Things to see and do in Ukraine
Attractions in Ukraine
Ski or snowboard in the Carpathian Mountains in the west. The leading resorts are Bukovel, Slavsko, Drahobrat and Tysovets. Bukovel is the only resort of international standard, although Drahobrat has the most reliable snow.
Explore Kiev's religious heritage at the Caves Monastery. This ancient institution is the focal point of the early Orthodox Church. You'll need to carry candles to see the church relics, which are set in a maze of spooky catacombs.
Take a macabre guided tour to Chernobyl, scene of the world's worst ever nuclear disaster, just a day trip from Kiev. It's safe to visit for short periods and doubtless one of the more unique Ukrainian experiences.
Marvel at the stunning Western Ukrainian town of Kamyanets-Podilsky, a medieval stunner set on a tall rock outcrop that has beguiled travellers for centuries and was famously described as 'a stone flower on the rock' by poet Lesya Ukrayinka.
Discover Kiev, both the ancient cradle of Russian civilisation and the city from which the Orthodox faith spread throughout Eastern Europe. The extraordinary Golden Gate of Kiev is the last remnant of the 10th-century walls built to defend the city. Take part in the Kiev Days celebrations, held annually during the last weekend of May. Events include performances by actors and musicians, as well as fireworks displays.
Discover gorgeous Lviv, an open-air museum of extraordinary architectural wealth. The Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is centered on the glorious Market Square, stuffed full of dazzling gothic, baroque, Renaissance and rococo buildings. For a dazzing evening, see a theatre or operatic performance at The Ivan Franko Opera House: an extravagantly built, richly decorated structure, classed among the best theatres in Europe.
Once an abandoned military arsenal building in the middle of the city, Mystetskyi Arsenal has been transformed into Kiev's premier arts and cultural space. At over 53,000 sq m, it is one of the largest museums in Europe, housing art laboratories, libraries and classrooms as well as exhibition space.
Relive the world's most famous cinema scene in Odessa, the site of the famous Potemkin Stairway from Sergei Eisenstein's film, Battleship Potemkin. Odessa is the country's most cosmopolitan city, with a thriving Jewish population and boundless confidence.
Join the locals who swim in summer in the Dnieper River in Kiev and climb onto its ice in winter to fish. Even better, come here for Orthodox Epiphany and be splashed with icy water during the celebrations.
Explore the fascinating catacombs of Sevastopol (www.sevdig.sevastopol.ws), for over two centuries the secret naval headquarters on the Black Sea. Discover the extraordinary underground submarine base and be James Bond for the day.
St Sofia Cathedral
See the 11th-century St Sofia Cathedral, which contains splendid icons and frescoes and is situated in beautiful grounds. The Cathedral of St Vladimir is the headquarters of the rival pro-Ukrainian church.
The region's vineyards produce good-quality wine which can be tasted locally quite cheaply. The Wine Tasting Hall in Yalta is as good a place as any.
Make a trip south to Yalta, the 'Pearl of the Crimea'. Nearby is the Livadia Palace, where Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met in 1945 to reshape the map of Europe, and where the tsars spent their summer holidays before the Bolshevik Revolution.