Vibrant cities, ancient castles, stunning countryside, diversity of landscapes and a welcoming attitude all help make it a special destination, regardless of its troubles. Here are 11 places CNN thinks will make you fall in love with this eastern European country.
Lviv is one of the most European looking cities in Ukraine. This is a city of cozy coffee houses and magnificent churches. Being a tourist mecca of Ukraine, Lviv prides itself for being a Unesco World Heritage Site and center of Ukrainian national identity. Enjoy a relaxed flow of life in front of you sitting at one of the numerous cafes, sipping legendary fragrant Lviv coffee. Take a ride around the city on a historic rattling trams or just a romantic stroll through Lviv’s cobbled narrow labyrinth of streets. Must visit sights of Lviv include famous for its genuine beauty Opera House, historical Rynok Square, High Castle and Ratusha panoramic viewing platforms, Dominican and Latin Cathedrals, numerous museums and art galleries.
Nicknamed Little Vienna for the rich Austro-Hungarian architectural heritage, Chernivtsi is one of the gems of western Ukraine.
Due to its multicultural past, Chernivtsi doesn’t look like any typical Ukrainian city. Chernivtsi is the «capital» of historical Bukovyna region, a multicultural area that used to house major Jewish, German, Armenian and Romanian communities. In our days the multicultural past of the city could be recognized in its architecture. The city may strike its visitors as chaotic and a bit shabby town housing a phantasmagorical university building, which is the main tourist destination here. This spectacular Unesco-listed red-brick ensemble fascinated all the visitors of Chernivtsi.
Sofiyivka Park in Uman
One of the most prominent examples of European gardening design dating back to the early 19th century, Sofiyivka Park is a unique Ukrainian natural attraction.
It was founded by Polish noble Stanisław Potocki as a birthday gift to his wife Sofia.
The extensive park is home to waterfalls, lakes, statues, fountains, antique grottoes and artificial ruins, and is a perfect place to enjoy a relaxing walk surrounded by natural beauty.
Golden domes of superb churches, a long and rich history, eclectic architecture and nonstop city life make Kyiv a go-to spot for all travelers visiting Ukraine.
Kiev is one of the most prominent cities in Eastern Europe and its sights include two UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves) and St. Sophia Cathedral.
There's also the Andriyivskyy Descent -- a steep and historic street paved with cobblestones -- and the awe-inspiring and gargoyle-smothered Art Nouveau-style House with chimaeras.
Read: Attractions in Kyiv
This charming little destination in the western Zakarpattia region has a compact old town full of Austro-Hungarian architecture overlooked by the impressive castle that stands on a nearby hill.
Once one of the most important fortresses in the kingdom of Hungary, Palanok Castle is now a highlight of Ukrainian tourism.
Mukacheve is also a great starting point for exploring the natural wonders of the Carpathian Mountains, including Synevir Lake and picturesque Shypit waterfall.
Often referred to as the City of Museums, Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi, about 50 miles southwest of Kyiv, is home to no fewer than 24 venues hosting a wide variety of artifacts.
Among them are the Museum of Bread, the Museum of Rushnyk (traditional Ukrainian embroidered ritual cloth), the Museum of Space and the Museum of Ukrainian National Dress.
But the most impressive of them all is a large open-air Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Life exhibiting unique objects from ancient times until the beginning of the 20th century.
Here can be found the Shevchenko National Reserve, devoted to one of the greatest Ukrainian writers Taras Shevchenko. The hills of the reserve offer breathtaking views over the river.
Kharkiv is one of the biggest Eastern Ukrainian cities. This city has rich history and cultural heritage. It used to be the center of Ukrainian cultural life and home of prominent Ukrainian science and engineering schools. Sadly, Kharkiv suffered heavily during WW 2, so it has fairly little to show architecturally-wise.
Wars and Soviet development have reduced city’s historical center. What once has been the center of Ukrainian authentic architecture now is a narrow triangle of old architectural suite between Sumska and Pushkinska streets. The rest is Soviet monumentalism in all its glory, including one of the world's widest squares.
Freedom Square is one of the largest squares in Europe, while the Derzhprom building is one of the most famous examples of constructivist architecture.
Completed in 1928, it was the most spacious single structure in the world at the time.
Read: Best Places to Visit in Kharkiv
Chernihiv is one of the oldest cities in Ukraine, and was once a prospering and important center of medieval Kievan Rus, the first East Slavic state.
There are unique examples of medieval Slavic ecclesiastical architecture, and one of the oldest churches in Ukraine -- the Transfiguration Cathedral, which was completed in the 11th century and features stunning frescoes and ancient interiors.
Chernihiv is home to a third of all the eastern European historic landmarks period before the Mongol invasion.
The 18th-century Kachanivka Palace is a popular excursion from either Chernihiv or Kyiv. It's a beautiful neoclassical mansion surrounded by well-preserved English gardens with a lake and artificial antique ruins.
Odessa is often referred to as the southern pearl of Ukraine and has the full right to be among top 10 must see cities of Ukraine. This city is a dynamic, energetic and somewhat decadent metropolis located on the coast of Black Sea. Odessa was founded in the late 18th century by Russian Empress Catherine the Great. Ever since its foundation Odessa was home for multicultural and multinational crowd. People from all over Europe came to Odessa to make their fortune here, thus the city’s patchy and rather tatty appearance. Odessa is an ultimate Ukrainian destination for holidaymakers and regular party crowd with its sandy beaches, warm climate and dozens of beachside nightclubs.
This little city right on the border with Slovakia has belonged to five different countries in the last 100 years.
Its historical affiliations can be seen throughout Uzhhorod's central district where you'll find Czech functionalist buildings standing next to classical Hungarian mansions, or Russian Orthodox, Catholic and Greek-Catholic churches in close proximity.
Uzhhorod is the vibrant hub of the Zakarpattia region and the gateway to the Carpathian mountains, easily reached from the major central European cities.
Kamyanets - Podilskiy
Kamyanets-Podilskiy is a historic town located on the natural moat, created by a sharp loop of Dnister River. Kamyanets-Podilskiy famous fortress attracts visitors from all over the world. This medieval fortress is perfectly preserved and wows numerous visitors with its dramatic and scenic views. Kamyanets-Podilskiy can become a breathtaking and spectacular travel experience for every eager visitor of this beautiful town.
Recent political, territorial and economic difficulties have done little to burnish the image of a former Soviet nation struggling to find its identity between Russian and western European influences. Being one of the biggest countries in Europe, but even when it isn't hosting the annual song spectacle that is the Eurovision Song Contest, Ukraine struggles to attract visitors.
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