Ukraine—Top Attractions & Things to Do in Ukraine
Did you know that Ukraine is the largest country in Europe? It is one of the most beautiful, versatile, and vast countries with its territory stretching over 603,628 sq km of land. The stunning Black Sea is washing Ukraine’s Southern shore with thousands of tourists visiting Ukraine and its beaches every year. No matter what type of holiday you are used to, Ukraine has all of it to offer— breathtaking Carpathian mountains on the West, picturesque, green forests in the North, mesmerizing Black Sea in the South, and rich with natural resources in the, unfortunately troubled, Eastern area.
In The Article "About Ukraine—Things to Do and Places Must See in Ukraine"
- Ukraine — Country of Beauty and Prosperity
- Prices in Ukraine
- Entering Ukraine During Covid-19
- Transportation in Ukraine
- Major Cities of Ukraine
- Traditions of Ukraine
- Ukrainian Cuisine
- TOP Attractions and Places Must See
Ukraine has 24 counties that all have something special to offer to visitors and tourists alike. While traveling through Ukraine and visiting different cities and villages you will be pleasantly surprised by the variety of different traditions, cuisines, and cultural places to visit. But the most important treasure of Ukraine is its people — welcoming, friendly, kind, sincere, and wearing their hearts on their sleeves — many are willing to help when needed through offering support and assistance. The English language is quite popular in Ukraine and is widely used, especially by the younger generations of this impressive country. Despite its vastness you will never feel lost in Ukraine - its people will be there to guide you and help you on your journey. No visitor would go hungry in Ukraine and no matter which doorstep you find yourself on during your journey, you will be offered a lovely spread of food to make sure that you, the guest, are well looked after and feels welcome.
As with any country you may visit Ukrainian prices may differ from what you are used to. The current exchange rate is around 37 Hryvnia to £1 and $1 (US) is equal to around 27 Hryvnia. This can vary on a regular basis so ensure you check before you fly! Here we list some of the average prices for some of those things you may want to get while you are there!
— Fancy a beer? Ukraine has its own domestic beers which will cost, on average, 30 Hryvnia a pint (81p or $1.12). If you are looking for an imported beer that you are already used to you will pay a little extra but on average this will cost you 44 Hryvnia per 330ml bottle (£1.19 or $1.65). Whichever you choose you are sure to find a beer you will love for the best-rated price in Europe!
— There will come a time when you are tired from taking in the wonderful sights of the Ukrainian cities and need a coffee to recharge. The average price of a Ukrainians favorite coffee, cappuccino, is 33 Hryvnia (89p or $1.24). These prices cannot be ignored and you are sure to find your necessary liquid fuel at a price that suits everyone!
— Anyone traveling in the summer will tell you that one thing, and one thing only, is needed on a hot day….ice cream. The locals will tell you that a decent price for good ice cream is around 100 Hryvnia (£2.70 or $3.74). Cool yourself down with a sweet treat for a reasonable price!
— Do need some water to quench your thirst as you drink in the Ukrainian culture? A 1.5-liter bottle can cost you as little as 13 Hryvnia (35p or $0.49). Feel safe in the knowledge you can keep hydrated for very little money!
— Visiting Ukraine with a loved one? Met a special someone during your visit? Why not go out for a lovely meal at a local restaurant. A three-course meal will cost, on average, 600 Hryvnia (£16 or $22) for both of you. Such incredible prices coupled with Ukraine’s many delicious dishes will have you popping into every restaurant you pass!
In short, the prices for tourists visiting Ukraine are fantastic and you will certainly have enough money to explore Ukraine no matter what your budget!
Despite Ukraine’s vast land size and growing population, it has been relatively lucky in terms of Covid-19. They are one of the very few countries to have never entered the ‘Red Zone’ making it a very safe place to visit. If you are double vaccinated you can travel to Ukraine with no stress as long as you provide proof of your vaccinations. If not, it would be wise to take a test up to 48 hours before your arrivals and provide proof of a negative result. You may also be asked to do a test on arrival which provides quick results (within half an hour). Many restrictions in Ukraine have been lifted but some places may still have restricted measures in place so ensure you check before you visit restaurants, shopping areas, or entertainment venues. It is advised that you keep a face covering with you at all times just as a precaution so that you have access to one if needed. You will find lots of sanitizing stations at the entrance and exits of most public places and staff are expected to sanitize themselves regularly. You can travel to Ukraine and rest assured that you will be as safe as possible.
