11 reasons to spend summer in Ukraine

 

Ukraine is an amazingly beautiful country with breathtaking natural scenery, yummy food and warmhearted people. In the recent years, it has been tough for Ukrainians to face the war and economical crisys, but we are indeed still enjoying life, even when it gets tough.

Many of my foreign friends are afraid to come here, as international media is picturing the country devastated and at war. Please know that with every downside there comes an advantage – these days Ukraine has become very cheap for visitors and only a small part of the country in the east is at war. It is the best time to come!

Here in this article, I share the reasons why you should definitely come to Ukraine this summer. 

  1. Cherries

The yummiest berries along with many other berries are cheap and abundant in summer in Ukraine. Come in June and eat a kilo of cherries per day – at least for me this is the main reason to always be in Ukraine every June.

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2. Mountains

Carpathian mountains in the west of Ukraine are one of those places you can call “heaven on earth”. Here you can wander around in between ancient pinetrees, sit on moss covered tree trunks, eat  sour cream heavy dishes, hang out with the cows and breathe.

 

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photo by Andrii Lytvynenko

3. Rivers

There are many rivers in Ukraine where you can go kayaking and camping by (Dnipro, Dnister, Danube, Southern Buh). In summer it is a blissful experience to sleep in a tent by the river and wake up to the heat of the sun.

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Kayaking on the Desna river 

4. Countryside

My hometown is a 3 hour train ride away from Kiev, it is located in the flatland of Central Ukraine, and one may say – it is not that special. However, for me every train ride is magic, because everywhere in Ukraine you can see beauty hidden in the sunflower fields, in the forests, in poppy flowers and little ponds in the middle of nowhere. Beauty is everywhere.

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5. Caves

In Southwest Ukraine there used to be Sarmat sea millions of years ago. Here, in the cracks of gypsum multiple caves have formed and passionate speleologists are researching them. Atlantida cave near Kamyanets’Podilskyy is one of the most unique caves in the world – 80% of its surface is covered with crystals. Here you can also climb into narrow pathways and conquer many of your fears. I have travelled all over the world, but I have never been to such a special place like Atlantida.

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photo by Andrii Lytvynenko

6. Hugs

Ukrainian people are loving and welcoming, and if you become friends with them, they will give you many magical hugs. Get ready and pack your bags!

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photo by Andrii Lytvynenko

7. Strawberries and other berries 

Strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, black currant, red currant, mulberries, and so many other berries can be found in Ukrainian markets and orchards. This is a berry lover heaven.

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8. Outdoor bars and restaurants

Since most of our year is cold and windy, when it gets warm, we love being outdoors. Many bars and restaurants put tables outside, and here you can combine eating, people watching and chilling in one place. This photo was taken in Champagneria X&X in Lviv, which serves hotdogs, Georgian khachapuri and champagne, all in one place.

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photo by Andrii Lytvynenko

9. Skirts and dresses

In summer it gets warm and many Ukrainian girls wear beautiful dresses and short skirts, therefore you may find many beautiful legs walking around in the streets, and it will automatically make you smile.

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10. Music festivals

Stare misto in Lviv, Atlas weekend in Kyiv, and many other festivals in cities and countryside. My favorite festival is unoffical hippie gathering in Carpathian mountains – near Shypit waterfall. Here you can witness traditions of Ivana Kupala pagan water pouring festival of jumping over the fire and others. You can also eat blueberries as early July is the best season for this. The one on the photo is in Kharkiv in easter Ukraine.

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photo by Andrii Lytvynenko

11. Riding a train

Trains in Ukraine can take you virtually anywhere, and they are cheap and fun to ride. You will meet Ukrainian families eating meals on train tables covered by newspapers. Train meals typically include boiled eggs, cheese, bread, sausage, but can even be roast chicken. Remember to order a tea in the train and look out the window to the sound of the railway.

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