Visiting Chernobyl and the rigorously maintained exclusion area around it is to step into a Soviet time capsule, where time stopped on 26th April 1986 and mankind stared unwillingly into the nuclear abyss. Our Chernobyl travel guide explores one of the defining events of the 20th century, as well as the practicalities and safety of visiting an area still tainted by radioactive material.
BEST TIME TO VISIT UKRAINE
Summer in the city can be extremely hot in Ukraine although you'll find more than a few shaded cloisters or open air cafes from where to cool down.
In general, the best time to visit Ukraine is either side of summer in May-June or September. Temperatures are comfortable, sightseeing is less crowded and there are fewer holiday makers flocking to the Black Sea beach resorts around Odessa. Spring blossom in the Carpathians makes Apr-May an extremely attractive time of year although it can still get chilly, especially at night. If you can withstand the heat, humidity and thunder storms of Jul-Aug, city sightseeing can be surprisingly uncrowded as many Ukrainians head south to the coast or bolt to their country cottages.
Ukraine Weather Chart
Our Ukraine Holidays
THINGS TO DO IN UKRAINE
Things to do in Ukraine
Things not to do in Ukraine
If you'd like to chat about Ukraine or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
UKRAINE TRAVEL ADVICE
Jim O'Brien, Director of our supplier Native Eye, shares advice, recommendations and personal experiences from Ukraine:
Travelling in Ukraine
“Ukraine is a safe, modern, central European-feeling country with Kiev, especially, full of high-end stores, incredible architecture and an excellent Metro system. The east is more Russian with larger ethnic Russian communities in places like Donetsk and Luhansk. It's easy to travel in the Ukraine with overnight trains from Minsk making long distances and border crossings really straightforward and hassle free. Cities like Lviv have wonderful architecture, pedestrianised streets and affordable food and drink making them easily on par with more popular destinations like Bucharest and Prague.”
Revolution is still raw“Visiting Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the central square in Kiev, is very poignant and displays how the protests and troubles of the recent past are still fresh in local people's memories. Photos of those who died in the 2014 protests are still displayed around the square which really brings history to life. Over the years Ukraine has had a lot of countries meddling in its destiny with poor leadership increasing the feeling that the country and its people have been dealt a bad hand and not always been treated fairly.”
Book recommendations“A great book to accompany a tour of the Ukraine, and let you further understand the country's most recent history, is An Orange Revolution by Andrew Wilson.”
Life in the Carpathians
“Farming areas surrounding Carpathian towns like Verkhovyna, which can be found further into the mountains, offer an authentic example of rural lifestyles where large fields, owned collectively by villages, and smaller independent plots, are used for growing seasonal fruit and vegetables. Hutsul communities also offer an authentic look at traditional Ukrainian lifestyles and visiting some of the wooden churches, which are made without using nails, highlights their ingenuity although don't expect too many to be wearing traditional Hutsul costume unless it coincides with an important event like a wedding or religious holiday.”
Food for thought“Food in the Ukraine is hard to pinpoint to a specific cuisine but tends to be hearty and homemade revolving around pork, dairy products, potatoes – especially – and seasonal vegetables. Chicken is considered more of a salad ingredient or side accompaniment rather than an actual meat dish! A typical meal consists of homemade sausages, potato pancakes and seasonal vegetables accompanied by a glass of vodka or alternative brand of potent fruit hooch.”
Aled Evans, from our supplier Undiscovered Destinations, shares some of his Ukraine memories and recommendations:
Souvenirs, soups & spirits
“Try your hand at making Pysankas – a Ukrainian Easter egg decorated with hot wax, or Motankas – a traditional rag doll, both of which make great souvenirs. Alternatively, you can buy locally-made versions from pretty much every market for between US $5-20 depending on complexity. For foodies, you can learn how to make some authentic Ukraine dishes, like borsht soup and varenyky (dumplings), or, if you have nothing else to do for the day, learn how to make, and sample, Ukrainian homemade horilka (a local spirit similar to vodka) which goes well with salted salo (pork fat). Ukrainian horilka usually costs from US $4-50 per bottle, depending on age and grade.”
Uniquely Ukraine“The Carpathian Mountains are definitely the best place for walking and nature. The Danube Delta biosphere reserve is also very picturesque. As well as the impressive natural sights, the Danube and the Carpathians feature some really unique Ukrainian villages although it can be quite an event reaching them as rural roads are notoriously poor.”
More about Ukraine
If you've been searching for a Ukraine travel guide then right here is where your quest comes to fruition.
The Chernobyl disaster of 1986 became one of the most affecting human catastrophes of the late 20th century.
Kiev is a vital destination for anyone hoping to better understand the history and culture of Ukraine, Russia, indeed all of Eastern Europe.
If you’re travelling to the far east of Europe, it makes sense to explore both Moldova and Ukraine in a single trip, gorging on Soviet history, baroque architecture, amazing wine and ancient monasteries.