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When preparing this Ukraine travel itinerary and summing up places to visit and things to do in Ukraine, we came across lots of questions from the travelers. So, we decided to add some essential travel tips for Ukraine, too.
There are quite a few versions of the Ukraine travel itinerary online, all written by international bloggers who visited our country. We are very glad that these guides exist and are grateful to everyone who recommends visiting Ukraine. Our blog would like to contribute to the overall picture by providing some insider information that only the locals know.
So, surely our Ukraine travel itinerary will cover all the major cities like Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa but it will also focus on smaller and lesser-known cute towns, as well as hikes in the national parks, destinations by the Black sea, and some travel tips for Ukraine that will help you get as authentic a travel experience as possible.
Here are some posts that will be helpful if you are getting ready to visit and explore Ukraine:
Want to focus on adventurous things to do in Ukraine? Check our hiking guide for Ukraine for the best national parks and the most scenic hiking routes.
Looking for ways to explore Ukraine by car? We have a guide to the best road trips around Ukraine ready!
Looking for reasons to visit Ukraine? Its capital alone has 14 reasons to add Kyiv to the travel itinerary when in Eastern Europe.
Why Visit Ukraine?
In the eyes of the international community, Ukraine is in many ways terra incognita, known mostly for its history as part of the USSR, recent revolutions, and war in its eastern part.
While these are all important events in Ukraine’s recent history, the country is so much more than the international news headlines. 30 years after shaking the Soviet control off itself, it is on the fast track to establishing itself as an independent, unique, and friendly country with huge travel potential.
Is Ukraine safe? Absolutely. In fact, if we are talking about life in cities and towns, it is safer than in many other European countries. There is indeed a war conflict with Russia in eastern Ukraine. It is contained within an area of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
So, why visit Ukraine? For its insane diversity, for one. Within one country, you will be able to hike in the mountains, relax by the Black sea, have some of the best coffee in Europe, immerse yourself in the ultimate adventure of the big cities and dive into Ukrainian culture in smaller cute towns.
Affordable travel is one of several other important reasons to visit Ukraine. The country easily beats the rest of the travel destinations in Europe, while at the same time not being less valuable in terms of sightseeing experience. An AirBnB in downtown Kyiv may cost 19 USD per night. A meal in a nice restaurant – from 12 USD, and street food – under 5 USD.
Each of the country’s major cities offers a unique travel experience. Kyiv is a hip and vibrant capital. Lviv is mystic and filled with history. Odessa is laid-back and charming. And don’t get us started on places like Uzhgorod, Kamyanets-Podilsky, and the Carpathians. We will elaborate on those further in the post.
6 Travel Tips to Consider When Planning a Trip to Ukraine
1. What Is the Best Time to Visit Ukraine?
The best time to visit Ukraine would be from early May to mid-September. That being said, keep in mind that summers in the country are usually very hot, which might make it challenging to explore bigger cities.
With winters, it is really hard to predict. The winter of 2021 was extremely cold, with the temperature dropping to -18º C (0.4º F) and heavy snows paralyzing the roads. On the other hand, the previous winter of 2020 was abnormally warm, with the temperature rarely dropping below 0º C (32º F).
If your intention is to check out the cities, we would definitely recommend the last days of April through the end of May. In fact, this is one of the best periods to visit the capital, Kyiv, with the city drowning in lilac and chestnut blossom. The average temperature will be around 23-25º C (73-77º F).
If you would like to chill by the sea or immerse in hikes, June is a good month to do it. Snows melt on Hoverla, the highest peak of Ukraine in the Carpathians, making it easier to summit. Rivers and lakes warm up to comfortable temperatures to swim in.
August is the month of vacations in Ukraine, with many locals leaving for out-of-country holidays. This is a less-than-busy time to explore the country with fewer traffic jams in the cities, but also fewer free apartments and hotels by the Black Sea and in the Carpathians.
September is the best month to make the round trip, as it is still warm enough to hike in the mountains and swim in the Black sea, and the towns being very pretty during fall foliage.
2. What is the optimal length of visit to Ukraine?
We would say, anywhere between 1 week and 2 weeks is the recommended Ukraine travel itinerary. But if you were wondering whether there will be enough to do in the country for 3 or even 4 weeks, we say — definitely!
