Tourism in Ukraine

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Tourism in Ukraine
Most Visited Cities in Ukraine

Ukraine used to attract more than 20 million foreign citizens every year (23 million in 2012). But since 2014 this has lowered to about 10 million. Visitors primarily come from Eastern Europe, but also from Western Europe, as well as Turkey and Israel.[1]

Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle, one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine

Before the Russo-Ukrainian War, Ukraine occupied 8th place in Europe by the number of tourists visiting, according to the World Tourism Organization rankings.[2] Ukraine has numerous tourist attractions: mountain ranges suitable for skiing, hiking and fishing: the Black Sea coastline as a popular summer destination; nature reserves of different ecosystems; churches, castle ruins and other architectural and park landmarks; various outdoor activity points. Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa and Kamyanets-Podilskyi were Ukraine's principal tourist centres each offering many historical landmarks as well as formidable hospitality infrastructure. Tourism used to be the mainstay of Crimea's economy, but there was a major fall in visitor numbers following the Russian annexation in 2014.[3]

The Seven Wonders of Ukraine and Seven Natural Wonders of Ukraine are the selection of the most important landmarks of Ukraine, chosen by the general public through an Internet-based vote.

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, Catholic and Protestant churches as well as a few mosques and synagogues. Kyiv, the country's capital city has many unique structures such as Saint Sophia Cathedral and broad boulevards. There are other cities well known to tourists, such as the harbour town Odesa and the old city of Lviv in the west.[4] Most of Western Ukraine, which used to be within the borders of the Republic of Poland before World War II, is a popular destination for Poles. Crimea, a little "continent" of its own, had been a popular vacation destination for tourists for swimming or sun tanning on the Black Sea with its warm climate, rugged mountains, plateaus and ancient ruins, though the tourist trade has been severely affected by Russia's occupation and annexation of the territory in 2014.[5] Cities there include: Sevastopol and Yalta – location of the peace conference at the end of World War II. Visitors can also take cruise tours by ship on the Dnieper River from Kyiv to the Black Sea coastline. Ukrainian cuisine has a long history and offers a wide variety of original dishes.

The country's tourism industry is generally considered to be underdeveloped, but it does provide crucial support for Ukraine's economy. Ukraine does have certain advantages, including much lower costs than other European destinations, as well as visa-free access for most people from Europe, the former Soviet Union, and North America. Since 2005 citizens of European Union and EFTA, United States, Canada, Japan and South Korea no longer require a visa to visit Ukraine for tourism purposes.[6] Additionally, no visa is required from most countries of the former Soviet Union with the exceptions of Russia and Turkmenistan.

Top 10 countries whose residents provided the most visits to Ukraine (2016)[7]
Country Number
Moldova 4.3 million
Belarus 1.8 million
Russia 1.5 million
Hungary 1.3 million
Poland 1.2 million
Romania 0.8 million
Slovakia 0.4 million
Israel 0.2 million
Turkey 0.2 million
Germany 0.2 million

Popular tourist city destinations[edit]

Central Ukraine[edit]

St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv.

Main cities

  • Kyiv – The historical capital of Kyivan Rus and modern Ukraine on the river Dnipro. Ancient churches, broad boulevards, beautiful landscapes and a variety of cultural facilities make it fascinating destination.
  • Chernihiv – ancient city of Kyivan Rus, one of the oldest cities in Ukraine, has lots of Medieval architecture. Some of the oldest human settlements in Europe have also been discovered in the area.
  • Pereiaslav – "living museum", one of the biggest History and Ethnography Reserve in Ukraine. There are over 20 different museums, city hosts various exhibitions and fairs.
  • Vinnytsia – the largest city in the historic region of Podillia. In Vinnytsia there is the largest floating fountain in Europe, built in the river Southern Bug near Festivalny Isle.
  • Sumy – city's history started in the mid-17th century.
The Bernardine church and monastery in Lviv.

