This is a guest post from Marina at AdorableLand.com. She writes about the Ukraine in an effort to provide some insights into why Ukraine is an attractive destination for people from all over the world. Find her also on twitter, and on facebook.
“Laskavo prosymo!” (or You’re welcome!) These warm words are traditional welcome for guests in Ukraine. Ukraine is a new unexplored area for travelers. It is rich in culture and tradition, where ancient history is closely intertwined with modernity. Despite the fact that Ukraine is the geographic center of Europe, my country had long been closed for mass visits of foreign tourists during the Soviet Union. Now, the situation has changed, and the tourism industry is growing rapidly. Ukraine is among the countries in which you can come back again and again, and each time you’ll find something new.
Youth hostels that are prevalent in the United States as well as throughout Europe are not common in Ukraine. You can just find a few of them in the whole of Ukraine. I wouldn’t recommend you neither cheap nor expensive hotels as well. In fact, cheap hotels are not so cheap. Twin room costs about 100 USD in so-called cheap hotels. Hotel prices shouldn’t be a guide for you as, very often, the room’s quality differs greatly. I think the better qualitative alternative to both cheap and expensive Ukrainain hotels are daily rent apartments. Unlike hotel rooms, you’ll get cozy furnished apartment with all amenties and a kitchen for the same price.
In Ukraine, there are many varieties of affordable public transportation such as buses, minibuses, trolleybuses, trams, taxis, trains, and electrical trains. Unlike many Western countries, you can have an exciting life even without a car in Ukraine. All this opens up excellent prospects for travelers. A fare in the buses, minibuses, trolleybuses, and trams varies from approximately 1 UAH to 3 UAH depending on the city. Unlike accommodation, it’s exactly what the tourists need for a budget traveling. You can easily find taxi everywhere, but it is better to agree the price beforehand with the driver in order not to be cheated. Unfortunately, when the taxi drivers understand that you are a foreigner, they immediately raise the price. Lack of common language can bring a big barrier for an English speaker in any area of Ukraine. A taxi called with the help of operator is cheaper than those that stand on the roadside.
Food is relatively inexpensive in Ukraine that is also good for budget travelling. There are hundreds of cheap places to eat. However, I still recommend you to be selective. You can buy food practically everywhere. Small shops, kiosks, markets, supermarkets, cafés, and restaurants are everywhere. It is still possible to find healthy food in the markets. Ukraine is famous for its cuisine. So, don’t miss the opportunity to taste traditional Ukrainain dishes such as borsch, vareniki, pelmeni, and etc.
Approximate prices for food:
Potatoes (1 kilo) 3 – 6 UAH depending on the season
Bread 3-4 UAH
Chicken (1 kilo) 30 UAH
Fish (1 kilo) 25-40 UAH
Meat (1 kilo) 50-60 UAH
Beer from 4-10 UAH or more
Fruit and vegetables can cost approximately 5 UAH in summer and 20 UAH in winter.
Activities and Experiences
If you prefer big cities, then I recommend you to visit Kiev, Odessa, and Lviv. I think these cities are the most diverse, original, and adapted for self-study. After visiting them, you will find a fairly complete picture of the Ukrainian culture and the Ukrainians themselves.
If you are nature lover or prefer active tourism, it is better to go to the Crimea or the Carpathians. You will be impressed by unique nature. The nature of the Crimea is versatile and can compete with other Black Sea resorts and Mediterranean countries. There is everything here…historical monuments of the Middle Ages, tropical gardens with palm trees and rare plants, olive groves as in Greece, and wine cellars that are comparable with the French. Diverse and wonderful nature, warm climate, majestic caves, mountains covered with relict vegetation, descending directly to the Black Sea attracts tourists from all over the world.