Ukraine Travel Guide

(*The barbaric Russian invasion of Ukraine has made much of the country extremely dangerous, with attacks harming civilian and military targets indiscriminately. Foreign offices advise against any travel to Ukraine, and foreign nationals living in the country should leave if possible.)

Situated along the coast of the Black Sea, Ukraine is the largest country in Europe and is surrounded by Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova. In recent years, it has become a more popular holiday destination for tourists from surrounding countries, but is also becoming increasingly attractive to citizens of Western Europe and North America.

One of the main attractions for visitors to Ukraine is the country's rich history, with more than 500 of its cities dating back over 900 years and a fascinating assortment of architecture influenced by its diverse neighbours.

Most travellers begin in the historical capital city of Kyiv, arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Ancient streets, striking architecture, lovely scenery, and a wealth of historical and religious sites ensure a culturally enriching holiday. The destination is also enriched with monuments such as the grandiose St Sophia's Cathedral, famous for its 11th-century mosaics and frescoes, and the Cave Monastery, the holy centre of the early Orthodox Church.

The other major attraction for Ukraine tourists is the natural beauty of the country, with areas such as the Carpathian and Crimean mountain ranges; the Black Sea and Sea of Asov; and the Crimean Peninsula, which is currently occupied by Russia, but was a popular tourist haven with its warm climate, famous resorts, history, and old cities such as Sevastopol and Yalta.

The Carpathian Mountains draw skiers and hikers throughout the year, and the region is also popular for its restorative spas and historic sites. The city of Lviv is a good place from which to access the mountains. It's one of the main cultural centres of the country and a delight to explore with its medieval old town and distinctive architecture.

The harbour city of Odessa, known as the 'Pearl of the Black Sea', is an established tourist destination that also serves as the gateway to many of the famous Black Sea resorts. It is an intriguing city with a wonderful mixture of cultures and historical architecture.

With a name that means 'borderland', it's no wonder that Ukraine is constantly in a state of reinvention. Formerly part of the Soviet Union, the country experienced revolutions in 2004 and 2014 and the invasion and annexation of Crimea and parts of Eastern Ukraine in 2014. The country remains torn between the East and the West and many visitors find this identity crisis interesting in itself, but Ukraine is primarily a worthy tourist destination because of its history and culture, as well as its thriving resorts.