The pandemic hasn’t prevented Ukraine’s resorts from being overrun by travelers in search of the blue sea, cool evening breeze and sandy beaches.
The Kyiv Post picked seven top destinations in southern Ukraine — from the wild desert island of Dzharylhach to the noisy yet comfortable Zaliznyi Port.
Nature connoisseurs will love this remote location with its snow-white sandy beaches surrounded by the endless sea. Dzharylhach, the largest uninhabited island in Europe, is almost untouched by civilization. Deer stalk the tall grass, raccoons scurry about at night and dolphins leap out of the water at sunset.
There are two points of arrival on the island: near the 120-year-old lighthouse or next to the base camp at Hlyboka Bay, where a reed shelter is available to rent for about Hr 500 ($18).
Living in a tent is the best option. There are no shops and restaurants on the island but it’s possible to catch and cook shrimp, crabs, fish and mussels.
Getting to the island is complicated but absolutely worth it. Tourists need to catch a boat or yacht crossing from the port city Skadovsk – a round trip costs Hr 200 ($7). Skadovsk can also be reached by a 2-hour bus ride from Kherson for about Hr 120 ($4). The Intercity train from Kyiv to Kherson will cost from Hr 408 ($15).
If Dzharylhach is too wild for you, staying in Skadovsk, a nearby Kherson Oblast port city, 646 km south of Kyiv, is a good alternative. From here, the island is easily accessible by car.
Due to its shallow water and high water temperature, Skadovsk is considered one of the best resorts in Ukraine for family holidays. It has an entertainment complex with a Ferris wheel with a view of the city, a water park and a dolphinarium. In the Skadovsk Regional Museum of History and Local Lore, tourists can learn more about the local nature. There are also many tennis courts and water activities in the city.
Most tourists cook on their own food in Skadovsk as the markets are full of cheap vegetables, fruits and seafood but local cafes offer lunch for about Hr 150 ($6).
To get there, Kyivans can take the train to Kherson and then a bus to Skadovsk. There are also flights from the capital to Kherson, which start at Hr 915 ($33).
Local hotels costs Hr 800 ($29) on average per night. Locals with places for rent don’t like to use online services and tourists will have to see what’s available when they arrive. Nightly accommodations range from Hr 100 ($4) for a single room to Hr 1,500 ($55) for a seaside house.
Many people call this place the “Ukrainian Grand Canyon.” It stretches all the way to the Dnipro-Bug estuary, offering a breathtaking view of the sea that feels like gazing off the edge of the world.
There is no infrastructure on the slopes of the mountains, so be ready to pitch a tent and wake up with the sun. But locals have created a campsite called Skelka Tour, which provides an area to set up tents, electricity for charging devices, wi-fi, showers and fireplaces. A place at the campsite costs Hr 100 ($4) per person for one day. Skelka Tour also offers kayak tours or tents for rent. Kayaking for 4-5 hours on the Dnipro-Buh estuary costs Hr 500 ($18) per person.
The most convenient option to get to Stanislavsky cliffs would be to drive or take the bus from Kherson to Stanislav village. The trip takes one hour and bus tickets cost Hr 46 ($2).
Arabat Spit is the longest 100 kilometers sand spit in Europe, connecting Kherson Oblast with the Crimean peninsula.
It is one of the most popular health resorts in Ukraine with numerous recreation centers, salt lakes, hot springs and other natural features.
Tourists mainly come to one of three villages in the area. The village of Genichenskaya Gorka contains nightclubs, a water park, an amusement park and a dolphinarium. The village of Shchaslyvtseve has a local windsurfing club, cafés, an amusement park and a disco place. Nature lovers choose Strilkove village.
Rooms go for Hr 500 ($18) with amenities. A hotel room costs from Hr 600 ($22) per night. Search for suitable accommodation here.
To get there, take the train to the city of Henichesk, which departs at 9:47 p.m. from Kyiv – the tickets go for Hr 323 ($12). Then, take the bus from Henichesk to Arabat Spit for about Hr 20 ($0.70).
Kobleve resort is located in Mykolaiv Oblast, 55 kilometers from Odesa and 75 kilometers from Mykolaiv. It is one of the largest resorts on the Black Sea coast, enchanting tourists with a pine forest, golden-sandy beaches and cool water.
Kobleve has many tourist attractions: The Nemo Dolphinarium, water parks, boat and yacht rides, youth discos and numerous activities such as skydiving, rafting, kitesurfing, windsurfing and diving.
There are various cheap eateries in the resort; lunch costs around Hr 80 ($3). It is impossible to get hungry in Kobleve as the streets transformed into real food courts offering shawarma, kebabs, pita bread and homemade local dishes.
The Kobleve winehouse, which produces around 20 million bottles per year, welcomes visitors to see the production and try locally made wine.
Kobleve is 527 kilometers from Kyiv and the most convenient way to get there is by car. It’s also possible to travel by Intercity train from Kyiv to Odesa; ticket prices start at Hr 467 ($17). Buses from Odesa to Kobleve run every day and cost Hr 60 ($2) on average. Visitors can stay at local hotels, prices start at Hr 500 ($18) per night. Room rentals average out at Hr 200 ($7) per night.
Never-ending fun, parties and discos can be found in Zaliznyi Port village, located 100 km from Kherson. Locals call it the “youth center” as life is bustling on the embankment of Zaliznyi Port: round-the-clock bars, crowded restaurants, amusement and water parks.
The nearby natural parks of Askania-Nova and the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve allow visitors to sample the treasures of regional nature.
Due to the large flow of tourists in Zaliznyi Port, new restaurants are popping up every year. Barbecue and grilled fish are cooked right on the beach for the tourists’ enjoyment.
A bed without amenities will cost Hr 100-150 ($4-5). Prices for the hotel room start at Hr 550 ($20); a room for two will cost Hr 450 ($17) and up. The bus from the city of Kherson to Zaliznyi Port will start from Hr 117 ($4).
The embodiment of calm, Sanzhiika or “Ukrainian Bounty”, as it is usually called between tourists, is a little-known resort in Odesa Oblast. Wild deserted beaches and sun-soaked stretches of sand make Sanzhiika a place to find peace of mind.
Because of the undeveloped infrastructure, the choice of local eateries is very poor, offering mostly local seafood.
The most popular restaurants in Sanzhiika are “Villa Penta” and the cafe “Panorama” near the hotel “Sun Joy Hotel”. Prices start from Hr 250 ($9) for three meals per person. Small local markets offer products harvested locally.
For those, who are not satisfied with sleeping in tents, locals rent out rooms without a private toilet and a shower starting from Hr 250 ($9) for two. Cottages with all amenities cost from Hr 1,500 ($55) per day. Prices for hotel rooms start at Hr 800 ($29) per night.
To reach Sanzhiika, travelers first need to take a train to Odesa and a bus to Sanzhiika. The bus ticket costs Hr 150 ($6).
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