25
Aug-2013

Why should you visit Ukraine

This post is written together with our friends from On the Corner Guesthouse in Kolomyia and Oselya Hotel in Kyiv.

Why should you visit Ukraine? Why should you leave your comfortable cozy home and set off to explore a place, that’s not a typical vacation spot and is quite an off the beaten track?

We were sure that many travelers were asking themselves, or getting asked, these exact questions. In order to make their life easier we asked famous travel bloggers, writers, other professionals who already visited Ukraine to give us their recommendations. Some of them have been to Ukraine for only few days, some  – few weeks, while others stayed here for quite some time.

Well, let’s skip all the detailed introductions and read their testimonials about Ukraine below!

Disclaimer: some of the travelers below visited Ukraine with the Active Ukraine team, some stayed at the On the Corner Guesthouse or Oselya Hotel, and some have been to the country on their own. 

So why on earth should you visit Ukraine?

Ukraine’s diversity keeps me coming back

I’ve been travelling to Ukraine since 1998 and it’s the country’s diversity that has me coming back time and again.

Where else in Europe can you work up a tan on a stunning beach, snap on skis in dramatic mountainscape, revel in central European grandness and take a boat trip through one of the world’s most fascinating deltas in the space of  a single holiday.

And Ukraine’s people are also a varied bunch, from Kyiv’s artists to Crimean Tatars, Carpathian Hutsuls to Donbas miners, few states boast such a colourful array of citizens.

It’s all this and Ukraine’s incredible hospitality that make a trip here one of Europe’s most authentic travel experiences.

MarcDiDuca

Marc di Duca

Marc is a travel writer, author of Lonely Planet Ukraine and co-author of Bradt Ukraine guides. You can read his stories on his website. 

http://marcdiduca.com

It’s all about people

I always say that travel is about the people. And from the moment I arrived in Ukraine, so many of the people I encountered (including the immigration officer at the Lviv International Airport!) had a welcoming smile on their face and a genuine interest in making sure I enjoyed my stay in their country.

This proved to be true while wandering the city of Lviv, while out in the countryside near the village of Kosmach, when I was on the overnight train and while spending a few days in the big city of Kiev as well.

Anyone who values an opportunity to interact with and learn from local people when they travel, should put Ukraine on their list

earl

Derek Earl Baron

Earl runs the travel blog Wandering Earl. Follow his journeys on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.

http://www.wanderingearl.com

The people could not have been friendlier

I spent about 6 weeks exploring Ukraine and I can’t wait to go back for more! Kiev was beautiful, with golden domes shimmering brightly everywhere you go. In western Ukraine, Lviv really stood out, with its interesting churches and museums, charming city center and the Lychakivs’ke Cemetery. Learning the traditional art of egg painting there was a highlight of my trip.

Beyond Lviv, Kamyanets-Podilsky and its castle were simply amazing and Ivano-Frankivsk, Chenivtsi and Kolomyya were all quirky and quaint. The people I met along the way could not have been friendlier, from the man who have me an impromptu tour of Kreshchatyi Park to the tour guide who led me through Chernobyl.

katie2

Katie Aune

Katie runs the travel blog From Chicago to USSR and back. Follow her journeys on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.

http://katieaune.com/

Ukraine surprised me in so many ways

Ukraine surprised me in so many ways right from the start. Despite language barriers, the people are incredibly friendly. The largely unrestored architecture is colourful and majestic, and – my favourite part – Ukraine’s nature is uniquely beautiful. I spent two days hiking in the Carpathian mountains, and my stories from that adventure will last a lifetime.

nora

Nora Dunn

Nora runs the travel blog The Professional Hobo. Follow her journeys on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.

www.theprofessionalhobo.com/

It was a country of contrasts

We only had a short time in the Ukraine during the Mongol Rally when we drove through en route to Mongolia, but the time we spent there was unforgettable.

We met several colourful characters in the country. It was during a border crossing that we encountered Natasha, a blond bombshell of a guard who we still speak of fondly even though she was trying to lighten our wallets. Her coworker Vasil did everything in his power to help us out and we’ll never forget him and cannot thank him enough for his kindness. We nearly spent a night in a brothel before crossing the border into Russia and while we ended up sleeping in the car on several occasions, we also had some of the best accommodation of our entire trip.

We searched in vain for a hotel in Odessa with no luck, but in Kiev we lived in the lap of luxury in a beautiful apartment rental right above the Rolex store. It was a country of contrasts and that is what makes it so memorable. 

newaboutus1

Dave and Deb

Dave and Deb run the travel blog ThePlanetD. Follow their journeys on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.

http://theplanetd.com/

It’s a fascinating look at a Europe which is fast disappearing

Ukraine doesn’t feature on the itinerary of too many motorhome tourists like us. Our research into camping areas on our route from Romania to Poland turned up a whole zero sites.

We pondered what to do. Forums overflowed with talk of colossal pot holes and traffic police who’d pull us over, not allowing us to leave without ament of a hefty bribe. Not positive stuff, more pondering. And yet we went anyway, and are delighted we did.

Guidebooks used to talk of visiting eastern European countries before EU membership softened them, making them much alike their counterparts in the West. Today’s books on Ukraine will rightly say the same, go now, it’s a fascinating look at a Europe which is fast disappearing.

We found the roads passable, and the welcomes we received as we blundered our way through customs and through towns, villages and cities were second to none. The prices are low, the fascination factor is high, and the home-cooked food wasn’t half bad either!

jay

Julie and Jason

Julie and Jacson run the travel blog Our Tour: Touring Europe by Motor Home.  Follow their journeys on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.

http://ourtour.co.uk/home

ukrainian people were so wonderful

We–my family of four–were in Ukraine (Kyiv) for only 2 days in 2011, but we have great memories of it, especially the people. Here are just a few stories from our time in Ukraine.

We were at the shopping center at the Maidan, and stopped at a small fast-food place for drinks. The next day we did the same thing, and the girl at the counter–same girl–put out the same type of drinks for us. She remembered what we liked!

There are two kiosks next to each other at the bus stop near our hotel. Early one day, the girl at one kiosk helped us buy bus tickets (she spoke English well). That evening, we returned to her kiosk to buy some items for a light dinner. She didn’t have everything we wanted, so we went to the other kiosk. She closed and locked her kiosk and followed us to the other one so she could help us find what we wanted! What a sweet girl!

And our hotel: we were treated like good friends there. Every time we returned from being out, we were asked if there was anything we needed. They have umbrellas by the front door for guests. Two girls tried very hard to help me check in online, on hotel’s computer, for our flight. They let us leave our luggage there all day and let us use a room to change clothes in before we went to the airport.

All the Ukrainian people we met were just wonderful!

frank

Frank Asper Jr.

Frank Asper Jr. lives in Salt Lake City, USA and plays bass in the Utah Symphony Orchestra. You can get in touch with him via his Facebook page.

http://www.utahsymphony.org/

What about you? Have you been to Ukraine before? Why would you advise others to visit Ukraine as well? Let us know in the comments. We’d be glad to hear your stories!

And of course – share this wonderful collection on Facebook, Twitter, and email 🙂

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