Major Tourist Attractions: Bukovel, Kiev Pechersk Lavra, Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, Saint Sophia's Cathedral, Kiev Zoo
Whether you enjoy hiking in the mountains, visiting historic churches, staying out all night clubbing or relaxing on the beach, Ukraine has something for you. That said, with the ongoing conflict in the country, travel to the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and the annexed Crimean peninsula is not advised.
Ukraine has a long history that is closely tied to Russia, Poland and Lithuania. The Kievan Rus state (a predecessor to modern day Russia) grew out of the eastern part of Ukraine while the west was absorbed into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for four centuries before being pulled into the Russian Empire as well. As a result, Ukrainian culture has evolved differently from east to west.
As you head further west in Ukraine today, the Soviet-era architecture that dominates Kiev and the eastern part of the country gives way to more European styles and traditional Ukrainian culture becomes more prominent. You will hear primarily Ukrainian spoken on the streets in western Ukraine, with a smattering of Polish, not Russian. Indeed, speaking Russian in the west may be considered rude by some; you would be better off to try English.
Throughout the country, you will find a wide range of lodging options, from hostels to bed and breakfasts to large chain hotels. Getting around is easy, with an efficient, but slow, train network and regular buses and mini-buses shuttling among major cities. Most travelers will spend at least a few days in Kiev before moving on to the Carpathian Mountains in the west or the beaches of Odessa or Crimea.
Given the current situation, here are some of the best things to see or do in Ukraine:
- Visit Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the site of revolutionary protests in Kiev.
- Explore Kiev’s Pecherska Lavra (Cave Monastery).
- Take a tour to the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
- Visit the fortress at Kamyanets Podilsky.
- Hike to the top of Mount Hoverla in the Carpathian Mountains.
- Wander through Lviv’s massive Lychakivs’ke Cemetery.
- Learn the art of Pysansky – traditional Ukrainian egg painting.
- Climb the bell tower at St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Kiev.
- Go souvenir shopping along the steep cobblestone street known as Andrew’s Descent.
- Visit the Museum of Hutsul Folk Art and the Pysanky Museum in the small town of Kolomyya.
- Go skiing in Bukovel.
- Relax on the beaches of Odessa.
- Experience a Russian-style bathhouse known as a banya.
- Try a bowl of borscht, a popular beet soup.
Address: U.S. Embassy in Ukraine
4 A.I. Sikorsky St. (formerly Tankova)
04112 Kyiv, Ukraine