There is an extensive number of flights coming to Ukraine from all over the world. It is not hard to find the one that suits you and will bring you to major Ukrainian cities in a matter of hours. Flight prices are moderate and some airlines offer discounts, promotions, and cheap prices on particular dates for visiting Ukraine quite regularly. One quick internet search will show you how easy it is to travel to Ukraine at any time of the year. Booking in advance is always recommended around Christmas and summer holidays time as flights to this beautiful country fill up fast. If you choose to fly with UIA (Ukraine International Airlines) you will be pleasantly surprised by the lovely food served on board. Ukraine International Airlines will give you a taste of Ukraine before you even arrive. Many people find air travel to be the safest, fastest, and most convenient way of getting to their destination.
So, which is the best way to travel once in Ukraine?
- One of the most reliable, convenient, and affordable ways to journey between major cities while also taking in the beautiful countryside is via Ukrainian Railways. InterCity routes offer unmatched comfort combined with an impressive speed and will deliver you to your places of interest in more than half the time of a regular train. To travel by train in Ukraine is an experience of its own. You can choose to travel in a compartment with comfy beds which makes overnight travel more relaxed and pleasant. Visiting a restaurant carriage will make your travel hassle-free with plenty of drinks and snacks on offer to you during your time on the train. There are also ‘regular’ seats available, even on longer journeys, if you prefer to enjoy your journey while sitting at the table.
- If you prefer a different way of traveling you are welcome to try Intercity coaches which are fast, including all the facilities you could require and are well-priced. Such coaches have televisions, air conditioning, and comfortable seats/beds.
- Taxis are another popular way to travel in Ukraine whether you want to travel around the city or venture further. While they may be a bit more expensive than other forms of transport, they are quicker and more direct which makes your journeys less stressful.
- In some of the bigger cities such as Kyiv, you can always hop on a subway and, for a small price, be delivered to your destination in a matter of minutes.
- There are also many privately run minibusses (marshrutkas) that have particular routes. Payments can be made to the driver and no ticket is given but you simply take a seat and have to call your stop on approaching. This way of transportation is really more recommended to local people as they know their routes of travel.
Ukraine has many wonderful, interesting cities that you should visit when you travel to Ukraine.
- ⏩ One of the biggest and brightest cities and the capital of Ukraine — is Kyiv. This majestic, historical city has so much to offer — its history is deep and its traditions are pure. Kyiv (Kiev) is famous for its Cathedrals, churches, museums, and art galleries. The city stands on the river Dnieper which runs for 951 km from its mouth in the Black sea. Kyiv has a continental climate with average temperatures of -6° in January and 20˚ in July. The city is 300 square miles and is divided into a number of administrative wards.
Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves) was founded in the 11th century and is one of the most important and famous monasteries in the history of this region. The cultural life of Kyiv (Kiev) is rich with its National Opera House, the Theatre of Taras Shevchenko and Ivan Franko, film production studios, the National Music Academy, and the National Palace of Art.
Kyiv is also popular for its nightlife and a vast variety of nightclubs (such as Caribbean Club, Pink Freud, Indigo, Skybar, etc), restaurants, and cafes. Once you have visited Kyiv (Kiev) you will never forget it and will want to have many happy returns.
- ⏩ Another large city — is Lviv and it's situated in the West of Ukraine, a historic center surrounded by many beech forests. The Carpathian mountains also offer visitors plenty of skiing fun and cozy breaks in log cabins.
- ⏩ Odesa (also known as A Pearl by the sea) city has many beaches and is situated by the Black sea. This vibrant city has many parks, places of interest, nightclubs, restaurants, bars, and entertainment centers.
- ⏩ You may have also heard about such cities as Dnipro, Kharkiv, Poltava, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Kryvyi Rih, Rivne, Zaporizhzhia.
