• 29 November 2019

Located on the Black Sea, full of rugged coastlines, natural lakes, and untamed forests lies Ukraine. It’s a country full of modern cities and traditional villages, where old meets new and the culture of the country runs deep. 

Ukraine is possibly one of the most overlooked countries in Europe. Although it might stay under the radar when it comes to Eastern European travel, this just makes visiting Ukraine even more of a hidden gem and a true travel treasure. From powerful architecture to sandy beaches and lush vegetation, Ukraine has it all. 

The Southern Bridge across the Dnieper in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine
The Southern Bridge across the Dnieper in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine

Here are the top must-see Ukraine tourist attractions, and the charming cities you’ll find them in:

1. Kiev

Kiev is the incredible capital of Ukraine. With medieval monuments and mighty Soviet-style architecture, it’s the grand getaway to Eastern Europe. 

Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra is a historic Orthodox Christian Monastery with a rich cultural background. The monastery was built in 1051 and is one of the most magnificent places to visit in Ukraine. Inside the stone fortification walls, there are numerous monuments, from bell towers to cathedrals to cave systems. 

St.Sophia’s Cathedral is another popular place to visit in Ukraine. The construction of the building started sometime in the 11th-century and amazingly still retains its mosaics and frescoes from its founding – which makes them approximately 1,000 years old. The cathedral complex also includes an ensemble of other structures such as a bell tower and the House of Metropolitan.

Both of these Ukraine attractions are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. They are completely stunning and look like pictures you’d find in a fairytale book. 

Khreshchatyk and Independence square in Kiev
Khreshchatyk and Independence Square in Kiev
2. Odessa 

Odessa is the third-largest city in Ukraine and a major port on the mythical Black Sea. Although a large city, its layout gives it an intimate feel, with narrow winding roads and plenty of secluded squares. Visitors travel to Odessa for the sandy beaches, attractive weather, and sparkling warm waters.

Potemkin Stairs is one of the top tourist attractions in Ukraine, and Odessa’s big claim to fame. This mighty stairway leads from the centre of town right to the beachfront.

Another top Ukraine attraction found in Odessa is the Odessa Opera House, which is the second-largest theatre in the world. 

Potemkin stairs in the evening
Potemkin stairs in the evening
3. Kamianets Podilskyi

Kamianets Podilskyi is located in western Ukraine. This quaint city has a well-preserved Old Town, filled with beautiful houses, cobbled streets, and street murals portraying the history of the city.

Nestled in the Ukrainian countryside, just outside of the city, you’ll find the city’s main draw. The Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle is a medieval fortress that dates back to the 14th-century. It features 7 of its 12 original fortification towers and is one of the most spectacular fortifications in Europe.

The castle is open for visitors to tour, either on their own or with a guide. It’s a beautifully maintained piece of the past and one of the most historical places to visit in Ukraine.

Kamianets Podilskyi medieval castle in Ukraine
Kamianets Podilskyi medieval castle in Ukraine
4. Uman

Uman is a central city in Ukraine. The main draw for tourists is the picturesque Sofiyivka Park, which is both a botanical garden and a scientific research centre.

Although the scenery is beautiful year-round, in autumn it’s especially breathtaking. When the leaves change colours and the warm fall hues cover the lush landscape, Uman is one of those scenic places in Ukraine that will make you feel as if you’ve fallen into a fairytale. 

Famous Sofiyivka (Sophia) park in Uman
Famous Sofiyivka (Sophia) park in Uman
5. Chernivtsi

Located in western Ukraine, Chernivtsi contains all the hallmarks of an elegant European city. With striking architecture, a multicultural history, and an incredible café scene, visiting the city is pure pleasure! 

Chernivtsi National University is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is an enchanting building in every sense of the word. 

The city has an indescribable Central European vibe. You could spend your whole Ukraine vacation simply wandering the streets, café hopping and admiring the natural beauty that surrounds you.  

Chernivtsi National University in Ukraine
Chernivtsi National University in  Chernivtsi, Ukraine
6. Carpathian Mountains

Ukraine contains a small portion of the Carpathian Mountains that span Central Europe. When you visit this area it is as if time has stopped. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Ukraine in terms of unspoiled scenery, full of lush woodlands, small villages, and pine infused open air.

Bukovel is a large ski resort that contains an abundance of winter recreation activities. This extensive resort also has many accommodation options, entertainment options, and health facilities. Visit Ukraine during winter and experience this magical winter wonderland for yourself!  

The famous blue ice appears in a frozen lake in the Carpathian Mountains
The famous blue ice appears in a frozen lake in the Carpathian Mountains
7. Lviv

Lviv is one of the most important cultural centres in Ukraine. Travellers gravitate here to visit the city’s UNESCO-protected Old Town. The architecture is more western-influenced than any other city in Ukraine, which is especially seen in the tall mellow hued buildings that surround Rynok Square. The best words to describe it are colourful, quirky and quaint. 

This historic city centre is one of the best places to visit in Ukraine to soak in the local food culture. It offers a wide range of restaurants, cafés, all with an ultra-relaxed ambience. Travel among the cobblestone roads and Renaissance-era buildings to delight in this old world charm.

The historical Old Town of Lviv
The historic Old Town of Lviv
8. Mukachevo 

Located in the western Ukrainian province of Zakarpattia, Mukachevo is your typical Ukrainian city, full of colourful churches and notable architecture.

Palanok Castle is a highlight of Ukrainian tourism. This 10th-century fortress is delicately preserved and divided into three buildings: the upper castle, middle castle, and lower castle. It also contains a historical museum and an art gallery. 

It was built on a 65-metre hill and offers astonishing panoramic views of Mukachevo city.

Palanok Castle in Mukachevo, Ukraine
Palanok Castle in Mukachevo, Ukraine

Ukraine offers a host of activities and is a must-see country in Eastern Europe that should be on everyone’s bucket list.

From quaint cities filled with unique European architecture to untamed scenic beauty, tourism has so much to offer in this remarkable country, making a tour in Ukraine a must. At the dawn of each season, the landscape transforms to welcome the raw beauty of nature. Ukraine is a rare find, and there’s never a bad time to visit.

Bringing it full circle is the fact that it’s an extremely budget-friendly travel destination. It’s the best example of just what Eastern Europe has to offer.

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