Before visiting any country it is good to learn some information about it. In this article you will find some general facts which will be useful if you are planning a trip to Ukraine.
Ukraine is situated in Eastern Europe and it borders on Russia, Byelorussia, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Moldova. Kyiv is the capital city of the country.
Ukraine is an interesting place to visit from different aspects, especially from historical one. So if you are having a trip to Ukraine, you are sure to get to the place where the Kyiv Rus was born and which was ruled by Volodimir the Great and Yaroslav the Wise. That is why in Kyiv you will find a lot of sites connected with Ukrainian history, the greatest of which are Sofia Cathedral and Kievo-Pecherska Lavra.
If you are not a big fan of sheer history, your trip to Ukraine can give you more bright colours if you walk along the old districts of the biggest cities and enjoy the architecture. It is very interesting that in many places the old buildings stand next to modern ones, still they do not spoil the general view of the city.
If you are planning a trip to Ukraine in April or May, you must visit Kyiv which is very beautiful at that time of year because the chestnut trees are in blossom at that time. Actually, that is why it is called “the chestnut city” in Ukraine.
Are you tired? Do you want to have some rest and enjoy the warm sun and the sea? Then you must visit some of the resort cities which stand at the Black sea and the Azov sea. Ukrainians who have young children prefer having rest at the Azov sea because there are sandy beaches and it is shallow. However, if you are into having fun, visit the Black sea resorts. During your trip to Ukraine you must not leave Odessa behind. It is both a port and a resort city at the Black Sea. Ukrainians call it “the sea pearl” because it is a unique place combining everything that one may need including health care. Local therapeutic mud and salty water from the coastal salt lake help to treat a lot of diseases.
If you want some extreme emotions, you can go on a tour to the town of Pripyat, where the Chernobyl Atomic station stands and see how this area is reviving after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which occurred in 1986.
And, of course, do not forget to visit the Carpathian mountains for a good ski-ride if you come in winter. The Western part of Ukraine, where the Carpathian mountains are situated, has also many places which can give you the insight to what real, historical Ukraine is like. There you can try Ukrainian cuisine and see people who are still keeping old Ukrainian customs and traditions.
The best souvenir to get yourself during your trip to Ukraine is a tablecloth or a towel embroidered with national ornaments, Cossacks and girls wearing circlets of flowers, and of course a linen shirt embroidered with traditional ornaments, called Vyshyvanka.
As for the Ukrainian national cuisine, it is very delicious and has a wide variety of dishes to offer. You must definitely try dumplings, or vareniki, as they are called in Ukrainian. They can have salty filling like meat, potato, cottage cheese, or sweet filling – berries or jam, and are served with sour cream or fried onion and lard (shkvarky). Some other Ukrainian dishes worth tasting are cheese pancakes (syrnyky), potato pancakes (dranyky), Kiev cutlets, borsch with pampushki, lard with garlic, vodka (gorilka) and some sorts of beer. However, if you think you may need some other food, Ukrainian cities have a wide variety of restaurants serving other national cuisine: European and Asian. Just like in other countries, it is customary to leave tips (10% from your order).
There are many more options Ukraine has to offer to tourists. But, I hope that this short guide has given you some image of what my country is like and your trip to Ukraine will bring you a lot of pleasant emotions and leave the best memories.