A week is usually enough to check out Ukraine’s Golden Triangle — Kyiv, Lviv, and Odesa, as well as to probably wander off on a couple of day trips to popular destinations like Chornobyl. Two weeks will allow putting together a balanced travel itinerary for big and small cities, as well as for national parks and day trips.
But of course, there’s plenty to do if you decide to stay longer. The Golden Triangle covers mostly central, western, and southern parts of the country although there is also a big list of places to visit in eastern Ukraine. Plus, each of the major cities has at least 10 exciting day trips to add to the schedule. And with the transportation system being very developed and diverse, you will be able to alternate between trains, buses, taxis, and car rentals depending on the budget, time, and travel preferences.
If you have 2 weeks to visit Ukraine: You can discover Ukraine’s cossack legacy in a 13-days river tour.
3. What are the visa requirements to visit Ukraine?
The visa requirements to visit Ukraine will vary depending on the country. Travelers from countries like Australia, the UK, Canada, and the USA will be able to enjoy visa-free visits for up to 90 days for 180 days. There are also countries that will need a visa, and applications to get an e-visa are available online. The full list of countries and visa requirements is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
4. Getting to Ukraine and Around Ukraine
There are more than 15 international airports in Ukraine, including major hubs in Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, and Dnipro. Most of the travelers choose Boryspil International as the gateway to the country. Check and compare the prices for plane tickets to Ukraine here.
Getting around Ukraine’s major and smaller cities is a relatively easy task. There are domestic airports in almost every city, and the railroad connection is great. Normally, a domestic flight will cost around 100 USD. The most popular carriers around the country are SkyUP and FlyUIA, and you can compare and contrast the prices for domestic flights here.
The selection of trains includes fast trains and overnight trains:
- The fast ones are known as Intercity. They usually depart early in the morning and the commutes take between 4-7 hours (depending on the cities). The Intercity trains have 1st and 2nd class seats. The tickets cost between 15 to 22 USD.
- The overnight trains are usually slower but many prefer them to sitting for 7 hours straight on a route from, let’s say, Kyiv to Kharkiv. There are 3 types of tickets for the overnight trains. The De-Luxe ones are for compartments with 2 bunks. The Compartment has 4 bunks. Finally, there is the Berth, which is pretty much a wagon without compartments and with very little privacy. The prices range between 15 to 25 USD for De-Luxe tickets, 8 to 12 USD for Compartment, and 4 to 6 USD for Berth.
For both types of trains, you can buy the tickets online at the official website of Ukrzaliznytsia. You won’t need to print them out — the e-versions have QR codes, but you will need to have passports ready when presenting tickets upon boarding the train.
You can also take buses to move between the cities. There are a few major companies such as FlixBus available in the country. You can also head to the local bus stations and catch buses to numerous destinations. In this case, smaller cities will most likely have schedules available only in Ukrainian, which can be a bit of an inconvenience.
Renting a car may be a great idea if you are planning a round trip or looking to take day trips to remote locations. Depending on the type of car, the rental will cost anywhere between 35 to 70 USD, and you can compare the prices at Discover Cars. Booking in advance will always get you the best deals prices-wise.
In towns and cities, municipal transportation is diverse. Kyiv, Dnipro, and Kharkiv have subways. We also recommend taking the local city buses called marshrutkas at least once per trip to get some truly authentic experience. There are also trams and trolleybuses, and the tickets cost around 30 cents. You can pay for a ticket inside the bus/tram/trolleybus. Have cash ready because cards are not accepted.
You will also be able to use taxi apps in towns and cities. In Ukraine, Uber, Uklon, and Bolt are the most popular carriers. In smaller towns and villages, you might need to hail a cab. These usually use taxi meters or the drivers will be able to name the price before the ride (not all of them will speak English, though, especially in small towns).
5. Best Cities to Visit in Ukraine
The three main cities of Ukraine are covered by about every guide and blog. They are the heart of the country — the capital Kyiv, as well as the capital of the western region, Lviv, and the gem of the seaside — Odesa.
