Ukraine’s rich history, culture and natural beauty make it an interesting tourism destination attracting numerous visitors from all over the world. In 2010 Ukraine was ranked the 8th most popular tourism destination in Europe by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Ukraine is a second largest county on the European Continent with the population of about 46 million people. Situated in Eastern Europe it borders with Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova in the west, Russia in the east, and Bulgaria and Turkey at the Black Sea. The state consists of 24 provinces (oblast) and the autonomous republic of Crimea.
Crimea with its healing mild climate, beautiful and rich nature and endless seaside has been the top vacation spot for many generations of Ukraine’s and nearby countries’ inhabitants. During the Soviet era, many health centers were built throughout the peninsula. Crimean health resorts are popular among many visitors. New luxurious SPAs and hotels for wealthy vacationers have been popping up in Crimea over the past decade. The most craved for destination is the South Coast of Crimea which is home to the most popular resorts in Yalta, Sudak, Koktebel, Alushta and others.
Surrounded by hills, Yalta resort attracts many with its mild climate, beautiful nature and touristy vibe. One of the most popular Crimean tourist attractions, the Swallow’s Nest, is a neo-gothic decorative white-stone castle, perched on a cliff near Yalta.
Other outstanding places of interest in Crimea are Livadia Palace and the Vorontsovsky Palace and grounds. Livadia Palace was once a summer residence of the Russian imperial family. Vorontsovsky Palace and grounds used to belong to the local general-governor Count Vorontsov, the palace, which is the mixture of English and eastern style architectural elements, was turned into a museum during the Soviet time.
In the light of an ongoing unlawful military occupation of the peninsula by Russian Federation, we highly recommend to refrain from visiting that region.
The Carpathian mountain range stretches through several Eastern and Central European countries including Ukraine.
The beautiful Carpathian Mountains offer endless sports and recreational opportunities for every season of the year: skiing, horse-riding, mountain climbing, rafting, hiking, biking and others.
The relatively mild climate, rich nature, beautiful mountain scenery and flair of old traditions cherished by the local population, all make the Carpathians a very popular travel destination among Ukrainians and foreign visitors.
Among the most popular Carpathian ski-resorts are Slavske, Bukovel and Yaremche and Drahobrat which are quickly turning into luxurious ski resorts for wealthy visitors.
Many resorts and SPAs are located within the Carpathian foothills; the most famous is Truskavets with its healing spring waters attracting crowds of visitors yearly.
With its 1500 anniversary pompously celebrated in 1982, Kyiv, many historians claim, can boast a much longer history. Whereas the Western world has one eternal city of its own, Kyiv is the eternal one among its Orthodox Christian counterparts.
Founded by the semi-legendary Prince Kyi and named after him, Kyiv is also considered the holy city or a the golden-domed city, since it is the homeof many beautiful cathedrals and the XXI century St. Sophia built under the reign of the Kyivan Prince Yaroslav the Wise, being one of them.
Another gem of religious historical sights is Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra—the Monastery of the Caves, a monastic complex, beautifully situated on the right bank of Dnipro river, which together with St. Sophia are included in UNESCO world’s heritage list.
Many of the museums, theaters, art galleries and exhibitions can satisfy the most exquisite taste for those wishing for cultural and artistic wayto spend their time. Kyiv is the heart of Ukraine, geographically, historically and politically. It is a dynamic, vibrant city with many tourist attractions, be it the monuments created in medieval heyday of the Kyivan Rus glory or during the Russian Empire dominance—take for example, the baroque St. Andrew’s Church and Mariyinsky Palace, both created by Bartolomeo Rastrelli—or the stone reminders of the Soviet rule; the Soviet-style neo-classicism is prominently featured along the 1.2 km main street Khreshatyk. Nearly every cultural and architectural trend ever present in Ukraine can be found on Kyiv’s streets, squares and boulevards.
Nick-named the city of Lion, Lviv, is the cultural capital of Western Ukraine and has managed to preserve a lot of its historic architectural beauty; its whole Old Town, which is the historic city's center is included on the UNESCO world heritage list.
It was founded in 1256 by King Danylo Halytsky, and named after his son, Lev (lion in Ukrainian). The city of Lion over time has become the city of many lions; these mascots are prominently featured on virtually every corner of the Old Town.
The architectural ensemble of the Rynok Square in Lviv, with its cobblestone roads and architecturally diverse buildings gravitating toward the European Renaissance style, has been for ages the cultural heart of Lviv. From the Tower of the City Hall where every visitor can enjoy the panoramic view of the city. Other sights worth visiting are the Lviv University founded in 1661, which makes it the oldest university in Ukraine, the Baroque style Dominican Cathedral, the Armenian Church, the beautiful neo-Renaissance style Opera and Ballet Theater and the Art-Nouveau style building of the main railway station.
Odesa is the sea gate of Ukraine fondly named the pearl of the Black Sea. Now a major seaport, Odesa was founded at the end of the 18th century and quickly became one of the largest cities in the then Russian Empire due to its favorable location.
The architecture of Odesa was manly influenced by the Mediterranean style and also bears traces of French and Italian styles.
Odesa’s most prominent landmark and symbol is the Potemkin Stairs, a giant staircase constructed as a way from the city to the harbor, which leads to the monument of the first Governor of Odessa, Duke of Richelieu.
The Primorskiy Boulevard, which connects downtown with the sea, features a beautiful architectural ensemble of classicist style. Another important tourist destination, Odessa’s most famous street—Deribasovska, is named after Jose de Ribas, one of the founders of the city.
The second largest city in Ukraine was founded in the middle of the 17th century as a small settlement, which further grew into one of the most important industrial, cultural, scientific and educational centers in the country.
In the aftermath of the Russian revolution, when Bolsheviks took over the major parts of the former Russian empire, Kharkiv was proclaimed the capital of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic. At that time Kyiv was a capital of the Ukrainian People’s Republic.
Over the Soviet period, Kharkiv developed as the main industrial city in Ukraine with top heavy industry, machine building and electro-technology plants. At times nick-named the city of students, Kharkiv is the home of many universities covering a large variety of subjects.
When in Kharkiv, you won't miss the approximately 750 meters long and 100 meters wide Freedom Square, which is considered the third largest city-centre square in Europe. Another interesting sight, which is located on the square, is the Derzhprom (abbreviation for State Industry) or the Palace of Industry building.
Among the religious buildings of the city, the most notable are the Assumption and the Annunciation Cathedrals. When built in 1901 the beautiful Annunciation Cathedral took the title as the main Orthodox Church of Kharkiv. Before the title belonged to the Assumption Cathedral on the University Hill built at the beginning of the 19th century, which with its 90-meter tower bell, had been the tallest building in the city for almost two centuries.