Outdoor and Sports
Arts and Entertainment
Tours and Sightseeing
Outdoor and Sports
Hiking, backpacking and biking
Ukraine is a great place for adventurous hikers, backpackers and cyclists who are not afraid of challenges and want to explore off-beat trails. The tow most popular destinations are the Carpathian Mountains in the western part of the country and the mountainous areas in the south of the Crimean peninsula.
Hikers and cyclists will enjoy the Carpathians whose gentle relief makes them quite accessible, but which are among the wildest in Europe. The Carpathians have not yet been developed to become a massive attraction teeming with tourists and the infrastructure typical for US or European nature reserves is scarce. The Carpathians offer a wide variety of trails—from short, relaxing woodland strolls and moderate hikes, to the extensive and challenging mountain trails that extend deep into the remote wilderness areas of Gorgany and adjoin the Chornohora mountain ridge. Experienced tour guides are recommended for longer hikes.
With its diverse landscapes and nature, as well as multitude of historic sites accessible by roads and trails, the Crimea offers very diverse opportunities and exciting experience to hikers and bikers alike. Most visitors prefer to explore the mountainous area in the southern part of the Crimea. Some of the most popular destinations include Demerdzhi Plateau with its mysterious Ghost Valley and amazing caves, the ancient Cave Towns carved in the mountain ridge, and the Grand Canyon famous for its stunningly beautiful waterfalls.
Learn more about travel in Ukraine
The rafting season in Ukraine lasts from March till October and there is a large variety of routes for any level of experience and all types of rafting. The Stryj River in the Ukrainian Carpathians offers an awesome whitewater rafting experience and stunning views. This river is not only about rafting, you will want to explore the lush forests and scenic mountains overlooking the Stryj River Valley.
The Dniester River running through the 250 km Dniester Canyon in Western Ukraine is a popular destination for flat water rafting. The rafters will enjoy unique and unobstructed views on the scenic and largely unspoiled cliffs and forests lining the riverbank.
The primary ski resorts are located in the Carpathian region in Western Ukraine; a handful of minor ski resorts and ski areas are in the Crimea, as well as in the cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv. The Ukrainian ski industry is fairly young, but is growing rapidly and each year new lifts open and improvements are being made to ski areas.
Bukovel located in the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast is Ukraine’s largest ski resort which offers European-class service. With a large variety of ski runs, well-groomed slopes, high-speed chair lifts, hotels and cottages to fit any budget, good rental equipment, as well as restaurants and a night life visitors will feel most comfortable.
Dragobrat is the highest ski resort which means it is the first to open up the slopes and the last to close them. The resort is located in the area with the most dramatic mountain vistas on the Chornohora ridge and Ukraine’s highest mountain, Hoverla.
Arts and Entertainment
Gogolfest is Ukraine’s major international festival of contemporary art held each September. Named after the legendary writer Nikolai Gogol, the festival gathers hundreds of artists from Ukraine and many other countries and thousands of art lovers in Kyiv.
The festival brings together various forms of art, including theatrical plays, music, dance parties and live concerts, video and sound installations, literature and film programs, as well as master-classes for beginner artists. In 2010, the festival kicked off with a spectacular performance of “Multiverse” by Spain’s La Fura dels Baus Theatre (Barcelona) and the “Dakh” Theatre demonstrating the unity and diversity of multiple worlds.
Learn more about Gogolfest
Molodist Film Festival
Molodist is known as the oldest and most renowned film event not only in Ukraine, but also in Eastern Europe. The festival takes place in Kyiv every year in the last week of October. Molodist means “youth” in Ukrainian, and the festival is dedicated to film debuts and student films. Molodist runs the International Talent Campus, a joint project with Berlinale Talent Campus for young filmmakers and serves as a meeting point for Ukrainian and international filmmakers.