Each of these cities has its own unique vibe. Kyiv, despite being the capital and a rather big hub, is cozy and laid-back, with a beautiful old town perfect for walks. It is also diverse as Ukrainians from many regions head here to have a career. When visiting Kyiv, be sure to save at least a couple of days for some of the many day trips from Kyiv to great under-the-radar locations.
Lviv is extremely authentic. It has plenty of cobbled streets, old buildings, beautiful churches of different confessions, and iconic cafes and restaurants. Plus, there are so many Lviv day trips, including journeys to some of the oldest castles in Ukraine.
Odesa, with its Black Sea vibes, is relaxed and welcoming. It is known for its locals and their unique sense of humor, as well as for cozy cafes on small streets, and great street food. Plus, in close proximity to Odesa, there are some of the best beaches in Ukraine.
If you have the time and would like to see more of Ukraine, we can also recommend reserving a couple of days per each of the western cities — Kharkiv and Dnipro. These are more industrial and if you are into Soviet architecture, there will be lots to explore.
Of course, on top of the big cities, Ukraine has lots of great towns. These don’t contribute to Google’s search volume and are, therefore, under the radar for many foreign visitors. Here is just a brief overview of these noteworthy places:
- Chernihiv, located within a couple of hours from Kyiv, has unique monastery caves, beautiful churches, cozy streets to wander around, and one of the oldest universities in the country.
- Uzhgorod is the gem of western Ukraine, closer to the Hungarian border. A lot of cultures contributed to it over centuries, including Austrian, Hungarian, Polish, and Ukrainian. We have a detailed guide about things to do in Uzhgorod.
- Kamyanets-Podilsky is the heart of the Podilsky Tovtry — a beautiful region with canyons, rivers, and hiking trails. Kamyanets-Podilsky is best known for its postcard-perfect fortress in the center of town, and the hot air balloon festivals.
- Chernivtsi became known among travelers as Ukrainian Hogwarts. Its gorgeous old university attracts 100s of local and foreign visitors.
- Ivano-Frankivsk is an old and cozy town in the Carpathians. Its downtown is very peaceful and has unique churches and buildings, as well as the local legend — the “Desyatochka” pub that’s been there for years.
- Vinnitsya is a destination that’s been transformed from a provincial town to a location that many remote workers now choose to move to. It’s got a lovely downtown, as well as dancing fountains.
- Kriviy Rih and Zaporizhzhya are both located in eastern Ukraine and are very industrial. Kriviy Rih is known for its epic quarry, as well as for the martian lake, while Zaporizhzhya is the gateway to Zaporizka Sich — an island that is the cradle of the cossack culture.
- Mykolaiv is a town close to the Black Sea. It is where many southern adventures start — to the Kinburn Spit, which is a great camping site, as well as to the island Dzarylhach, and to many unique activities: kayaking down the Dnipro river, visiting the Ukrainian desert Oleshky, and many of the beautiful pink lakes of Ukrainian south.
6. Best Places to Visit in Ukraine
In addition to great cities and towns, Ukraine is home to national parks, islands, mountain trails, lakes, rivers, castles, and so much more. Merely listing them will extend any travel itinerary to at least a couple of months, so instead we will group the best (while under-the-radar) places to visit in Ukraine by regions. This way, you will be able to scan the area and add things to do based on your travel style and preferences.
Central Ukraine’s heart is Kyiv, and the area around offers lots of locations. Some are accessible by local buses, while for others, renting a car would be the best option. Naturally, when covering central Ukraine, we can not leave Chorobyl and Prypiat unmentioned. These are two of the most popular places to visit in Ukraine. The area also includes such places of interest as Mezhyhirya — the residence of the former president that fled the country, as well as local farms (for strawberry-picking, cheese-tasting, or watching ostriches) and wineries. Plus, Ukraine is home to many beautiful canyons, and two of the most scenic — Arbuzin and Aktiv — are very close to one another and are within a 5-hour drive from Kyiv.
In eastern Ukraine, don’t miss out on Zaporizka Sich — an island and the cradle of Ukrainian cossack culture. It is a bucket-list experience. Located in close proximity to Kharkiv is an abandoned Sharivsky Castle. Closer to the Donetsk region (but not in a war zone) are the white mountains (look for a small town Bilokuzmin and its Kreydyani Bilokuz’mynivs’ki Skeli), and this part of Ukraine also has its own small desert called Kytsivska desert.
