The Palanok Castle is what usually lures in tourists from the nearby regions in Mukachevo. The first written mentions are traced back to the 11th century, and in the 14th century, it became a strategical fortification for the Kingdom of Hungary. The Palanok Castle served various purposes throughout history. During the times of the French Revolution, its premises were used as a political prison, residence for noble families, and even a place to secure the Crown of St. Stephen from Napoleon's troops. More than 10,000 square meters and 130 rooms are there to explore, along with the museum of local history located at the premises of the castle of Mukachevo. Locals often come here to capture a 360 panorama of the city from the high hill.
One more Gothic building on the main street is Mukachevo Town Hall, easily recognized by its mint color. It was erected at the beginning of the twentieth century in the era of the Hungarian secession. The tower boasts a large clock that during the times of its construction used to be one of the five best tower clocks in the whole of Europe.
Another popular spot in Mukachevo is Medovyi Dim, which is essentially a museum of honey: here you will find a live beehive with transparent walls and various tools for beekeepers. The location is a paradise for the sweet tooth, as it gives an opportunity to try samples of honey from 27 countries, as well as 4 classical local picks. Local couples like to stroll in a surprisingly non-touristic spot: the Latorica embarkment. It is quite green and has numerous benches to sit back and enjoy the sounds of water.
There are plenty of sightseeing spots near Mukachevo as well: the most popular and easily-reached spot is the Schönborn Palace. It was built during 1890-1895 for Duke Schönborn under the influence of neo-romanticism. Curious fact: the palace has 365 windows and 12 entrance to balance the days and months in a year. Nowadays, it's a sanatorium and is opened for visiting from 8.30 A.M. to 4.30 P.M for free. The palace is located in the Karpaty village, easily reached by car or suburban train from Mukachevo.
Enjoy Transcarpathian Cuisine
The Transcarpathian cuisine is a cultural and historical fusion of Hungarian and Ukrainian culinary traditions. Dwellers of the region tend to keep to the old and reliable recipes, that's why dropping by the local restaurants and cafes is a perfect opportunity to get familiar with the authentic dishes. One of the most popular and visited restaurants in Mukachevo is Bograch. The name of the fine dining spot already hints at the main specialty of the place: bograch or bogrács is a traditional Hungarian soup made from meat and vegetables. Naturally, traditionally Ukrainian dishes like varenyky are present on the menu as well.
Kids and fans of sweets might be interested in visiting Bondarenko Confectionary. The place reminds of a Wonka factory: the local production is often unique in all its shapes and forms. For instance, the confectionary offers chocolate shaped like a Cinderella's shoe with chocolate decorations. Time Classic cafe is an often spot for dates - the cozy interior lures in many couples that share a cup of coffee, cocoa and desserts. Visitors often recommend to try a cheesecake and top it off with a cup of cappuccino.
Selysʹka cheese factory located not far from Mukachevo is rightfully considered one of the most popular cheese producers in the West of Ukraine. The history of this dairy dates back to 2002 when a group of volunteers from the Longo Maï cooperative initiated a project in a small Transcarpathian village called Nyzhnje Selyshche. Up to date, more than 200 families from Nyzhnje Selyshche and neighboring villages supply the dairy with milk. Selysʹka dairy produces three types of cheese: semi-hard & spicy Selysky, soft and sweet & spicy Hust, and a semi-hard bitter & spicy Narcissus of the Carpathians.
Taste Local Wine
Apart from being a historically rich location, Mukachevo is also beloved by Ukrainian wine lovers. The Celtic Courtyard, located at the foot of Lovochka mountain between Mukachevo and Uzhgorod, is the prime example of Transcarpathian wineries. In the ancient times, the place was a Celtic settlement and nowadays it hosts a tasting cellar. Guests have an opportunity to try several kinds of fruit liquors and tinctures like plum brandy and cherry, homemade ale and cider, as well as several types of vermouth prepared from 30 herbs. Exclusive drinks like gin, schnapps, grappa, brandy and orujo are also produced here and are available for degustation.
How to get there
The most convenient way to get to Mukachevo is a train from Lviv. Suburban and regional trains go in this direction every 3 or 4 hours. The ticket, depending on the type of compartment, will cost from UAH 50 to UAH 200. The trip lasts about 4 hours. There are six trains that go to Mukachevo from Kyiv, including the Kyiv-Vienna train.
Bus from Lviv to Mukachevo is also a popular way to reach the city. The buses usually leave early in the morning or late evening. The price for the 4-hour trip starts at UAH 200. The detailed schedule can be found at sites like busfor.ua. Mukachevo is also easily reached by car - follow M06 Kyiv-Chop highway in the direction of the Carpathians.
Photo sources: Viacheslav shpenyk, Almaks Ruslan Lytvyn / Shutterstock.com, unsplash.com. All images belong to their rightful authors.