If you like traveling across Europe, but feel tired of crowds of tourists, you might want to choose a less touristy location for your next trip. Obviously, you still want this location to be scenic and it has to offer you a number of things to do. If these words ring true to you, let me ask you a couple of questions. Have you been to Ukraine? Do you know that it's a hidden gem in the Eastern Europe that has a number of awesome places that you should certainly visit at least once in a lifetime?
A lot of people all over the world either misunderstand Ukraine and think that it's unsafe to visit it, or don't even know that this country exists. But they make a huge mistake and we're here to prove it. Ukraine has a rich history and one-of-a-kind culture that's reflected in a series of historical sites across the country. It has beautiful modern cities, as well as cozy small towns and traditional villages. It offers a myriad of natural attractions, such as magnificent mountains, canyons, forests, rivers, and lakes. The national parks located in Ukraine are home to different species and some of them don't exist anywhere else in the world. Besides, there're seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in this wonderful country!
Are you still thinking whether you should visit Ukraine? If you do, we're here to give you a hand. We've come up with a list of amazing sites you should certainly see in Ukraine to help you choose it as a destination for your next trip!
20 Lviv: The Old City With Charming Atmosphere
Lviv is one of the most beautiful cities in Ukraine. Its historical center is one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country and if you look at it even in the photos, you'll realize why. Magnificent cathedrals, fascinating museums, narrow cobblestone streets, as well as a number of cozy restaurants and small shops, where you can buy nice souvenirs for your family and friends... It all creates a special charming atmosphere in Lviv and makes any visitor fall in love with this city and its lovely residents right away.
So whether you like historical sites and long walks, or delicious food and friendly people, you'll certainly enjoy visiting Lviv!
19 The Carpathians: Picturesque Synevyr Lake
The Synevyr Lake is one of the numerous picturesque spots in the Carpathian mountains in Western Ukraine. It's the largest lake in the Ukrainian Carpathians and it offers stunning views at any time of the year. In spring it features the blooming trees, in summer its green vegetation provides some nice shadow, in fall this area's bursting with the shades of red, orange, and yellow, and in winter it's all covered with snow and gets a dazzling white color.
A heartbreaking legend about unhappy lovers is associated with the lake and their figures are carved in wood and placed on one of the lake's shores. It's believed that since they're now together, they grant eternal love to everyone, who comes to the lake.
18 Chernivtsi: Real-Life Hogwarts
Harry Potter fans, behold! If you come to Ukraine, you can visit a castle that looks exactly like Hogwarts and, in fact, you can even study in this castle, if you want to.
The magnificent castle you see in the photo above is the former Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans and now it's the main campus of the University of Chernivtsi, the leading university in Ukraine. When you take a walk along the territory, you can enter one of the buildings and see how the castle looks on the inside and imagine how it feels to study inside the UNESCO World Heritage Object.
Behind the castle complex, you can also find a large park, where you'll enjoy having a walk or sitting on a bench and listening to the birds.
17 Uman: Incredible Designs Of Sofiyivsky Park
If you want to see one of the best examples of the European gardening style, come to Uman and attend the Sofiyivsky Park. The park was founded in 1796 by a wealthy noble man from Poland, Stanislav Pototsky, and presented to his wife, whose name was Sofia (thus, the park's name) as a birthday gift in 1802.
Now the park is open to visitors, who can walk along its wonderfully made alleys, gaze at its beautiful rich flora, see the lakes as well as sculptures and fountains, and explore the artificial ruins and antique grottoes. You'll certainly have a great time, if you decide to stay there for a whole day.
16 Kyiv: Lots Of Everything
Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, has so many interesting places that it's worthy of a separate article. So here we're going to mention only the best ones.
First, it's Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the seven wonders of Ukraine. Secondly, there's Podil, a beautiful historic neighborhood that's considered the birthplace of Kyiv's trade and commerce. Third, it's the Dnieper River, one of the major rivers of Europe, and its numerous parks. Fourth, there's the amazing open-air Museum of Folk Architecture and Life called Pirogovo that's located on the outskirts of Kyiv. And we won't even mention all the historical monuments, parks, and churches that are worth visiting! Just come to Kyiv and see it all with your own eyes.
15 Kherson Oblast: Askania-Nova National Reserve
Askania-Nova is one of the largest and oldest natural reserves in Europe and it's also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ukraine. It was established in the end of the 19th century by baron Friedrich Falz-Fein, who loved nature so much that he decided to give up his own lands to create a reserve on them. Later he traveled around the world and brought a number of exotic species of animals and plants that didn't only adapt to the new conditions, but also began to flourish there.
