Ukraine attracts more than 20 million foreign visitors every year (23.1 million in 2007). Visitors primarily come from Eastern Europe, but also from Western Europe (6.3 million) and USA. The country is the 8th most popular tourism destination in the world.
Ukraine is a destination on the crossroads between central and eastern Europe, between north and south. It borders Russia and is not far from Turkey. It has mountain ranges - the Carpathian Mountains suitable for skiing, hiking, fishing and hunting. The coastline on the Black Sea is a popular summer destination for vacationers. Ukraine has vineyards where they produce native wines, ruins of ancient castles, historical parks, Orthodox and Catholic churches as well as a few mosques and synagogues.

KYIV The capital of Ukraine is the third-largest city in the CIS. It is also the cradle of Russian civilisation, the origin of the Kyiv Rus State founded in the eighth and ninth centuries and the city from which the Orthodox faith spread throughout Eastern Europe. Even though many of its buildings were destroyed in World War II, Kyiv still has much to offer. The Caves Monastery in the city centre is the focal point of the early Orthodox church. Visitors have to carry candles to see the church relics, which are set in a maze of catacombs. It is the headquarters of the pro-Russian Orthodox church. The 11th-century St Sofia Cathedral contains splendid icons and frescoes and is situated in beautiful grounds. The Golden Gate of Kyiv is the last remnant of the 10th-century walls built to defend the city. Other attractions include the Cathedral of St Vladimir (the headquarters of the rival pro-Ukrainian church), the Opera House, the Museum of Ukrainian Art (with its collection of the work of regional artists from the 16th century to the present) and the Historical Museum of Ukraine. Andreyev Hill is a restored cobbled street in central Kyiv now used by artists to sell their wares. There are a lot of cafes and restaurants in this area. Khreshchatik Street and Independence Square are Kyiv’s main thoroughfares. The square is particularly elegant with its chestnut trees and fountains. Martinsky Palace and Parliament is the official residence of Ukraine’s President. The nearby Park of Glory is a war memorial, with a vast and controversial monument of a woman with a sword and shield overlooking the river. Locals go swimming in summer in the Dnieper River and climb onto its ice in winter to fish. It is possible to take boat trips on the river. There is a park and a beach on Trukhaniv Island.

LVIV A city of striking Baroque and Renaissance architecture, Lviv is the focal point of Ukrainian national culture. It was the centre of Ukrainian nationalist ambition at the beginning of the Soviet era. The City Castle was the first building to fly Ukraine’s blue-and-yellow national flag. Lviv is also the headquarters of Ukraine’s Greek Orthodox church. Located by the foothills of the picturesque Carpathians, it is one of the oldest and most unusual cities in Europe. Lviv is ‘the city of lions’ – the heart and soul of Western Ukraine with a population of over 900,000. Lviv was mentioned in the Volyn chronicle in 1256 when Galycian King Danylo Galytsky founded the city and named it after his son Leo. Thanks to its advantageous location, many important trades and cultures meet in Lviv. Busy trade led to a dramatic increase in prosperity. Secular and religious gentry, rich merchants, artisans and craftspeople lived within the narrow ring of the city walls. As early as the 15th century, the city had its own mint, water supply system and regular international post. The streets were paved with cobbled stones and many new houses were built. As the centuries passed, the varied heritage led to a wide variety of museum artifacts. The The city itself is often called ‘the open-air museum’. They reflect elements of many architectural traditions, such as Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance and Rococo. Several theater companies perform in Lviv. The Opera House of Ivan Franko is a source of great pride to locals. Extravagantly built, with richly decorated façade and interior, its architecture leads Lviv Opera to be classed among the best theaters in Europe.

ODESSA Odessa is the site of the famous 192 steps of the Potemkin stairway from Sergei Eisenstein’s film, Battleship Potemkin. In addition, Odessa is also a centre of renewal of Jewish culture, with a community of 45,000. There is a vast Opera House – one of the world’s largest. The ceiling is decorated with scenes from the plays of Shakespeare. Also worth visiting is the Statue of the Duke of Richelieu, the Vorontsov Palace on the waterfront and the Archaeological Museum with exhibits from the Black Sea area and Egypt.

THE CRIMEA This was once a summer playground for Kremlin leaders. Hotels and services are relatively cheap for Westerners, and the place is a favourite with German tourists. The region’s dusty capital of Simferopol has few tourist sights. It is Yalta, the ‘Pearl of the Crimea’, which draws visitors. Former Communist Party spas have now been turned into resort centres. 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. The Vorontsov Palace was designed by Edward Blore, one of the architects of Buckingham Palace. Nikitsky Gardens, just outside of Yalta, is a good afternoon’s excursion. Industry is centred on Massandra, above Yalta. Livada is where Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met in the Livada Palace in 1945. Foros is where Gorbachev was held for three days during the 1991 coup.