With Ukrainian citizens yet to receive the green light from the European Union for post-coronavirus lockdown tourist travel, holiday options for the 2020 summer and autumn seasons are more limited than usual. Many are making the most of this year’s challenging circumstances to explore Ukraine, with traditional destinations such as Black Sea resort city Odesa and fairytale city break option Lviv proving particularly popular.
There are also a number of locations within easy reach of the Ukrainian capital that are ideal for day trips or weekends away. Ukrainian tourism industry expert Sviatoslava Maksymchuk of the Kyiv Friendly tour agency shares some ideas for the months ahead based on her own extensive experience of Kyiv region resorts and leisure options.
As the name implies, this is a VIP venue where comfort and convenience are both very much on the menu. Located on the Dnipro River around one hour by car to the south of Kyiv, Selfish Club is an exceptionally well-appointed resort with a range of activities on offer. Leisure options include fishing, with a team of experts ready to guide you during expeditions on the river or in nearby lakes. All equipment is available at the venue. There is also much else to do. You can chill in the spacious pool area and build up an appetite for riverside dining, or engage in a spot of mini-golf. Additional attractions include amphibious Sherp rides along with bicycle and electric scooter rental to explore the resort complex. Riverside housing is available for rent, with options including underwater rooms and accommodation with in-house saunas. For an unforgettable luxury experience, you can book helicopter or boat transfer from downtown Kyiv direct to the venue.
Twelve Month Park
Zoos are not necessarily to everybody’s tastes but this spacious open-air venue in Kyiv region was created very much with the welfare of the resident animals in mind. It is also worth noting that places such as Twelve Month Park have had a very tough time during quarantine, with the considerable costs of feeding and caring for so many animals remaining the same despite a complete absence of revenues due to lockdown restrictions. Spending the afternoon here is both fun and educational. Your custom will also help support the animals themselves.
Glebovka Holiday Hotel
If you are missing the seaside due to this summer’s coronavirus restrictions, this could be the ideal option for you. Located on the Kyiv Sea north of the Ukrainian capital city, Glebovka Holiday Hotel offers hotel rooms and individual dacha cottages for rent in a stunning pine forest setting. The resort complex is located in spacious grounds and offers both a heated swimming pool and access to water sports on the Kyiv Sea itself.
Located to the northwest of Kyiv and reachable via a half-hour car ride, this extremely well-maintained municipal park is the perfect antidote to tired old stereotypes of moribund and dilapidated provincial Ukraine. Opened in 2011, it continues to improve with each passing year. Entrance is free, and smooth pathways make the 42-hectare complex ideal for bicycling and rollerblading. There is a special skateboard zone and an extreme rope park for those with a head for heights. Bucha Park is a more democratic option than some of the other destinations featured in this article, but it is a great place for family leisure and a fun way to spend an afternoon.
This is the original Kyiv region resort. It is said to trace its origins back to ancient Ukrainian history and the days of the Kyiv Rus, when Prince Volodymyr the Great favored the area for hunting. The distinctive grid pattern of the current town first began to emerge in the late nineteenth century, when the attractive climate and location between the Koturka and Horenka rivers made it an ideal location for the local elite to build summer houses. The Soviet era saw the addition of numerous sanatoriums, while in more recent times the resort has welcomed hotels, cafes and leisure facilities. Boat rental is available on the resort town’s lakes. For the ultimate Pushcha Voditsa experience, make sure to take the tram from Kyiv’s riverside Podil district, which runs all the way to the resort. The tram route takes you through stretches of splendid Kyiv region forest and is one of the most exotic urban tram rides in the world, leading some to dub it “The Trans-Siberian Tram”.
Shelest Recreation Zone
This fashionable venue north of the Ukrainian capital in Vyshhorod near to the Kyiv Sea has been open for less than one year and has already gained a loyal following. It offers an outdoor restaurant and swimming pool with cottages for rent, with everything designed in an attractive and contemporary minimalist style that is heavy on timber and fits well with the pine forest setting. This is a place for peace and quiet, with none of the noise pollution that you might encounter at some other city break locations. The restaurant is quite expensive but the cuisine is delicious.
About the author: Sviatoslava Maksymchuk is the director of the Kyiv Friendly tour agency.