Southern Ukraine is all about the adventures near the Black Sea. For some Robinson Cruso experience, don’t miss out on camping at the Ukrainian Maldives — the Dzharylhach island. There are also plenty of beautiful pink lakes — Lemuriyske, Sivash, and the one near Heroyske at Kinburn are just a few out of them. Located in close proximity to Odessa, there are the Salts of Tuzla, which are a smaller replica of Salar de Uyuni. The biggest European desert — Oleshky — is located in the southern region of the country. Plus, to see the local wildlife, we recommend visiting Askania Nova — a national park and a sanctuary preserving a lot of unique local species.
Finally, Ukraine’s western part is perfect for green tourism, and we’ve only begun covering Ukraine’s national parks and hiking trails. Some of the best national parks to start with are the Carpathians, Podilsky Tovtry, and Biloberezha Sviatoslava. The deepest lake of Europe — Svityaz — is located in the Volyn region near Belarus. The location is famous for kayaking, and you can also go swimming and enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the lake. One of the most mysterious places in Ukraine is Pip Ivan mountain and the abandoned observatory.
What Is the Best Ukraine Travel Itinerary?
We’d recommend at least a week to visit Ukraine. Both of its major cities – the capital Kyiv, as well as Lviv, will easily take 2 days each. Then there are also 10s of great day trips from Kyiv and Lviv – to the Golden Horseshoe of Castles in western Ukraine or to ethnic villages near the capital.
If you decide to go beyond the classic triangle of Ukraine’s most popular cities – Kyiv, Lviv, and Odesa – and also add the sea and the mountains, the minimum recommended itinerary should include at least two weeks in the country. Keep in mind that Ukraine is a big country and it will take at least 6 hours to move between major cities.
Ukraine travel itinerary for 1 week
Kyiv ➡ Chornobyl ➡ Lviv ➡ the Carpathians ➡ the Olesko Castle
This is an itinerary that will highlight the most iconic destinations in Ukraine, including two of its most popular cities, the controversial yet the must-see destination Chornobyl, as well as Ukraine’s beautiful Carpathian mountains and the country’s highest peak.
Logistics-wise, it goes like this:
- Days 1 and 2: Kyiv
- Day 3: Chornobyl (overnight train to Lviv)
- Days 4 and 5: Lviv
- Day 6: the Carpathians
- Day 7: the Golden Horseshoe Castles (overnight train to Kyiv)
Days 1 and 2: Explore Kyiv
It is only logical to start exploring Ukraine from its capital — Kyiv. The Boryspil International Airport is within 40 minutes from the megalopolis, and this will most probably be the gateway you will arrive to from wherever you are flying to Ukraine.
Kyiv is perfect for many things — walking, shopping, wining and dining in great restaurants, as well as visiting museums or exploring the local street food culture. Sightseeing-wise, we have a big guide on interesting things to do in Kyiv available here. One adventure not to miss is visiting the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery and its caves.
Where to stay in Kyiv? We recommend renting hotels or apartments in the Podil area, or not far from Maidan Nezalezhnosty (but not exactly on the central square). Compare prices for the city’s hotels here.
Day 3: Take a Day Trip to Chornobyl.
Chornobyl is always a day trip from Kyiv. It is also one of the very few activities in the country not available as a self-guided tour, given the history of the site and all the safety precautions. Many companies offer single and two-day tours to Chernobyl from Kyiv. By the evening, you will be back in the capital and hopping on an overnight train to Lviv. Alternatively, you can head to the western capital the next day (but the road will take between 5 to 7 hours).
Days 4 and 5: Discover Lviv’s Cobbled Streets
Ah, Lviv… the mysterious, authentic, charming Ukrainian city with rich history, ancient churches of multiple confessions, exquisite wining and dining, and great museums — Lviv is an absolute must on the Ukrainian travel itinerary. When in the city, don’t miss out on its unique underground walking tours.
