Reasons to Visit
The beautiful Crimean coastline, rich in history, is also great for a relaxing beach break at the end of a busy trip. The area is also well known for it's beautiful national parks so if you do tire of sitting on a beach, there are ample opportunities to head out and explore some lovely countryside.
Ukraine’s onion domed churches and monasteries are the precursors of Russia’s and stretch even further back into history.
Kiev, Odessa and Lviv offer three contrasting urban styles – Kiev having a mixture of ancient churches and imposing Stalinist architecture, Lviv having a style deriving from its roots as a city of the Austro-Hungarian empire, whilst Odessa, built in the 18th century has a grand, faded imperial style.
Ukraine has played host to some of recent history’s most pivotal events – from the WW2 Yalta conference between Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt, to the tragic Chernobyl accident, the attempted coup against Gorbachev during the Perestroika years to the more recent ‘Orange’ revolution.
Being Europe's largest country, Ukraine is criss-crossed by a busy train network and offers great opportunities for scenic rail journeys. Overnight accommodation is simple but there is always a convivial atmosphere on board offering the opportunity to meet local people and share food, stories and the odd vodka!
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Our Ukraine specialists are experienced and passionate about the country - between them they have spent many weeks a year researching new experiences and ensuring everything is of the highest standard. They know Ukraine inside out.
ChrisUkraine Specialist01993 838 213
JohnUkraine Specialist01993 838 217
With direct flights linking London and Kiev, and visa-free entry for EU citizens, travel to the Ukraine is now simplicity itself.
Once on the ground we recommend the use of the reliable train network and domestic flights to cover the bigger distances.
Ukraine now offers a range of hotels and tourist facilities, allowing tours of the highest standard that Audley travellers have come to expect.
The official language is Ukrainian. Ukrainian is closely related to Russian. Russian is spoken as a second language by the vast majority of people. In the east of the country, and in some cities (notably Odessa), as well as the Crimean peninsula, Russian is the dominant language.
Ukrainian food is hearty, if a little on the bland side. Staples include borshch (beetroot soup), varenyky (small filled crescent shaped dumplings with a variety of fillings) and salo (pig fat, flavoured with garlic and salt). Restaurants are getting better, and some of the 'traditional' Ukrainian restaurants in the major cities are very good. Ukrainian beer is not bad at all - Obolon is a decent brand. Vodka is widely drunk and is very cheap. A variety Ukraine specialises in is vodka flavoured with honey and/or chilli - though it has quite a kick. Wines tend to be sweet, though there are one or two some good local sparkling wines.
Ukrainians are slowly awakening to the idea of tipping, though it is still not widely expected except in western style hotels and more upmarket restaurants. 10% should suffice.
The currency of Ukraine is the Hryvnia (uah). Most towns and cities now have cash machines which can be used to withdraw money from. Currency exchanges are also common place, where you will need your passport to exchange money. Travellers Cheques are not widely accepted in Ukraine, and can be difficult to exchange.
Photography is not allowed in airports, or on the metro in Kiev. Do not take photos of military installations either. You should ask permission before taking photos of people - older people in particular retain a suspicion of having their photograph taken. Museums often charge extra if you want to take photographs. In working orthodox churches and religious places, men should take off their hats, women may be expected to cover their heads.
Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website.
'The White Guard', by Mikhail Bulgakov is set in the writers home city of Kiev. An account of the trials and tribulations of one family at the time of the Russian civil war, the house where Bulgakov lived (and used as a basis for the book) can be visited.
Russians and Ukrainians will argue endlessly about whether borshch is originally Russian or Ukrainian; in any case its tasty and served across the country. Varenyky are a little like dumplings - with a variety of fillings, often served with sour cream to dip them in.
Vodka! Honey flavoured vodka is a particular speciality and can be dangerously tasty.
'Bud' laska' (please). 'Dyakuyu' (thank you).
Monasteries, Orange revolution, Crimea.
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to Ukraine by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in UkraineWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodation
Other countries in North Asia & Russia:ChinaJapanKyrgyzstanMongoliaRussiaTibetUzbekistan
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