Ukraine is a wonderful country with the Black Sea and Carpathian Mountains, which provide you a lot of opportunities for outdoor activities and traveling all the year round. With the holiday season under way and Christmas and the New Year just around the corner, winter is the perfect time to discover new places and activities in Ukraine. Would you like to sip mulled wine at Lviv’s iconic Christmas market on Rynok Square or go to the mountains for spectacular winter scenery and skiing? Here are some ideas for best winter activities 2017-2018.
Bukovel Ski Resort is one of the most famous in western Ukraine. It has high standards of service and accommodation; all ski slopes are equipped with everything you may need for the best skiing. There are more than 60 slopes, 16 lifts, luxury hotels, entertainment centers and restaurants. There is Redisson Blu, Bukovel 5-star Resort and Spa Hotel, for those who appreciate hi-end lodging and the highest standards of service.
Yablunytsia village is located on the outskirts of Bukovel. In fact many skiers who wish to save on accommodation often book hotels and B&Bs here and go to Bukovel just for skiing. Before «Bukovel» turned into a major ski resort of the country, Yablunytsya was the biggest ski resort of the region. These days it offers 6 ski areas: «Cheshka» 900 meters, «Lvivska» 900 meters, «Kooperatyvna» 860 meters, «Blinchyky» 400 meters, «Korova» 200 meters, «Koza» 650 meters. All slopes are served by surface lifts.
There are many other less known ski areas, which can pleasantly surprise its guests with high service, good equipment and lower prices for ski-passes and accommodation. There are many ski resorts scattered around Ivano Frankivsk region. Many of these ski areas boast great selection of affordable accommodation options and newly constructed ski lifts, others can’t stand the competition comfort-wise, however will awe its visitors with pristine vistas of untouched Carpathian forests.
Kosiv is more known among travelers as the place where one of the biggest souvenir markets is located. Every day hundreds of people stop by to stock up on authentic and traditional Carpathian goods, such as wool handmade socks and vests, artisan kitchenware, beautiful embroidery blouses, natural honey, jams and herbal teas.
Not many know though that «Hutsul’shchyna» local natural park offers a 1200 m slope with breathtaking views over natural preserve. There is a single surface lift. The slope will be good choice for average skiers and beginners. Here one can enjoy a free ride skiing and authentic après-ski experience in the local bar at the bottom of the mountain.
Many travelers come to Sheshory to enjoy nice views over Silver Waterfalls and Pystyn’ River. Sheshsory town is located on the other side of «Hutsul’shchyna» natural park, 13 kilometers away from our previous location, Kosiv. Here skiers and snowboarders can try out 3 slopes, from 700 to 1500 meters long. All slopes are rather gentle and well kept. There is a single surface lift here. Local cafes and restaurants offer traditional Carpathian cuisine and local wines. There are also many options for budget accommodation in numerous B&Bs, private green-tourism cottages and mini-hotels.
Dragobrat skiing area is a heaven for free-riders. The highest ski resort at up to 1800 m in all of Ukraine is considered to have the best views of any ski area. There are some hard ski runs and if you want to get to it there is not a decent road as of yet. So be prepared for a bumpy road in a pick-up truck.
Lviv region has some wonderful skiing opportunities as well. While many skiers go to popular ski resorts of the Carpathian Mountains, Lviv offers a number of smaller skiing complexes just a short car ride away from the city. Newly opened skiing complex «Kazkova Polyana» (Magic Valley) offers perfectly groomed ski slope that is good for beginners. The length of the slope is approximately 1 km. The ski lift is functioning daily from 10 AM to 5 PM except Mondays. «Kazkova Polyana» is located 20 km away from Lviv, in Pollyanna village. Check all the details on ski lifts, rental equipment and schedules on www.kazkovapolyana.com.ua
You can also enjoy ultimate winter fun (skiing, snowboarding, sledging at Maydan and Bukovytsia ski resorts near Lviv.
Ice skating is the quintessential winter pastime. When temperatures drop below zero, lace up your skates and take it to the rink. Imagine skating hand-in-hand on a crisp winter night. A few stars may be visible above and the really breathtaking views of Christmas Lviv. The skating rink on Rynok Square in Lviv places you in a picture-perfect location with all the fairy lights, Christmas carol tunes and winter holiday atmosphere all around. This is one of the most popular ice skating locations in the city, it is also one of the biggest skating rinks in town. Kids are welcomed, but this spot is definitely geared toward adults, especially in the evening when the rink feels more like a party.The ice is surrounded by countless bars and restaurants, carousels, a Christmas market and festive food stalls. You can find more information on ice-skating in Lviv here.
To get a glimpse of unique Ukrainian Christmas traditions and rituals that have survived till our days visit Pyrohovo open-air museum for vernacular architecture or Park «Mamayeva Sloboda» in Kyiv. If you happen to be in Lviv during Christmas holidays go to the Shevchenkivsky Gai on January 7th, 8th or 9th. «Ukrainian Christmas in Shevchenkivsky Gai» folk festival happens annually for these 3 days. Here you will discover authentic Ukrainian Christmas traditions, listen to the oldest Ukrainian Christmas carols and taste traditional Ukrainian Christmas food and drinks. However to get a real feel of Ukrainian Christmas with 0% of buffoonery and touristy traps, go to the rural areas of the western Ukraine.
Winter holidays in Lviv is a merry affair with a great selection of festive events to suit all interests and tastes. Every year Lviv attracts thousands of visitors who are looking to experience the magical winter fairy tale in the heart of the medieval town filled with European Christmas atmosphere. «When Angels descend on Earth» theater show became a traditional Christmas show in Lviv performed by local «Voskresinnya» Theater. This performance is one of the most popular winter activities in Lviv. Actors create truly magical show that words cannot describe. It is a mystical and whimsical concoction of theater art, play of light on Ratusha walls, fire show and industrial alpinism. Traditionally, there are several shows in December (December 30 and 31) and January (January 7, 8, 9). The times of the shows for 2017/2018 still to be announced.
There’s no better remedy from winter blues than unwind and throw the cares away with a massage, cozy robe, and pair of warm slippers. Plan a weekend getaway to seek out luxury and relaxation at one of the best spa hotels in Ukraine or at the outdoor hot springs pools in Zakarpattia region. Just imagine the hot water thermal spa while it is frost and snow around. The water temperature is +41 °С, so don’t be afraid of the cold Ukrainian winter here. Owing to its complex geological composition, Zakarpattia (Transcarpathian) region of Ukraine is punctuated by natural hot springs. Rich in sulphur and an array of other minerals, these waters are considered to have endless health and beauty benefits.
Read: Best Thermal Resorts in Ukraine
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