Ukraine Holidays Guide
'Ukraine' means 'borderlands', and sometimes this large country tends to be forgotten about, sandwiched between newly-accessible Eastern Europe and the exoticism of Moscow and St Petersberg. The Ukraine itself is socially and politically torn between Europe and Russia. But, although you might not think there's much here, you'll definitely have heard of the Crimea, Chernobyl and Odessa. Although the Ukraine is largely undiscovered by Western tourists, it was the holiday destination of choice for the Romanovs and Russia's communist rulers – there's a lot to see here, although you'll get the most out of your experience if you know at least a basic level of Russian.
Ukraine Holidays Planner
The Crimea is the biggest Ukrainian tourist destination. Yalta has plenty of historic sights and beaches, while Sebastopol used to be closed to tourists, as it was the site of a major Russian submarine base – which you can now visit. Odessa is a lively seaside town further down the Black Sea Coast; it's a cosmopolitan port town that has retained its state of Lenin, and you can also see the famous Potemkin Steps here. Further inland, the town of Lviv has changed hands several times over the past few hundred years, and retains a strong Polish influence as well as beautiful Central European style architecture. It's the hub of Ukrainian nationalism, and the most Westernised of the major Ukrainian cities.
The Ukrainian capital is Kiev, which has some beautiful gardens and impressive statues. It's also the main pick up point for tours to Chernobyl. The area around Chernobyl is still uninhabited, but you can get access with registered tour companies, who wil take you to the nearby town, which is gradually being overtaken by vegetation, but is otherwise mostly untouched since residents fled. The Ukraine is increasingly popular with backpackers, but it's also possible to visit the main sights – particularly in the Crimea – as part of a package tours. Cruises also regularly stop off in the Crimea and at Odessa.