people come to visit Kamianets Podilskyi is the incredible fortress, a silent witness of many wars, guarding the city. And it is truly spectacular and will be the highlight of everyone’s time in the city. But, to my great surprise, the city was so much more than just the fortress. The old town is compact but really lovely, with beautiful houses and cobbled lanes. What I liked the most, however, was a really good street art scene with numerous murals showing the history of the city. Such a pleasant place to spend at least a day at!


Read more on Kamianets Podilskyi: Kamianets Podilskyi – an underrated gem of Ukraine

In Kamianets Podilskyi try to stay in the part close to the fortress, in kind of the peninsula surrounded by Smotrych river. The majority of the attractions are there! Click here to check out the best deals on accommodation in Kamianets Podilskyi!


Chernivtsi – the hidden gem of Ukraine

Chernivtsi was my biggest travel discovery in 2015 and until now it’s very high on my list. The city is such a gem, with stunning architecture, multicultural history, amazing cafes and this indescribable Central European vibe that makes you fall for the city right away. The university building, listed on UNESCO World Heritage Site, could easily play in one of the Harry Potter movies.

Chernivtsi is often referred to as Little Vienna or Little Paris and I can see why – it’s simply amazing and just the prettiest! If I had to choose a city to go for a week or so just to relax and catch up on writing Chernivtsi would be one of my top choices! Being there is a pure pleasure!


Read more on Chernivtsi: Stunning Chernivtsi, Ukraine – my best discovery in 2015

If you decide to go to Chernivtsi (highly recommended!!) stay in the center – you will be within walking distance to all the attractions! Click here to check the best deals on accommodation in Chernivtsi!


Carpathian mountains

Ukraine has only a rather small part of Carpathian mountains that cross Central Europe, from Serbia all the way to Austria. Still this area looks the prettiest and so idyllic with lush forests and hills and small villages where the time has stopped.

Carpathians might be an interesting place to visit for any railways lovers like myself – the railway line that goes through the mountains back in the times when it was built (19th century) was the most modern one and engineers working on the rail lines in the Alps pattern their projects on Carpathian solutions. These days unfortunately parts of the line is gone but you can still admire the viaducts and tunnels used to the present time. Best place to do so is start in Yaremche and travel south from there, towards the border with Romania. In Yaremche itself you can walk on the railway viaduct above the Prut river – the views from up there are really wonderful!

Lviv – one of the most beautiful cities in Europe

Ah, Lviv is just too beautiful to be true! It is the best example of what Central Europe has to offer (and why I love it so much). Every time when I’m there I feel like I’m stepping on some kind of the movie set because it feels impossible for the city to be that incredible.

Lviv is one of the most important culture centers in Ukraine (when you’re there go to the opera, you’re in for a treat!) but for me the best thing about Lviv is a spectacular cafe culture, one of the best I’ve ever experienced! In the summer time the whole old town fills up with outdoor tables and the buzz of conversations or live music hover around the beautiful houses until late night hours.

Still it is worth to go inside most of these cafes – in Lviv I’ve found some of the most unusual places: sadomasochism cafe, a place where you get your drinks in a measuring cylinder and when you get the bill the case explodes or a pub with a car on the rooftop.

A week wouldn’t be enough to experience all that Lviv has to offer!


Read more on Lviv:

In Lviv there is no better place to stay than Hotel George. It’s the oldest hotel in Lviv, still having the charm of old days when most important people in the world stayed there. The location is perfect and it’s much more affordable than you think! Since my first visit I’m not staying anywhere else in Lviv! Click here to check out prices and more details about Hotel George!

Lviv is often the first place travelers visit in Ukraine and that’s not surprising as the city is very accessible. If you are planning to get from Krakow to Lviv I wrote the complete guide how to do it smoothly.



There are only 6 places on this list but they are best of the best in Ukraine! I’m already thinking of my next visit there as I still would love to discover Kharkiv, Dnipro or Uzhorod, just to name few places. And I so can’t wait to go back to Ukraine and see them all!


PLAN YOUR TRIP TO UKRAINE

With over 15 years of independent travelling I’ve learnt which websites and services are the best when planning a trip. I always use and trust following websites:

Flights – I search for the best deals on either Momondo or SkyScanner. Both search numerous sites to find the best offers. I also really like the “everywhere” option when searching for the flights as it often gives me the inspiration, if not for this trip then for the next time.

Accommodation – I always book my accommodation thgrough Booking.com. They have really good deals (especially with their “Genius” program that you become a member of after few reservations) and in most of the cases, if you plans change, you can cancel the reservation without any extra costs. I also value them for a really good customer service that I had to use few times. Check the best deals on accommodation in Ukraine here.

Insurance – I never travel without the insurance as you never know what might happen on the road (I’ve learnt my lesson). I can recommend World Nomads that offer the insurance dedicated to travelers just like you and me. Check the insurance options for your trip here!

