Ukraine attracts more than 20 million foreign citizens every year. Visitors primarily come from Eastern Europe, but also from Western Europe and USA and also Canada. The country is the 8th most popular tourism destination in Europe.

Ukraine is a destination on the crossroads between central and eastern Europe, between north and south. It borders Russia and is not far from Turkey.

It has mountain ranges – the Carpathian Mountains suitable for skiing, hiking, fishing and hunting. The coastline on the Black Sea is a popular summer destination for vacationers. Ukraine has vineyards where they produce native wines, ruins of ancient castles, historical parks, Orthodox and Catholic churches as well as a few mosques and synagogues.

Kiev, the country’s capital city has many unique structures such as Saint Sophia Cathedral and broad boulevards. There are other cities well-known to tourists such as the harbour town Odessa and the old city of Lviv in the west. Most of Western Ukraine, which used to be within the borders of the Republic of Poland before World War II, is a popular destination for Poles. The Crimea, a little “continent” of its own, is a popular vacation destination for tourists for swimming or suntaning on the Black Sea with its warm climate, rugged mountains, plateaus and ancient ruins. Cities there include: Sevastopol and Yalta – location of the peace conference at the end of World War II. Visitors can also take cruise tours by ship on Dnieper River from Kiev to the Black Sea coastline. Ukrainian cuisine has a long history and offers a wide variety of original dishes.

Odessa or Odesa (Ukrainian: Одеса; Russian: Одесса;) is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast (province) located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 (as of the 2001 census).


The four foreigners’ in Russian service met by chance on a Russian military vessel in 1870s – Jose de Ribas, Duc de Rischelieu, Count of Langeron and Franz de Volan. Later on, those four played became instrumental in the city’s success: the first one convinced the Russian Empress to found Odessa, the second made it the fourth largest city in Russia in just eleven years, the third one made it free economic zone and the fourth one created the city plan, used to build Odessa, which was considered the most advanced city plan in Russia at that time!

The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement, was founded by Hacı I Giray, the Khan of Crimea, in 1240 and originally named after him as “Hacıbey”. After a period of Lithuanian control, it passed into the domain of the Ottoman Sultan in 1529 and remained in Ottoman hands until the Ottoman Empire’s defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1792. The city of Odessa was founded by a decree of the Empress Catherine the Great in 1794. From 1819–1858 Odessa was a free port. During the Soviet period it was the most important port of trade in the Soviet Union and a Soviet naval base. On January 1, 2000 the Quarantine Pier of Odessa trade sea port was declared a free port and free economic zone for a term of 25 years.


In the 19th century it was the fourth largest city of Imperial Russia, after Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Warsaw. Its historical architecture has a style more Mediterranean than Russian, having been heavily influenced by French and Italian styles. Some buildings are built in a mixture of different styles, including Art Nouveau, Renaissance and Classicist.


The most interesting thing to see in Odessa is the old town itself. The city was once the center for trade for the Russian Empire as well as an intellectual and artistic centre prior to the revolution and during the Soviet Union. Much of the grandeur of the city dates from the period before the Soviet takeover and subsequently Odessa shows its age.

The economic hardships that befell the city falling the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 have left vast portions of what was a magnificently wealthy old city in a state of total disrepair. The old city though is quite clean and feels very safe so it makes for a good two days worth of casual unguided wandering particularly with the wide tree lined avenues and large open parks.

In the much smaller and more well kept part of the old town there is a large and beautiful Opera house and some very nice parks. There is also one main street leading through the centre that is vibrant with people selling street goods to tourists.

If you’re looking for a nice route in a city center, try go from Grecheskaya square through Gavannaya st., then onto Gogolya street, in the end of which turn right and you will see Tyoschin bridge (Mother-in-law bridge). Walk through the bridge and take a stroll along the Primorskiy boulevard. In the end of the boulevard you’ll see the city hall. Turn right and go up to the Opera House, from where you can get to Deribasovskaya street. It’s especially beautiful in the evening.



Also there are many interesting museums in Odessa.

Museum of Western and Eastern Art, Muzey Zapadnogo i Vostochnogo Iskusstva. Perhaps the most interesting. You can see paintings by Aivazovsky and Caravaggio (as of 9-1-09 no Caravaggio) and other famous artists.

Literature museum, at the very beginning of Lanzheronovskaya street. Features a 100 year walk through the history of Odessa in literature.

Maritime museum, just between the Opera House and Literature museum. Houses a history of Marine Fleet.

Archaeology museum, just around the corner from the literature museum.

Picture gallery, at the very beginning of the Sofievskaya Street.. once a palace of Prince Pototskiy, features a huge collection of Russian artist paintings.

Museum of the cinema at 33 French Boulevard. With more then 10,000 works on display, the museum is a testimony to the history and cinematic activity in Odessa. Here you can find historic materials, from the invention of cinema, to the postmodern, digital and avant garde.



Walk along the Deribasovskaya street, it has a very colourful pedestrian part, especially at summer or early autumn evening time.

Walk along the Primorskiy Boulevard (bul’var), is also very good promenade place.

In the middle of the Primorsky Boulevard, you will find a monument to Duke Rechelieu, one of the founders of Odessa.

From this point you can walk down the famous Potemkin Steps, to the Primorskaya street to the Marine Terminal, where a lot of buses and trolleybus # 10 stops

Instead of walking up or down the potemkin steps, it possible to use the funicular. (Which does not work as of June 2011, but is planned to be back in operation)

If you turn 180 degrees from Potemkin Steps, you will see a Cathrene Square, where you can take a short walk to. This square features a recently erected a monument to Catherine the Great, who is also one of the founders of Odessa.

Yekaterinenskaya Street: Walk on it a few blocks from its very beginning. A first couple of block is full of greenery, elegant houses where on a first floor there is either a restaurant or some store. In two blocks it intersects with Deribasovskaya street.

Opera House. Go to the opera house for 20 USD or less.



Most of the city waterfront, except the port territory, forms a beach zone. All of the beaches are located at the eastern edge of Odessa. The most popular beaches are the following: listed according to their distance from city center.

Lanzheron – is closest to the city center, located just underneath the Shevchenko Park. The dolphinarium is located nearby.

Otrada – is slightly farther from the city center than Lanzheron. It is the closest to the center among the beaches located under the French Parkway (Francuzskij bul’var).

Dolphin – is in 3 more tram stops past Otrada.

Chkalovski – two nudist beaches located between Dolphin and Arcadia, near the Chkalovski sanatorium. The smaller, first one is wildish with strange bathers and lots of rocks. The second, 500m further on, is bigger and frequented by many families with a nicer atmosphere. Little sand, mainly pebbles.

Arcadia – is the most popular beach and tourist place with a lot of restaurants, bars, discos, night clubs and other entertainment. Even though it is farther then Otrada and Dolphin, it is easily reachable from city center.



Go to the Privoz market by the station – one of the biggest in the ex-USSR. Lots of cheap vegetables and fruit.


There are lots of cafes and restaurants in Odessa, with more and more opening with each year. The prices are quite affordable, if you come from the west. Expect to pay 70-100 UAH for a lunch in a cafe, and around 200 UAH in a restaurant. Some restaurants can be of course very expensive, so take a look at the menu before ordering. In the warmer times of the year you can find lots of outdoor sitting areas in the cafes, with blankets usually avaialble to keep you warm in the evening.

The ‘fast food’ on the street is tasty and if you don’t speak Russian or read Cyrillic is much more accessible as you can just point at what it is you want.