Ukraine has very many traditions which play an important role in its culture and society. These traditions don’t die away with years as younger generations accent and embrace them gladly. Most of the Traditions and all Public Holidays you can find in our blog in the article "Ukraine Public Holidays and Observances"
- ✅ The most popular Ukrainian tradition is of course to celebrate Christmas with family and Godparents. And just recently, Ukrainians officially celebrate Christmas twice: December 25th and January 7th. Religion is an important part of many Ukrainians and plays a great role in the upbringing of children and their education. Most of the children in Ukraine get Christened in the church and therefore they gain a set or two of Godparents. Those are usually close friends or sometimes relatives. These people become jointly responsible for their Godchild’s upbringing, education, and life. So every Christmas Eve Godchildren, with their parents, visit their Godparents and sing Christmas carols at the door. They then bring tasty treats to their Godparents to eat. In return, they receive gifts from them and usually stay to share a festive meal together. 12 traditional dishes are served for everyone to enjoy. Christmas is certainly the most magical time of year and this is no different in Ukraine. So if you are lucky enough to visit Ukraine at Christmas you may be able to witness this beautiful tradition if you join a Ukrainian friend. Church services are often a “must” to attend at Christmas as they will give you the perfect insight into how Christmas is celebrated.
- ✅ Another big church celebration in Ukraine is Easter. Unlike many Western countries, Ukraine does not have chocolate eggs as a popular Easter treat. Painting eggs for Easter has a very deep, symbolic meaning as every detail of the pattern usually has its own meaning. Boiled chicken eggs that have been painted for Easter are called Krashenki or Pysanki (painted eggs). Different colors symbolize different things. Red means prosperity and joy. Yellow depicts crops and the warmth of the sun. Green stands for hope. However, not only boiled eggs are popular at Easter. Each household will definitely have famous Easter cakes called Paska to enjoy. These are very similar to Italian Pane-tonne cakes and are filled with dried fruit, raisins and are topped with colorful icing often covered with sprinkles or multicolored sugar. Easter church services are a magical celebration that will leave an unforgettable impression on anyone who witnesses them.
- ✅ A popular Ukrainian custom is Maslenitsa week (Shrove week). The pancake is considered to be a symbol of the sun; round, yellow and hot. When this week comes everyone is saying goodbye to winter and greet the arrival of spring. It is celebrated in the last week before the Great Lent, leading up to Easter. Everyone in Ukraine makes pancakes and shares them with families and friends. A great variety of fillings are used. Some of the most popular pancake fillers are caviar, meats, honey, sweet cottage cheese with raisins, and jams (but not all together!).
- ✅ It is very traditional in Ukraine to wear a particular type of blouse (which could be for men and women) called Vyshyvanka (embroidered shirt). Many people create their own and proudly wear them on national celebrations and holidays. Vyshyvankas are usually white and pure with many colorful and bright patterns and flowers embroidered all over them.
- ✅ The most unusual tradition of Ukraine is to celebrate New Year twice: New Year and Old New Year! According to the old Roman calendar, the New Year would begin on the 13th of January. Although the modern calendar differs, the Ukrainian people are eager to uphold this tradition and celebrate two New Years. Two parties, two celebrations, two reasons to toast…..what’s not to like?!
- ✅ One of the biggest, and proudest, celebrations in Ukraine is Ukrainian Independence day which takes place on 24th August each year. This celebration marks Ukraine gaining independence due to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. While the country suffered hard times immediately after this event it has gone from strength to strength over recent years. The day starts with honourary awards given to outstanding individuals for their achievements during the previous year. These awards are given to people from all walks of life such as doctors, artists, and military personnel. Following this is an awe-inspiring parade that takes place in Kreschatik street which is the main street in the capital Kyiv. Members of the army, navy and air force proudly take part in the parade saluting the President and observers of the parade. After the persons have completed their part of the parade they are followed by an impressive demonstration of Ukraine’s military vehicles and equipment including an incredible air display by the air force. After the parade raucous celebrations break out all over the country with food, music, and activities (for all ages) to enjoy. In the evening a large, free concert takes place in Maydan, Kyiv, with many spectators enjoying the music of popular Ukrainian musicians. Similar events take place in many cities all over the country.
- ✅ You also may hear about St. Nicholas day, Epiphany Traditions, Tatiana Day, Day of Ivana Kupala, Trinity Celebrations, St. Patrick's Day, Women's Day, St. Andrew’s day, St. Catherine's day, Ukrainian Halloween or Veles night, etc.