Guide books – I do like reading a guide book before and during the trip. Depending on the destination I usually buy either Lonely Planet or Bradt. You can get your guidebooks for Ukraine here: Bradt and Lonely Planet. If you are looking for a good guide book about Ukraine that would help you prepare for the trip a fellow blogger and an Ukraine native Lena wrote “Insane Ukraine: Your Guide to Hassle-Free Travel” – click here to get your copy!

Day tours in Ukraine – I do go for a day trips when I travel as often they are the most convenient way to see the place that save you time and money. Click here to see and book the best day tours in Ukraine!


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51 Comments

  • Reply
    Alessandro Paiva
    14/10/2016 at 01:25

    Can’t wait to be there :-)

  • Reply
    Jasilyn
    14/10/2016 at 06:00

    I’d love to visit Ukraine! Unfortunately, my Russian boyfriend doesn’t think he’ll be able to go as a single man, so I’m trying to convince myself to go alone :)

    • Reply
      kami
      17/10/2016 at 19:51

      Yes, I’m afraid he might have problems, unfortunately. But you definitely should go on your own! There is nothing to worry about!

  • Reply
    Anita
    14/10/2016 at 10:00

    My favorite place in Ukraine is Cerna Hora Moutains with totally virgin paths and amazing views. It used to border with Poland before so if possible to still see the signs. There are also ruins of polish astronomical abservatory on the top of the moutain. I hardly recommend!

    • Reply
      kami
      17/10/2016 at 19:54

      That sounds super interesting! I still need to properly explore Ukrainian mountains and I’m adding this place to my list. Thank you for letting me know!

  • Reply
    Szymon Król
    14/10/2016 at 10:18

    przez Czerniowce i Odessę tylko przejeżdżałem, w reszcie miejsc byłem… i tak – Kijów mnie nie zachwycił, Lwów, Kamieniec Podolski i Karpaty uwielbiam <3 fajna jest też środkowa Ukraina

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      17/10/2016 at 20:48

      Kijów też daje radę, zdecydowanie powinieneś dać mu drugą szansę!

  • Reply
    Marta Knasiecka
    14/10/2016 at 10:28

    Przecierasz mi szlaki :) Najpierw Iran, teraz Ukraina…

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      17/10/2016 at 20:45

      ciekawe co będzie następne ;)

  • Reply
    Kornelia S-p
    14/10/2016 at 14:13

    No to została tylko Odessa i góry ;)

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      17/10/2016 at 20:45

      Odessa fantastyczna, polecam!

  • Reply
    Marcin Wesołowski
    14/10/2016 at 17:00

    Zimowe zdjęcie ze Lwowa! <3

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      17/10/2016 at 20:45

      zima jak z bajki mi się trafiła!

  • Reply
    Monika Zarach
    14/10/2016 at 17:59

    Nie byliśmy, ale jesteśmy ciekawi :)

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      17/10/2016 at 20:46

      zdecydowanie trzeba nadrobić

  • Reply
    Piotrek Michalski
    14/10/2016 at 19:16

    Jadę niedługo do Kijowa, również uważam Ukraine za bezpieczne miejsce :)

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      17/10/2016 at 20:46

      Kijów to zawsze dobry pomysł!

  • Reply
    Jak tam jest?
    15/10/2016 at 18:34

    Jesteśmy świeżo po Ukrainie i jesteśmy zakochani!!!!

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      17/10/2016 at 20:46

      rozumiem doskonale!

  • Reply
    Kami and the rest of the world
    17/10/2016 at 20:44

    Alessandro I’m sure you will enjoy it!

  • Reply
    Alessandro Paiva
    18/10/2016 at 01:38

    Thanks, Kami and the rest of the world! We were a little concerned about our trip to Ukraine, but your blog gave us very motivating informations.

  • Reply
    Alexandra
    24/10/2016 at 16:16

    Loved your article. I agree that Lviv is a must see. I spent three months there but wish I could go back. Kiev is possibly my favourite city of all. But Odessa did not float my boat at all. The beaches are overcrowded, the water is full of seaweed and there are way more people trying to cheat and rob you than anywhere else in Ukraine.

    • Reply
      kami
      24/10/2016 at 22:22

      Thank you! Lviv is incredible indeed and I adore Kiev too. I’ve been twice to Odessa and didn’t have any problems at all so I guess it all depends on your luck, like everywhere else. I kind of loved it there, especially the old part of the city

  • Reply
    Carrick | Along for the Trip
    24/10/2016 at 20:23

    Kami,

    I have not read much on travelling to Ukraine, so this is a great overview. Thanks for putting it together. From the architecture to the beaches, it looks like such a great country. Safe travels!

    -Carrick

    • Reply
      kami
      24/10/2016 at 22:22

      Thank you Carrick! Happy travels!

