What to see in Ukraine if you come here for the first time? It is impossible to see all the sights of Ukraine in one visit. And it’s good, because there will be a reason to come here more than once. Authentic culture, beautiful temples and churches, ancient castles and fortresses that were preserved through the centuries, amazing nature and warm climate. You can fall in love with Ukraine at first sight.
Do not waste your time looking for the places which are definitely worth visiting during your trip around the country, it will be easy if you look carefully at our list. Guides in Ukraine Russian-speaking travelers may not need it, but it is necessary to plan the sequence of sightseeing!
One of the most important relics of Orthodoxy, which has remained virtually intact since the 11th century, is rightfully considered to be Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra - the first monastery in Russia and a symbol of faith. Over the powerful waters of the Dnieper River, on its picturesque slopes, grand churches shine with their golden domes. Cobblestone paths full of greenery lead to them, and, further down, in the dungeon, winding along a narrow labyrinth of corridors, are the mysterious caves that hold the Lavra’s main treasure - the imperishable relics of the righteous.
Kiev Pechersk Lavra occupies the first place in the list of “Sights of Ukraine,” being the most visited holy site by tourists and pilgrims from all over the world. During the thousand years of its existence, the Lavra has undergone many calamities, such as earthquakes, Mongol-Tatar invasions, fires, and wars, but it revived after every calamity and destruction.
Entering the territory of this unique complex, you forget about worldly vanity, get away from everyday problems. You are enveloped by tranquility and mystery. People come here to see with their own eyes the saints resting in the caves, and, having touched the relics, strengthen their faith.
Official website: https://lavra.ua/
Independence Square, called “Maidan” by Ukrainians, is the main square of the capital. It is an object that tourists and visitors of the city visit for sure. Here they like to wander around the fountains, take pictures with the majestic monument and just take a walk. There are several major Kiev streets that border Maidan: Khreschatik, Institutskaya, Sofiyskaya, and St. Mikhailovskaya.
The square has changed its name a few times: in the XIX century there was a wasteland with the ruins of fortifications, then the first name was Khreshchatinskaya, after - Dumskaya Square, and only in the year of independence of Ukraine (1991) it got its present name.
Despite the loud “megapolis,” Kiev, buried in verdure, is loved for its warmth and comfort. Asking the question of what to visit in Ukraine, do not hesitate to come to Kiev! There is an incredible number of places that are unique in their beauty and historical value, where Independence Square is one of the main attractions of the capital. In 2004 and 2014 the square was the center of protest rallies and revolutionary events in Ukraine.
Odessa is the pearl of the south, a hospitable city with a soul. Soaked in the salty splashes of the Black Sea and the subtle humor of Odessa, the city is striking for its hospitality and endless charm. Tourist companies offer any tour around the country, but to visit southern Palmyra is worth a visit.
There is definitely something to see here: the magnificent Opera House, many historical monuments, somber catacombs, small streets and cozy courtyards of the old city. But there is something special in Odessa - Deribasovskaya street, sung in poems and songs, a kind of visiting card of the city. Here there is no heavy traffic, you can quietly stroll along the cobblestone sidewalk and experience the indescribable atmosphere of the great city. On Deribasovskaya there are many cafes, restaurants, summer sites, it is simply saturated with color of Odessa. City Garden, a monument to Utesov, street musicians and artists, and next to the chic “Passage” store, which is a monument of architecture of the XIX century, attracts the eyes of strolling visitors. Here you just want to smile for no reason, breathe deeply, then buy a keepsake and fall in love with this city for life.
Attractions of Ukraine can be found in every corner of this unique country. Khotyn fortress is one of the most spectacular sights, which every tourist should definitely visit. It is a monument to the great history of Rus, which is a little over 1000 years old.
Originally it was a small fortress built by Slavs out of wood. Its function was to protect the local people from invaders. When the Mongol-Tatar yoke conquered Russia, the role of this fortress increased significantly. It guarded the most important crossing on the Dniester River from the raids of nomadic robbers.