Where to stay in Lviv? Our vote goes to the city’s downtown — the Ploscha Rynok Square and the streets around it. Keep in mind that most of these are strictly pedestrian and plan accordingly if you have a lot of luggage. Compare prices for hotels in Lviv here.
Day 6: Marvel at the Carpathian Mountains
The Carpathians are big and spread across the regions of Prykarpattia (closer to Lviv) and Zakarpattya (with the main hubs being Ivano-Frankivsk and Uzhgorod). To explore the Carpathians without a complex commute, consider heading to Slavske — a village in the mountains, and either hiking there or riding a cable car up to one of the high peaks — Zakhar Berkut.
Alternatively, you can take a longer trip. The heart of the Carpathians, Mount Hoverla is a day trip from Lviv, and summiting it is on the bucket list for many locals. If you don’t fancy a very early rise, head to the mountains the day prior and stay in one of the nearby villages for the night. We definitely recommend taking a guided tour to Hoverla, with transportation included — it will save you a lot of time and will allow enjoying the views and the experience instead of bargaining with the locals and figuring out the buses and the starting point for the hike. The summit is not that complex, and it will take around 2 to 3 hours.
Day 7: Visit the Olesko Castle
On the way back from Lviv to Kyiv, stop by the Olesko Castle — a small detour to an ancient fortress visible from the highway. Take a private guided tour to see inside the castle, and have lunch in the nearby restaurant. If you are okay with an overnight train from Lviv to Kyiv, you can also fit two other castles of the Golden Horshoe into your day. These are Pidhirtsy and Zolochiv castles.
Two weeks in Ukraine travel itinerary
Kyiv ➡ Chornobyl ➡ Kamyanets-Podilsky and Podilsky Tovtry ➡ Chernivtsi ➡ Lviv ➡ Uzhgorod ➡ the Carpathians ➡ Odesa ➡ Odesa wineries ➡ Sofyivka Park
Staying in Ukraine for two weeks allows seeing three of its regions — central, southern, and western. At the same time, this trip will be in a manageable tempo, without overwhelming overnight commutes, and with a chance to dive deeper into the local culture.
This itinerary is based on the one-week Ukraine travel itinerary with some tweaks to make the logistics fit the route better.
- Days 1 and 2: Kyiv
- Day 3: Chornobyl
- Days 4 and 5: Kamyanets-Podilsky and Podilsky Tovtry National Park (overnight in Kamyanets-Podilsky)
- Day 6: Chernivtsi (overnight train to Lviv)
- Days 7 and 8: Lviv
- Day 9: Uzhgorod
- Day 10: the Carpathians (trip to Mount Hoverla and Synevyr Lake)
- Days 11 and 12: Odesa
- Day 13: Trip to local wineries not far from Odesa
- Day 14: Return to Kyiv and stop by Sofyivka park in Uman on the way back
Days 1 and 2: Explore Kyiv
Check days 1 and 2 of the one-week itinerary.
Day 3: Take a Day Trip to Chornobyl
Check days 1 and 2 of the one-week itinerary
Days 4 and 5: Head to Podilsky Tovtry
The heart of the region is Kamyanets-Podilsky. This is a cute old town with the postcard-perfect Kamyanets-Podilsky Fortress in its downtown. One of the best activities to do when in town is seeing the sunrise over the fortress from the hot-air balloon. Then, enjoy a slow walk across the old city with stops for coffee, ice cream, and delicious lunch in any of the cozy restaurants.
Podilsky Tovtry is the National Park near the town, and the two stops not to miss out on are the Ukrainian Atlantis — Bakota with its stunning views, as well as the Khotyn Fortress. The best way to explore the fortress is by taking a day trip. Plus, the area is great for hikes.
Where to stay in Kamyanets-Podilsky? We recommend all the hotels that offer a view of the Smotrycky Canyon. Compare prices for hotels in Kamyanets-Podilsky here.
Day 6: Dive into Ukrainian Hogwarts Adventures in Chernivtsy
A small town in the western part of Ukraine, Chernivtsy became famous among travelers for its postcard-perfect national university. A somewhat magical building dates back to the year 1875. It was founded in the times when this part of Ukraine was within the Austro-Hungarian Empire and it still functions as a university today.
