Ukraine is a huge country that offers many natural attractions – beautiful mountain regions, caves, beaches, lakes, and even islands. In our top 10 list, you can see the versatility of landscapes that you can enjoy while touring the country.
Here are the 10 most beautiful natural places in Ukraine, moving from the west to the east side of the country:
- Chornohora Ridge, Carpathian mountains
The Carpathian Mountains are a great place to enjoy fresh air and wilderness. There are no strict visiting rules, and most importantly no crowds of people. Chornohora Ridge includes the highest peaks and is highly recommended for foreigners. Most paths are marked and easily accessible. Spectacular view sights can be reached even by beginners.
There are three lakes, impressive cliffs, and many vast treeless meadows. Ancient and primeval beech forests of the Carpathians are included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites. All the six highest peaks of the Ukrainian Carpathians (including the highest point of Ukraine – Hoverla Mount, 2061 m) are located on the Chornohora ridge.
You can start your hike from either of the following villages: Lazeshchyna, Kvasy, Dzembronya, Shibeny, Yasinya, and Vorokhta. Ukrainian mountain villages are interesting to travel spots with wooden churches, hospitable people and delicious food.
- Synevyr lake, Kolochava village
Synevyr is the largest lake in the Ukrainian Carpathians. It’s located in the Transcarpathian region and surrounded by mountains and forests of the National Park. It is located at an altitude of 989 meters above sea level and easily accessible. Several hiking trails pass through the territory of the Synevyr National Park.
There is a picturesque village called Kolochava nearby, which should be the starting point for your exploration of the area. Kolochava is called “the village of 10 museums”. You can enjoy traditional houses and narrow-gauge railway as well as the old way of local wood transportation by “bokorashi” – a dangerous profession, which finally disappeared in 1954. You can even visit bears in the Rehabilitation Center in nearly free conditions on the territory of the park.
- Dniester Canyon
The canyon of Dniester River is huge, and one of the largest in Europe. The river goes through four regions of Ukraine. There are rocks, waterfalls, and grassy shores, healing springs, cliff walls of the Silurian age (formed more than 400 million years ago). The special thing about the area is the climate, which is usually warmer than in the rest of Ukraine. It’s home to many birds – grey and white herons, storks, wild geese, swans, and gulls. There are also 5 fortresses on the banks of the Dniester river and cliff monastery in Bakota.
The best option is to explore the canyon by boat. However, if you are not a fan of water activities, go to the Zalishyki town. The river creates a peninsula here, so a beautiful panorama is guaranteed. Nice spots to start your exploring tours by feet are Dzvenyhorod, Halych, Ustya and the big city of Kamianets-Podilskyi with a unique fortification system right in the center.
- Caves in Ternopil region
Because of the ancient geological processes Ternopil region is covered with a dense network of underground labyrinths, which stretch for hundreds of kilometers. No one knows for sure how many of them, where they lead and where they begin.
Optymistychna (“Optimistic”) Cave is the most famous. It is the world’s longest gypsum cave! The total length of the tunnels exceeds 230 kilometers.
To reach it you need to take a bus to the Korolivka village from Ternopil city.
- The Danube Delta
This is an atmospheric place of marshlands, delta lakes, small islands, reedbeds fields and hundreds of birds. There is also a group of beautiful salt lagoons, which are separated from the sea by a 60-400 m wide sandbar.
To reach this place go to Odesa first and then take a bus to Vylkove, which is known for a number of channels built inside its territory.
- Oleshky Sands
It’s a large sandy terrain located 30 km away from the regional center – Kherson city.
The desert is ~185 km² and 15 km in diameter, surrounded by artificial forests.
The Oleshky Sands have all attributes of a desert: little rain, sand storms, sand drifts. In the summer, the temperature of the sand reaches 75 ° C. It consists of a number of barns about 5 meters high moving due to the wind.
It’s possible to cross the sands, but don’t forget to take lots of water with you. Or you can just observe the tons of sand from the viewpoint.
- Askania Nova Biosphere Reserve
It is the oldest steppe biosphere reserve in the world and the largest steppe protected area in Europe. The UNESCO Council included Ascania in the list of reference territories of the planet.
The area occupies 33 thousand hectares and includes a zoological park, a botanical garden, an ornithological park, a science museum and an open territory of virgin steppes. Over 1,000 animals, such as zebra and antelope, bison and buffalo, deer and wild horses live in semi-free conditions in Askania Nova.
- Dzharylgach island
You can combine classical beach rest and wildlife exploration here at an uninhabited island in Kherson Oblast near Crimea in Ukraine. Dzharylgach is the Black Sea’s biggest island: length of 42 km and area of 56 square km.
Most people do a one-day trip here, but you can camp for a few days and explore the island deeper. Surprisingly, there is a freshwater spring in the middle of the island. Wild boars, deers, mouflons, as well as numerous seagulls and cormorants are inhabitants of the island. Even dolphins are swimming around. Another interesting spot is the Dzharylgach lighthouse designed by Gustave Eiffel.
To get there go to Skadovsk town and then take a ferry or motor ship to the island.
- Mizhrichynskyi Park
The literal meaning of the park is “between the rivers”, as it lies between Dnieper and Desna rivers. It’s an area of more than 1,000 square kilometers in the south-eastern Chernihiv region.
The area is of taiga type. Mostly it’s a pine forest with swamps, bogs, and lakes, among which the biggest is Sviate (“Holy”) Lake. Mooses, wolves, deers, wild boars and many species of birds live here.
You can start exploring from the village Otrokhy.
- Khortytsia Island
Khortytsia is the biggest island on the Dnieper River. Its uniqueness lies in the combination of natural zones: steppes, oak and pine forests, floodplain meadows. The cliffs above the Dnieper river are marvelous. While walking here, you will see old and modern pagan shrines, hidden between trees.
One of the greatest pages of Ukrainian history was writing on Khortytsia island. There are kurgans (a type of burial mound) and Scythians monumental stone sculptures (baba) that appeared here more than 6 thousand years ago. This is also the place of the first military-administrative organization of the Cossacks – Ukrainian medieval warriors. There is a reconstruction of their “town” on the island – Zaporizhian Sich, and also a historical museum with real weapons and boats.
The island is located in the big industrial city Zaporizhzhia that is also nice to explore if you are a fan of wide streets, soviet architecture, and urban landscapes. The island and mainland are connected by the huge dam of the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station, which is possible to walk through.
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