Ukraine, with its vast size and varied culture and landscapes, has a plethora of excellent things to offer. The country’s major attractions include some outstanding and distinctively Slavic towns, significant cultural history, and, of course, world-class natural regions.
Visit the ancient city of Lviv, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site yet is still a busy town and the country’s real center for study and culture. Its cobblestoned lanes are densely packed with monuments dating back to the Middle Ages, apparently unscathed by the devastating power of warfare that has altered some of Ukraine’s other towns so drastically. Even the considerable Soviet planning that has influenced many other locations on Europe’s far east side has left just a little imprint on the colorful variety of architectural styles. The Korniakt Palace (directly on the market square) and many magnificent churches are highlights. Try the Lviv National Art Gallery’s excellent collection for a more refined taste of culture.
Then there are the must-sees in Kiev, a vibrant city where the golden roofs of the Unesco World Heritage monuments Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Pechersk Lavra stand out. Take an afternoon walk around Andriyivsky Uzviz, Kiev’s Montmartre, which is teeming with artists and souvenir vendors. Follow in the footsteps of Apostle Andrew, who, tradition has it, ascended the steep stairs of this bohemian neighborhood two thousand years ago, to the summit where a church bearing his name still stands. The wonderful Pyrohovo Museum of Folk Architecture is not to be missed. Last but not least, Kiev is an excellent location for exploring Ukraine’s vibrant markets (but Odesa or Kharkiv have good ones too). Consider visiting the Residence of the Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans in Chernivtsi as well.
The beautiful Carpathian Mountains are among the greatest natural features this otherwise surprisingly flat region has to offer in terms of natural attractions. They provide breathtaking views of wooded hills, verdant valleys, and snow-capped summits and provide abundant possibilities for hiking, bicycling, and winter sports. Another excellent choice for environment enthusiasts and bird watchers is the relatively unknown Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. Spend the day boating and bird-watching in the beautiful village of Vylkovo, which has numerous canals.