Now the park is home to 450 species, including antelopes, zebras, saigas, cranes, flamingos, parrots, and many others. It's interesting that some of the species became extinct on their native lands and keep on living only in Askania-Nova.
14 Odessa: Black Sea And Magnificent Architecture
Odessa has one of the largest sea ports in Ukraine and it offers a number of great beaches, where you can have a nice summer rest. But this city isn't only about its seaside. Its architecture attracts a number of tourists all year round, so you can go there even if you're not really into lying on a beach.
Odessa's Opera House is the second largest in the world after La Scala in Milan. Built in the 19th century, it'll remind you of the Opera House in Vienna for a reason - it was designed by the same Austrian architectural studio. If you're not into opera, you can still find something to do in Odessa. Just walk along its streets, visiting small patios and looking at numerous cats living there.
13 The Carpathians: Ski Resorts
If you like skiing, you can find a number of nice ski resorts in the Carpathians. The best and most popular ones are Bukovel in the Ivano-Frankivsk Region, Drahobrat, Pylypets and Izky in the Transcarpathia province, as well as Slavske and Play in the Lviv Region. All of these resorts feature well-equipped trails for skiers with different skill levels, along with a number of other winter attractions, such as ice-skating, sledging, or snow tubing.
The highest resort is the one in Drahobrat that's located 4,593 feet (1,400 meters) above the sea level. This area also features one of the most serene landscapes, because it's situated far from other settlements.
12 Uzhhorod: Small Town With A Mixed Culture
Located near the border with Slovakia, Uzhgorod belonged to five different countries before it became the Ukrainian city. Today it's the center of the Transcarpathia province that seems to be politically oriented towards Europe.
If you come to this city, you should visit the Uzhgorod Castle that's full of different museums, where you can learn a lot of about its history and walk in the park around the castle. Stroll along the cobblestone streets and sit near the Uzh River's banks. And, of course, Uzhgorod is a great starting point, where you can spend a day or two before heading to one of the numerous mountain resorts in the Transcarpathia region.
11 Mykolaiv Oblast: Bugski Guard National Park
The Bugski Guard National Park is another nature reserve that offers its visitors to enjoy the picturesque views. Located in Southern Ukraine, Bugski Guard was created in 2009 to preserve the historic and cultural landmarks, as well as the unique nature of this region. It quickly gained the status of one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine and became a popular destination for international and local tourists.
A number of rare species of plants and animals live on the territory of Bugski Guard. If you come there, you can find amazingly beautiful landscapes featuring river banks and canyons and do rafting or rock climbing. Be sure to see the Aktovsky canyon - the main attraction of the park.
10 Kamianets-Podilskyi: The Grand Fortress And More
Kamianets-Podilskyi is one of the oldest cities in Ukraine, but the exact year of its foundation remains unknown. The city's main attraction is the grand fortress that serves as a silent witness of multiple events happening there across the centuries. The fortress majestically stands on the island, encircled by a river and surrounded by a canyon. Be sure to have a walk inside the fort during the day and see its illumination in the evening.
But Kamianets-Podilskyi isn't only about this fortress, however magnificent it is. Take some time to just walk around the city to see the historical buildings and modern murals.
9 The Carpathians: Waterfalls (Lots Of Them)
If you're still not sure if you need to visit the Carpathians, take a look at the stunning waterfalls that you can find there and start thinking about the dates of your visit.
One of the must-visit waterfalls in the region is Shypit (you can see its photo above). It's almost 46 feet (14 meters) high. Even though it's located in the isolated place, it's a popular tourist attraction due to its beauty. It's interesting that the waterfall's name is translated from Ukrainian as "whisper".
Other waterfalls that are worth visiting are 65-feet (20-meter) high Manyavsky Waterfall, smaller Probiy Waterfall that's considered one of the most full-flowing falls in the Carpathians, and an amazingly picturesque Guk Waterfall.
8 Pripyat: Ghost Town In The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
If you're looking for a more extreme experience, be sure to come to Pripyat, a ghost town located in northern Ukraine. It became abandoned after the deadly accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 and now it's part of the Chernobyl exclusion zone. People come there to explore the creepy deserted parks and buildings that still have the signs that about 50,000 people used to live there only a bit more than 30 years ago.
