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The large Eastern European country of Ukraine is an underrated travel destination but one worth learning more about if you’re looking to explore the world. This is a place with an interesting culture, stunning castles, delicious food, and outdoor recreation too. Many of these places you can check out on your own or join a guided tour to get a local’s perspective and immerse yourself more deeply into the local culture. Here are our best ideas for things to do on a trip to Ukraine.
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What Is It? There are some really majestic castles in Ukraine that are definitely worth visiting during your trip. These include the Olesko, Pidhirtsi and Zolochiv Castles in the Lviv Region.
Why Do It? These castles were the sites of many important events throughout history, which you can learn about when you visit and transport yourself back to medieval times.
Good to Know: You can book a guided tour experience to see castles, which includes your entry tickets, a guide, and transportation service.
What Is It? There are some really stunning cathedrals to see in Ukraine if you enjoy architecture, sightseeing, or religion. The Saint Sophia Cathedral is a very popular attraction in Kiev.
Why Do It? Much of the history of Ukraine has been shaped by its religious institutions, so cathedrals have important lessons to share and also make for excellent photo opportunities.
Good to Know: Private tours of the Saint Sophia Cathedral are available and also include a visit to the Golden Gate that is a World Heritage Site. These iconic attractions are must-see destinations in Ukraine.
What Is It? One of the most famous and most tragic things that Ukraine is known for is Chernobyl, where a nuclear power plant disaster occurred in 1986. Today, you can learn more about this devastating event by booking a tour in the Exclusion Zone.
Why Do It? You can experience a post-apocalyptic world when you explore the abandoned city of Pripyat. Sites that you will see include the power plant, the abandoned kindergarten at Kopachi Village, and derelict cinemas and hospitals. The sites are undeniably sad but also fascinating.
Good to Know: Guests will pass through compensatory radiation control before returning to Kiev after their tours. Experts say it is safe to visit the Chernobyl site as long as you follow guidelines and stick with your tour group.
What Is It? Traditional Ukrainian foods include dumplings, beetroot soup, potato pancakes, and special kinds of bread and chicken dishes. There are cooking classes that you can take to experience them first-hand.
Why Do It? Ukrainian cuisine is unique and delicious! Allowing your taste buds to guide your travels is a fun way to connect with local culture and learn about new dishes that you might even want to try making when you arrive back home.
Good to Know: Definitely dine at some traditional restaurants when you’re in Ukraine. But if you are a true foodie, take a cooking class in Kiev to learn something new for a morning or afternoon.
What Is It? In Yaremche, Ukraine, you can climb the highest peak of the Carpathians and experience a picturesque trekking route. The region is known for its fresh mountain air and breathtaking views.
Why Do It? This is a great opportunity to get out and explore the nature of Ukraine while you get some fresh air and exercise. The landscapes are really beautiful and help you understand the region’s geography better too.
Good to Know: You can reach the top of this climb in about three hours and it doesn’t require any special experience or equipment. To refresh yourself, you can even drink water from the mountain springs along the way.
What Is It? The Askania Nova Biosphere Reserve is a natural wonder and the oldest steppe reserve in the world. Nature lovers come here to see the endangered plants and the zoo with exotic animals and birds.
Why Do It? Exploring this natural environment is a great city break and offers travelers the opportunity to get some fresh air and learn about animals and plants.
Good to Know: Many people take a guided tour of this reserve for a safari experience. These tours often last for a full day. You can also see it on your own by taking a bus to a nearby village and walking to the reserve’s entrance.
What Is It? Sunflowers are beloved in Ukraine and the national flower. Ukraine is one of the largest producers and exporters of sunflower products in the world.
Why Do It? Sunflowers are referenced often in Ukrainian folk stories and have been worshiped by people who live here for many generations. They are also often found in traditional wreaths and fabrics.
Good to Know: Sunflower fields can be found all over Ukraine and are blooming the best in July. Plan your trip during this time to see the flowers in their full glory and snap some beautiful photos to remember your trip.
What Is It? There are various types of art workshops that you can join as a tourist to learn a new traditional Ukrainian craft and get a more local experience out of your trip. Painting Ukrainian Easter eggs is a good example of this and a fun way to spend an afternoon.
Why Do It? Art workshops are led by master artists and let you take home a souvenir to remember your travels and art experience.
Good to Know: Ukrainians traditionally decorate Easter eggs with images of the sun, stars, flowers, and animals. The tradition dates back to the pre-Christian era and is believed to bring happiness and prosperity to your life.
What Is It? Ukraine is filled with awesome markets where you can shop for local goods and feel the pulse of the local culture. Odessa is a popular place to shop at markets, especially the Privoz market.
Why Do It? In Odessa, markets have always been the center of urban life. On a tour, you can learn more about the history of the markets and have your transportation taken care of.
Good to Know: Other great markets to see are the Starokonnyi flea market that feels like an open-air museum and the market at Kirov Park that has a history that dates back to 1827.
What Is It? There are some fabulous examples of street art in Ukraine ranging from pure graffiti to mural masterpieces. Art is everywhere in Kiev and offers a unique window into the local culture.
Why Do It? Checking out street art is free and easy as you’re walking along city streets. This is an off-the-beaten-track way to get to know local neighborhoods here.
Good to Know: If you are really interested in street art, join a private tour with a guide to find all the best art destinations and avoid missing out on any of the landmark pieces.
What Is It? Although you certainly don’t need to know everything about Ukrainian history to enjoy a trip here, it’s important to have a basic understanding so that you know what you’re looking at while sightseeing and why it matters.
Why Do It? One of the best parts about travel is that you can learn a lot about history without ever having to pick up a boring old textbook.
Good to Know: One of the most fun history experiences is taking a secret underworld tour of Kiev where you actually wear Soviet military boots and walk along a drain tunnel system or underground river.
What Is It? There are many interesting museums throughout Ukraine, such as the Catacombs Odesa Museum of Partisan Glory. This is an underground museum with tours that last about 30-40 minutes.
Why Do It? Museums are a great way to learn more about Ukraine and to entertain yourself if the weather isn’t ideal for outdoor recreation.
Good to Know: Other Ukrainian museums worth visiting include the Software and Computer Museum, Mykola Syadristy Microminiatures Museum, Museum of Interesting Science, and the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life.
What Is It? At a local shooting range, you can try shooting legendary Soviet AK-47s, modern pistols, and other types of iconic weaponry. The largest outdoor shooting range in Europe is in Kiev.
Why Do It? Shooting ranges are a popular pastime in Ukraine and a fun way to try something new in a safe and controlled environment.
Good to Know: No experience is typically necessary to visit a shooting range, but you can book an experience through a local adventure guide company for the most hands-on instruction to help yourself feel the most comfortable and at ease with the guns.