Best Places to Visit in Ukraine, Ukraine is a colorful and proud country sitting on the Black Sea, full of jagged beaches, wild woodland, and steep mountain plains, yet it receives far fewer tourists than other regions of Europe.
Ukraine has ski resorts, contemporary cities, and traditional villages for tourists to explore, many of which are home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and other well-preserved historical treasures that speak to the country’s rich folk traditions and broad cultural influences.
Join us on a quick tour of the biggest attractions in Ukraine, where we’ll cover everything from mummies to mammoths.
Best Places to Visit in Ukraine
Zhovkva, a city in western Ukraine that dates back to the 16th century and is home to the landmark Church of Saint Lawrence with its distinctive dome, is a great destination for history buffs.
Other notable ancient structures include the reconstructed Zhovkva Castle, which now serves as a cultural center for individuals interested in learning about the history and culture of this region of Ukraine, and the wooden Holy Trinity Church, which was only recently recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Yalta, a city on the coast of the Black Sea, is one of the Crimean regions. Guests may enjoy the sights of the Crimean Peninsula from the long coastal promenade, which also features a zoo and an aquarium with dolphins. Take a cable car journey up neighboring Darsan Hill for even more spectacular vistas, and don’t miss the breathtaking Froros Church, perched 400 meters above sea level on a coastal cliff. Anton Chekhov is only one of many notable people who have made Yalta their home throughout the years; his former residence is now a museum open to the public.
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Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, is well renowned for its multicultural population, fascinating modern architecture, and warm hospitality. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it joins the Kyiv Caves Monastery and the Saint Sophia Cathedral, both of which are operational and open to tourists. If you’re interested in Kyiv’s history or culture, you may visit one of the city’s many museums, or you can catch a play at a smaller venue, such as the world-famous Puppet Theatre. Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine, but it is also a very green city with not one but two botanical gardens where you can take a leisurely stroll in the afternoons under the city’s famous horse chestnut trees.
Those with a penchant for snow should definitely make the trip to Slavske, which is located to the southwest of Lviv and is famous as a ski resort. The principal slopes, ski lifts, and cable cars are all open for the season, which typically runs from late November to early March. If you happen to be in Slavske during the warmer months, you can spend your time fishing in one of the many local lakes, or harvesting berries and mushrooms from the abundant local vegetation. Hiking routes, horseback rides, and mountain bike tours offer visitors an opportunity to see the landscape from a different angle if they so choose to continue their explorations.
Zaporizhia, located on the Dnieper River, is widely renowned for its picturesque islands, the largest of which is Khortytsia, which serves as the city’s geographic and cultural focal point. The island is a national park, and it has beautifully difficult topography, including wild ravines and a lot of hiking paths. Being an island, there are opportunities for water sports like swimming and boating, as well as quiet stretches of sand for lounging. There is also a military museum on the island, which showcases artillery and historical recreations of notable battles. The Rock of the Fool and Pillar Island are two further nearby islets in the Zaporizhia area.
Vinnytsia is located on the Southern Bug, the second longest river in Ukraine despite its humorous moniker. The city’s charming atmosphere makes it perfect for leisurely strolls through its picturesque downtown. The strong walls that formerly protected a Jesuit monastery are now home to the Museum of Local History, where curious visitors can find out more about the various artifacts on display from the area’s past. They claim to have a skeleton of a mammoth that is older than 30,000 years.
Odesa, Ukraine, is the third-largest city in the country and a port city on the beaches of the fabled Black Sea. Although it is mostly known as a commercial hub, Odesa’s Lanzheron Beach is a popular destination for tourists due to its soft sand, pleasant climate, and clear water. Odesa, also known as the “Pearl of the Black Sea,” is a major city that manages to feel cozy thanks to its design, which features winding alleys and hidden courtyards that lead to charming homes in soft pastel hues. The City Gardens and the Odesa Opera House and Theater District are two of the city’s many green spaces, and the city’s majestic stairway that connects the city center to the beachfront is another major draw.
A memorable fight between the Cossacks and the Russian Tsar Peter I in the 18th century gave Poltava, located on the Vorskala River, a rich military history, and now visitors flock to see the remnants of that conflict. The Poltava Battlefield’s intact section, the Column of Glory, and October Park are all examples. Poltava is well-known for its impressive major cathedral, the Assumption Cathedral, and its belfry, as well as its museums, several of which are devoted to military history. Poltava, the site of such a turning point in history, has since been transformed into a peaceful cultural center with numerous orchestras, theaters, and museums.
Myrhorod, located on the Khorol River, is primarily a spa town, made famous for the mineral characteristics of its subterranean springs. Visitors can drink the slightly salty water to help with digestion, or they can relax in one of several natural hot springs. You can get a boat or pedalo from the Khorol River if you don’t want to go swimming, and Myrhorod has a variety of oddities to view, like a giant lit windmill and a musical fountain. The city’s woods are also well-known, and they can be explored by horse-drawn carriage for an extra dose of romance.
Chernihiv, Ukraine, is a historic city that has been around since the 7th century and is conveniently located on the banks of the Desna River, making a trip there feel like a step back in time. Catherine’s Church, with its distinctive golden domes, is one of the most magnificent structures in the country. In addition to the beautiful architecture of the city’s many churches, the city’s central Red Square is home to the notable Pyatnytska Church.
Chernivtsi, a city at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, is most well-known for its UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Byzantine and Romanesque complex that was formerly home to the city’s high priests and is now the site of the National University. Chernivtsi has been called “Little Vienna” for its resemblance to Vienna’s architecture, and its residents often highlight the city’s laid-back vibe, its many cafes, and the many bookshops and book stalls that they say are representative of the intellectual and artistic spirit of the place.
The historic cave monastery constructed by Orthodox monks under the leadership of Saint Anthony of Kiev may be found in the village of Bakota in the Podillia Region. Visitors to the 12th-century cave monastery can see well-preserved frescoes and paintings, as well as the skeletal remains of the cave’s former monks. Bakota’s rural setting and rugged hills on the Dniester River’s attractive beaches have made it a member of the National Environmental Park in recent years. Walking tours of the town and surrounding area allow sightseers to take in the region’s beautiful native flora and animals.
Uzhhorod, located in western Ukraine close to the Slovakian and Hungarian borders, is a thriving metropolis with a sizable Hungarian and Romanian population that gives it a multicultural flavor. The beautiful Uzhhorod Castle, built in the 9th century, and the Greek-Catholic Cathedral, built in the 17th, are well worth a visit. For a taste of the local fare, visit one of the city’s renowned wine cellars or indulge in some bogrács, a Hungarian-style goulash.
Kamyanets-Podilskyi, located in western Ukraine, has a rich immigrant past that can be seen in the city’s architecture and culture, including the survival of Armenian and Polish marketplaces. Located on the Smotrych River, the city offers a wide variety of outdoor pursuits and is teeming with historic landmarks including its castle, cathedral, and crumbling defenses. Some examples are going on a balloon ride over the Smotrych Canyon or racing in a Formula One car. Stara Fortetsya, an ancient city fortress, can be found on the other bank of the Smotrych River, and its well-preserved ruins are a sight to behold.
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Many of the monuments and historical structures in Lviv’s historic center date back to the 13th century, making it easy to see why UNESCO designated this area as a World Heritage Site. Besides its rich historical heritage, Lviv is also well-known as a cultural center of Ukraine, with numerous art galleries including the Lviv National Art Gallery, which is believed to house more than 50,000 works of art. Lviv is also well-known for its exquisite opera and ballet performances, given by highly educated artists.