Ukraine Trip 2017, Ukraine Travel Guide, Ukraine Tourism & Vacations
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WARNING ( 1 ):
There are risks in traveling to eastern Ukraine because of the war between the Donbass irregular forces and the Ukrainian forces in the eastern areas of Luhansk and Donetsk.
While tourists are unlikely to be the intended targets of violence, current protests cause complications to visitors, since services are disrupted.
Ukraine (Ukrainian: Україна) is a country in Eastern Europe. It lies at the northwest end of the Black Sea, with Russia to the east, Belarus to the north, Poland to the northwest, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, and Romania to the south west and south, with Moldova in between.
Most of the country (the central and eastern portions) was formerly a part of Russian Empire; after the October Revolution and the Civil War, the entire country, known as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, was a part of the Soviet Union. Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe, albeit with a slightly declining population.
See in Ukraine
Ukraine is a country worth seeing and visiting over and over.
See UNESCO listed Lviv centre, Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans in Chernivtsi, Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Pechersk Lavra in Kiev.
Do in Ukraine
Hike in Carpathian Mountains around Rakhiv. Conquer 2,061m Hoverla, part of the Chornohora mountain range.
Kayak down Dniester and admire Kamianets-Podilskyi and Khotyn castles.
Chill out on Crimea beaches in summer.
Buy in Ukraine
Travel Warning WARNING ( 2 ): Be aware that is illegal to take any items of historical importance out of the country. This includes badges, medals, icons, historical paintings, etc. This law is strictly enforced at all exit points of the country and one risks heavy fines and/or imprisonment.
To shop you will most certainly need local currency (hryvnia). British pound, Euro, US dollar and other currency exchange points are very common in cities, and the exchange rate is usually very fair (except in Kiev, where the exchange rate is higher compared to other cities). However, sometimes and in some banks there are problems with cash deposits (or that is the official version), so do not exchange too many dollars unless you're traveling to the more provincial areas. When doing person-to-person payments you might be able to pay in Euros or US dollars, as those are widely recognized, and you might in fact get better rates than in official exchange points. However, be careful, because it's not legal to make payments with foreign currency.
If you want to buy any kind of artwork in Kiev, the place to visit is Andriivskij Uzviz (Андріївський узвіз in Ukrainian, Андреевский спуск in Russian).
If you don't want to have trouble exchanging money keep one of these currencies: EUR, RUB, USD. In South and East Ukraine, it is almost impossible to exchange other currency. In Western Ukraine (especially in Lviv) PLN (polish zloty) can also be exchanged without any problems.
Eat in Ukraine
Ukrainian cuisine is quite tasty, but just as other cuisines in the region uses a lot of fat ingredients, especially in the festive dishes. Traditional local food includes "salo" (salted lard) and soups like "borshch" (борщ in Ukrainian) made of red beets or "solianka" (солянка in Ukrainian) which is a delicious meat soup. The first, salo, is perhaps something you might not make yourself try - however is a delicious side dish, as for the soups being a must-have dish.
If you are outside a big city or in doubt about food, exercise caution and common sense about where you buy food. Try to buy groceries only in supermarkets or large grocery stores, always check the expiration date, and never buy meat or dairy products on the street (you can buy them at the market but not near the market).
In most towns in Ukraine there are some very good restaurants. Read the menu boards posted by the entrance of every establishment to help you to choose.
You may also find nice places to eat not by signs, but just by the smoke of traditional wood fires. These are often places where they serve traditional Ukrainian food, including very tasty shashlyky (шашлики in Ukrainian). Restaurateurs are very friendly, and, more often than not, you will be one of their first foreign visitors. Next to the "borshch", you might also ask for "varenyky" (вареники in Ukrainian, dumplings filled with meat, vegetables or fruits) or "deruny" (деруни, potato pancakes). You have to try varenyky with potatoes and cottage cheese in a sautéed onion and sourcream sauce, a fantastic dish. These are just starters, but ones that might fill you up quickly.