Later the first small stone fortress was built there. Over time it was expanded and rebuilt after being destroyed by nomads. Up to XIX century there were permanent battles on this place. Khotyn fortress was also attacked by Russian troops.
Official site: http://khotynska-fortecya.cv.ua
If you do not know what to visit in Ukraine, make sure you visit St. Sophia Cathedral, built by the order of Yaroslav the Wise in the XI century. Originally the construction consisted of 13 domes, with the lapse of time another 6 were added. The temple was often destroyed because of the attacks of robbers and invaders, survived the onslaught of the Tatar-Mongol yoke, the group of Batu Khan completely ruined and plundered the cathedral.
By the beginning of the XV century the building was badly damaged, the services for the citizens had ceased. Metropolitan Peter decided to call an Italian architect to restore the cathedral in the XVII century. The building now became pear-shaped, the walls are decorated with stucco, inside restored icons and frescoes.
Now the Cathedral of St. Sophia is a UNESCO (World Heritage), services are held only on the great Christian holidays, at other times the temple is open to tourists. The building is very beautiful and unique. One of the domes of the cathedral reminds us of Jesus and the rest of the apostles and evangelists who preached Christ. In the temple has been preserved since the XI century mosaics that decorate the central dome and arches. Scenes from the Bible are depicted not only on the mosaics, but also on the frescoes. Total in the cathedral more than 100 burials, including the resting place of Yaroslav the Wise and his family.
Official website: https://st-sophia.org.ua/
Many tourists wonder: what to see in Ukraine? This country has a lot of beautiful places, one of them is the Tunnel of Love. This place is considered one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Especially popular among the romantics and newlyweds who come here to make a wish and photographers who take a lot of high-quality and interesting pictures. The tunnel is situated in a forest near the town of Klevan in Rivne region. You can easily get there by train. The Tunnel of Love is a 1 km long piece of forest. Inside there are rails, on which the real factory train runs. It keeps the place this way by breaking off the grown branches of the trees.
The best time to watch the tunnel is at the end of spring, summer and early fall, because all this time there are a lot of leaves on the trees, which gives a special romanticism and mystery through the play of light and shadows. However, it is also beautiful after a good snowfall - time seems to stop and life around stands still. But beware of the train, which can destroy such a beautiful moment, rushing through the tunnel.
Not far from this place is a medieval castle, shrouded in legends and myths, so the Tunnel of Love is one of the most romantic places in Europe for lovers.
On the majestic mountain, surrounded by chalk cliffs on the banks of the beautiful Seversky Donets River as a vision of bygone times sunk in the green shrine of Eastern Ukraine - Assumption Lavra. A marvelous view opens up from the top of the cliff. But the monastery itself, which includes an ensemble of several churches and a cave monastery complex, rises from the bright waters of Donets to the very top of the holy mountain. Majestic as an eagle’s nest, it was chosen by hermits for their abode.
The sound of the bell has been ringing the river since ancient times, announcing peace and prosperity. Lavra has a lot of interesting monuments of architecture and art. Few sights in Ukraine can compare with Sviatogorsk monastery in terms of its greatness.
The history of the monastery goes back to antiquity. Back in the VIII century, fleeing from persecution and resettling to the northern Black Sea coast, the inhabitants of Greek monasteries founded the first cave settlements on the banks of the Seversky Donets River. The cave monastery on the rock of Sviatogorsk was especially respected by the people and enjoyed their sincere love. People revered the monastery for the rigor of monastic life, the holiness of the brothers who lived here and their asceticism. Currently, many tourists and pilgrims come to this place unique in its amazing beauty and power.
Official website: http://svlavra.church.ua
Kamianets-Podilskyi makes the most pleasant impression: a small, green, clean and incredibly bright town. If you come here once, you will definitely want to come again. Residents of the city are very careful about their relics, so a unique place, which is called Old Town, where a medieval architectural monument, the Kamenets-Podolsky Fortress, is located, has been preserved almost untouched. If you want to know what to see in Ukraine, you should visit this unbelievable by its energy and beauty place.
