Spring is slowly but surely creeping around the corner. While winter blues might have snatched away any motivation to move from the couch, it is better to think beforehand what you're going to do when the weather brightens up and nature bursts with colors. If all usual city attractions have been visited already, Odessa or Lviv are no more cities to discover, we offer this guide which helps to decide what to see in Ukraine in spring 2018.
It is worth nothing that, in the latest years spring has a peculiar way of gracing Ukraine and neighbouring countries. For some, a phrase like "March snow" won't cause any raised eyebrows. However, end of March and beginning of April are typically reliable enough to plan vacations and are a good time for new discoveries. Let's see which places in Ukraine are best to visit in spring:
Not many people, including locals, know that Ukraine is actually abundant with huge and beautiful canyons. Definitely one of the most famous and worth visiting is Dniester Canyon, which landscape park part has received a national nature park status not so long ago. The canyon alone is 250 kilometers long, located on the second largest river in Ukraine — Dniester. It is actually so huge that territory takes up bits of border Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Chernivtsi and Khmelnytsk regions. Wild nature, unstoppable force of water and picturesque view that stretches for miles are main things that attract tourists here. Lovers of extreme sports come to the neighboring villages Isakiv and Odaiv to enjoy skydiving.
Apart from natural attractions, Dniester Canyon also carries historical value: here you can observe the ruins of mighty Medieval Chervonohorod, Zhvanets and Rakovetskyy Castles, as well as the famous Verteba cave — the only existing underground museum of Trypillia culture which contains numerous archeological artefacts of the Copper Age (4000-3000 years BC).
Address: Dnistrovskyi Canyon Regional Landscape Park
This biosphere reserve is unique not only in Kherson region where it is located, but in Ukraine overall, making it a perfect place to visit in spring 2018. Founded way back in 1883 by a German nobleman Friedrich von Falz-Fein, this place was highly praised not only by thousands of tourists coming over each year nowadays, but also by the Emperor Nicholas II of Russia. Statistics is impressing: more than 400 types of streptophytes, about 270 bird species, more than a thousand arthropods…and, of course, mammals live on the vast territory of the reserve. Askania-Nova is technically divided into three parts: zoo, arboretum and huge wild steppe. The latter is what attracts visitors each year — here, unbound and free, roam buffalos, Przewalski horses, bisons, deer, zebra and many other animals from various parts of the world.
Read: In Search of Lviv Lions: How to Find Them
Reserve offers a unique opportunity to observe the wildlife — an excursion on a mini-buses adapted for safari, which is one of the most popular spring attractions in Ukraine. One can take marvelous pictures, and even pet zebras, which are very curious and like to approach the vehicle.
Address: Askania-Nova Reserve, Kherson region
Tunnel of Love
Definitely, one of the most Instagram-famous Ukrainian locations, Tunnel of Love located in Klevan attracts not only lovers who want to plant their feelings forever, but photographers from all over the world. The history of this place is far from romantic — in the Soviet times, the local railway led to a military base, so it was deemed reasonable to plant trees around it. The Soviet Union dissipated, but the Tunnel stayed — in the recent years local authorities recognized the place's popularity and stopped cutting off branches. The only thing that forms a perfect arch is a freight train, which still uses the same railway three times a day. Sure enough, Tunnel quickly accumulated its own customs and superstitions — for instance, couples make one wish for two and kiss to seal the deal, and newlyweds come here not only for beautiful photos, but for luck in married life.
Address: Klevan, Rivne region
Tulips in Kropyvnytskyi Arboretum
The 'to do' checklist for spring 2018 won't be complete without a simple yet beautiful thing — flowers in Ukraine. Luckily, each region is bountiful with various wild and preserved locations to enjoy the sweet smell and take pictures. Kropyvnytskyi Arboretum located in Kyrovohrad is one of them — here end of April and beginning of May are marked by tulips blooming. Those who miss Amsterdam will be pleasantly surprised, as the park is home for more than 100,000 tulip types! No wonder it is also called 'Tulip Paradise'. Often some of the types are new-comers to the market — they bloom only in the Netherlands and in Kyrovohrad. Apart from the beautiful flowers, Kropyvnytskyi Arboretum also has rides for children.
Address: Kropyvnytskyi, Kyrovohrad region
Read: New Tourist Routes in Lviv 2018
Sakura in Uzhhorod
Spring holidays in 2018 can be easily brightened up with a new dot on the map — Uzhhorod, a popular location of sakura blooming in Ukraine. Many locals as well as tourists patiently await the marvelous sight, which is now officially marked as Sakura Fest. This year it will be held on April 23 till May 2, when the blooming is most intense, with the richest spots to visit being a bank of Uzh river, Pushkin square, as well as Pravoslavna and Kyiv embankment. The trees are truly unique, as one can only see them in Japan, some states in the USA and in Zakarpattia. Apart from sakura, late April is also a blooming season for magnolias, Chinese apple tree, and Japanese flowering quince.
Address: Uzhhorod, Zakarpattia region
Valley of daffodils
Zakarpattia region is a bountiful soil for many flowers, and daffodils aren't an exception. Here, not far away from Hust, lies a Valley of daffodils — a unique part of nature reserve that belongs to UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. In period of the Austria-Hungary reign, this territory was carefully preserved: only local medics used abundant healing herbs to cure the sick. Later, when the land belonged to Czechoslovakia, local farmers were allowed to use a limited amount for grazing. Unfortunately, during the times of the Soviet Union, soil for daffodils and the flowers themselves were ruined, and only recently the beauty had begun to revive again.
Read: Radomysl Castle: the Pearl of Polesye
Each spring one of the best flower places to visit in Ukraine welcomes those who want to witness miles and miles of blooming whiteness. Moreover, Carpathian Biosphere Reserve has more than a hundred species of birds, so the valley is filled not only with sweet aroma but delicate songs of local birds.
Address: Kireshi, Zakarpattia region
Crocus blooming in Kolochava
Open-air museum Stare Selo is one more spot in Zakarpattia that lures in photographers eager to catch a worthy shot and lovers of nature. Each year since mid-March to mid-April, the whole territory of the museum is covered with purple flowers — Crocus heuffelianus, or saffron, which belongs to the list of endangered plants in Ukraine. This delicate flower can only grow on an appropriate soil, making it almost impossible to see in big cities or near the roads. Apart from flowers, visitors have a chance to witness livelihood of Ukrainians that belonged to different social classes in 19th and 20th century: there is a hut depicting life of a poor villager, built in 1856 and preserved to this day, a church school and a typical tavern.
Address: Kolochava, Zakarpattia region
Places in Ukraine worth visiting are truly hard to grasp in one go, but definitely are worth seeing at least once — spring 2018 is a perfect time to start.
Photo source: shutterstock.com, igormelika.com.ua. All images belong to their rightful authors.