Tourism 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]

Tourism in Ukraine
Most Visited Cities in Ukraine

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. Kiev, 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. 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.[2] 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 Kiev 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.[3] Also, no visa has been required for citizens of Russia, and other CIS countries (except Turkmenistan).

Top 10 countries whose residents provided the most visits to Ukraine (2016)[4]
Moldova4.3 million
Belarus1.8 million
Russia1.5 million
Hungary1.3 million
Poland1.2 million
Romania0.8 million
Slovakia0.4 million
Israel0.2 million
Turkey0.2 million
Germany0.2 million

Central Ukraine

Main cities

  • Kiev – The historical capital of Kievan 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 Kievan 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 exhibition 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.

Western Ukraine

  • 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.[5]
  • 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, attracts tourists because its location close to the Carpathian Mountains.
  • Mukacheve
  • Kamianets-Podilskyi
  • Ternopil
  • Lutsk
  • Drohobych

Eastern Ukraine

  • 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.
  • Donetsk
  • Luhansk

Southern Ukraine


Seven Wonders of Ukraine

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

Winners of all Ukraine competition Seven natural wonders of Ukraine:

Medical tourism

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 soas, eye and plastic surgery, and mud baths.

Truskavets and Myrhorod are well known for their mineral springs.


Festival culture

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 Kiev, various summer festivals in Odessa—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 Kiev April
Film festival Odesa International Film Festival Odessa Second half of July
Food festival Deruny Festival Korosten' September
Food festival Lviv Cheese and Wine Festival L'viv October
Humor festival Gumoryna Odessa April
Arts festival Gogolfest Kiev September
Music festival Zakhid Rodatychi, L'viv region Middle of August
Music festival Fajne Misto Ternopil' July
Music festival Alfa Jazz Fest L'viv June
Poetry festival Meridian Czernowitz Chernivtsi September
Music festival Atlas Weekend Kiev June
Sports festival Hot Air Balloon Festival Kamianets-Podilskyi May
Cultural festival Forpost Fest Kamianets-Podilskyi August
Sports festival Leopolis Grand Prix Lviv June
Cultural festival Book Forum Lviv Lviv September
Cultural festival Etnovyr Lviv August

Trade fairs

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

Governing body of tourist industry and its chairs

  • 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
  • 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–present Oksana Serdyuk

Foreign travel statistics

Most visitors arriving to Ukraine were from the following countries of nationality:[6]

Number of foreign citizens visiting Ukraine (from 2014, excluding Crimea)

Statistics are based on data from the State Statistics Agency of Ukraine.[7]

  • 2000: 6.4 million[7]
  • 2001: 9.2 million[7]
  • 2002: 10.5 million[7]
  • 2003: 12.5 million[7]
  • 2004: 15.6 million[7]
  • 2005: 17.6 million[7]
  • 2006: 18.9 million[7]
  • 2007: 23.1 million[7]
  • 2008: 25.4 million[7]
  • 2009: 20.8 million[7]
  • 2010: 21.2 million[7]
  • 2011: 21.4 million[7]
  • 2012: 23.0 million[7]
  • 2013: 24.7 million[7]
  • 2014: 12.7 million[7]
  • 2015: 12.4 million[7]
  • 2016: 13.3 million[7]
  • 2017: 14.2 million[7]

See also


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