2021 Ukraine Travel Guide 

Ukraine Traditional Dance Culture

Table of Contents

Where is Ukraine located on the map

Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe, bordering Russia, Belarus, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, and Hungary, with openings to the Black Sea and the Sea of Aslov. It is the second-largest country in Europe, and the eighth-most populated. Despite some still believing Ukraine is part of Russia, the country has actually obtained independence in 1991. 

Most of the country has low geography, but in the south, it shares the Carpathian Mountains with Romania, an area turned into Ukraine’s Carpathian National Park, which is protected by law. The climate is temperate continental, with cold winters and hot summers.

Even though Ukraine has rich lands suitable for agriculture, most of the population is urban. The biggest cities are Kyiv (the capital) and Odesa. However, the most famous town in Ukraine, Pripyat, is abandoned and uninhabitable for the next 3000 years, being in the vicinity of Chernobyl.

Ukraine has a very rich history related to its borders with Russia. It fought hard for its independence, but despite obtaining it there are still tensions arising frequently between the two countries. Military troops are sometimes used, but Ukraine often gets attacked in cyberspace. The official language is Ukrainian, but Russian is still spoken by most people, and in bigger cities is used more frequently. 

In terms of administrative regions, the country is divided into four of them and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. In 2014 Russia took over the Crimea Peninsula, which used to be part of the territory of Ukraine.

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Can Americans travel to Ukraine?

Americans can travel to Ukraine freely and need a valid passport but no visa to enter the country. However, if you’re planning to stay for more than 90 days, you will need to apply for a permit. The shortest 1-stop flights take off from major American airports in New York, Chicago, Washington DC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Ukraine local transport

If you have a bigger budget you can get around on the plane, but you won’t see much that way. If you want to enjoy the scenery, you can opt for a train, intercity bus, or marshrutkas, which are small buses that operate in every major city. Taxis are widely available, and you can stop them on the street, take them from taxi stations, or order them by phone. These are relatively cheap compared to the rest of Europe, ranging from 90 cents to $1.6. 

If you want to take a greener approach, you can rent a bike or an electric scooter from Bolt. These became available in Kiev in 2020 and are planning to expand to other major cities. 

Is it safe to travel to Ukraine?

If you’ve ever wondered if it’s safe to travel to Ukraine, I am happy to inform you this is a relatively safe country. As in most of the other counties in Eastern Europe, petty crimes make the majority. Even though tourists are safe from crimes, these are mostly directed to US Government officials. Because the country has tensions with Russia, demonstrations and rallies are not uncommon, so avoid them as much as possible, as sometimes participants can become violent.

Ukraine From Above the City

If you’re planning to visit Ukraine as part of a dating or marriage program, please be aware that Eastern Europe in general has numerous marriage scams. Use only dating agencies with good reviews and don’t send money to people without getting to know them. Many women try to marry Americans to get out of poverty, so always be mindful. But of course, we cannot generalize it, as many women in Ukraine end up being great wives for their American husbands.

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Another thing to keep in mind is to never leave your drinks unattended in bars and clubs. Lacing drinks with drugs with the intention of robbery is not uncommon, especially in big cities. 

Ukraine food

Ukraine has a wide range of accommodations, from luxury hotels to cheap shared rooms. The cheapest ones start at around $6/night, and 3 stars hotels are around $17/night, making it one of the most affordable counties in Europe. 

You can find restaurants and pubs all over, especially in bigger cities. Ukrainians love food and their cuisine encompasses Tartar, Romanian, Russian, and Middle Eastern dishes. Some of the most popular ones are holodets (chicken and veggies), garlic borscht, Kiev chicken (that you’ve probably heard of, even tasted, as it’s one of the most popular dishes in the world), cabbage rolls, okroshka soup, and nalisniki (rolled pancakes with cheese).

The price is around $10 a day on food if you plan on dining out. 

Best places to visit in Ukraine

1. Kiev

Kiev Ukraine Travel City Guide Seen From Above

The best time to travel to Kiev is May to September, as for most of the country, so you can enjoy everything it has to offer. The historical capital has a lot in terms of architecture, culture, and arts. Tourists can join all sorts of tours, or they can visit it themselves with an itinerary. Entrance fees are small in most places. Some of the places you must visit in Kiev are Pechersk Lavra, Saint Sophia’s Cathedral, the Kiev Museum of Folk Architecture and Life, The Motherland Monument, World War II Museum, and Hryshko National Botanical Garden.

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2. Pripyat

You might think it’s unsafe to visit this world-famous place, but the truth is there are many safe tours to Pripyat city and Chernobyl, just make sure to book one in time because they tend to sell out extremely fast since the TV show had its debut. Every tourist is scanned for radioactive particles after every visit. If you want something exciting, you can choose a helicopter tour, but if you want to stay on the classic side, there are 1 and 2-day tours to the historical places, and they cost between $100 and $500.

Ghost Town Pripyat Chernobyl City Ukraine

Aside from the nuclear plant (including reactor 4 that can now be visited), tourists can take a glimpse in the past by visiting various buildings in the abandoned city, the stadium, and the amusement park that is extra creepy, and where you can even get ghost tours.

3. Lviv

This is one of the most beautiful cities in Ukraine that features beautiful architecture with influences from all over the world. If you get to stay here for at least a couple of days, you’ll discover an infinite source of arts and culture.

Lviv Ukrain City Old Town View

Other attractions you must not miss while visiting Ukraine are:

  • The Carpathian Mountains
  • Odessa
  • Khmelnytskyi
  • The village of Dubno
  • The Tunnel of Love in Klevlan
  • Poltava
  • Chernivtsi
  • The Village of Bakota
  • Yalta

For Ukraine travel restrictions, information and alerts please visit the USA Embassy in Ukraine website.

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