Rakhiv is located in the North East part of Zakarpattya region. This small town founded in 1447 has kept its old dialect and unique traditions. Many of them can be observed during the celebrations of Christmas, Easter, Summer Solstice and other holidays. Besides, Rakhiv is filled with tourists during cultural festivals, like the annual bryndza cheese festival or events dedicated to local Hutsul culture.
There are about 14 'Narzan'-type mineral springs scattered around the town. According to the researches about the region's water, the springs are beneficial for the treatment of digestive and circulatory systems, hence the big number of sanatoriums built in the region. Rakhiv is most widely known as the administrative center of the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve. Many tourists who want to explore the beech forests and local mountain peaks wind up there. All tourist information concerning the Reserve can be found in the official center on 77, Chervone Pleso street. Now, let's see for the attractions in and around Rakhiv:
The Carpathian Biosphere Reserve
The Carpathian Biosphere Reserve takes up about 140 acres in the eastern region of Zakarpattia. Its territory is truly huge and includes the famous Valley of Daffodils that lures in numerous tourists each spring. Among the other attractions, the Reserve grasps find Trufanets, the highest natural waterfall in Transcarpathia. The incredibly vast beech forests of the Ukrainian Carpathians are so unique they are included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list as an 'outstanding example representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution'.
Visiting Rakhiv is almost synonymous with popping by Brebeneskul, the highest mountain lake of Ukraine located 1801 meters above the sea level. The lake is located on the territory of Chornohora natural resort. Thanks to the nature of its waters, Brebeneskul stays clear all the year round.
Despite its rather cool temperature (maximum 9 degrees Celsius in summer), this lake is considered the warmest on Chornohora mountain chain. Thanks to its unique location, traveling to Brebeneskul lake also gives a chance to witness the same-named mountain and one of the highest peaks in Ukraine, Hutyn Tomnatyk.
Blyznytsia is also called Blyznytsi, which would be the more proper name, given that the peak system embraces two similar mountain peaks. They are located right next to each other in the Rakhiv region in between Black Tysa and Kosivska River. The highest point reaches 1883 meters above sea level.
While the lower levels of the mountains are filled with thick forests, the peak is a typical Carpathian polonyna that provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding peaks. The cliffs of Blyzyntsi are home to the rare high-altitude flower, Edelweiss, and belong to the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve.
The Church of Nativity of Our Lady
The Carpathian region is well-known not only for the mountains but cultural landmarks like places to see like the wooden churches that were noted by UNESCO. One of them is opened for visitors in Dilove village located right near Rakhiv.
The first mention of Church of Nativity of Our Lady dates back to 1750. While the church didn't function for the most part of the Soviet era, it still managed to preserve its original architectural style and interior. The basilica with domes and porch with carved columns are the finest examples of Hutsul architecture.
Trufanets waterfall is often included in the lists of the best places to see in Rakhiv. The reason behind is quite simple: Trufanets is the highest natural waterfall in Ukraine, measuring 36 meters. Trufanets has several cascades and is often called one of the most picturesque waterfalls of the region. It is located on the Yasinia-Rakhiv road in two kilometers from the turn to Drahobrat.
Nesamovyte, which means «furious» in Ukrainian, is situated on a large plateau on the slopes of Turkul Mount 1750 meters above the sea level. The lake is a popular hiking location in Rakhiv region thanks to the tourist trail that leads there.
Hutsuls have legends connected to the place. They believe that the souls of all those who commit suicide or take someone else life end up in Nesamovyte Lake. So, whenever someone throws a stone in the lake, they disturb the souls of the sinners.
The geographical midpoint of Europe
While the exact 'center of Europe' depends on the borders' definition and the inclusion of remote islands, Rakhiv region is indeed one of the locations that claim to be the European midpoint. The marker with a Latin inscription is set near the village of Dilove in 20 kilometers from Rakhiv center. The midpoint is located on the right bank of Tysa river, which marks a natural border between Ukraine and Romania.
Rafting and Kayaking
Among the numerous things to do in Rakhiv many tourists point out extreme sports. The region's Tysa and Black Tysa Rivers provide a great opportunity to try rafting and kayaking that are by far the most popular kinds of extreme sports here. Both rivers have places suitable for rookies as well as professionals. Besides, rafting tours often include hiking in the neighboring villages.
How to travel to Rakhiv
As Rakhiv is located in the Carpathians, the easiest and safest way to travel there is hopping on a train. As of 2018, there are four trains that go from various spots in Ukraine to Rakhiv:
- #357/358 Kyiv-Rakhiv (daily)
- 606K Lviv-Rakhiv (daily)
- #015 Kharkiv-Rakhiv (every two days)
- #26 Odesa-Rakhiv (every two days)
Those who'd like to travel by car may build a route through the neighboring Mukachevo, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Vorokhta. However, it's worth noting that the roads that lead to Rakhiv are quite old and can be out of order when snowed in.
Where to stay in Rakhiv
Thanks to the nearby hiking trails, accommodation in Rakhiv is available on sites like booking.com and agoda.com. The options range from the hotel apartments that are furnished in a modern minimalistic style to the traditional mountain chalets located on the picturesque hills.
Rakhiv Hotel & Apartments, for example, is located in the center of the town and lies not far from the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve. The venue has an 8,8 rating on booking.com. Visitors pointed out breathtaking view on the mountains, stylish interior, and decent room service. The types of rooms range from options for a big company like apartments with two bedrooms to cozier options for two, like a deluxe suite with a terrace.Rakhiv Plai is a nice option for those who'd like to stay close to nature. The venue has a 9,9 rating on booking.com. The most common things that lure in visitors here are coziness, peace, and view on the mountains. The types of accommodation include a cottage for 4 people, a cottage with 3 bedrooms for 6 people, a full house and a full house with 3 bedrooms for nine people. The place is pet-friendly.
Photo sources: depositphotos.com, outdoorukraine.com, taras.kimchak.com, Клочко Ігор / ua.wikipedia.org, wikimapia.org, karpaty.info, booking.com. All images belong to their rightful authors.