After taking a tour of the university, spend the second half of the day exploring Chernivtsi with its cute downtown. Be sure to head to Olga Kobylianska street, which is jam-packed with museums, cute cafes, and old buildings.
Where to stay in Chernivtsi? We recommend all the hotels near the old city hall. Compare prices for hotels in Chernivtsi here.
Days 7 and 8: Discover Lviv’s Cobbled Streets
Check days 4 and 5 of the one-week itinerary.
Day 9: Enjoy Uzhgorod
If you are in Ukraine for two weeks, the most logical way to continue exploring its western region is to go to Uzhgorod. This is an old and cute town, a lovely mix of many cultures, and it is located in the Zakarpattya region. Some out of its many points of interest are Skansen, a medieval Uzhgorod castle, and Korzo street. In close proximity to the town, there are a lot of local wineries and farms where you can taste authentic Ukrainian cheese. Also, when in Uzhgorod, don’t miss out on the Shenborn Castle.
Day 10: Marvel at the Carpathian Mountains
This is an altered version of day 6 on the one-week Ukraine travel itinerary. We recommend skipping Slavske and Zakhar Berkut peak (it is a bit far from Uzhgorod) and heading straight to Mount Hoverla. Afterward, spend the second half of the day hiking around Lake Synevyr — the most beautiful lake of the Carpathians.
Days 11 and 12: Get Acquainted with Odesa and the Black Sea
Saving the seaside for last is always a good idea because you can combine walking around the city with early mornings relaxing by the sea.
Odesa is authentic, laid-back, and very welcoming. Some of the activities not to miss out on when in this city are taking a tour of its catacombs, as well as exploring the courtyards of old Odesa. For dinner, head to Dacha — an iconic local restaurant located in an old mansion.
If you’ve realized that one day in Odesa is more than enough for you, there are plenty of day trips to consider. Some of the best are the Dniester River National Park with its pink pelicans, as well as the day trip to the Akkerman Fortress.
To get from Lviv to Odesa, the best option would be to fly. Check FlyUIA or SkyUp for domestic flights. Where to stay in Odesa? We recommend all the hotels near Deribasivska — the main artery of the city. Compare prices for hotels in Odesa here.
Day 13: It Is Wine-Time!
Ukrainian lands by the sea are famous for numerous vineyards. Some of the most popular are located in close proximity to Odesa. Winetasting experience may include visits to family-run wineries like the Colonist and bigger productions like the Shabo Wine Culture Center, with day tours available from Odesa.
Day 14: Back to Kyiv but with a Stop in Uman
If you decide to take a Bla Bla Car to Kyiv, it would be only logical to stop halfway in Uman. This is a small town with the legendary Sofyivka Park — a true work of art and a love letter of one wealthy man to his beautiful wife. A walk in the park will take at least a couple of hours, so plan accordingly.
Three weeks in Ukraine travel itinerary
Kyiv ➡ Chornobyl ➡ Kamyanets-Podilsky and Podilsky Tovtry ➡ Chernivtsi ➡ Lviv ➡ Uzhgorod ➡ the Carpathians ➡ Yaremche ➡ Odesa ➡ Odesa wineries ➡ Oleshky desert and the pink lake ➡ Askania Nova ➡ Zaporozhian Sich ➡ Kharkiv
Three weeks in Ukraine is enough time to add the eastern region to the route and to also jot in a couple of great day trips to under-the-radar destinations. These will usually not pop up among the Google searches. We are talking about the pink lakes, the island, and the desert.
This itinerary is based on the two-week itinerary with a couple of tweaks to logically include the eastern region.
- Days 1 and 2: Kyiv
- Day 3: Chornobyl
- Days 4 and 5: Kamyanets-Podilsky and Podilsky Tovtry National Park (overnight in Kamyanets-Podilsky)
- Day 6: Chernivtsi (overnight train to Lviv)
- Days 7 and 8: Lviv
- Day 9: Uzhgorod
- Day 10: the Carpathians (trip to Mount Hoverla and Synevyr Lake)
- Days 11 and 12: Yaremche
- Days 13 and 14: Odesa
- Day 15: Trip to local wineries not far from Odesa
- Day 16: Oleshky desert and the pink lake Lemyriyske (overnight in Kherson)
- Day 17: Askania Nova Sanctuary and transfer to Zaporizhzhya
- Day 18: Zaporozhian Sich (overnight train to Kharkiv)
- Days 19 and 20: Kharkiv
- Day 21: Transfer to Kyiv
Days 1 through 10
Check days 1 through 10 of the two-week itinerary.
