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My Ukraine Bucket List

My Ukraine Bucket List

I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be visiting Ukraine in 2022. This year, too, but 2022 is going to be the year tourism really takes off again, in Ukraine and everywhere else.

Now, there are some kinks involved, namely vaccine verification—and, for unvaccinated people, expensive testing. By 2022 (and certainly the summer, when most people are likely to visit Ukraine) most of this should be a thing of the past, since worldwide vaccination rates will mean the worst of the pandemic is over.

Regardless of when you plan to visit Ukraine, and whether you prefer sipping tea in Kiev cafes or enjoying exhilarating Chernobyl tours, I hope you continue reading this article. It could be just the inspiration you need to book that flight!

Why I Haven’t Visited Ukraine (Yet)

Part of the reason that visiting Ukraine in 2022 is on my horizon? I haven’t been yet! This comes as a shock to many people, particularly when they learn I’ve been to Russia (which is harder to enter) and much of the rest of Eastern Europe. In fact, I planned to visit Ukraine after my 2020 trip to Turkey and before that, had previously planned to visit during the winter of 2015.

To put it another way, I’ve always wanted to visit Ukraine, but it hasn’t been the right time. In 2020, a week before I visited, Ukraine closed its border. Back in 2015, when I should’ve been enjoying the winter in Ukraine (and Poland), I was invited to visit another destination and, for professional reasons, I couldn’t refuse. Here’s to hoping that 2022 is different!

What to Do When You Visit Ukraine

Dive into Kiev’s timeless past

I studied European history pretty extensively in high school and college, so in my mind’s eye, Kiev is a medieval settlement on the banks of the Dnieper River. While certain structures such as St. Sophia’s Cathedral almost certainly still reflect this image, I look forward to discovering a better-rounded picture of Ukraine’s capital that integrates past, present and future.

See Chernobyl for yourself

Prior to SARS-CoV-2 leaking out of a Chinese lab, the Chernobyl disaster was probably the highest-profile government coverup in history. When I visit Ukraine in 2022, I will definitely want to tour this site, and not just because of the parallels with today, nor because of how much I enjoyed the HBO miniseries of the same name in 2019.

Hike in the Carpathians

If I decide to hike in the Carpathian Mountains when I visit Ukraine next year, it won’t be my first time in the range. I made a couple forays into the Carpathians when I visited Romania in 2013, most notably. Beyond simply hiking, I do want to visit a few particular destinations, including Synevir Lake and Shenborn Palace, the latter of which seems taken from a fairytale.

Hit the beach in Odessa

A few years ago, a now-former colleague of mine wrote about how uncomfortably attractive the men he saw on Ukranian beaches were, and how revealing he found their swimsuits to be. While I’m not sure if I will have precisely this experience when I travel Ukraine in 2022, I definitely hope to visit Odessa, home to what is the probably the country’s most famous Black Sea oceanfront.

Don’t count out smaller cities

Kiev is definitely the best-known city in the Ukraine for foreigners. However, I certainly want to visit other cities. The most obvious choices seem to be medium-sized cities such as postcard-perfect Lviv and Kharkiv, which is located in the northern part of the country. I’d also like to visit charming small towns like Pidhirtsi, which is said to be home to the “Ukrainian Versailles.”

Is Ukraine Open to Tourism Right Now?

As of July 2021, travelers can enter Ukraine under certain circumstances. According to the official Ukraine Tourism website, travelers must meet one of the following two criteria to enter without the need to quarantine. Fully-vaccinated travelers can enter without anything besides proof of their full vaccination series. Other travelers may substitute either a rapid antigen or RT-PCR test, taken within 72 hours or travel.

Do keep in mind that if you want to visit Ukraine in 2021, even if you can enter the country without quarantine, other roadblocks to travel might exist. Certain cities have mask mandates and other restrictions on behavior or movement. It’s also possible that tourist attractions (namely indoor ones such as museums) might have capacity limits, or even be closed all together.

Other FAQ About Travel to Ukraine

Why should you go to Ukraine?

Ukraine is a fascinating country full of cultural, cuisine and beautiful nature. From the Orthodox cathedrals of Kiev, to the hallowed smokestacks of Chernobyl, to the lush and wooded trails of the Carpathian mountains, to the Black Sea beaches of Odessa, Ukraine offers something for every traveler.

Is Ukraine expensive to visit?

Ukraine is not a very expensive country to visit. Whether you stay in luxury hotels in Kiev and Odessa, or simpler accommodations elsewhere in the country, it’s easy to get by on between 50-100 USD per person, per day. Thrifty travelers can survive on less, paying even a bit more can really up the standards of your trip.

What is the best time to visit Kiev?

Kiev is beautiful in all four seasons, which are very well-defined. Personally, I would love to see the city’s ornate architecture blanketed in fresh snow, although I do imagine it would be more pleasant to explore during the comparatively warmer summer.

The Bottom Line

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to visit Ukraine in 2022. In addition to the fact that it’s the largest country I’ve yet to visit in Europe (Eastern or otherwise), it is truly a place that has something for everyone. Personally, I imagine I’ll start in the capital of Kiev, before heading south to the Black Sea shores of Odessa, stopping along the way to tour Chernobyl and hike in the Carpathians. However, this is only the beginning of all there is to enjoy in Ukraine! I hope, no matter when you end up getting to Ukraine, that ready this article has informed and inspired your travels.


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