At the exit of the old town you can enjoy the majestic view of the Old Castle of Kamyanets-Podilskyi. After crossing the bridge over the canyon you enter its territory as if you are plunged into the Middle Ages. Its severe appearance, massive walls with stonework, defensive constructions, stone and earth bastions and castle towers literally captivate you.
The history of the Old Castle dates back to the XII century. Already in those times it reliably protected the city, and in the XV century, after the capture of the Poles, it was the most important defense post of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Until the ХІХ century the town was conquered by Turks, Poles, Russian Empire in turn, and when it was no longer of military importance, it became a museum-reserve and one of the most visited sights in Ukraine.
The hunting manor, a country residence of the Earls of Shenbourne is located in Zakarpattya in the Beregvar tract near the village of Chinadievo near Mukachevo. It is one of the best preserved palaces in Ukraine. At the moment it is called the sanatorium “Karpaty”. The unique construction fascinates visitors with its unrivaled beauty and grandeur. A huge park, clear Carpathian air, tranquility and peace - that is what attracts a lot of tourists to visit this charming place and stay there longer.
To see the unique architectural constructions you don’t have to travel abroad. Local guides will offer you an excellent and inexpensive vacation in Zakarpattya with a visit to ancient palaces, crystal clear lakes and powerful waterfalls. Schoenborn Castle will allow you to feel like an Austrian aristocrat. Despite the fact that it looks like a medieval building, it is considered fairly young. At the beginning of the XIX century the building was a small wooden hunting lodge, later in its place on the orders of the count’s best architects was designed and built a huge stone palace. Perfectly preserved sights of Ukraine, located in the park zone, remain attractive to tourists.
Official site: http://sankarpaty.com/glavnaya
If you consider the sights of Ukraine, you can not forget about the largest island in the country - Khortytsia - 12 km long and about 2.5 km wide. Back in the times of the Scythians, various tribes used the natural protection and chose it for their settlements. To this day on the territory of the island there is a pagan sanctuary. According to legends, Svyatoslav, the prince of Kiev, was killed here in a battle with the Pechenegs.
But the most famous part of the island was made by the Ukrainian Cossacks. Some say they organized a camp here, and then proclaimed the island the capital of their republic. True, there is other information, but the island, overgrown with legends, refuses to accept it, and here there is a museum of the Ukrainian Cossacks and the historical and cultural complex “Zaporizhian Sich”.
Today the island is a huge museum complex, surrounded by water and rocks. Since 2005, it has acquired the status of a national reserve. Part of the territory is almost untouched, many plants and animals that live here are included in the Red Book. An arboretum, an equestrian theater, and beautiful viewing platforms complete the list for tourists to visit. They can visit the sights or just relax on the shore, swimming, fishing and eating kebabs.
If you have not yet planned what excursions in Ukraine will order, our list will be a real “wand”, identifying the most interesting options and settlements. We present the actual descriptions and photos, based on which you can easily make the final choice.
Lviv, the city of attractions and tourists, often tops the list of things to visit in Ukraine. Among the most interesting and majestic to see is St. Andrew’s Church, which was the first stone temple in the city. Legend has it that the order of Bernardinians arrived in the city back in the 15th century, but for a long time they were not allowed to build a monastery and a temple so that the enemies could not penetrate into the city. Then a compromise decision was made. The fighting monks built a monastery of stone and allowed the walls to become part of the city’s defenses. When necessary, they went out on the city walls and fought shoulder to shoulder with the townspeople.
The church itself was built in 1600-1630. Architects P. Rimlanin and A. Bemer belonged to different styles, but the more interesting the result. On the facade there are sculptures of the four saints, and inside the rich decorations in the Baroque style. The ceiling is painted by the famous B. Mazurkevich. Cells are attached to the northern wall of the temple. The wooden details have not been preserved, but most of them were made anew according to the exact model.