Western Ukraine[edit]

Waterfall Zhenets in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast
  • Lviv – old city in the west of country, with its medieval old town and unique architecture with Polish and Austrian influences. The top tourist destination in Ukraine, when it comes to architecture and culture.
  • Ivano-Frankivsk – western Ukrainian city that was recognized as the best city to live in Ukraine.[8]
  • Chernivtsi – the capital of Bukovina offers Balkan atmosphere and fine classical Habsburg architecture in Central-European style, as it was part of Austrian empire (prior to 1918).
  • Uzhhorod – the capital of Transcarpathia, one of the oldest cities in Ukraine. It attracts tourists because of its proximity to the Carpathian Mountains.
  • Mukachevo
  • Kamianets-Podilskyi – a historic city surrounded by the Smotrych River canyon. It is well known for its castle.
  • Ternopil
  • Lutsk
  • Drohobych
Sharivka Manor, Bohodukhiv Raion Kharkiv Oblast
Livadia Palace in Yalta (Crimean Southern Coast)

Eastern Ukraine[edit]

  • Kharkiv – city's history started in the mid-17th century, when the Cossacks created the Sloboda settlements; and since then, the city has turned into one of the largest commercial, cultural and educational centers in Ukraine with a population of over 1.7 million people. From December 1919 to June 1934, Kharkiv was the capital of Soviet Ukraine. The Ukrainian cultural renaissance commenced here in the years 1920–1930.
  • Sviatohirsk and Bakhmut
  • Donetsk
  • Luhansk

Southern Ukraine[edit]


Seven Wonders of Ukraine[edit]

Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle, 2019

The Seven Wonders of Ukraine are the seven historical and cultural monuments of Ukraine, which were chosen in the Seven Wonders of Ukraine contest held in July 2007.

Seven natural wonders of Ukraine[edit]

Tourism in Ukraine

Winners of all Ukraine competition Seven natural wonders of Ukraine:

Recognized World Heritage sites[edit]

Medical tourism[edit]

Lately many modern dental clinics with high quality dentistry equipment and high quality materials have been established in Ukraine. They provide patients with high quality dentistry services for prices much cheaper in comparison with Western and Russian clinics. Many tourists from United States, European Union and Russia arrive for dental services, providing a sort of dental tourism.

Other popular sorts of medical tourism in Ukraine are spas, eye and plastic surgery, hair transplants, and mud baths.

Truskavets and Myrhorod are well known for their mineral springs.

Religious tourism[edit]

Uman is a pilgrimage site for Breslov Hasidic Jews, especially on Rosh Hashana kibbutz.


Festival culture[edit]

Thousands of tourists visit the festival of medieval culture "Silver Tatosh" in the castle of Saint-Miklos, Chynadiyovo, Zakarpattia Oblast
Police patrol by bicycles in the tourist area of Lviv

In recent years a variety of festivals emerged in major Ukrainian cities. Among the most popular are international jazz festival in Lviv, street food festival in Kyiv, various summer festivals in Odesa—a popular tourist destination in summer. Many of these festivals take place in former industrial buildings of the Soviet era and are thus helping to rejuvenate these areas.

Type Event Location Season Notes
Film festival Molodist International Film Festival Kyiv April
Film festival Kyiv International Short Film Festival Kyiv April
Film festival Odesa International Film Festival Odesa Second half of July
Food festival Borshch-yiv Borshchiv September
Food festival Deruny Festival Korosten September
Food festival Lviv Cheese and Wine Festival Lviv October
Humor festival Humorina Odesa April
Arts festival Gogolfest Kyiv September
Music festival Zaxidfest Rodatychi, Lviv Oblast Middle of August
Music festival Fajne Misto Ternopil July
Music festival Leopolis Jazz Fest Lviv June
Music festival Atlas Festival Kyiv June
Music festival Kyiv Music Fest Kyiv Late September

to early October

Music festival Koktebel Jazz Festival Koktebel (before 2014)

Zatoka and Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi (after 2014)

Middle of September
Music festival Kraina Mriy various January
Poetry festival Meridian Czernowitz Chernivtsi September
Sports festival Hot Air Balloon Festival Kamianets-Podilskyi May
Sports festival Leopolis Grand Prix Lviv June
Cultural festival Forpost Fest Kamianets-Podilskyi August
Cultural festival Book Forum Lviv Lviv September
Cultural festival Etnovyr Lviv August
Cultural festival Koliada na Maizliakh Ivano-Frankivsk January

Trade fairs[edit]

City Trade fair Industry Notes
Kyiv AGRO Agriculture
Lviv The Lviv Publishers’ Forum Books
Kyiv Metal-Forum of Ukraine Metal branch
Velyki Sorochyntsi Sorochyntsi Fair Cuisine
Kyiv Jeweller Expo Ukraine Jewellery
Kyiv Kyiv Fashion Clothes and style
Kyiv Upakovka Packaging industry
Kyiv Arms and Security Weapons

Governing body of tourist industry and its chairs[edit]

