The Best Things to do in Ukraine

Adventurous travel isn’t just about jumping out of airplanes and climbing mountains. Sometimes, adventure is about going somewhere out of the ordinary, and a visit to Ukraine definitely qualifies as unusual.

We have family roots in Ukraine, so the country has always held a special allure. I learned how to decorate Ukrainian Easter eggs in elementary school, and Ukrainian foods like homemade perogies (pedehey or varenky) and cabbage rolls (holubtsi) are always on the menu when we visit family.

Ukrainian Easter Eggs by neiljs on Flickr
Photo by neiljs

Unknown to most, Ukraine is one of the largest countries in Europe, second only to Russia in size. It’s a country with a long and complex, and often turbulent history.

Note: See the end of this article for a special word on travel safety for Ukraine.

Ukraine vs “the Ukraine”

Before you start asking where’s the “the” in front of Ukraine, since the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine in 1991, most newspapers and English speaking foreign governments refer to the country as Ukraine. The use of “the Ukraine” comes from the time before independence in 1991, when Ukraine was a republic of the Soviet Union.

Things to do in Ukraine

Now that that’s cleared up, here are our favorite things to do in Ukraine.


Kiev (also known as Kyev), the capital and largest city of Ukraine, is a unique mix of Soviet and European culture and architecture. This green city is full of gorgeous trees and parks and memories of World War II are well preserved in the war memorial museum located at the foot of Rodina-Mat or in the 102 m high Mother of Motherland statue.

In addition to beautiful churches and cathedrals like St. Andrews Church, St. Sophia’s Cathedral and Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves), Kiev is home to the deepest train station in the world – Arsenalna. The city also boasts the Kiev Opera House and if you’re in town, be sure to take a walk on the streets of beautiful Maidan (city center).

One of the tastiest experiences to have in Kiev is a stop by Lvivska Maysternya Shokoladu. Lvivska maysternya shokoladu means “Lviv Handmade Chocolate”, and it’s one of Kiev’s oldest and best chocolate cafes. Lviv is a city in western Ukraine, that’s well known for a tradition of excellent chocolate. You can grab coffee, tea and deserts to eat in house, or buy coffee and chocolate to go in the shop.

If you’re there when it’s held once a month, be sure to visit the large and colorful Kurazh Bazar. You can find opening times on their Facebook page here.

10 must visit places in Ukraine Sofiiska Square Bell Tower in Kiev Ukraine
Sofiiska Square Bell Tower in Kiev. Photo by Michele Ursino


Lviv, near the Polish border, is more European than Soviet in its architecture and culture. The unique confluence of artistic traditions of Ukraine and architecture of central Europe has made Lviv a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The historic city center (old town), is the perfect place to visit pubs and breweries among the cobblestone roads and Renaissance era buildings. Lviv Chocolate Factory is a must-visit for chocolate lovers, and blogger Karolina Patryk recommends Kumpel restaurant for homemade beer and authentic Ukrainian food.

The St. George’s cathedral houses the replica of Shroud of Turin making it a very popular tourist attraction. The Lychakiv cemetery houses more than 400,000 graves, each one popular and unique in their own way.

Lviv 10 must visit places in Ukraine
Photo by Juanedc


The site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, Chernobyl has become an unlikely tourist spot. While you can’t visit the Chernobyl site itself, there are tours to the nearby ghost town on Pripyat. Before the nuclear disaster, Pripyat had almost 50,000 residents.

Want to find out more about tours in Chernobyl? Click here to see TripAdvisor reviews and information.

Pripyat was evacuated in two days in the aftermath of the disaster and, remains as it was on the fateful day in 1986. Pripyat is a must-include visit in your Ukraine travel planner.

Full day tours run from Kiev, approximately 100 km away.

If you haven’t see HBO’s fantastic Chernobyl show, check it out now. It’s well worth a watch.

Get Season 1 on Amazon here.

Pripyat, a ghost town near Chernobyl - 1 of 10 must visit places in Ukraine
Photo by thedakotakid


A port city on the Black Sea, Odessa is a popular summer beach town that attracts people from all over Europe.

The blue sea, opera, ballet, theatre, the beautiful Dniester Delta National Park, the famous Mother-in-Law Bridge and the world’s largest network of underground catacombs make a visit to Odessa a must.

Odessa - one of Ukraine's must visit places
Photo by Anton

Carpathian Mountains and Yaremche

Often known as the green pearl of Ukraine, the Carpathian Mountains are a blend of beautiful meadows, peaks, dense forests, rough rivers and mountain lakes.

The Carpathian Mountains are an ideal place to enjoy cycling, riding, trekking, rafting or simply the fresh and pure air of the mountains. Heather and John from Roaming Around the World used Yaremche as a gateway to outdoor pursuits like hiking in the Carpathian Mountains.


While it’s the city’s rich history that got Chernivtsi on the UNESCO World Heritage List, most visitors love the vibe of the city. Kami from My Wanderlust calls Chernivtsi one of her favorite finds of 2015 for its pastel buildings, numerous cafes, and leafy trees that make the city welcoming.

Actress Mila Kunis was born and lived in Chernivtsi for much of her childhood.