But be sure to keep your visit to Pripyat short, because the radiation levels there are still present. For the same reason, it's allowed to visit the town only as part of an organized group.
7 Volyn Region: Shatsky National Natural Park
To see beautiful pristine lakes, majestic forests, and sandy beaches (all in one place), go to the Shatsky National Natural Park. Located in the Volyn Region in the west of Ukraine, this park is one of the main tourist attractions in Ukraine and one of the largest lake constellations in Europe.
If you want, you can take a guided tour along one of the park's environmental and educational trails to see its rich flora and fauna. And if you only want to find a nice recreational spot for your and your family, the Shatsky lakes will also suit you, because this region has a very nice and mild climate. Due to the artesian springs, water in the lakes is well-heated, but numerous trees provide nice shadow and keep you cool even on a hottest day.
6 Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi: The City Of Museums
Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi is located not far from Kyiv, so you can easily go there for a day, if you're visiting the capital of Ukraine. This small city is home to a number of museum and it certainly deserves the title of the city of museums. The most impressive one is the open-air Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Life, where visitors can learn more about the Ukrainian culture.
There are also the Museum of Rushnyk (it's a Ukrainian traditional cloth that's used in weddings and other rituals), the Museum of Ukrainian National Dress, the Museum of Space, and even the Museum of Bread.
So if you're interested in learning more about the history and culture of Ukraine, be sure to visit Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi.
5 Ternopil Region: Magnificent Dniester Canyon
The Dniester Canyon is one of the ravines in Europe that stretches along 155 miles (250 kilometers) and features a number of stunning natural landscapes. Rocky cliffs and deciduous forests, mysterious caves and peculiar islands, river twists and waterfalls - you can find it all right here!
It's interesting that the canyon happens to have the climate conditions that are different from the rest of Ukraine. It's unusually warm there and the area resembles subtropics. In summer there's almost no rain and in spring the nature wakes up much earlier than in ther regions of Ukraine. So it's no wonder that the flora and fauna of the Dniester Canyon is so rich.
4 Truskavets: Healing Waters
If you come to Lviv, be sure to take a bus and also visit Truskavets. It's a resort town that's known primarily for its healing waters. There are a number of different types of water that you can drink to alleviate certain diseases and improve your health. Everyone can fill their cups and bottles for free from special structures designated with fountains.
If you want, you can also take advantage of a number of spa procedures provided in numerous health resorts located in the city. You'll feel like you're a new person after it!
And, of course, you'll enjoy having a walk along the streets of Truskavets and looking at its nice architecture.
3 Podillia Region: The Village Of Bakota
In the village of Bakota (located in the Podillia Region in Western Ukraine), you can see magnificent landscapes and enjoy the relatively untouched nature. Go there to climb the green cliffs and walk along the Dniester River. Besides, you can visit the cave monastery built by Orthodox monks that dates back to the 12th century. You'll certainly like exploring its underground caves and take a look at the paintings and frescoes.
Today, the village is part of the National Environmental Park that has diverse flora and fauna. So put on the most comfortable shoes you have, because you're going to walk for quite a while in Bakota.
2 Rivne Region: Tunnel Of Love
The so-called Tunnel of Love is one of the most enchanting destinations in Ukraine. In fact, it's just a 2-mile (over 3 kilometers) stretch of railway. But since it's surrounded by trees, it has this one-of-a-kind charm.
The Tunnel of Love looks unique at any time of the year. So choose when you want to visit it, depending on what scenery you like more - green trees, bright foliage with bursting red, yellow, and orange colors, or white snow-covered branches.
According to a legend, if you come to the Tunnel of Love with your significant other and make a wish, it'll come true, provided your intentions are sincere.
1 The Carpathians: Hoverla, The Highest Peak Of Ukraine
Hoverla, the highest peak of Ukraine, has the height of 6,762 feet (2,061 meters) and if you want to climb it, you're welcome to the Carpathian Mountains! You'll certainly enjoy the climb, because the nature around Hoverla is very beautiful. The mountain's slopes are covered with forests and there're belts of sub-alpine meadows above them. At the eastern slope, you can find a river that makes the landscape even more scenic.
Hoverla has been a tourist attraction since the 19th century and these days a lot of people climb it every year. But even though it's not the most challenging climb, you should still be careful, especially if you decide to reach the summit in winter.
So are you ready to head to Ukraine for your next trip?