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Koktebel Jazz Festival
Koktebel is a small resort town on the South-Eastern shore of the Crimea. It is best known for its literary associations. The Russian poet Maximilian Voloshin made it his residence, where he entertained many distinguished guests, including Marina Tsvetayeva, Osip Mandelshtam, and Andrey Bely. They all wrote remarkable poems in Koktebel. The hills over Koktebel saw the early experiments of Russian pioneer aviators with glider aircraft. With its sheltered beaches and the towering cliffs of Kara-Dag Koktebel has been a popular getaway destination for sea and sun lovers. Every September as the crowds of vacationers get thinner the town hosts the Jazz and World Music Festival. Kicked off in 2003 the festival rapidly into one of the largest music events in Ukraine. Despite its young age, the festival has already hosted performances by De-Phazz, Stanley Clarke, Billy Cobham, Nino Katamadze, Us3 and others. Beside well-known names, organizers consider small and young bands.
Learn more about Koktebel Jazz and World Music Festival
Kievan Rus Park
The Kievan Rus Park, the Centre of Culture and History of Ancient Rus, is a unique reconstruction of a medieval city in its real size 1:1 in the world. One of the most famous and at the same time most mysterious of the cities of Medieval Europe—Ancient Kiev of the V-XIII centuries, the capital of the greatest impair Kievan Rus is reconstructed here in the size of its historical center known as Detinets (Kremlin) of the Kiev or the city of Vladimir here. The architectural image of Kievan Rus based on the scientific data as well as its atmosphere is recreated in the Park. Everywhere there are citizens in medieval costumes, craftsmen are occupied with their arts, girls are singing and dancing in a ring, housewives are cooking medieval dishes and warriors are training in accuracy in the shooting rouge and perfecting their skills in fencing.
“The Kievan Rus Park” is a territory where cultural and historical festivals take place. The different periods of the age of Kievan Rus are revived in dramatized shows, in scenes of battles and in daily life of the participants of the historical reconstruction clubs.
The Park is situated 34 km far from Kiev in a picturesque place, surrounded by the forest that creates excellent conditions to relax from city noise, to join the nature and to merge into the atmosphere of Ancient Rus.
Kievan Rus Park—Kopachiv village, Obuhovskiy district, Kievskaya region.
Tel.: +380 44 461 9937
Kraina Mriy Festival
If you want to get an introduction into Ukraine’s traditional culture and ethnic arts, there is no better place to begin than Kraina Mriy (Land of Dreams), the most famous international music folk festival in Ukraine. Held in summer around the Ivana Kupala Day in June (the summer solstice celebrated in Ukraine since pre-Christian times) and during the Orthodox Christmas season in January the festival brings ethnic artists and craftsmen from Ukraine and across Europe to Kyiv to demonstrate their art and skills.
Founded and directed by Oleg Skrypka, the leader of the legendary Ukrainian rock band Vopli Vodoplyassova, Kraina Mriy will give you the opportunity to sample some of the best local ethno bands including Haydamaky, Mandry, Drevo, Gurtopravci, Kosmacka Kapella and many other. Those who appreciate folk crafts from making dolls and pottery to blacksmithing will feel right at home.
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Mamaeva Sloboda (named after the once famous Ukrainian Cossack Mamaj) in Kyiv is the city within the city or rather the Cossack settlement within the city to be precise. Modeled after the 17–18th century settlements, Mamaeva Sloboda is a must-see destination to experience the traditional Cossack way of life. One of the largest living history museum in the country the Mamaeva Sloboda has costumed staff and craftsmen, 98 antique buildings, including two wind-mills, a functioning wooden church with a bell tower, craft shops, farm buildings, a pond with live carps, an inn and multiple residential buildings. The visitors will get to ride horses, tour the village, use period tools and other antiques, enjoy hands-on crafts and sample traditional foods for noblemen, peasants and Cossacks. The museum is open year around, but hours will change seasonally.
Learn more about Mamaeva Sloboda
Pyrohovo outdoor museum
Pyrohovo is an open-air museum of old Ukrainian architecture, lifestyle and culture and is regarded one of the finest in the country. Located at the outskirts of the city it is accessible by taxi or public transport. Pyrohovo is a large site where you can easily spend a full day.
The museum is divided into areas representing different regions of Ukraine. The clay huts roofed with thatch or wooden shingles and the archaic barns and wells recreate an authentic village atmosphere. Everything is meant to bring you back to the Ukraine of 16th to 19th centuries. At Pyrohovo you will find wooden churches, windmills, and even a school building typical of rural areas from recent centuries.
