A proud leader of every rating, Bukovel is the most renown resort in the Carpathians, tested and beloved by many. Its main source of pride is, of course, 50 kilometers of ski runs, suitable for each level from complete beginner to master. Families usually choose Bukovel for both relaxation and training – various ski lessons for kids and adults are available the whole time. If you aren't especially fond of skis but still want to enjoy the snow, rent an electric scooter or a snowmobile. Besides, it's a perfect place to stock on herbal tea – locals know all the secrets of tea-making and use natural ingredients that grow in the surrounding forests.
The highest ski base in Ukraine that lies at 1400 meters above the sea level, Drahobrat welcomes lovers of extreme and coziness. First-timers can sign up to a ski school, where experienced professionals will teach you how to stand, slide and most importantly enjoy yourself on the ski runs. Suitable for kids starting 3+ years, the school also offers snowboarding lessons. Drahobrat has much to offer even for those who aren't particularly interested in sports: waterfalls, lakes and mineral springs, hiking and sightseeing. Truly magnificent views can be explored from the nearby villages Kvasy, which hosts more than 200 mineral springs, Lazeshchyna, Yasin' with its popular hiking paths and Dilove, that hides away the highest single-cascade waterfall in the Ukrainian Carpathians.
Read: Hot Jar Spa in Zakarpattya: Best Places
People come here from all over Europe for the unique Transcarpathian atmosphere of hospitality – and, of course, the views. More than 40 recreation centers and 50 green tourism spots welcome the visitors all the year around. Waterfalls, steep cliffs, ageless forests, hiking trails of any complexity all found a home here, making Yaremche a perfect spot to run away to from the hectic life. Explore the incredible local Hutsul culture on year-long fairs and exhibitions, in the local cuisine and on the streets, where people wear national costumes because it's very natural for them. Besides, mineral waters and springs abundant here are known to normalize the blood pressure, improve the functioning of the cardiovascular system and the gastrointestinal tract.
This tiny village in the middle of the Carpathians lies where two rivers meet, on 600 meters above the sea level. Slavske is literally surrounded by mountains, making it a cozy and secluded spot for the most tired souls. Consider hiking and climbing the following nearby peaks: Kicherka (845 m), Plai (876 m), Prislip (990 m), Plishka (1038 m), Ilya (1066 m), Klia (1069 m), Pysanka Krynica or Dovbushanka (1236 m), Vysoky Verh (1245 m), and Trostyan (1235 m). You can rent skis or snowboards and explore the ski runs of various difficulty levels, or stay in and enjoy the wonders of the local cuisine at a private homestead.
Read: Winter Activities 2017-2018
Truly the gem of the Carpathians, this city seems to have been created for those who enjoy long strolls, chilling with a cup of hot chocolate and rich historical background. Throughout its history, Ivano-Frankivsk has been under control of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Austrian Empire, and became a home for more than 5 nationalities. It is especially seen in the architecture: the narrow winding streets and old solid buildings remind of the good old European cities. One of the best souvenirs that can be brought from Ivano-Frankivsk is a Carpathian balm, infused with the mountain herbs and beloved by tourists and local both. History lovers will find interest in exploring the underground Bastion, which is a part of the fortress fortifications of the old city, Potocki palace with its original 17th century cobblestone and a 200 year old Shevchenko park.
This place lures in those who want to witness the most renown lake in the Carpahitans – Synevyr. This truly enormous body of water, that takes up to 5 hectares, is located at 989 meters above the sea level. Not only it is wide, but also incredibly deep – the maximum depth reaches 22 meters. There's a high chance you can catch a glimpse of trout, although fishing is strictly prohibited. National park Synevyr is worth visiting as well. The nearby village, Kolochava, is famous for its 10 museums that show all aspects of traditional Carpathian way of living, including the most well-known "Old Selo" open-air museum, where you can discover how different layers of society in the region have lived almost 300 years ago. Besides, Mizhhirya hosts a shelter for brown bears, which is also opened for visitors.
The Palanok Castle is what usually lures in tourists from the nearby regions in Mukachevo. Its rich history is traced back to 14th century, when it was established as a strategical fortification for Kingdom of Hungary. It served various purposes throughout history: political prison during the times of the French Revolution, residence for noble families, and even a place to secure the Crown of St. Stephen from the Napoleon's troops. More than 10,000 square meters and 130 rooms are there to discover, along with the museum of Mukachevo history located at the premises. Another popular spot is "Medovyy Dim", which is basically a museum of honey: here you'll find live beehive with transparent walls, tools for beekeepers. Mukachevo gives an opportunity to try samples of honey from 27 countries, as well as 4 classical local picks.
Located some 5 kilometres from the Hungarian border, Berehovo is most renown for being the pool of Hungarian culture in Ukraine, its wine traditions and thermal waters. Those interested in history and religion might consider visiting Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which is curiously the oldest stone building in the Transcarpathians. After a stroll you can visit a restaurant, located nearby, and find out what real Carpathian and Hungarian cuisine tastes like, as locals surely know how to do it right. Wine degustations are regularly held in the city – for instance, on Vynohradna street you will be offered to try 5 sots of dry and 1 desert wine. Local thermal waters are popular among those seeking care for cardiovascular system and treatment of skin.
Founded in 11th century, Uzhhorod is a city that saw the times of Austria-Hungary, Czechoslovak Republic, Hungary and Soviet Union, until it finally became one with Ukraine. Naturally, the place of such rich history carries its own unique vibe, which is best felt right in the heart of the city, based around Uzhhorod castle. Now used as a local lore museum, it is one of the most visited spots in the Carpathians. Various art and architecture museums open up to show the hidden gems of the region: for instance, works of Adalbert Erdeli, a founder of the Transcarpathian art school. Thermal waters, tea degustations and the famous hot jar spas, where you let the magic of vats and hot water heal your body and soul.
Read: Very Special Mala Shtatsia Hotel in Uzhgorod
Last but not least, a safe haven best suitable for romantic getaways – or simply when you need some solace and piece of mind. Mineral water Shaianska is made here – from the crystal clear springs which you can witness any time of the year. It has been a center for gastrointestinal tract treatment since 1950s, and still holds the status nowadays. "Shaian" sanatorium, the most popular place for wellness, is located at 210 meters above the sea level and is surrounded by mountains, which ensures the circulation of the clearest air. If you want to explore the surroundings further, keep in mind that border with Romania is just one kilometer away.
Photo source: shutterstock.com. All images belong to their rightful authors.
Top 10 Places for Winter Vacation 2018 in the Carpathians
If you dearly miss the usual abundance of snow in Ukraine, worry not: you can always count on the Carpathians. Fluffy mountains and breathtaking views are ready to embrace you at any time of the year, but winter is truly their time to shine. Pick a destination with our top ten for winter 2018.