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
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
It is a pity, Intrepid is stopping this trip. Personally, I don't think as a destination, Ukraine is being marketted fully. The jewel in Ukraine s tourism crown, is Chernobyl nuclear disaster ,and no effort is being made to visit this area. Realizing this myself, with Iras guidance, our whole group visited the disaster region, probably the first Intrepid group to do so. Last year, 6000 people visited the site, and 17000 so far in 2015. For me, it was the trip high light.
Review submitted 03 Dec 2015
St Petersburg to Budapest , October 2015
Keep this trip and market it with Chernobyl
Review submitted 02 Dec 2015
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
At a glance
|Capital city:||Kyiv (population 2.6 million)|
|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)|
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.
Geography and environment
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.
Our Ukraine Top 5
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.
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.
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.
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.
LETTERS OF INVITATION (LOI)
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.
INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
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:
60-a,b Vozdvyzhenska str.
Tel.: +38 044 531 99 00
Address of inviting person(s)/hotel(s)/temporary accommodation(s) in Ukraine:
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:
Beer in a bar or restaurant = 5-15 UAH
Basic, takeaway lunch = 40 UAH
Dinner in an inexpensive restaurant = 100 UAH
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
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: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/ukraine/public-holidays
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 New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
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.
|Everything is Illuminated||Jonathan Safran Foer|
|Sweet Darusia||Maria Matios|
|Voices from Chernobyl||Svetlana Alexievich|
|Wolves Eat Dogs||Martin Cruz Smith|