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St. Sofia Cathedral, Kyiv.

NOTE: While war still rages with neighboring Russia, Ukraine is off limits to travelers but close in the minds and hearts of many around the world.

When peace finally comes to the war-torn country, make plans to visit as Ukraine readies to rebuild.

Sandwiched in between Poland, Russia and the Black Sea, Ukraine is a country that is still emerging from its association with the former USSR.

The largest country in Eastern Europe, it continues to struggle with a weak economy in the hope of someday joining the EU as a full-fledged member state.

Meanwhile, the country is one of the most affordable for travelers offering a surprisingly temperate climate and stunning landscapes unique to the region.

Ukraine also offers a rich history and culture all its own, with a mix of the awesome beauty of Crimean Peninsula beaches to the south, and world class skiing in the spectacular Carpathian mountains to the the west.

While you're in Kyiv

Kyiv, Ukraine's largest and capital city, is one of Europe's oldest cities and usually the first stop for many visitors traveling throughout the country. While here, don't miss a stunning look at the Golden Gate, the last remnant of the old medieval city wall dating to the 10th century.

More discoveries await at the mysterious Caves Monastery and its the origins in the early Orthodox church, along with the beautifully situated St. Sofia Cathedral and a view inside to its historic icons and frescoes.

Then switch gears -- for a truly modern (though macabre) experience -- at the infamous scene of the world's worst ever nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, with a day trip and guided tour from Kyiv for one of the world's most unique travel experiences, to say the least!

What else to see in Ukraine

ukraine tourist attractions
More to Explore: At top left, an overgrown railway section -- known as The Tunnel of Love -- located
in a forest near Klevan is probably the most famous 'photo op' in the country (especially for weddings)
while (at right), more unforgettable images await at one of many giant fields of sunflowers (with seeds
and oil a chief export) that dot the landscape. Or, for the adventurous, climb the 1,000-plus stairs
of the bell tower for a bird's-eye view of L'viv, (bottom), a town entirely designated as a UNESCO
World Heritage site and famous for its thriving Parisian-style restaurant and cafe scene.

A trip to Odessa (a 9-hour train ride or 1-hour flight from Kiev) along the Black Sea coast also features a guided tour of the Odessa catacombs, which served as a nerve center for Nazi resistance during World War II. And don't leave Odessa without a stop at the stunning Ballet and Opera House offering stunningly cheap tickets to top-tier seasonal performances. If you're here in December, the city's annual Christmas fest is also one to remember.

DID YOU KNOW? Ukraine Travel Fun Facts

Arsenalna metro station Kiev 2010 01
Deep below Kiev.

• One of the most famous Ukrainian Christmas songs “Schedryk” is known to the rest of the world as “Carol of the Bells”.

• 105.5 meters (346 feet) underground, the world’s deepest metro station is in Ukraine. It is Arsenalna station in central Kyiv.

• Don't be surprised when you see the traditional school uniform of female Ukrainian students which, to the rest of the world, closely resembles the “French maid” costumes seen at costume parties!

• Also, don't be insulted if Ukranians don’t smile on the street, at the market or department stores. They reserve their smiles until they really get to know you.

More about Ukraine travel & tourism around the Web:

Travel to Ukraine - The official site with a complete country directory including the latest news headlines, travel facts, tips & information, recommended destinations, photo galleries.

Ukraine Country Guide - Great overview for the first-time traveler with pictures, key attractions and things to do, historical and cultural background info.

Ukraine Travel - Lonely Planet World Guide - Fast facts, feature attractions, when to go, how to get there plus maps, typical travel costs, photo galleries.


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