Ukraine is the great unknown of Europe, that destination that I assure you will fall in love when you meet it, but because of prejudices and isolated news, you do not have in your bucket list.
The Slavic country has much to offer the visitor and here we are going to give you the top things to know.
The Ukrainians are lovely people, hospitable, peaceful, smiling and kind. Young people speak English very well and help you with whatever you need. The women are especially well known. Men’s dating bloggers commonly write about how to seduce the local girls.
In fact, without saying anything, a girl helped me ask in a cafeteria translating what the cashier told me and another when she saw me taking pictures in the Kiev subway. I will forever love Ukrainian women.
In the markets, bargaining is used and with gestures and smiles, no knowledge of Ukrainian is necessary. The people are very friendly and value good relationships.
Ukrainian food is delicious and varied, made with first quality raw materials, made without additives and very tasty.
They are typical Ukrainian dishes, Borsch, Hot beet soup; Varenyky, stuffed pasta in the form of dumplings ( like the Polish pierogi ), there are salty and sweet with cheese or sour cherries that are very good, and you can eat them both at breakfast, lunch or dinner; the famous Chicken Kiev and sausages among others.
To emphasize also the bread, of very different types, black bread, of seeds, of cereals, white, without gluten … with flours of very good quality.
Ukraine is known as the granary of Europe, for its large amount of agricultural products (and Stalin’s granary, since it confiscated all the grain, starving millions of Ukrainians, this genocide is known as Holodomor )
And the cakes! Oh the pies! I would have to dedicate a whole chapter to them!
The Ukrainian cakes are homemade, delicious and very cheap, for less than € 1 you have a coffee or a juice and a good piece of cake.
Heritage and landscapes
Ukraine has a multitude of World Heritage sites , including the Cathedral of St. Sofia in Kiev, with frescoes and mosaics from the 11th century and the Cave Monastery “Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra”, also in Kiev, a sacred place for all the Orthodox Slavs and whose caves are catacombs where the remains of the saints rest.
Monastery of Lavra
The beautiful historical center of Lviv, the wooden churches of the Carpathian region and the ancient Greek colony of Chersonese in Crimea, among others, are also World Heritage Sites.
Historical center of Lviv
And a long list of proposed places for your declaration, such as the historical center of Odessa, the Sudak fortress and the Bakhchisaray Palace of the Crimean kings, in addition to many Kiev churches.
If you are a lover of landscapes, winter sports, and hiking, the Carpathians is your ideal place in Ukraine. There you will find beautiful valleys and slopes from where to contemplate the imposing mountains; green and dense forests, small towns and a lot of folklore.
Low cost living
Ukraine is a very cheap country for the traveler from Western Europe.
The salary of a worker is around 150-200 €, with which food and transportation are very cheap. A trip in the Kiev Metro is 4 grivnas – about € 0.15.
And it is possible and very usual to dine for 2-3 €, in a bar or in a Café, (a good plate of meat with vegetables or pasta) in a pleasant and comfortable place, (sitting, no food on the street or for bring) with drink included!
The local beer is very good and cheap and the vodka too, you can buy a bottle of 075 l for 1 €.
Gasoline is also very cheap, so renting a car is a good option, although not understanding the road signs can make the route a bit more difficult.
The hotels of international chains have the same prices as in the rest of Europe since there are very good 4 and 5 *, but there are many options of local hotels very affordable, you can find them in Booking without any problem.
The beauty of the unexpected
Ukraine is not a very touristy country and that makes it even more beautiful in the eyes of the traveler.
Stroll, stroll and discover, let yourself go, soak up the local culture, understand and make yourself understood. See places for the first time, break prejudices, mix with locals, open your mind and your heart and return full of sensations and experiences that you did not expect to find.
My first trip to Ukraine influenced me a lot, I saw Lviv, Odesa, and Crimea and they were great. I got to know the treasures of Kiev, which are so many! It is one of the most beautiful and unknown cities in Europe. I would highly recommend that you go!