  • Reply
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    01/11/2016 at 20:31

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  • Reply
    Ele
    02/11/2016 at 11:30

    I spent a week in Lviv and now want to come back to Zacarpaths next year for the nature and wooden churches. Ukraine is such a vast tourism pearl.

    • Reply
      kami
      04/11/2016 at 22:44

      You will love Carphatian Mountains for sure, it’s such a beautiful place! There’s just so much to see in Ukraine!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    What to Do when You Visit Lviv, Ukraine’s Secret Gem
    08/11/2016 at 10:59

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    01/12/2016 at 15:02

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  • Reply
    Frank
    05/12/2016 at 15:36

    Happy to come across your blog. We’re full-time slow travellers and will be in the Ukraine for the first time this spring. We’ll be starting with a month in Lviv, so I’m happy to hear you say it’s such a great place. I’ll make sure to read some of your other posts, you’ve got some good info (We’ll also be going to Poland – our first time there as well)

    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Reply
      kami
      08/12/2016 at 10:03

      I’m sure you will love Lviv, it is amazing! I’m going there again in February so will have even more recommendations here! And if you need any help with Poland (or Eastern Europe in general) feel free to email me!

      • Reply
        Frank
        14/12/2016 at 18:35

        Thank you Kami.

  • Reply
    One Million Golden Onion Domes: The Churches of Kiev - Erika's Travels
    17/12/2016 at 13:19

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  • Reply
    Gregorio
    20/01/2017 at 05:35

    Thanks for the insightful info. Is English spoken by enough folks to get by? I am a single male 54 and wondering if there would be any concerns about not taking the time to learn the language. Are seasoned travelers flying solo as well received? I wonder because going solo is an easier opportunity to meet folks but this is much easier for someone in their 20”s/30’s.

    • Reply
      kami
      28/01/2017 at 22:12

      It depends where you go – Kiev and Lviv should be fine but I’m not that sure about other cities, I always use mix of Polish and my basic Russian when I’m there. I did numerous solo travels in Ukraine and always was fine. If you’re not so confident with solo travels in Ukraine my friends at JC Travel offer tours – I’m sure going with them would be a good option too!

  • Reply
    Andy
    10/03/2017 at 12:18

    Good Article. Agree on Kiev, Lviv, Carpathian Mountains and Odessa. I would recommend one of the Chernobyl Tours too. It was a very surreal experience! Have you been to Lutsk, Dnipro or Kharkiv? These are some other places I intend to visit next time (along with Chernivtsi, which you have sold me on)

    • Reply
      kami
      23/03/2017 at 10:19

      I’m hoping to go to Chernobyl, Dnipro and Kharkiv in August as all of these are very high on my bucket list!

  • Reply
    Bastan
    21/07/2017 at 18:28

    You should see Chernihiv….

    • Reply
      kami
      21/08/2017 at 20:36

      it’s been on my list for years! Hopefully I will make it there soon!

  • Reply
    bennaceur mohammed
    29/08/2017 at 09:39

    Hello I want to visit Ukraine and I do not know what the documentary

    • Reply
      kami
      05/10/2017 at 12:52

      it’s the best to check with your embassy, they should have to most accurate information. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Michael
    11/01/2018 at 17:22

    Kiev is not only the most beautiful city in Ukraine, it is one of the most beautiful in Europe.

    However, I’m surprised you did not mention Vinnytsya. That is also an incredible place to visit.

    • Reply
      kami
      29/03/2018 at 19:57

      I haven’t been to Vinnytsya yet but I’ve heard so many good things about it. The city is in my plan for this year – then I’ll probably include it in this list. Ukraine has so much to offer!

  • Reply
    Laurie mateyko
    27/03/2018 at 21:58

    Thank you so much for this! I am ukrainian and I have been dreaming of a visit there. I have an 8 year old son, is it safe to travel with children through the Ukraine? I would love for him to experience his ancestry.

    • Reply
      kami
      29/03/2018 at 19:58

      Hi Laurie! Yes, it is perfectly safe to travel with children in Ukraine. I think you should definitely go there with your son, you will both love it there!

  • Reply
    FLIGHTTU
    06/07/2018 at 14:24

    Loved your article. Ukraine has never been on my radar as a travel destination but this post has certainly seen to that…!!! Great collection of interesting looking places.

    • Reply
      kami
      09/07/2018 at 19:22

      Thank you! Ukraine is one of the most interesting and budget-friendly countries in Europe so you definitely should go there! So many places to see, so many things to do! :)

  • Reply
    Yura
    20/09/2018 at 18:27

    you know our country have realy not tolerant people, because we have many from this people who dont wanna do anything and take much, much money. It is so worth. You realy didnt see all hidden trouble of Ukraine.

    • Reply
      kami
      19/10/2018 at 08:59

      Every country has its issues that travellers can’t really see. I know a lot about social problems in Ukraine but that’s not what the travel blog should be about.

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