Ideas for the Long Autumn Weekend 2018 in Ukraine

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Person in warm socks on an autumn trip

Since Ukraine's Independence Day, long holidays and governmental days off seem to be forgotten. Luckily, this October gives a breather for those who desperately need to recharge before the next week. Monday of October 15 is an official day off, giving Ukrainians a three-day long weekend. We chose places to see and activities to do in Kyiv, Lviv and Odesa.

Kyiv

The weather forecast promises a nice weekend in Kyiv: three sunny days with the average temperature of 17 degrees Celsius and no precipitation. Mind that the wind will reach 10 km/h, so it's better to dress in layers and have warm beverages ready.

Visit Oleksandriya Arboretum

Oleksandriya ArboretumOleksandriya Arboretum, commonly called the Oleksandriya Park, is magnificent at any time of the year yet autumn makes it especially picturesque. The spacious 300-hectare park is one of the biggest in Ukraine, located in a 1.5-hour drive from Kyiv. It is full of large trees that create delicate fall foliage perfect for taking pictures. Oleksandriya can also be reached by public transport: numerous shuttle buses that go from Kyiv to Bila Tserkva and the suburban rail.

Built way back in the 1780s, the park was born thanks to the love between count Branitsky and his wife Alexandra Engelhardt. Even nowadays visitors can enjoy peaceful distant alleys filled with bird songs, take pictures in Chinese Gazebo, marvel at the Dreams waterfall and simply stop and smell the roses in the garden. The park boasts more than 20 ponds populated by ducks and swans. There are numerous cafes in the nearby Bila Tserkva, as well as several food stalls near the central entrance of the park.

Ride a bike

Bicycle in autumnThis year, October allows cyclists to enjoy season longer than usual thanks to the mostly dry weather. Even if you don't have a bike of your own, it's not a trouble anymore - the first public bike rental NextBike popular in Europe is already available in Kyiv. Most of the rental spots are conveniently located in the downtown and Podil as well as near metro stations on the left bank of Kyiv like Pozniaky, Osokorky, Obololn, Minska etc. That way, you can easily jump on a bike at the nearest location and explore the city's downtown, quarry, and parks.

One of the popular spots among local cyclists is Holosiivskyi Park. Located away from the busy Kyiv streets, it is nevertheless pretty easy to reach – the Expocenter of Ukraine is the nearest reference point. More than 45 square kilometers of the park are riddled with unique trees, bushes and flowers. The lucky ones have a chance to meet curious squirrels, swans, and twittering birds.

The spot is truly diverse when it comes to soil and landscape, so Kyiv cyclists make routes keeping in mind skills and experience. There’s a 6.3-kilometer route on asphalt and soil suitable for those with minimum cycling experience. Signs installed on the routes won’t let you get lost in Holosievo. Three bike rental spots for those who don't have a bike of their own are located near the Expocenter of Ukraine.

Enjoy street food

Man making BBQWhile the weather is pretty considering in 2018, street food and the open-air festival season is still coming to the end. One of the last events of the year is the well-known Ulichnaya Eda street food festival. The open-air BBQ party will gather all meat-lovers of the capital.

As usual, Ulichnaya Eda will invite the best-selected vendors of the capital and country, presenting their versions of the delicious meal from wings to ribs with ketchup or mustard. The entrance is free for kids up to the age of 15, people with disabilities or those whose birthday coincides with the festival dates. The festival will take place on the weekend of October 13-14 at Art-zavod Platforma. The ticket costs UAH 100 as usual.

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Lviv

According to the weather forecast, this weekend in Lviv will be a prime example of the golden autumn: stable 18 degrees Celsius and no precipitation. The wind won't raise more than 15 km/h.

Find every lion in Lviv

Lion in LvivGiven that Lviv is one of the best cities in Ukraine to visit in autumn, exploring it is a good idea for the weekend. For instance, if you visited all city museums and galleries numerous times, try to find each and every lion, which might be a challenge in the literal City of Lions. In between the autumn quest, take breaks in the newly-opened dining spots and cafes and at the end of the day, take some time to wind down and recharge in an SPA.

Hike in the Skole Beskids National Park

Parashka mountain in Skole Beskids National ParkNaturally, Lviv's close proximity to numerous natural parks and biosphere reserves of Western Ukraine is something to be exploited in autumn. The nearby national parks are usually most-visited during summer, so the long October weekend will provide a good chance to reconnect with nature.