Ukrainian cuisine is a delicious, fresh, and vibrant combination of freshly grown vegetables, meat from animals allowed the freedom to roam, and unmatched flavors. One of the most popular accompaniments is the versatile sour cream. Below are some of Ukraine’s most popular dishes that will soon have you asking for the recipe!
- Borsch is one of the most popular dishes in Ukraine. The primary ingredient is the beautiful beetroot immersed in stock with other vegetables and succulent, tender beef…finished off with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of parsley. This is not only a feast for the stomach but a feast for the eyes with its vibrant, purple color. Served with a warm, crusty garlic roll it is a must-try dish for anyone visiting Ukraine for the first time. This dish is popular all over the world because of its delicious taste and healthy nature.
- Varenyky are handmade little parcels that will tantalize your taste buds with their delicious fillings. These traditional Ukrainian dumplings are usually served warm, filled with sweet, red cherry’s and covered in sweet cherry syrup. Other sweet fillings will certainly help you with your sweet cravings! Looking for a savory filling? The most popular of these is potato and onion that will certainly fill you up! Other alternatives are the moist cabbage-filled varenyky or those filled with cottage cheese (either sweet or savory!). Varenyky are certainly a popular choice due to their versatile nature.
- Are you looking for something that the locals absolutely adore? Known as a narcotic for their mourish effects that will keep you coming back for more, salo is definitely something you want to sample! Salo is cured pork belly fat. It is either cured with salt or smoked, often tasting like a mild applewood smoked cheddar. Served as a light snack or alongside other dishes salo is always present in the restaurants, and homes, of Ukraine.
These dishes are just a small taste of the delicacies Ukraine has to offer. The foundation of Ukrainian cuisine comes from Ukraine's deep history of traditional cooking mixed with amazing flavors. When you visit you will wish you had more time to try everything!
Being such a vast country Ukraine has many attractions that you definitely want to see. Some of these may not be some of the more ‘common’ places that you would associate with attractions but you will soon see why they are listed here.
- ✌ Local markets…yes, you read that right! Ukrainian markets are wondrous places that help you connect with the local people. They literally sell anything from food to fabrics, carpets to car parts, and even animals from local farms! Fresh fruit and vegetables, pastries, and fresh meats are on sale to solve your cooking needs. Beautifully made clothes to help improve your wardrobe. If you can think of it, it will be sold in these bustling, impressive markets.
- ✌ St. Sophia’s Cathedral, Kyiv, demonstrates some of the most beautiful architecture while housing ancient, religious icons. As you peruse all the Cathedral has to offer you can learn about the many saints buried beneath its foundations. One thing you must remember….look up. The ceiling is one of the most breathtaking canvasses you will ever see depicting scenes from the bible in artistic glory. You can light a candle, say a prayer and learn about Ukraine’s religious history and traditions. There are many beautiful Cathedrals and churches all over Ukraine, most of which are open to the public, each housing the most amazing artwork and depictions of Ukraine’s religious history.
- ✌ Feeling romantic? Why not visit the tunnel of love situated near Klevan. This scenic section of the industrial railway is completely surrounded by arches of lush, green trees making it a popular place for couples to take a walk through its 3-5km of beauty. With a small cafe, this is a popular tourist attraction but all tourists must be aware….the visitor train passes through occasionally! Don’t worry, the driver will give you plenty of warning that they are on the way and give you enough time to step aside and wave at the passengers. Maybe you can take a ride on the train and see the tunnel from a different perspective.
- ✌ Would you like to visit one of the most famous places in Ukraine’s deep history? You can arrange to visit Chernobyl through your hotel as visits to the area can only take place when booked through an authorized tour company. During your journey you will see a video, featuring real footage, to fully inform you of what happened in 1986. You will visit many buildings in what is an incredibly moving experience. If you are concerned about radiation tests have concluded that travelers are more exposed on a transatlantic flight than during a visit to Chernobyl.
These are just a few of the many, incredible attractions that Ukraine has to offer.
Ukraine, the breadbasket of Europe, is not always the top of people’s destination wish lists. One visit will soon change that as you learn what an amazing, traditional and proud country Ukraine is. You will certainly return and look to book your next visit as soon as possible or tell your friends and family that they should visit this incredible nation.