Last Updated August, 2020
Perhaps you are thinking about visiting the largest country in Europe – Ukraine. You are wondering perchance if it’s safe enough, smart enough, and possible enough to go to this post-Soviet state. You don’t know many facts on Ukraine and ponder the question if it is worth your time and effort. The answer is short and simple: yes, it is.
I spent the first 25 years of my life in Ukraine. Although I found opportunities in the United States and beyond, I still love my home country and dream big that one day it will become prosperous and free.
Today, probably the smallest thing I can do for my homeland is to spread the word about its beauty. And why every tourist should add it to their next European adventure. Ukrainian people love foreign visitors no matter where they are traveling from and eagerly wait for them to come.
In this post, I would love to reflect on some facts on Ukraine that hopefully will spark your interest. And who knows, maybe one day you will be walking cobbled streets in a small Ukrainian town and questioning why you haven’t discovered this land before.
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Less known among tourists
Since Ukraine is one of the poorest countries in Europe, tourists automatically assume there is not much to see or do there. When the war broke out it scared away even those who were expressing at least some interest.
As a matter of fact, Ukraine didn’t see a lot of tourists even before the political turbulence. Yes, there were investors, businessmen, professionals on exchange programs, people who came to Ukraine to research their ancestry, and men looking for brides. However, in general, Ukraine didn’t receive many tourists interested in the country’s history and culture.
Most of the visitors, who paid Ukraine a visit, were not even tourists. They came to see their relatives and friends. Or use Ukraine for their transit. Comparing to the rest of Europe, Ukraine is one of the least visited tourist destinations.
Those who end up coming, usually visit Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, and forbidden Chernobyl city overlooking smaller towns, natural wonders, and historical sights. Some of the Ukrainian cities are those of the most underrated cities in Europe. Visiting them will open up a totally different perspective on Ukraine.
Nowadays, every safe destination in the world sees tourist flows. Ukraine still doesn’t, even though it is very safe to visit.
I can guarantee, if you add Ukraine to your next European adventure, you will be one of a few English speaking tourists there.
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Facts on Ukraine: It has an Affordable and High-Quality Health Care
Let’s put it this way. By the papers, health care in Ukraine for its citizens is free. But in real life, almost every patient ends up paying for at least something, be it in a private clinic or public hospital. Due to corrupt and underfunded system doctors in public health care centers are grossly underpaid.
These circumstances push more and more highly experienced and educated medical professionals to open their own clinics and start offering medical services for money. Nowadays, in every city, you can find medical facilities that specialize in different areas of medical practice.
Dentists, ophthalmologists, dermatologists, ENT doctors, gynecologists, cardiologists and doctors of any other specialization you may think of are easily accessible in Ukraine. If you need an ultrasound, X-ray, or MRI, you can get it within a day. Even if you would like to get laser therapy, see a plastic surgeon, homeopath, acupuncture specialist, or naturopathic doctor, welcome to Ukraine.
Ukrainian doctors deliver the highest standard of professionalism and care, and you will end up paying ridiculously low amounts of money.
For a lot of Ukrainians, unfortunately, prices for exams, treatments, drugs, and appointments are high. But for anyone with western world salary prices are cheap.
To give you an example, most consultations (of any medical practice) will cost between $5 and $15. Filling costs between $10 and $20, a ceramic crown around $100. Prices for MRI range between $10 and $100 (depending on part of the body) and blood tests between $3 and $15.
If you go to any other city than Kyiv, you may find even lower prices for medical treatments.
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Ukraine has a Combination of European Charm and Soviet Legacy
Ukraine is probably one of a few (if not the only) countries in Europe where you can contemplate ancient architecture along with Soviet monuments and buildings. Farther east you go fewer European style buildings you will find.
Some of the unique complexes, such as Saint Sophia Cathedral, Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans or Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, for instance, have been included by UNESCO to the list of the world-wide significant monuments. Others, like Moscow style pavilion of the metro, Statue of Liberty in Kyiv, or many more, remind about the communist past.
The number of castles, cathedrals, churches, historical monuments, and cobbled streets will surprise you. You can be sitting in a coffee shop of an ancient building or near the baroque style fountain while overlooking soviet-era plain facades.
Ukraine Offers Stylish Clothing
More and more Ukrainian manufacturers start offering high-quality clothing and shoes that are comfortable, stylish, and affordable at the same time. You can get yourself leather boots or sandals that may last you a lifetime. Or an embroidered blouse, dress, or accessories of high European quality designed and manufactured in Ukraine.
Not only celebrities but average people worldwide are choosing to wear the traditional clothing of Ukraine. The country’s designers have a creative edge in art. The design scene is rich and innovative. Outfits are stylish and fashionable.
You can come to Ukraine for medical tourism, tour the country, volunteer, and at the end of your trip get beautiful souvenirs in the latest fashion trend. If this is going to be your first visit, take a look at what life in Ukraine is all about. If you are traveling to Europe for the first time ever, this second post will come in handy too.
Ukraine Offers Budget-Friendly Experiences
Some of the facts on Ukraine show that besides cheap health care, food, and accommodation, entertainment in Ukraine is also cheap.
If you love nature, Ukraine can surprise you. It has its own mountain range – Carpathian mountains in Western Ukraine where you can go hiking in summer or skiing in winter. In fact, skiing in Bukovel is one of the best places where to ski in Europe on a budget. Also, there are gypsum caves, endless hiking trails in various nature parks, granite-steppe lands, mineral water springs, clean mountains rivers, lakes, beaches, and even canyons.
There is also no shortage of good places where to stay. A decent hotel may cost you between $25 and $35, including breakfast. Since the country is cheap, you can choose to stay in a luxury hotel or private apartment for a very reasonable price too.
Ukraine at this time (unfortunately for Ukrainians) is the best value destination in Europe and beyond. Some of the experiences are of the same level as in Western Europe but at way lower prices.
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Have you been to Ukraine yet? If not, come to visit, Mark and I will be your guides! And if you liked the article (or even if you didn’t), could you please share it on social media?