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7 Highlights of Ukraine

From the historical cities of Kyiv, Odesa and Lviv and the eerie exclusion zone of Chernobyl to the Carpathians' scenic mountainscapes and the thriving waterways of Dniester National Park, Ukraine offers a wide array of unexpected highlights to discover.
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Kyiv

Set on the banks of the Dnieper River, Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv, is a mix of centuries-old architecture, leafy boulevards and gilded domes. It is also one of the best places to try a variety of traditional Ukraine food. Delve into the city's underground shopping mall to pick up some hot corn on the cob (a local delicacy), or head to a Soviet-style canteen to try perepichka, a deep-fried hot dog. For a more substantial meal, choose varenyky dumplings stuffed with gooey cheese, juicy meats and fresh vegetables. And wash it all down with a chaser of nastoyanka liqueur - a sweet concoction of honey and herbs.

Chernobyl

For some travellers, a visit to Chernobyl is a stand-alone highlight. On our Discover Chernobyl Tour, you'll have the opportunity to visit the abandoned ghost town of Pripyat and immerse yourself in its eerie, deserted streets. The rusty skeletons of fairground rides and derelict factories sit empty within the exclusion zone. Trees spread their branches through the broken windows of uninhabited cottages and ships sit half-submerged in the icy docks.

Odesa

Set upon the shores of the Black Sea, the port of Odesa boasts tree-lined avenues, pastel-coloured buildings and Mediterranean style architecture. Take a guided tour on our Ukraine in Depth Trip to discover the elegant facade of an Italian Baroque Opera House and the towering stone columns of the Vorontsov Palace. Soak up the friendly vibe of this vibrant city, wander down the iconic Potemkin Stairs and grab a bite to eat in a lively waterfront restaurant.

Dniester National Park

Escape the city on our Ukraine in Depth Tour to uncover the thriving wetlands of Dniester National Park. Overfished and exploited during the Soviet Union era, the river estuary is now protected and flourishing with a wide variety of wildlife once more. Take a boat trip along the meandering glassy waterways to spot pelican, spoonbill, egret and glossy ibises and enjoy views of forested banks and reed-lined inlets.

Carpathian Mountains

Get under the skin of rural Ukraine life with a trip to the small town of Verkhovyna in the Carpathian Mountains on our Private Ukraine and Moldova Tour. Meet a local family to learn how they make traditional Carpathian cheeses such as brynza, vurda and budz and sample their delicious produce. A hike further into the countryside will lead you to a museum dedicated to the indigenous Hutsul people. Discover colourful clothing, intricate metalwork and ornate wooden furniture, and enjoy a delicious home-cooked dinner in a traditional kolyba restaurant in the evening.

Lviv

Arriving in Lviv on our London to Poland and Ukraine by Train trip, we check into our hotel before heading out to explore the old quarter with its cobblestone streets and softly-hued buildings decorated with ornate iron-wrought balconies and intricate stone carvings. The following day we journey to the rural outskirts of Lviv to the Garbuzo Vyjraj cheese farm for a cheese-making masterclass and tasting.

Missile Force Museum, Pervomaysk

Descend underground to a decommissioned military base on a Strategic Missile Force Museum tour on our Ukraine Discovery Trip. Once home to the most powerful Cold War Soviet missile, the R-36M2 'Governor' bomb, the base is part of a 150-metre subterranean tunnel network. Stand in the original control room, take a seat in the commander's chair and dare to push the big red button that would have once launched fatal missiles from their underground silos.

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