In 2012, over 20 million visitors chose Ukraine as their holiday destination thanks to the country’s stunning beauty: from skiing in the Carpathian Mountains to swimming in the Black Sea, Ukraine is popular with tourists all year round.
What some may not know is that Ukrainian cities have a lot to offer too and are unique places where old meets the new. First-time visitors are likely to be impressed by the local architecture and the welcoming spirit of Ukrainians.
In this article, foreign readers will find interesting information about:
- Documents required to explore Ukrainian cities
- The best Ukrainian cities for a vacation
- The most popular Ukrainian cities to live in for expats and digital nomads
Documents Required to Visit Ukrainian Cities
International travelers are likely to need a Ukrainian visa in order to enter the country, although some nations have bilateral agreements in place that allow for short-term visa-free trips.
Fortunately, citizens of several countries can apply for a visa for Ukraine online in just a few minutes. The application process is quick and straightforward and can be completed from anywhere in the world. With just a few clicks, petitioners can receive their visa via email and start exploring the best cities in Ukraine.
Cities in Ukraine to Explore
Every Ukrainian town offers a unique atmosphere. Those on the Eastern side of the country will show greater Russian influence in the buildings and local food and culture while some cities in West Ukraine are more similar to famous European centers.
Here is a list of the main Ukrainian cities in order of population:
- Kryvyi Rih
Cities like the capital Kyiv and the seaside destination Odessa are internationally known. Sebastopol is the largest city in Crimea and a place of rich history, starting with an ancient Greek colony and becoming a strategic port for the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and now, Crimea.
Kryvyi Rih is a major industrial center, the main steel-city in Eastern Europe, globally recognized as an important center for the iron-ore mining and metallurgic industries. Mykolayiv is a crucial transportation hub and the main shipbuilding center of the Black Sea. It has a number of research institutions and plenty of gorgeous parks.
The Most Beautiful Cities in Ukraine for a Holiday
Every town in the country has its own color and taste. Keep reading to discover the must-visit cities in Ukraine.
Where to start: the capital Kyiv
Since most holidaymakers fly to Ukraine and are likely to land in Kyiv, this is where many journeys start.
Kyiv is the capital, the largest, and the most populous city in the country. It is rich in history and has served as the capital of the Soviet Union for some time.
Visitors will remain speechless in front of its grand architecture, from medieval constructions to magnificent golden churches and impressive Soviet buildings.
Here are the top attractions in Kyiv:
- Pecherska Lavra, an Orthodox Christian monastery built in 1051 and famous for its cave system (a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Saint Sophia’s Catedral, with mosaics and frescoes almost 1 thousand years old (a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Saint Andrew’s Church, a major Baroque building
- Saint Michael’s Monastery, a functioning monastery with towering golden domes
- Bessarabsky Market, an indoor market built at the beginning of the 20th century where to shop groceries and local delicacies
The most European city in Ukraine: Lviv
Located in the West of the country towards Krakow, Lviv will surprise visitors with its European environment.
The original city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is no wonder. Taking a stroll through the cobblestone streets of Lviv means admiring gorgeous Victorian buildings and breathing in the atmosphere of this former Polish and Austro-Hungarian town.
Lviv is certainly among the most famous cities in Ukraine for foreign tourism not only because of its beauty but also thanks to its food culture and relaxed lifestyle.
Things to see and do in Lviv include:
- The Apteka Museum, a historical pharmacy founded in 1731
- The Museum of the History of Religion, which will give visitors an idea of the Jewish and Christian history of the city
- Market Square, one of Old Town’s most impressive spots where it is possible to climb a tower and admire the views
Odesa, the pearl of the Black Sea
Odesa is the third-largest city in Ukraine and a major port on the Black Sea. It is considered by many the unofficial capital of the South of Ukraine.
However, the famous friendliness of locals and its intimate layout give it more of a small-town feel. Tourists will immediately feel comfortable and welcomed here and this destination represents an ideal break from the hustle and bustle of the big capital city Kyiv.
Odesa is a seaside destination with plenty of beaches to explore. Ukrainians, Russians, Eastern Europeans, and other foreign visitors come here for their summer holidays. Relax by the sea and walk along its popular Primorvskiy Boulevard.
Kharkiv: a modern education center of excellence
Kharkiv was built on the Northeast side of the country. The proximity with Russia shows in its Stalinist architecture and many examples of constructivism style.
Kharkiv is famous for being a student town and for its many universities. It is the right place to go for those who want to get a feeling of a Russian-influenced city.
Where Should I Live in Ukraine?
Ukraine is a very affordable country by Western standards. That is why many digital nomads decide to stay a few extra weeks or months after their holidays and continue to explore its beauties while working remotely.
Moreover, a great number of startups have been founded in the capital Kyiv and attract foreign talent with good salaries and modern offices.
The best place to live in Ukraine depends on one’s preferences and professional needs. Those who are after a gorgeous and relaxing place and can work anywhere from a computer can head to Lviv and Odesa, or similar smaller towns. Professionals looking for an opportunity in the tech world prefer places like Kyiv and Kharkiv.