  • Main Directorate of Foreign Tourism (at the Government of the Ukrainian SSR and part of the Soviet Goskominturist)
    • 1964–74 Yosyp Zatyahan
    • 1974–89 Viktor Dobrotvor
  • Ukrintur Association
    • 1989–93 Volodymyr Skrynnyk
  • State Committee of Ukraine on tourism
  • State Department of Tourism (State Committee of Youth Policy, Sport and Tourism)
    • 2001–02 Anatoliy Matviyenko
  • State Tourist Administration of Ukraine
    • 2002–05 Valeriy Tsybukh
  • State Service of Tourism and Resorts (Ministry of Culture and Tourism)
    • 2005–06 Ihor Prystavskyi
    • 2006–10 Anatoliy Pakhlya
  • State Agency of Ukraine on Tourism and Resorts (Ministry of Infrastructure)
    • 2011–14 Olena Shapovalova
  • Department (Directorate) of Tourism and Resorts (Ministry of Economic Development and Trade)
    • 2016–17 Ivan Liptuha
    • 2018–2019 Oksana Serdyuk
  • State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine (Ministry of Сulture and Іnformation Policy of Ukraine)

Foreign travel statistics[edit]

Most visitors arriving in Ukraine were from the following countries of nationality:[9]

Country 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
 Moldova Increase 4,435,664 Decrease 4,296,409 Increase 4,393,528 Decrease 4,368,355 5,417,966
 Belarus Increase 2,727,645 Decrease 1,822,261 Increase 1,891,518 Decrease 1,592,935 3,353,652
 Russia Decrease 1,464,764 Increase 1,473,633 Decrease 1,231,035 Decrease 2,362,982 10,284,782
 Poland Increase 1,144,249 Increase 1,195,163 Increase 1,156,011 Decrease 1,123,945 1,259,209
 Hungary Decrease 1,058,970 Increase 1,269,653 Increase 1,070,035 Increase 874,184 771,038
 Romania Increase 791,116 Increase 774,585 Increase 763,228 Decrease 584,774 877,234
 Slovakia Decrease 366,249 Decrease 410,508 Decrease 412,519 Decrease 416,158 424,306
 Turkey Increase 270,695 Increase 199,618 Increase 140,691 Decrease 116,302 151,706
 Israel Increase 261,486 Increase 216,638 Increase 149,386 Decrease 101,799 120,913
 Germany Increase 209,447 Increase 171,118 Increase 154,498 Decrease 131,244 253,318
Other countries Decrease 1,499,357 Increase 1,503,510 Increase 1,065,837 Decrease 1,038,829 1,757,103
Total Increase 14,229,642 Increase 13,333,096 Decrease 12,428,286 Decrease 12,711,507 24,671,227
Number of foreign citizens visiting Ukraine (from 2014, excluding Crimea)

Statistics are based on data from the State Statistics Agency of Ukraine.[10]

  • 2000: 6.4 million[10]
  • 2001: 9.2 million[10]
  • 2002: 10.5 million[10]
  • 2003: 12.5 million[10]
  • 2004: 15.6 million[10]
  • 2005: 17.6 million[10]
  • 2006: 18.9 million[10]
  • 2007: 23.1 million[10]
  • 2008: 25.4 million[10]
  • 2009: 20.8 million[10]
  • 2010: 21.2 million[10]
  • 2011: 21.4 million[10]
  • 2012: 23.0 million[10]
  • 2013: 24.7 million[10]
  • 2014: 12.7 million[10]
  • 2015: 12.4 million[10]
  • 2016: 13.3 million[10]
  • 2017: 14.2 million[10]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tourist group, State Statistics Committee of Ukraine
  2. ^ UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, volume 6, UNWTO (June 2008)
  3. ^ Tourism takes a nosedive in Crimea, accessed 29 December 2015
  4. ^ "A letter from Ukraine". Dispatch News Desk. 6 January 2019.
  5. ^ Tourism takes a nosedive in Crimea BBC. Retrieved 29 December 2015
  6. ^ Ukrainian Consulate General of Ukraine in New York – Nationalities with no Visa requirements
  7. ^ "Foreign citizens who visited Ukraine in 2016 year,  by countries".
  8. ^ Найкращим українським містом визнано Івано-Франківськ (Ukr.)
  9. ^ Foreign citizens who visited Ukraine by country - State Statistics Service of Ukraine
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Tourist group".

External links[edit]