So, if you’d like to enjoy magnificent Carpathian views without having to drive for more than 3 hours, Skole Beskids National Natural Park is the best spot for a hike. The park is located in the valleys of Striy and Opir rivers in a two-hour drive from Lviv. Private transport is the best way to reach the natural area - take the E471/M06 and E471/E50/M06 highways for the fastest route. The detailed route is available on Google Maps.

Parashka mountain ridge is home for the highest mountain of the region, Parashka, that soars 1268 meters high. The hike is doable for beginners and provides great views of the green meadows and neighboring mountains. Kamianetskyi waterfall located on the Kamianka River is another spot to enjoy the wild nature. If you're not the one for long walks but still want to improve your health and enjoy the fresh air, the park has more than 30 spa areas with mineral springs. Most of them are located in the valley of Maydanske Rybnik and around New Kropyvnyk village.

Indulge in musical nostalgia

Disco ballAnother way to enjoy the long weekend is to dance it out. The occasion presents itself this weekend at Picasso Club. On October 13, it will host a disco party with NANA - the star of the 90s German Eurodance and hip-hop. This self-titled album and platinum single Lonely were among the greatest hits in Germany, Switzerland and Poland. The Lviv concert gives a chance to dive into the 1990s nostalgic wave. The ticket price starts at UAH 300. Booking is available on numerous sites with English interface like concert.ua.

Odesa

The weather forecast for Odesa looks quite promising: while on Saturday the temperature will reach 18 degrees Celsius, on Sunday and Monday it will warm up to 20. However, it's better to mind the strong 20 km/h wind and dress accordingly.

Visit Odesa Opera House

Carmen in operaWhile the Opera House seems a pretty obvious location to visit on the long weekend, it nevertheless gives an insight into the world of art and centuries-old history. Did you know that Odesa Opera House was the first opera to be opened in Ukraine? The magnificent building was erected in 1810 and gathered the posh crowds from all over Europe, as the stage hosted legendary composers like Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, famous singers like Enrico Caruso and talented dancers like Isadora Duncan.

Nowadays, Odesa Opera House is no less famous - each summer it pops up on the news thanks to the Odesa International Film Festival. This October guests of the theater have a chance to witness the opera classic, Carmen. The opera by Georges Bizet is famous for the Toreador Song and Habanera aria. Carmen is often called the canonic opéra comique, which merges a passionate love story and humorous lines. The performance will take place on October 13 at 6:30 P.M. The ticket price ranges from UAH 80 to UAH 300. Booking is available at the Odesa Opera House website.

Explore the region's estuaries

Akkerman fortressWhile Odesa's beaches are too cold for swimming, the region's beautiful estuaries still attract hikers and photographers who seek the perfect shot. For instance, take the largest estuary of the Odesa region - the Dniester. Many tourists adore this location in summer, the Bugaz Kosa, the narrow strip of land that separates the estuary from the Sea, hosts the popular Zatoka resort.

In autumn, the Dniester region isn't as overcrowded and offers the calm natural vibe. The banks of the estuary are home for the prominent landmarks like the Akkerman fortress, the 3 century B.C. Tira - Bilgorod Settlement, and the Shabo winery. The latter also offers degustation tours throughout the year. More information can be found at shabo.ua/en.

Have fun in the amusement park

Rides in the  amusement parkThe approaching of the coldest season in no way means that the fun is over. In fact, the South Park amusement park in Odesa is already preparing for Halloween. The spot located right near the Riviera shopping center was opened in June 2018 and aims to become the new family-friendly green space of the city. The 10,000 sq.m.- territory is thematically divided into several zones for comfortable navigation.

One of the main accents of the South Park is the sports zone, where visitors can enjoy the full capacity of football and basketball fields, sports shooting range and a crossfit playground. Kids are entertained by animators in the kid’s zone and can indulge in activities like the slides and trampolines.

A popular family-bonding activity, rope park, is available here as well. Parents can have a quiet moment for themselves and relax on one of the numerous beanbag chairs in a green zone. Forty street food stalls with Pan-Asian, Mexican, Ukrainian, Italian cuisines cater for every taste. South Park is located at 101A, Pivdenna Road in the Fontanka village in a half-an-hour ride from the city center.

Photo sources: unsplash.com, Igor Bulgarin / Shutterstock.com. All images belong to their rightful authors.

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