According to another legend, in the XVII century Bogdan Khmelnitsky didn’t destroy the city only because a monk ghost appeared to him. To commemorate it, the column still stands, though not of wood, but of stone. In 1733-1734 a bell tower was added to the south.
When looking for things to see in Ukraine, it is a must to check out Marble Cave, which is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. It was discovered in 1987 and has become a tourist favorite.
It is inferior in size to the world’s monsters, reaching only two kilometers. Only half of it is open to the safe public. There are lights, handrails in the right places, and concrete walkways for the convenience of visitors. The largest hall, the Obvalny Hall, is 100 meters long and 28 meters high. Since the formation appeared in a rock of marble limestone, the name itself was determined.
The beauty of the cave is in the huge stalactites and stalagmites, sintered draperies, helictite flowers, recognized as unique, corralite patterns, stone altars, chandeliers, and columns. In the lower gallery there is a natural mineralogical museum, where speleotours of 3 hours each are held.
There is no free entrance to the cave, offering 5 guided tours. You should be prepared for visiting the cave and take warm clothes, since the temperature even on the hottest day is not higher than 9 degrees Celsius. Comfortable footwear is also a must, because you have to walk a lot. You won’t find another place like this in Ukraine.
Lake Synevyr is called the pearl of the Ukrainian Carpathians. The clearest fresh lake is located on the territory of Synevyrski Reserve and occupies an area of about 5 hectares. Scientists believe that this miracle appeared as the result of the rock fall. For tourists, however, the main thing is to admire the exceptional beauty of this Ukrainian sight and the clearest water of the mountain streams that fill the reservoir.
The depth is quite large, ranging from 4.5 to 24 meters, but even in the deepest place you can see the water almost to the bottom. This makes the lake look like a natural aquarium. Floating on a raft, you can put your hand in the water and wait for the touch of the world’s most timid fish - trout. It, like many other species of fish, swims here in schools.
The air is not only clean, but it rings with the natural sounds of birds, animals, splashing water and rustling plants. Motor boats and loud noises are prohibited here, so the rest will not only enjoyable but also healthy. The nervous system, hearing and vision will be able to throw off the burden of civilization, at least for a short time. Such sights of Ukraine remind man that nature is his cradle, salvation and pure pleasure.
The vast territory of the Ukrainian part of the Carpathians reaches 280 km in length and 50-100 km in width. Together with the territory of foothills it is more than 3700 sq km.
The appeal for tourists is landscape. On the Ukrainian side the mountains are slightly lower and easier to climb. But this has not affected the variety of preserved natural resources. A huge number of large and medium-sized rivers, including the Tisza, Prut and Dniester, more than 30,000 large streams allow the flora and fauna to have no shortage of water. There are about 60 water points, where you can be treated with the healing mineral waters, which made it possible to create on their basis balneotherapeutic resorts.
Beech forests of Ukrainian Carpathians are protected by UNESCO as untouched natural complex. There is a large reserve and a few dozen protected natural parks, occupying 13% of the area.
There is a lot to see in Ukraine if you come to the Carpathian Mountains. Among the most popular and exotic attractions are Shipot and Manyavski waterfalls, a mud volcano in Starunya village, the Narcissus valley, and a number of lakes.
In winter the region turns into a ski resort of world importance, with pistes of different levels, well-developed infrastructure and the opportunity to get acquainted with the vibrant culture of the local population.
The visiting card of the city of Lutsk is an ancient monument of architecture, mentioned in chronicles in 1075. In 1340-1350 stone walls were erected instead of wooden ones, and it still stands in that form.
The fortress was able to repel the attacks of enemies over the centuries, including even the Mongol-Tatars. It became a cultural, political and religious center of Volyn. Tourists can see the perfectly preserved features of the buildings, because now the fortress has acquired the status of a historical museum and is protected by law as a national monument.
The whole complex of the site is built in the shape of a triangle. If you climb the Entrance Tower from the western wall, you will see Lutsk in all its diversity. Inside the tower is an exhibition of paintings and engravings of antiquity and old maps of the area. Several exhibitions on the lower floors acquaint you with ancient versions of keys, the art of local glassblowers, and toys. In the courtyard there is an exhibition of medieval implements.
