Ukraine doesn’t make it on to the Top 10 list of many first-time European travellers (which only goes to show you should take Top 10 lists with a serious grain of salt). It’s the Continent’s second biggest country, a quirky little slice of post-communist Europe where the borscht is tart, the history bizarre and the locals surprisingly friendly. One day you’re climbing through the rugged Carpathian Mountains in search of Hutsul hospitality, the next you’re sipping espresso in the back-alley cafes of Lviv, kicking back on the beaches of Odessa or sitting front row in Kiev’s glorious opera house. Soak up a little Stalinist history, ride bikes along the Dnieper River and wave goodbye to that tourist trail – you’re in Ukraine now.

Ukraine Tours & Travel

All our Ukraine trips

USD $2,455
CAD $2,981
AUD $3,147
EUR €2,042
GBP £1,608
NZD $3,384
ZAR R36,107
CHF FR2,264
Visit wineries, monasteries and Soviet breakaway republics in Moldova, and explore Bucharest, the Danube Delta, Kiev...

Ukraine trip reviews

Our Ukraine trips score an average of 4.88 out of 5 based on 16 reviews in the last year.

St Petersburg to Budapest , October 2015

James Bowater

St Petersburg to Budapest , October 2015

Marcia Bowater

Articles on Ukraine

Trendsetters: Europe tips from the UK’s top travel bloggers

Posted on Thu, 2 Jun 2016

There are 36 countries within a 3-hour flight of the UK. That’s pretty awesome, but it does make for some tough decisions. Time to call in the experts.

Read more

We’re launching a brand new expedition trip to Moldova. Want to come?

Posted on Tue, 3 May 2016

For the first time, we're stepping back into the soviet era on a special trip through Romania, Ukraine and Moldova, Europe's least-visited country.

Read more

Uncovering art in Ukraine

Posted on Thu, 6 Dec 2012

"If you know where to look you can find fine artists in unexpected places..."

Read more

About Ukraine

At a glance

Capital city: Kyiv (population 2.6 million)
Population: 45.9 million
Language: Ukrainian
Currency: UAH
Time zone: (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth)
Dialing code: +380

Best time to visit Ukraine

Ukraine, like many of its Eastern European counterparts, boasts a temperate climate that delivers hot summers, mild autumns and icy winters. With the warm summer sending locals and tourists to the Crimea and the Black Sea coast, many theatres and attractions close down or become quite crowded. For those seeking to avoid the crowds, spring (or early autumn) can be an excellent time to visit Ukraine, as the weather is normally quite pleasant and the scenery at its most spectacular.

Winters can be bitterly cold, with temperatures reaching as low as -25C; however, ample snow provides excellent skiing in the Carpathian Mountains.

ukraine weather map chart

Geography and environment

Bordering Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Russia, as well as the Black Sea, Ukraine has always held somewhat of a strategic position in continental Europe. It's divided in half by the Dnieper River, an important trading artery and the site of many dams and hydroelectric stations.

As the second largest country in Europe, Ukraine boasts an incredible variety of landscapes, many of which change complexion dramatically with the seasons. To the west lie the Carpathian Mountains, which include the country's highest peak, Mt Hoverla (2,061 m). To the south is the Black Sea coast, the port town of Odessa and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. This popular holiday spot is renowned for its Mediterranean climate and unique landscapes that include limestone plateaux and volcanic rock formations.

Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, is located in the north on the banks of the Dnieper River. The country's north is renowned for its dense forests, while the central region consists of mainly open fields and plains.

Top Picks

Ukraine old couple Chernobyl in Ukraine A lighthouse at Odessa, Ukraine Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine

Our Ukraine Top 5

1. Kiev

Kyviv, or Kiev as it’s become known in English, is Ukraine’s ancient capital, the epicenter of a Slavic culture that once stretched as far as Alaska. The locals are understandably a pretty proud bunch, who are happy to give you directions in a dozen languages when you can’t decipher the Cyrillic street signs on every corner. With a local guide by your side though, you won’t have any trouble finding the enourmous Motherland Monument (Ukraine’s answer to the Statue of Liberty), the golden dome of St Michael’s Cathedral or the beaches of Hidropark Island in the Dnipro River.

2. Chernobyl

A moving day-trip from Kiev, tours to Chernobyl run daily. It may not seem like the most chipper way to spend a holiday, but it’s a worthwhile stop for anyone looking to understand better the disaster that happened here in 1986. We’ll take you into the Exclusion Zone, a two-hour drive through the Ukrainian countryside, to have a look at the power plant’s main reactor, as well as the evacuated town of Pripyat, an eerily overgrown village that once housed up to 50,000 workers. These tours are perfectly safe; you can even hire your own Geiger counter to check out the radiation levels.

