Ukraine is probably not included in the top 10 list of countries most travelers wish to visit in Europe. But it should be. More than ever, now is the best time to visit this Eastern European destination and for many reasons.
First, know that it is completely safe to travel here and you will be very glad that you did so. It has a rich culture and colorful history, a vibrant artistic vein and tremendous wonders of architecture, and the food is delicious and very cheap.
In general, Ukraine is an affordable country – possibly the best reason why you should visit. In fact, the capital Kiev is considered as one of the cheapest among the European capitals. Accommodation, transportation, sightseeing, food, and drinks are all budget-friendly, and you get so much out of your experience. What more can you ask for?
The next time you are in Europe, be a little more adventurous with your choice of destination. Pick Ukraine and let it surprise you. There is much to learn and fall in love with, especially if you are curious. You can start with the seven below and have a grand time!
1. Be charmed by Odessa.
Located in the South of Ukraine, Odessa is a charming city that offers many pleasures no matter the season. The most popular time to visit is during the summer where people enjoy the sun and the Black Sea. The sandy beaches can get crowded, but it only tells you that this is the place to be!
During the fall, see the French Boulevard covered with rustling yellow leaves. Pick a cozy bench and just watch the world go by! Meanwhile, winter is the best time to visit art galleries and in spring, walk along Primorsky Boulevard under the shady trees.
Other popular attractions in Odessa include The Potemkin Stairs, Odessa National Opera and Ballet Theater, Deribasivska Street, and Privoz Market.
2. Relive the exciting days of the Cossack!
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Zaporozhia is the historical and cultural complex of Zaporizhian Sich. This is a reconstruction of an old Cossack settlement. There are farm buildings, churches, and houses built in the old way typical of Cossack.
The Zaporozhian Cossacks lived in Central Ukraine during the 15th century. They are an interesting group of people!
When you visit, make sure you see the equestrian show. It presents how the Cossacks prepared to fight in the old days. The riding duels and melee combats are fascinating. The performers wear Cossack traditional costumes and do all of the sword skills while riding horses. It is simply incredible!
3. Buy original vodka!
The distillery is located in Zaporozhe near Khortytsa Island, a sacred place in Ukraine and the heart of Ukrainian national pride. It fits the facility as the vodka here is one of the finest in the world – the third largest international selling global vodka brand at 6.4 million cases. That is a lot of vodkas!
Also, during the 2014 New York International Spirits Competition, Khortytsa Distillery was awarded as one of the world’s best distilleries. Only 19 distilleries in the world received this honor so if you are drinking vodka, might as well get the best in Ukraine!
4. Sample delicious local cuisine.
There is a lot to love when it comes to food in Ukraine. Not only is the local cuisine delicious, but it is also very affordable. Certainly, you can stuff yourself with a dizzying array of yummy food at the best value! Who does not like that?
Try the stuffed dumplings called varenyky and challenge your love of the usual Chinese dumplings. These are filled with wild mushrooms, curds, potatoes, pickled cabbage, meat, or fruit. Borsch is another staple. It is a thick beetroot soup served with sour cream.
For snacks, head to Kyivska Perepichka near Teatralna Metro Station and grab a perepichka, a delicious sausage in a fried bun. But if you are craving something sweet, there is no better option than the indulgent cinnamon rolls from Bulochnaya Yaroslavna, a bakery located on Yaroslaviv Val Street.
5. Marvel at the City of the Golden Domes – Kiev!
The capital of Ukraine, Kiev boasts magnificent church architecture. There are plenty of medieval frescoes, baroque facades, holy dungeons, and bell towers to explore.
Also, there are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites here: the beautiful Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra monastery complex and the grand Cathedral of St. Sophia.
A definite feast for the eyes, the Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra monastery is the holiest ground in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. Its cluster of gold-domed churches is simply glorious and seeing the underground labyrinths with its mummified monks is an interesting experience.
Meanwhile, St. Sophia’s Cathedral is the oldest standing church in Kiev. Most of it is still original, and while the gold domes and 76 m bell tower are impressive, it is the interior that is most astounding. The details are intricate, and it is just a design marvel.
6. Appreciate art nouveau.
If you love architecture, or simply appreciate beautiful buildings, you will have a great time walking around the eclectic cityscape of Kiev. There is a good mix of interesting buildings here from baroque buildings, Soviet-style apartments, and Art Nouveau palaces, to modern skyscrapers. It is like watching the history of the country in building form!
Wladislaw Horodecki is the father of modern architecture in Ukraine. He built the Neo-Moorish Actor’s House and the House of Chimeras, an iconic Kiev landmark.
The chimera is a mix of exotic animals built on a house in a high cliff. It is best admired at night when the creatures seem to come to life.
7. See the Soviet legacy.
There are gigantic Soviet monuments in Ukraine. The most popular is the Rodina Mat, an enormous memorial that is part of the Museum of the Great Patriotic War.
It towers at 102 m and is an iconic part of the skyline of Kiev. The Soviet monuments are indeed a big part of the colorful history of Ukraine, and it is most enjoyable to see them!
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