Among the surviving buildings are parts of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, built 9 centuries ago. Near it there is an exhibition of ancient building material. In the museum of printing there is an exhibition of old books. The pride of Ukraine, a collection of bells is also presented in Lutsk castle. Everyone who comes to the castle will find something that will touch his heart.
Park Kievan Rus is located just 45 minutes away from modern Kiev - Kiev region, Obukhov district, Kopachov village. The complex is not a museum or an exhibition, but a real living medieval town, with its entourage of residents, architectural masterpieces, delicious meals from the fire, ancient crafts and horseback riding, incredibly spectacular medieval shows.
On the territory of over 20 hectares, based on the knowledge of modern science, archaeology and chronicles, is recreated the capital of the great medieval state of Kievan Rus - Ancient Kiev from V to XIII centuries. The city is erected in the size of its historic center, known as Kiev Dytynets or Hrad Volodymyr. And also the atmosphere and spirit of that glorious era is recreated.
There are museums of historical costume, medieval music, wooden architecture, exhibitions of siege weapons, shipbuilding and even a medieval torture chamber. The Principality of Kievan Rus is a unique site where large-scale historical battles are recreated in an authentic historical environment, spectacular championships in medieval combat, knight and archery tournaments are held, armor and weapons of medieval warriors are demonstrated, and the culture, life and atmosphere of Kievan Rus is recreated.
Official website: http://parkkyivrus.com
Ukraine, a unique European country, seems to be so close and understandable to all of us, but in the process of traveling it opens up from completely different, amazing angles. In order to make your trip to Ukraine full of impressions, it’s worth mentioning the most important sights of Ukraine briefly, and planning an interesting route. In the Ivano-Frankovsk region, in the town of Kolomyia you can see the largest Easter egg in the world - a kind of painted construction is the museum of Easter eggs “Pysanka”. There are over ten thousand exhibits in the museum - painted eggs from different regions of Ukraine, as well as examples from other countries, from Russia and Belarus to Egypt and China. A place of honor in the exhibition belongs to the collection of Eggs painted by famous people - artists, politicians, including Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko.
Valuable historical and cultural sights of Ukraine are an important component of its tourist potential. They include the Old Town of Lviv, a wonderful historical monument, where you can stroll along the cobblestone streets as if you are transported back in time several centuries. Such a walk conveys an amazing sense of coziness, which can be obtained only by walking through the neighborhood, saturated with its history. On a very modest square surprisingly collected a large number of old structures - and this four large churches, and three ethnic quarters, and a few dozen centuries-old houses, all kinds of sculptures and even fragments of the fortress. The recreation in the old city is supplemented with numerous souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes, where you can relax during your walk.
Among Ukraine’s surviving fortifications is Palanok Castle - the largest castle in Transcarpathia, the date of whose erection is not known - only sources mention that in the 11th century this citadel successfully repulsed an attack by Polovtsian Khan’s troops. The castle repeatedly changed its owner, and each new owner contributed to its fortification and reconstruction. To this day, from its 68-meter elevation, it proudly looks at the guests of Mukachevo town, who want to see such an impregnable and majestic fortress. In the 50s of the last century, there was a technical college within the castle walls, and students lived in barracks. And since 1989, a museum with a collection of sculptures and paintings has been functioning here, and there is also an exhibition of culture and everyday life of Transcarpathian people from the 12th to the 20th century.
In search of attractions in Ukraine for children, we recommend going to the small town of Uman, which is famous for its dendrological park “Sofievka”. This is a great place for a family vacation, where you can see all the beauty of local nature, in all its colors and abundance. The park stretches on the banks of the river Kamenka, on an area of 180 hectares, more than two hundred years ago. This piece of landscape art was created by a Polish count for his wife Sophia, after whom it was named. For its creation was chosen a very successful, diverse landscape, with hills, ravines and large granite blocks on the banks. Even today, the park has a special romantic atmosphere, pleases the eye with the beauty of ponds, fountains, man-made waterfalls and sculptures. You can stroll through the numerous shady alleys, ride horses, or go on the waters of the Kamenka River by boat or catamaran.
