Autumn's crisp air and bright colors inspire travelers to embrace the outdoors. Cooler weather makes it an ideal time to take a hike or road trip to admire the fall foliage. And Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains is one of the first fall destinations that comes to mind, with its picturesque small villages and rolling hills blanketed in red and yellow leaves.
If you don’t mind a gentle hike and want to enjoy some of the most beautiful Ukrainian vistas head to the Uzhanian National Nature Park. It is located in Velykyi Bereznyi Raion of Zakarpattia Oblast, at the border with Poland and Slovakia. The park was created on September 27, 1999 and has the area of 39,159.3 hectares. Since 2007, it is part of the World Heritage site Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany. It is also part of the East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve. The park was created to protect pristine beech forest of the Carpathians.
This is an ultimate destination for trailing and hiking in early fall. Uzhanian Nature Park awes its visitors with breathtaking views of the mountains, waterfalls and rivers. Uzhanian National Nature Park contains four altitude zones, including beech forest, alder forest, and, above 1,100 metres (3,600 ft), alpine meadows. The area is populated by Lemkos ethnical group and has a strong influence of their culture. The six authentic Lemko wooden churches scattered around the national park built in 17th-18th centuries and that have survived till our days are among the most popular sightseeing destinations. There are 17 signposted trails within the park.
Another very popular destination of the region is Synevir Lake. It is exceptionally beautiful in fall when boasting all shades of red, yellow and orange.
Synevir is the largest and one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in the Carpathian Mountains. It is also called "Sea Eye" or "Pearl of the Carpathians". The lake has a mirror-like water surface among green forests, with a small island in the middle.
The lake attracts numerous tourists with its crystal clear waters and unique landscapes. There is beautiful legend that the picturesque blue lake was formed from the tears of the count's daughter Syn', on the place where her father had killed her beloved shepherd Vir. The names of the couple formed the lake’s name «Synevir». These days two wooden statues of lovers remind numerous travelers of this romantic but tragic legend.
Fall is also the harvest season, so the best places for vacation include wine regions of Ukraine. In many places, it's easy to combine leaf-peeping with stops at farmers' markets and apple orchards, plus such traditional Carpathian treats like home-made cheeses and honey.
The wine industry of Ukraine is well established with long traditions. Transcarpathia (Zakarpttya Region) is the home of Ukraine's best red wines. The wine traditions of the region has almost 1000-year history. Here you can still find wine cellars dating back to the times of Austo-Hungarian Empire and a Big Siege of Turks.
Read: Read: Ukrainian Wineries Worth Visiting
Cotnar Winery is a modern industrial complex housing the complete production cycle, with high production capacity levels. Its premises include primary wine making (grape processing and making wine) and secondary processing (finished product bottling), wine cellars, and wine tasting rooms. Tours are welcome year round; however, fall is the best time to visit. Here you can also have an authentic fine dinner and stock up for fine artisan foods and wines at the in-house shop. Address: Muzheyeve village, Beregovo District, Zakarpatsky region
Another well-known winemaking complex in this region is Chizay. It was founded in 1995 in the town of Beregovo which is situated in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine, on beautiful Chizay gorge where Ukraine borders with Hungary. Currently, the Chizay factory is a modern industrial full production cycle wine making complex consisting of its own vineyards, primary wine making plant (on which the processing of grapes and making wine take place), a secondary wine making plant (where the finished product is bottled), wine storages, tasting rooms, offices and warehouses.
With the aim of popularizing the wines and enhancing the culture of wine drinking, Chizay winemaking complex opened an exquisite tasting room of 90 meters in September, 2010. The tasting room accommodates up to 50 guests. Two years afterwards, a museum of viticulture and winemaking was also opened to visitors. In 2012, in close collaboration with "Palanok" Museum Castle located in Mukachevo, Transkarpathian region, Chizay tasting room and a company store selling finished wine products opened directly within the castle, specifically in the old princely wine cellar.
Hop into a basket and venture on a hot air balloon flight where you can see beautiful Ukraine from a totally unique perspective. With numerous launch sites to choose from, you’ll appreciate the incredible rolling countryside and picturesque towns. A hot air balloon ride is both thrilling and serene, especially in autumn, when nature is burning with all shades of red and yellow.
Kamyanets Podilskyy is a hot air balloon center of Ukraine. There is even an annual hot air balloon festival in Kamyanets Podilskyy, which is one of the most popular and most spectacular events of the year in Ukraine (October 7th to October 8th, 2017).
Read: Hot Air Balloon Rides in Ukraine
And while you are in Kamyanets Podilskyy, don’t miss a chance to visit the famous city fortress. The view from the Turkish Bridge leading to the Kamyanets-Podilsky fortress is one of the country's iconic, front-page vistas. This monument of fortification architecture is considered to be one of the most popular places to see in Ukraine.
The famous Kamyanets Podilskyy fortress is located on the natural moat, created by a sharp loop of Dnister River. Kamyanets Podilskyy is much wilder and less commercial than other European medieval cities like Cesky Krumlov in Czech Republic or Bern in Switzerland, which also offer well-preserved fortification sights. Kamyanets Podilskyy annually attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world, however, even this number is just a fraction of what other European sights of this type are welcoming every year. This medieval fortress is perfectly preserved and wows numerous visitors with its dramatic and scenic views.
Read: Kamyanets Podilskyy Fortress
A short ride away from Kamyanets Podilskyy is located another breath-taking destination, the Bakota Bay. This could be another interesting option for autumn getaway is Ukraine. It is located near Kamyanets Podilskyy in Khmelnytskiy Region. Formerly a fortified town in the Principality of Galicia-Volyn’, Bakota was first mentioned in the Hypatian Chronicle under the year 1240. It is located in the valley of the Dnister River in eastern Podilia. Bakota has an ancient Orthodox cave monastery with frescoes and paintings dating back to the 12th-14th centuries. There is a Paleolithic archeological site near the village. Bakota offers breathtaking vistas over Dnister River.
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