Days 11 and 12: Relax in Yaremche
One of the most scenic villages in the Carpathians, Yaremche is adapted to international tourism, offering a lot of great accommodations, and also conveniently located in the heart of many hiking trails. From this village, the routes go to the hidden waterfalls, mountain lakes, and peaks with stunning views.
If you are feeling adventurous, we sincerely recommend checking out Pip Ivan — one of Ukraine’s beautiful peaks with the abandoned observatory. At the same time, you can skip an adventure and take a break from the saturated itinerary by relaxing in the hot baths also known as chans, drinking Carpathian herbal tea, and going on easy hikes in the area.
Days 13 through 15
Check days 11 through 13 of the two-week itinerary.
Mind that getting from Yaremche to Odesa may be tricky, and the best way is either an overnight train or returning to Lviv and flying to Odesa.
Day 16: Did You Know Ukraine Has a Desert?
Kherson region is full of surprises, and for us personally — this is one of the most favorite areas in Ukraine. The reason we did not include it in the two-week itinerary is that it is poorly adapted to international tourism. The region is only developing its infrastructure and can therefore be recommended only to adventurous travelers.
Still, with local buses and taxis easily available, if you have the time to discover Ukraine in-depth, do consider heading to the biggest European desert — Oleshky, and then having a swim in our version of the Israeli Dead Sea — the pink lake Lemuriyske. For both destinations, the most convenient overnight stay would be in Kherson, which is a small city worth exploring.
For Oleshky, they have the official guided tours and the best way to explore the desert is by buying a trip from any local tour operator company in Kherson. We would also redirect you to the local tour operators for the safest and most convenient commutes to the pink lake Lemuriyske.
Day 17: Discover the Askania Nova Sanctuary
Acres of steppes with populations of zebras, wild horses, pelicans, and other wild animals — this is what Askania Nova is in a nutshell. This was once an estate maintained by a wealthy family, and with time it turned into the National Park. Don’t go there on your own if you are renting a car for this entire trip — you may as well drive all the way to the sanctuary just to find out that all the seats on the safari are sold out. And unfortunately, there is no way to book a trip in advance on one’s own if you travel with a party of fewer than 10 people.
All visits to Askania Nova are within the organized tours so head to the local tour operator in Kherson or Mykolaiv and purchase your day trip to the sanctuary.
After an exciting ride across the steps, don’t forget to take a walk in the Askania Nova botanical garden.
Day 18: Dive into Ukrainian Cossack Culture
Zaporizhya is a city that can be recommended only to the true fans of industrial landscapes. In plain words: there is not much to see in the area. Except!…
…except for the unique island on the river Dnipro, which is the cradle of the Ukrainian Cossack Culture. A rebuilt wooden fortress with museums, festivals, shows, and lots of hiking trails — Zaporozhian Sich will give you a true taste of Ukraine’s glorious past.
To get to Zaporizhzhya, check flights from Mykolaiv, or buy tickets for a train.
Days 19 and 20: A Glimpse of the Soviet Heritage
Soviet architecture is usually the reason why many travelers head to Kharkiv — a busy city in eastern Ukraine and the country’s former capital.
To be completely honest, Kharkiv is not only about the Soviet heritage. It moved on from the USSR’s past and is currently known as the students’ capital of the country. This is due to the high concentration of universities in the area. Plus, the city is known for its lush gardens, the beautiful Annunciation Cathedral, Freedom Square, and the Mirror Steam Fountain. All of these points of interest are available in a guided private tour across Kharkiv.
If you come to realize that one day is more than enough for you in Kharkiv, you can also opt-in for one of many Kharkiv day trips. We recommend a full-day trip to Poltava — the cradle of Ukrainian literature and the ultimate inspiration for many of the country’s writers. Also, it is the hometown of Ukraine’s star national dish — varenyky.