The Pochaev Assumption Lavra, or Pochaev Monastery for Men, is the largest temple complex in the country, once the main spiritual center of Western Russia. By its scale it is second only to the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. The Lavra is situated in the center of the town Pochayiv, on a high hill, and therefore its snow-white facade and golden domes can be seen from afar. One can only guess about the foundation of the complex from the scattered legends and chronicles: it is believed that the monks, who were persecuted by the Mongol-Tatar army from Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra in the 13th century, ran to this region and founded the monastery here. First a small wooden church was built, then the stone Holy Dormition church was erected, and in 1649 the Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity appeared on the hill. Today Pochayiv Lavra is not just a pilgrimage site, but also a large Orthodox educational center.
Mentioning the sights of Northern Ukraine, it is worth noting that this region is rich in ancient buildings - monastic complexes, museums, fortresses and other historic buildings. You should also visit the Radomysl Castle-Museum, which is a medieval fortress, where everything is built in the spirit of antiquity. In the 17th century there was built a papyrnia - a paper mill, and the settlement of Radomyshl became a fortified place. Later, the papirnia was destroyed and in its place a mill was built, which functioned until the beginning of World War I. Later, everything was in ruins, and only in 2007 the ruins acquired a new life, the castle building rose again in its former place, preserving its authentic features. Today within its walls you can see a museum of Ukrainian domestic icons, visit the chamber music concert hall or have a snack in a medieval refectory.
Official website: http://www.radozamok
Choosing Ukrainian sights in winter, when opportunities for hiking are limited, you can go to Kharkov to see one of the first high-rises of the beginning of the last century - the House of State Industry. This building, erected in the 20s of last century, was unbelievable for its time height - 63 meters, and together with the TV tower, installed on top already in the 50s, the height is even more - 108 meters. The thing is that at the beginning of the 20th century there was the question of appointing Kharkov as the capital, and therefore it was decided to build something grandiose in the center of the city. So appeared the building Gosprom, which was an incredible size, made in the style of constructivism. Given that all the work then was carried out almost by hand, the scale of construction was enormous - at the construction site workers from all over the USSR worked in 3 shifts, and within 3 years the building grew up, which became one of the main symbols of the city.
To this day, Ukraine cherishes a number of medieval castles on its lands, which were silent witnesses to many historical events. Visitors are invariably impressed by impregnable fortresses and defensive fortifications. However, only a few of these structures can boast not just their power, but also the beauty, grace and elegance of architecture. One of them is the Olesky Castle, which now hosts a branch of the Lviv Art Gallery, displaying medieval art. It is also the oldest of the castles preserved in Ukraine, it has been built for many years in the 13th-14th centuries by Galitsko-Volynsk princes. It is worth noting that the Olesky, Zolochevsky and Podgoretsky Castles are included in a popular tourist route around Lviv, called “Golden Horseshoe of Lviv Region”.
In the center of the small town of Belgorod-Dnestrovskiy, located on the shore of the Dniester estuary, it is worth visiting the main symbol of the town, the largest fortress in Ukraine - Akkermanskaya Fortress. It’s a huge bastion, built and fortified over many years from the 13th to the 15th century. The most ancient Greek city of Tira, which was of paramount importance in the Northern Black Sea trade, used to be situated here, and up to this day you can find excavations of the city and even a whole street with houses and a water supply system near the fortress walls. The fortress complex occupies an impressive area of 9 hectares, and on its most important strategic parts there are towers - today there are 26 of 34. On the coast itself rises the most important and spectacular object - the citadel, at the walls of which today are held festivals and theatrical performances with competitions of knights.
Official website: http://viknaodessa.
Already seen all the sights of Ukraine? How about visiting your neighboring country - Belarus? Read about sights of Belarus and get inspired and plan your next trip to Eastern Europe!