Welcome to Ukraine, one of the largest countries in Eastern Europe and a hidden gem for travelers seeking off-the-beaten-path destinations.
Despite its troubled past, Ukraine offers a wealth of attractions, from captivating history to stunning natural landscapes.
In this article, we will explore 10 of the most beautiful places to visit in Ukraine. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey through this diverse and enchanting country.
1. Uman: A Laidback Town with Rich History
Located in central Ukraine, Uman is a charming city on the banks of the Umanka River. This hidden gem is often overlooked by tourists, making it the perfect destination for those seeking an authentic travel experience.
Uman is renowned for its religious and cultural heritage, attracting pilgrims from around the world.
One of the must-visit sites in Uman is the tomb of Rabbi Nachman, a popular pilgrimage site for Hasidic Jews.
The city is also home to the oldest building, the Basilian Monastery, which dates back to 1764. Nature lovers will appreciate Uman’s lush green spaces, such as Sofiyivka Park, a botanical garden filled with picturesque landscapes and tranquil walking paths.
2. Rakhiv: A Mountain Town for Nature Enthusiasts
Nestled within the Carpathian forests of western Ukraine, Rakhiv is a paradise for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts. As the highest city in Ukraine, Rakhiv offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the Tysa River.
The peaceful village of Dilove, located nearby, is a perfect retreat for those seeking tranquility amidst the beauty of nature.
One of the highlights of Rakhiv is the Hutsul Brynza Festival, held in September, where you can immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy traditional food and music.
Whether you’re exploring the southern Carpathians or simply taking in the serenity of the outdoors, Rakhiv is a destination that promises awe-inspiring natural beauty.
3. Chernihiv: A City Steeped in History
Chernihiv, one of the oldest cities in Ukraine, is a treasure trove of medieval architecture and rich history. Located on the banks of the Desna River in northern Ukraine, Chernihiv was once ranked as the second most important Ukrainian center after Kyiv.
The city boasts several remarkable landmarks, including Catherine’s Church with its golden cupolas and the Transfiguration Cathedral, which dates back to the 11th century. Chernihiv is also known for its beer, particularly the famous “Cherninihivske.”
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the ancient cave monasteries on the outskirts of the city, or take a leisurely stroll around the Kachanivka Palace with its stunning neoclassical architecture and beautiful gardens.
4. Bukovel: Eastern Europe’s Premier Ski Resort
For winter sports enthusiasts, Bukovel is a must-visit destination. Situated high up in the Carpathian Mountains, Bukovel is the largest ski resort in Eastern Europe. With its picturesque slopes and breathtaking mountain views, it offers an unforgettable skiing experience for all skill levels.
Apart from skiing and snowboarding, Bukovel offers a range of activities, including snow parks, bicycle parks, and ski schools.
The best time to visit is from December to April, with January having the deepest snow. So, whether you’re a seasoned skier or a beginner looking to learn, Bukovel is the perfect destination for an exhilarating winter getaway.
5. Chernivtsi: The Little Vienna of Ukraine
Chernivtsi, nestled at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, is often referred to as the “Little Vienna” of Ukraine. Once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the city showcases a unique blend of architectural styles, including Baroque and Art Nouveau.
With its cobbled streets, charming cafes, and beautiful parks, Chernivtsi exudes a laid-back atmosphere that is perfect for leisurely strolls.
Visit the National University, one of the largest universities in Ukraine, and explore its impressive palace-like buildings. Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the city’s history by exploring the remains of the ancient fortress, known as the “Black City.”
6. Kamianets-Podilskyi: A Fairy-Tale City
Kamianets-Podilskyi, located in western Ukraine, is famous for its enchanting fortress perched on a cliff overlooking the Smotrych River. This medieval city is a haven for history buffs and photographers alike, with its well-preserved Old Town and pastel-colored houses.
Wander through the cobbled streets of Kamianets-Podilskyi’s Old Town and admire the stunning architecture while discovering the city’s rich history.
Take a hot air balloon ride for a unique perspective of the fortress and the surrounding landscapes. Don’t forget to visit during the annual hot air balloon festival to witness the skies filled with colorful balloons.
7. Chernobyl: A Haunting Reminder of History
Chernobyl, the site of the infamous nuclear disaster in 1986, offers a unique and somber experience for history enthusiasts. Located in the northern Kyiv Oblast, the Chernobyl exclusion zone is now open to tourists, providing an opportunity to witness the aftermath of the tragedy.
Guided tours allow visitors to explore the abandoned buildings and artifacts left behind by those who had to evacuate. Although filming is currently prohibited in the exclusion zone, plans are underway to revamp the area and make it safer for tourists.
A visit to Chernobyl is a humbling reminder of the consequences of human error and the resilience of nature.
8. Odessa: The Pearl of the Black Sea
Situated on the northwestern shore of the Black Sea, Odessa is a vibrant city known for its stunning architecture, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful beaches. With its Greek, Ottoman, and Russian influences, Odessa boasts a rich cultural heritage that is reflected in its museums and art galleries.
Take a leisurely stroll along the seaside promenade and soak in the picturesque views. Visit the Museum of Folk Architecture and Ethnography to learn about the region’s traditional culture.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the underground catacombs that stretch for thousands of kilometers beneath the city. Odessa is the perfect summer holiday destination, offering a blend of history, culture, and relaxation.
9. Lviv: A Cultural Hub in Western Ukraine
Lviv, the largest city in western Ukraine, is a cultural hub steeped in history and architectural beauty. Founded in the 13th century, Lviv’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, adorned with monuments, museums, and age-old buildings.
Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Lviv National Art Gallery, home to an extensive collection of artworks. The city’s vibrant cafe culture and lively nightlife scene make it a popular destination for those seeking a vibrant atmosphere.
Explore the narrow side streets and discover quirky bars and local pubs, known as “knaipas.” Lviv is a city that captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression.
10. Kyiv: The Capital of Ukraine
Last but certainly not least, Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, is a city that seamlessly blends tradition and modernity. With its striking Soviet architecture, golden-domed churches, and bustling streets, Kyiv offers a unique cultural experience.
Explore the historic Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, one of the oldest and most important monasteries in Ukraine. Visit the Museum of Folk Architecture and Ethnography to learn about the country’s traditional customs and crafts.
Don’t miss the chance to stroll down Andriyivskyy Descent, a steep cobbled street lined with Art Nouveau-style houses. Kyiv is also known for its vibrant theater, opera, and musical performances, making it a cultural hotspot.
Ukraine is a country that surprises and delights travelers with its diverse attractions and rich cultural heritage. From the charming town of Uman to the haunting Chernobyl exclusion zone, each destination offers a unique experience that will leave a lasting impression.
So, pack your bags and embark on a journey through the beautiful landscapes and captivating history of Ukraine.