With international travel set to be severely restricted throughout the 2020 summer season, thoughts are now turning to domestic tourism options. Residents of Ukraine have Europe’s largest country at their disposal and can take advantage of a tourism industry that has experienced significant growth along with major improvements in quality over the past few years.
Ukraine remains off the tourism radar for many, but the country has much more to offer than headline-grabbing tours of Chornobyl. Ukrainian tourism industry expert Sviatoslava Maksymchuk of the Kyiv Friendly tour agency shares some ideas for summer 2020 based on her own extensive experience of resorts throughout Ukraine.
Tihiy Les Park Hotel, Kaniv, Cherkasy Oblast
Located around two hours south of Kyiv by car, this place more than lives up to its name, which translates as “quiet forest”. This is the ideal destination if you are looking for a change of scenery but want to maintain maximum levels of isolation as a coronavirus precaution. The hotel complex is exceptionally large with 19 chalet-style houses available for rent, with a minimum booking of seven nights. These individual houses are all secluded, with up to 200 meters separating each property. You will find attractive accommodation together with outdoor terrace and barbecue facilities. Houses are designed for families of four. We stayed with our two-year-old and he spent his time exploring the woods and jumping on the trampoline. The complex lies on the Dnipro River, with the restaurant offering wonderful views overlooking the river itself. While you are Kaniv, make sure you also visit the grave and memorial museum complex dedicated to Ukrainian national bard Taras Shevchenko.
Grand Admiral Resort, Irpin, Kyiv Oblast
We have been returning to this place faithfully for some years. The main reason is the amazing spa with gorgeous views of the nearby pine forest. Staying with small children is comfortable as rooms are large and carpeted. The resort complex has both indoor and outdoor dining options. Teenagers will love the rope park and tubing options. Make sure you book a four-hour Balinese treatment with shower and scrubbing. It is worth every penny.
Shishkinn Spa Hotel, Snovyanka, Chernihiv Oblast
This hotel complex is one of the few venues in Ukraine that offers so-called “glamping”, or glamorous camping. It has a range of two-floor cabins complete with bathrooms and air conditioning located in the middle of the forest. There is also a spa center and large restaurant available if you want to enjoy a touch of more traditional civilization while communing with nature.
Good Zone, Zatoka, Odesa Oblast
This beach resort hotel on the Ukrainian Black Sea coast is located in one of Ukraine’s most southerly spots. It offers everything you would expect from a traditional summer holiday destination, including two swimming pools and a private beach. Kids will not get bored thanks to all-day supervised entertainment programs including mini-discos and painting workshops. Facilities are generally good quality and service is excellent, but you might want to request a room location as far away from the restaurant as possible in order to avoid loud music in the evenings.
Radomysl Castle, Radomysl, Zhytomyr Oblast
This novel venue offers a range of facilities including boutique hotel and museum. The castle is actually a creative restoration located on the site of a former paper mill dating back to the seventeenth century. In recent years, it has undergone conversion to transform it into an impressive period complex surrounded by a landscaped park and forest bordering a large lake. There is plenty to entertain visitors, including tours of the paper mill and a museum of Ukrainian icons. But most of all, this is an ideal romantic getaway for couples, offering candlelit dinners and four-poster beds for added authenticity.
Edem Resort, Strelki, Lviv Oblast
Whenever I visit this west Ukrainian resort, I feel like I am in five-star Switzerland or Austria. The facilities are amazing and it has service standards to match. Attractions include golf, vineyards, a fabulous spa center, beach on a lake, and art gallery. The standard rooms are a little on the small side, but with so many distractions to keep you occupied, you are unlikely to spend too much time in your room. One of the quirks of Edem is the resort’s child-free policy, so this is ideally suited for couples.
Panorama Deluxe Hotel, Odesa, Odesa Oblast
This elegant Odesa hotel offers simply stunning views of the Black Sea and excellent all-round service. It is within walking distance of the beach and is only a short taxi ride away from the most popular Odesa landmarks including the city’s opera house and famed Deribasivska Street. Despite the location in a major city with a million-plus population, it is a peaceful oasis of calm and quiet. There is also a neighboring running track for anyone who is looking for additional exercise opportunities.
Verholy Relax Park, Sosnovka, Poltava Oblast
Situated around three and a half hours away from Kyiv by car, this is perhaps Ukraine’s most stylish and Instagram-friendly forest resort complex. It boasts a range of individual accommodations with floor to ceiling windows and modern, minimalist design to give it a distinctly Nordic feel. The resort boasts two heated outdoor pools and a spa. You can also relax with some cycling through the forest or horse-riding, or just enjoy the stunning silence of Ukraine’s timeless forests.
About the author: Sviatoslava Maksymchuk is the director of the Kyiv Friendly tour agency