Traditional fairs are organized at Pyrohovo in May and September, to mark the beginning and the end of the season. Don’t worry if you miss them though. There are plenty of festivals and celebrations going on at Pyrohovo the whole season. Main national and religious holidays are celebrated here according to folk traditions.
Traditional arts and crafts
Art and craft markets are an opportunity to find something that’s one of the kind. The markets operate on weekends in almost every large city, as well as on site of outdoor museums. Usually you will deal with the craftsmen who made the article, so you may inquire about the technique or materials. Look for traditional clothes and fabric art, reeled dolls, painted eggs, jewelry, pottery, painting or wood work.
Reeled dolls have been talismans in Ukrainian families since ancient times. Symbolically, the dolls are not sewed, but are only done with strings and straps by winding them. Made of those materials that were at hand like straw and old unnecessary things dolls were dressed in the rags of cloth from old clothes of mothers or grandmothers. Reeled dolls have no face, as the Ukrainians believed that the doll with some features, be it eye or mouth, could attach to itself a soul of a person who handles it with undesirable consequences. Instead of the facial features the doll would have a cross, which symbolizes the sun, wealth and charm.
Ukrainian Village Ethnographic Complex
The sprawling plant of picturesque complex Ukrainian Village is near Kyiv. Ethnographic Museum located in the complex introduces the visitors to the culture and life of the Ukrainians of the 18th — 19th centuries. Here you can come into genuine ancient houses, which had been brought from different regions of Ukraine. The Orthodox Christians can visit the Church of St. Demetrios Solunski the Great Martyr.
Ethnographic complex Ukrainian Village is a recreation centre, where you can book a tour to the museum, take part in master classes on pottery and blacksmithing, feed the beasties in the small zoo, try dishes cooked according to ancient Ukrainian recipes, roast shashlik outdoors and spend a night in ethnic huts-hotels. Here, you can conduct a training, seminar or business meeting using the training centre facilities. Fresh air, beautiful nature, peace and unique atmosphere make it possible to combine business with pleasure and leave amazing memories.
Having visited Ukrainian Village you will experience all the colour, beauty and simplicity of rural life of the Ukrainians, our spirituality and become more familiar with ancient and modern Ukraine.
We work every day from 9.00 a. m. till 9.00 p. m. Admission to the complex is free.
How to get: 35 km from Kyiv along Zhitomir highway, turn towards the village of Nikolaevka.
+380 99 500 9008 (tel. of the museum)
+380 99 333 0770 (tel. of the colyba)
+380 67 547 7949 (tel. to rent the training rooms)
Tours and Sightseeing
Chornobyl and Prypyat tour
While in Kyiv you can go on a tour to the former nuclear reactor complex and the nearby town of Prypyat evacuated in wake of the Chornobyl disaster in 1986. The site of the 4th reactor and the containment building around it (called the ‘sarcophagus’) will impress with its sheer scale, and the streets of the ghost town of Prypyat and abandoned military vehicles and aircraft will leave a chilling and unforgettable impression. In general, the routes open to the public are safe, however, there are places with high radiation levels, therefore it is important to exercise caution and use experienced guides with proper equipment to check for radiation.
The Svyatogorskyi Monastery (Holy Mountains Monastery in Ukrainian) is located only 160 kilometers away from the city of Donetsk; however, you will think you have traveled to another country as the plains have given way to majestic white chalk cliffs and tree-covered mountains overlooking the Severskyi Donets River. The site is a major attraction not only because of its Orthodox architecture, but also because of the stunningly beautiful nature scenery.
Ukraine has more than thirty medieval fortresses and castles, with the majority situated in Western and Southern Ukraine, but also in the Crimea. One of the best preserved is the Kamyanets-Podilskyi Castle. The castle that traces its origins to the 14th century is located in a delightful old town in Western Ukraine surrounded by steep cliffs and a picturesque old town rising above a horseshoe-shaped meander in the river Smotrych. The scenery is fantastic—a combination of cliffs and woods and endearing, unrestored old buildings.
Kamyanets-Podilskyy is a thousand years old and has numerous churches and unrestored historic buildings that line uneven cobblestone streets. It’s a perfect place for a full day’s trip with lots of walking and dining in local cafes and restaurants.
For three days in October the castle hosts a medieval festival which offers a full range of activities: from period hands-on crafts and dancing to sword fighting and archery.