3. Odessa

Beaches? In Ukraine? Yep, you’d better believe it. Odessa it a little like Eastern Europe’s answer to St Tropez or Rio: a decadent, seaside, neoclassical paradise bookended by the shores of the Black Sea and a geometric grid of shady tree-lined streets. Catherine the Great founded the city in the late 18th century and invited immigrants from all over Europe to settle here. Today it’s both Ukraine’s biggest commercial port and its sun-soaked style capital. A pop of glitz and colour in a country better known for dour mountainscapes and a sleepy rural steppe.

4. Lviv

Lviv is maybe the only place in Ukraine where the Soviets couldn’t stamp their mark. Wandering cobbled streets and trendy piazzas, sipping espresso in boutique cafes, you feel like you’re day-tripping in Prague or holidaying in Krakow. There’s no sign of Stalinist concrete, and Ukrainian (not Russian) is definitely the majority language. Lviv’s secret got out during the Euro 2012 soccer championships, and a successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics sealed the deal. One day people will mention this gorgeous city in the same breath as Cesky Krumlov…until then, it’s all yours.

5. Carpathian Mountains

The Capathians rise on the southwest corner of Ukraine like crinkles on an otherwise flat map. They’re the home of the Hutsuls, a friendly ethnic group (with an excellent sense of style), and the epicenter of the country’s rural folk culture. It’s a place where horse-drawn carts plod along potholed roads and babushkas shoo chickens from their porches. For adventure seekers, The Carpathians provide something else too: a photogenic mix of green valleys, snaking rivers, little villages tucked into the trees and more trails, ski fields, rock faces and white water than anywhere else in Ukraine.

FAQs on Ukraine

Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance, Visa Support letter - Yes
Switzerland: No - Not required
United Kingdom: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required

Some nationalities are now visa free to Ukraine. Please check your own visa requirements carefully.

Some nationalities that require a visa may also need a Letter of Invitation (LOI), sometimes known as a Visa Support Letter, in order to apply for a Ukraine visa. As of 2013 travellers from Australia and New Zealand no longer need the LOI in order to apply. Should you require a LOI please notify us at the time of booking and ensure you send the following information no later than 30 days prior to departure:

* Clear, colour scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport
* Nominate which embassy you will apply for your visa

Please note that it can take up to 7 business days to receive the LOI from our Ukrainian partners. The LOI is included in the cost of the trip, however should your embassy require other support documents you may be charged an additional fee.

You require a Single Entry Tourist Visa for this trip.

Surname and first name of the inviting person(s) in Ukraine. If not applicable, name of hotel(s) or address of applicant’s temporary accommodation(s) in Ukraine:

Vozdvishensky Hotel
60-a,b Vozdvyzhenska str.
Tel.: +38 044 531 99 00

Address of inviting person(s)/hotel(s)/temporary accommodation(s) in Ukraine:
As above.

Name and address of inviting company/organisation:
If LOI required please use the information on the document. If not required - N/A.

Surname, first name, address, telephone, telefax, and e-mail address of contact person in company/organization:
As above.
Tipping is becoming customary in many of the larger Ukrainian cities. While it's not necessary to tip drivers unless the service is exemplary, a 10-15% tip is expected in most restaurants.
Internet cafes are available in cities and towns, and some larger hotels now offer Wi-Fi connectivity. Remote and rural areas will have less internet availability, so be prepared for this when travelling out of the city.
Roaming agreements exist with major mobile phone companies, check with your service provider for more information.
Western-style, flushable toilets are normally available in the larger cities. In rural areas, simple squat toilets are more common.
Cup of coffee in a cafe = 10 UAH
Beer in a bar or restaurant = 5-15 UAH
Basic, takeaway lunch = 40 UAH
Dinner in an inexpensive restaurant = 100 UAH
Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Ukraine. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Ask your leader or hotel where filtered water can be found and don't forget to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit before eating.
Major credit cards are accepted by most large shops and hotels. Smaller vendors may not accept credit cards, so carry enough cash to cover small purchases.
ATMs are commonly found in Ukraine's cities and urban areas. Remote regions will have less ATM availability, so prepare accordingly before travelling away from cities.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Jan 7 Orthodox Christmas Day
Mar 8 International Women's Day
May 1-2 Labour Days
May 5 Orthodox Easter Sunday
May 9 Victory Day
Jun 23 Orthodox Pentecost
Jun 28 Constitution Day
Aug 24 Ukrainian Independence Day

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to:

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to:

From New Zealand?

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From Canada?

Go to:

From US?

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From UK?

Go to:

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to:

Responsible Travel

Ukraine Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Ukraine

1. Be considerate of Ukraine’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with tap or filtered water.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

5. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

6. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

7. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Everything is IlluminatedJonathan Safran Foer
Sweet DarusiaMaria Matios
Voices from ChernobylSvetlana Alexievich
Wolves Eat DogsMartin Cruz Smith