Chernivtsi Ukraine Railway Station


The ancient fortress is the major attraction in the town of Kamianets-Podilskyi. It’s the historic Capital of Podolia.

The fortress was first built to watch over the River Smotrych. There’s even evidence to suggest that a settlement has existed on this rock outcropping for close to 2,000 years.

Kamianets Podilskyi fortress - one of Ukraine's must visit places
Photo by Serge Bystro

Khotyn Fortress

If you take the time to visit the castle in Kamianets-Podilskyi, stop by to visit the nearby Khotyn Fortress. It’s located on the bank of the Dniester River in Khotyn. The fortress was built in 1325.

Khotyn Fortress - one of Ukraine's must visit places
Photo by Serge Bystro


The main draw in the central Ukrainian city of Uman is the famous Sofiyivka park. The park is both a botanical garden and a scientific research institute.

Sofiyivka park botanical garden

Strategic Missile Forces Museum

The Strategic Missile Forces Museum offers a unique look into Cold War Soviet era Ukraine. It housed nuclear weapons, underground passages and silos, and is located about 300 km from Kiev.

Ukraine has some of the most beautiful and scenic landscapes as well as some of the most unique architecture in Europe, making it a country every itinerary planner should have on their list.

Is it safe to visit Ukraine?

There is an ongoing territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean peninsula. Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014. There is also ongoing fighting between rebels and Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

At the time of writing, there is a US Department of State warning for U.S. citizens to defer all travel to Crimea and the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. The Canadian government has a regional advisory against travel to Crimea, and Donetsk and the Luhansk Oblasts. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all travel to Donetsk oblast, Lugansk oblast and Crimea.

10 Must Visit Places in Ukraine

19 Responses

  1. Alessa Mark

    Awesome pictures Micki! Specially I like the view of Carpathian Mountains and Yaremche. Definitely I will plan to visit this place. I am so excited to go and I have added this place in my travel list. Thanks again for sharing such a wonderful information with us.

  2. Valen

    Wow, I had never thought of the Ukraine as a place I wanted to visit, but your photos make me think differently!

  3. Ann

    I never knew that THE Ukraine was actually a thing. I just thought it was what people mistakenly always called it. No clue that it changed.

    Beautiful photos!

  4. Elena

    I would love to go back to the Ukraine! I was there for a few days in 1991 on a People to People high school trip and have wanted to go back for a deeper dive.

  5. Jessie Voigts

    I have long wanted to go here, as I had a friend in college who was from the Ukraine! Your photos and details make me move it up the to-travel-to list!

  6. Jade Johnston

    I so badly want to go to Ukraine! I had a trip there planned in 2007 but it got cancelled and now I am kicking myself. Im unsure whether to give it some time to allow the political tensions to calm down, but you can really never know how long these sorts of things will last.

    • Valeriia

      I am Ukrainian and I can assure you, that it is absolutely safe and calm here. Hot point is the Eastern part of Ukraine, but our country is really big, so you won’t feel that there is a war in the country. If you come to Kiev ( center part), Lviv and Carpathian mountains ( in the west), you will definitely enjoy it and will find out that Ukraine is more Ukrainian than Soviet or European 🙂

  7. Srimanta Ghosh

    I really so excited to see these 10 places in Ukraine. I would like to visit this place.

    Thanks for sharing with these stunning pictures.

  8. BFD

    Ukraine is a beautiful place and you recommend an amazing guide about that beautiful place. Buildings are best attraction of that beautiful place and so stunning photos you shared.

  9. Jessica

    Excellent list! I’m Ukrainian American as well and part of the Ukrainian National Womens League of America, so many of my friends and comembers were born and raised there..especially the older ones..their stories are incredible, as they survived WWII, the famine, etc.

    Anyways, every place I want to visit is on your list! My family’s from Lviv area (Lvov up until’s had several names throughout history based on occupation..Lvov’s the polish name) and Odessa for sure that we know of, so those are musts for me (we kept in contact til the 90s when the last speaker in my family passed). THANK YOU for mentioning the difference of “the ukraine” and “Ukraine”. Excellent summary. It always irks me when people refer to it as the former, even though I know it’s out of ignorance.

    there are a couple other must the tunnel made of tamed greenery, or another mountain range with a well known lake (cant think of name) ..or the traditional village you can walk around to see how we used to live…and also the couple of viking settlements still used today.

    • Jessica

      Oh PS.. Ukrainians don’t call “pierogies” pierogies. It’s the polish name. Our word that my family brought over from their region with our recipe is pedehey. It is known as the national dish of Ukraine and accepted countrywide as Varenyky. Also, stuffed cabbage is known as Holuptsi. An edit would be nice so visitors don’t call it pierogies if ordering. Always nice to use phrases or words the country uses. Always gets a nice response because they appreciate you trying, even if you get it wrong.

      • Charles Kosman

        Hi Jessica, my Baba always called them pedehey and the whole family calls cabbage rolls holubtsi however most of the rest of the world knows them as perogies or pierogies and cabbage rolls so Micki used that term. That said, I did add the terms to the post so travelers heading to Ukraine know what they’re called locally.

        Thanks for the tips!

  10. Danial

    I’d love to check out the Strategic Missile Forces Museum just so I could feel like I’m in a action-thriller spy movie!


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