BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Ukraine’s neighboring countries offer tourists great travel opportunities at modest prices on short notice, thanks to plenty of cheap economy airlines. The capital of Slovakia, Bratislava, is one destination option. The city is bright, cozy and friendly, living up to this traveler’s expectations.
KHERSON – The sweltering late-summer heat, the lights of approaching ships and the smell of fresh fish welcomes visitors to this southern port city of nearly 300,000 residents.
Built upon the remnants of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires at the junction between East and West, the Balkans are made up of a distinctive patchwork of states that one could spend years enthusiastically exploring. These countries have high mountains, a warm sea, Mediterranean wine and Turkish coffee, Austrian architecture and Slavic hospitality.
The Curonian Spit is a nearly 100-kilometer stretch of white sand, dunes and pine tree forests on the Baltic Sea coast on one side and the Curonian Lagoon on the other. Though this area is shared almost equally between Russia and Lithuania, there is a striking difference between the two parts.
NOVHOROD-SIVERSKY, Chernihiv Oblast — After passing through the deep woods, our shabby bus reached the peaceful town of Novhorod-Siversky in Ukraine’s far north. Here, the very concept of time seemed to fade away along with the trees outside the windows. There, a walk that seemed to last half an hour, turned out to have taken just a few minutes, and a day felt like a week.
ARTEMIVSK, Donetsk Oblast – Hit hard by the collapse of the Soviet Union, signs of the once flourishing region dot its highways: some columned factory buildings still have pro-communist slogans adorned on their walls that read, “Our goal – Communism!” and “Lenin’s ideas are immortal!”
Visiting new cities is like meeting new people. You can fall in love, make friends or even enemies. Some people become a natural part of your life; the others never manage to fit in. The eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk is definitely not my type, but it is also unlikely to ever be forgotten.
YALTA – The seaside city of Yalta in southern Crimea was once among Europe’s fanciest resort destinations, favored by Russia’s Tsars and the Soviet Union’s elite. In fact, it was so prestigious it was the second place in the USSR where Coca-Cola was sold, the first being Moscow. But even though the Iron Curtain fell long ago, Yalta has held on to a certain Soviet charm that continues to mesmerize even experienced travelers.
Planning a trip can be tough, but travel apps can make it easier. The best of them help with booking tickets, finding restaurants and even with the most dreaded task – packing. With summer travel in mind, the Kyiv Post picks the essential apps to assist in your plan.
DUSHANBE – Settling into my seat aboard Somon Air’s packed Boeing jet at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport en route to the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, I was preparing to acknowledge the chief flight attendant’s expected “welcome on board” greeting, but she caught me off guard.
At 25, he has visited nearly twice as many countries as he is years old. Dreading the idea of having a regular office job, the enterprising young man has taken it upon himself to live a life of adventure.
ZHOVKVA, Lviv Oblast – Like many who come from southern Ukraine, the western part of the country remains a mystery to me. It’s a shame to confess, but I have never been to any of the Western cities except for Lviv.
Another Radisson Blue hotel managed by The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group opened up in one of Ukraine’s most picturesque places – Alushta, Crimea. The company claims boldly that it will take the region’s infrastructure to a totally different level.
As one of Ukraine’s greatest friends in the European Union, Poland is rather open to its tourists. One of the best things about traveling to this neighboring country is that it doesn't take long to get there and it can be done on a shoestring budget.
Usually there is no difference between what you expect to see and what you actually see when you go to Europe. You expect to see clean streets, ornate architecture, flower-lined cafe terraces and even shiny trash cans every two meters – and that’s exactly what you get. However, the Austrian capital, Vienna, exceeded this traveler’s high expectations.
CHERKASY – Stretching along the lazy, wide Dnipro River, the city of Cherkasy has an amazingly pastoral feel for its size. Despite being home to 286,000 people, it seems more like a holiday resort, courtesy of its lavish parks and its long embankment.
Moldavanka is one of Odesa’s oldest neighborhoods and is often said to be more Odesa than Odesa itself. A working-class suburb, its development only took off after trade was liberalized in 1817 and inhabitants started making money by ferrying contraband goods.