One month (four weeks) in Ukraine travel itinerary
This circular route is a bit over the top, of course, and whoever wants to follow it will need to reserve at least a month for a trip to Ukraine. However, it also includes some great areas by the Black Sea, including the biggest uninhabited island in the country _ something you won’t see during a brief visit to Ukraine. Or, if you are not a fan of the seaside, you can extend your stay in the mountains by adding a couple of authentic villages to the itinerary.
This itinerary is based on the three-week route and includes a tweak in the middle.
Kyiv ➡ Chornobyl ➡ Kamyanets-Podilsky and Podilsky Tovtry ➡ Chernivtsi ➡ Lviv ➡ Uzhgorod ➡ the Carpathians ➡ Yaremche ➡ Dzembronia and Bukovel (optional) Odesa ➡ Odesa wineries ➡ Kinburn Spit ➡ Oleshky desert and the pink lake ➡ Askania Nova ➡ Dzarylhach Island ➡ Zaporozhian Sich ➡ Kharkiv
Villages in the Carpathians
After visiting Yaremche, you can proceed to explore the mountains by staying three days in Dzembronia — this is the highest mountain settlement in the country and the locals refer to it as the place where the clouds are born. For some of the most gorgeous sunsets and sunrises, as well as for serenity, relaxation, and detox from civilization, definitely head to Dzembronia.
Keep in mind that there are not that many accommodations available for rent in this village. On the other hand, why not ask the locals for a stay as part of your authentic adventure around the country?
Unlike Dzembronya, Bukovel is the busy center for ski tourism in winters, and hikes, quad riding, and other activities in the summer months. Get ready for expensive accommodations and restaurants — everything in this area is tourism-oriented.
Camping by the Black Sea
After Odesa, reserve three to four days for the Kinburn Spit — a unique strap of sandy land and a beautiful national park. The most convenient way to get to Kinburn is from Mykolaiv by speedboat.
Once you’ve reached Kinburn, you will be able to either rent a tent in one of many camping sites closer to the tip of the peninsula or pay for the comfortable rooms in homestays in the central part of Kinburn. As far as the activities go, you can go hiking, bird watching, snorkeling in the clear waters of the Black Sea, visit the pink lakes, and simply relax on the beach.
Only one other location in Ukraine can beat Kinburn to the beauty of the white-sand beaches and clear blue water, and it is Dzarylhah Island. If you are following this itinerary, you can plan to visit Ukraine’s biggest uninhabited island before or after exploring the Kherson area.
The ports that offer regular boats to the island are in Skadovsk and Zhelezny Port. Scheduled ferries are cheaper and you can even go on a simple day trip to the island. Or, you can rent a private boat and head to the secluded part of the island to camp for a few days.
Dzarylhach is a national park and a destination for green tourism in Ukraine, so it does not have hotels and restaurants. A few vendors will be selling snacks, and there is a spring with fresh water. Other than that, you will need to have with you all the essentials for a day on the beach: sunscreen, cash, some food, and a towel if you are headed for a day trip.
If you don’t want to be bothered with bringing a lot of camping equipment, you will be able to rent a tent in one of the few official campsites on the island. This experience is so worth it as you will be able to enjoy a sky full of stars, swim with the dolphins, and observe deer and other wildlife n their natural habitat.
To get to some locations on the longer itineraries, you might need to alternate between planes, trains, and renting cars/taxis. The overnight stays and commutes listed on the itineraries are approximate as train and plane schedules may change.
Written by Inessa Rezanova
I am a Kyiv-based screenwriter with 10+ years of experience in producing scripts. I love my job, and no, I did not quit it to travel the world. I see different countries in my spare time. As a storyteller, I believe that it is the emotional journey that matters the most. This is why together with my sister I started this blog to encourage everyone to travel and to do so with a heart and mind opened to adventures.
Images by Natalie Rezanova
I am a photographer based in Kyiv, Ukraine. I am lucky to be able to do what I love the most for a living. Photography is an endless source of inspiration for me. My mission on this blog is to inspire by sharing some of the favorite captions from my journeys. I also provide professional photography tips to help the readers bring home some beautiful photo memories.