The ancient Greeks settled colonies along the Black Sea coast; they were followed by the Romans and the Byzantines. No wonder that trading and military outposts still ply the coastline, with fine towns in Odessa and throughout the Crimean Peninsula. The Slavs came around from Central Asia and communities developed in the 5th century; they were there to stay and still do. No wonder people speak a Slavic language, Ukrainean for the most part and especially in the West, Russian in Crimea. Further on, the Kievan Rus’ rule created the great Ruthenian state by the 11th century; Europe’s largest state at the time. No wonder Ukraine still is just that: vast and diverse, from the heights of the Chorno Hora and all the way to the Black Sea shore. The devastating Great Horde came around, but it was eventually pushed back in the 14th century by the Lithuanians and Poles, which stepped in and shared the land between themselves. No wonder you will find Polish towns towards the Romanian border, and that the second most important cultural centre of Great Poland (Ua. L’viv / Pl. Lwow) lies in Ukraine. Following an attempt to creating an independent state, the land was once again divided by the mighty neighbours: Russia, Poland and, later, the AustroHungarian Empire. What about some Hungarian towns and gulyás dishes in the SouthWestern corner or gold dome monasteries in Kiev? WW1 saw the land splat once again between its neighbours of Russia and Poland, while WW2 had Poland sliced and all of the actual state of Ukraine incorporated in the Soviet Union. Hence major railways, luxury seaside resorts. And the kolhoz.
Because it is, at turns, diverse, unexpected, unknown and a great history book.
Because of the vastly heterogeneous population and heritage. Apart from the majority nowadays,
let us mention ‘only’ the Jewish, German, Polish, Romanian or Hungarian minority with their
Start your first Ukrainean experience during the fall, exploring the large cities of Odessa, Kiev or L’viv. As the snow starts to fall, go on to the South and observe the holidays from a remote village in the wooden mountains there. The hills of Zakarpattya or Northern Bukovina look best in spring time, full of orchards and flowers. And when you get a bit tired, take times at relaxing on the beach and visiting glamorous palaces in Crimea.
Exploring the South can start is handier with a start in the Romanian towns of Sighet or Satu Mare, while the Dnister fortresses, Odessa and the Polish town of Kamyanets Podilski can be explored starting from Suceava and / or Iași. Railways are a good means to travel to destinations onward, so you might plan on doing that if you are headed to Moscow, Cracow or Minsk at the end of your Ukrainean experience. We have it all in hand, so let us know about your plans and we shall make them happen.
The major towns and cities host an ever wider palette of accommodation options, with 4* and 5* units developing as we speak. In smaller towns there are handy boutique hotels, while the countryside sees a good number of guesthouse and homestays cooking a better sour soup than any restaurant.
Trendy restaurants in Kiev, Odessa or Yalta are a welcome break from the local fare, but take our humble opinion local restaurants provide enough menu options to keep you busy for a while. Soups are compulsory, and so are pickles, chicken roasts, potato and meat pastry or grills. A sip of kvas in between.
Sour chorbas, kobza music, Polish astronomical observatories on top of the mountain, Moldavian fortresses, Russian high life resorts by the sea, cave monasteries, Tartar villages, kvas for the weenies and vodka for the mighty.