Ukraine Tourism And Travel Guide
-0.9° C / 30.4° F
May to September
6 to 8 Days
Boryspil International Airport
Ukraine is an East European country that is often confused with Russia. But it is a different entity in itself, even though it had been under the Russian rule until 1991. The country is a mix of delights, from beaches to ancient cities, mountains to steppes. Tourism in Ukraine is at its best through summer, while it is also quite good, if a little too chilly during winter. If you have already made up your mind to tread to Ukraine for this vacation, here’s a travel guide to help you.
How to Reach
The best and easiest way to reach Ukraine from India is by flight. Trains are good from European countries.
Kiev’s Borispol International Airport and Lviv's and Odessa’s international airports make for Ukraine’s most important ones. From India, you have connecting flights flying from Mumbai and Delhi regularly. You can also take a stopover at cities like Berlin or Istanbul before going forward.
You can reach Ukraine from anywhere in Europe, only, from Western Europe, the trains are changed at Berlin. Direct trains ply to Kiev or Lviv from cities like Budapest, Warsaw, Moscow and Berlin.
Since Ukraine is majorly a landlocked country, you can drive into the borders from Poland, Russia, Hungary, Belarus and Slovakia. Buses and coaches also ply and are cheaper.
The Black Sea ensures some water routes to reach the port cities of Ukraine. Mediterranean cruises also ply to Ukraine from Greece, Turkey etc.
For getting around in big cities like Lviv, Odessa and Kiev, you have local buses, metro trains and taxis. In smaller villages and towns you can hire cars to get around or rent a bicycle too.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Ukraine experiences a continental type of climate and the best time to visit is definitely the summer.
Spring (March to May):
Spring brings flash floods to Ukraine as the snow melts and swells streams and lakes in March. But come May and everything resumes perfection, with longer sunny days and temperature hovering between 15-21°C.
Summer (June to August):
Ukrainian summers are hot and by July the highs may touch 30°C. This is the best season to go hiking, enjoy city tours, revel on beaches and partake in the harvest celebrations done by the local agrarian communities.
Autumn (September to November):
September blows more heat into Ukraine but its is gone by October. Rains are common during autumn season as temperatures keep dropping with the passage of time.
Winter (December to February):
Ukraine experiences very cold winters and on some days in December-January the temperature may drop to almost -30°C. Snowfall is thick and continuous, covering the land in sheets of white. This time is good for winter sports and skiing.
Things to Do
Go Trolley-Riding in Kiev:
The capital city of Ukraine is renowned for many things, but the most thrilling of them all is the trolley ride across River Dnieper. You will be thrilled to go across from one bank to the other in less than 40 seconds. On reaching the Trukhaniv Island, you can enjoy the beaches.
Chill in Odessa:
Odessa boasts of some great beaches by the Black Sea, peppy parties, pubs, restaurants and awesome night life. The International Film Festival is also hosted by this city every summer and the glitz and glamour of Europe descend here to walk the longest red carpet in the world.
Stroll down the Cobbled Streets of Lviv:
Lviv is as much new as it is old. The city has centuries of heritage and rich culture in its art and architecture; all of which is influenced by Western thought. Visit the Lviv Opera House, take strolls through the Rynok Square and walk down the narrow streets that are teeming with coffeehouses.
Climb the Carpathians:
Mount Carpathian is a crown of pride for Ukraine. The paradox of lush meadows and rugged hillscapes make these ranges a coveted tourist attraction for hiking, bike riding, mountain climbing and fishing. You can also stop by in the smaller villages to savour some Ukrainian hospitality.
No one’s ignorant of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, but what most people don’t see is how the mishap wrecked havoc in the lives of the villages nearby. Visit the ghost town of Pripyat where the homes are frozen in time, toys scattered, utensils ready to brew soups abandoned as the inhabitants were rushed out half dead after the leak. Only, visit under expert guidance or tour operators as some areas are still highly radioactive.
What to Eat
The Ukrainian cuisine is influenced and inspired by its neighbours. So while the potatoes and meat dishes come from Russia, the stuffed cabbage rolls are a throwback to Turkey. The strudels are Austrian and pastries are Slovakian. When in Ukraine, do enjoy these lovely delicacies - borscht (beat, meat and veggie soup), Potato Varenyky (dumplings), Holubtsi (rice and meat stuffed cabbage rolls), Nachynka or cornbread and the famous Kotlety Po-Kyivskomy, better known as Chicken Kiev.
What to Shop
Ukraine is a paradise for those who like to pick up souvenirs and local wares, those who are fond of filling their trunks with trinkets from where they holidayed. So here’s the thing about shopping in this country - you enjoy it. You pick up the beautifully painted Eater Eggs made of wood called Pysanky, you take back Babushka toys for kids back home and also pack some rag dolls. Other things to buy from here are Crimean tatar ceramics, folk music CDs and the wood and bead jewellery that is patent to this region. Also, don’t forget chocolate bars from Lviv, the delicately made embroidered folk linen blouses and shirts and the $2 Vodka bottles.