Mountain peaks and waterfalls – these natural sights characterize the Carpathians. But visitors can also experience the authentic life of the people here. Museums display centuries-old artifacts, and the handicrafts market in Kosiv offers the most beautiful handmade things in Ukraine. But this is by far not all you can experience in the Carpathian Mountains Ukraine. There are plenty more things to see and do in the Ukrainian Carpathians.
Where are the Carpathian Mountains Ukraine?
No other mountain range in Europe stretches across as many countries as the Carpathians. In the shape of a crescent, the Carpathians and their foothills stretch from the easternmost tip of Austria across the south of the Czech Republic and Poland and through the heart of Slovakia to Romania and Serbia. Between the Polish and Romanian borders, however, the Carpathians also “pass” Ukraine in quite a long strip.
Outer, Inner and Wooded Carpathians
In the case of Ukraine, one speaks of the Outer Eastern Carpathians and the Inner Eastern Carpathians. Often these areas are also called the Wooded Carpathians. The southwest of Ukraine has always been an ethnically diverse region, where several national minorities still live today. Thus, the Ukrainian Carpathians are interesting for visitors not only in terms of landscape, but especially in terms of culture. UNESCO even declared the region with its beech forests a World Heritage Site together with those in Slovakia.
Best places to see in the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
There are countless sights in the Carpathians, after all, the mountain range is long. Nevertheless, there are some sights that are relatively easy to reach and are particularly worthwhile. Today, we would like to introduce you to the most beautiful of these places to see in the Carpathian mountains in Ukraine in more detail.
At 2060 meters, Hoverla is not just the highest mountain in Ukraine. It is also one of the country’s landmarks. Every year on August 24th, the day of Ukraine’s independence, thousands of Ukrainians climb up to the highest peak of the Ukrainian Carpathians. The climb is not particularly arduous at three to four hours. The view from Hoverla on the rest of the Chornahora, the Black Mountains, which is the name of this section of the Carpathians, is impressive though. From here you can also see the other mountains of the chain, Petros for example (see the cover picture for this view).
Verkhovyna is the tourist center of the Chornnahora. Located on the Chorny Cheremosh, not only are there many hotels and other guest accommodations here, but there are also some of the most beautiful museums in the Carpathians. In the Museum of Hutsul Culture you can learn everything about this ethnic group that lives here in the mountains and speaks its own dialect. In the Museum of Musical Instruments you can see demonstrations of typical Carpathian instruments, such as the trembita, or play them yourself. The Museum of Hutsul Magic is also very special. Here you can learn about the Hutsul magicians and shamans, the so-called Molfars, who still have their followers despite the deep Christian faith of the Hutsuls.
The village of Kryvorivnya is almost mystical. Even though it is located on one of the most important roads through the Ukrainian Carpathians, it is mainly historically significant. Because here lived the famous Ukrainian artist Hnat Khotkevych, who played bandura and set up an amateur theater here in the middle of the Carpathian mountains in Ukraine.
However, other famous Ukrainians also stayed here, for whom there is a museum, including Mykhailo Hrushevsky, president of the first Ukrainian parliament, as well as the poet Ivan Franko. The Grashda Museum shows how the traditional houses of the Hutsuls were built and how they protected themselves from wild animals, heated their house and where they slept. You should also not miss the beautiful wooden church with the picturesque cemetery on the hill!
Even though Kolomyia is geographically not part of the Carpathian mountains, it is hard to imagine a visit to the Ukrainian Carpathians without a visit to Kolomyia. This is because it is home to what is probably the largest Easter egg in the world. The 14 meter high egg houses the Museum of Pysanky, which is what Ukrainians call their colorful Easter eggs. Pysanky are a national art in Ukraine. There are more than ten thousand eggs on display in the exhibition. Even visitors who are not usually interested in Easter eggs can admire the craftsmanship and intricate details of the eggs.
Market of Arts and Crafts in Kosiv
Dozens of stalls with woolen carpets, handmade instruments, fresh sheep’s cheese, honey or other handmade crafts and food – that’s what you’ll find at the crafts market in Kosiv. Here, every Saturday morning, vendors come from sometimes several hundred kilometers away to sell their handmade products. The prices are reasonable and you can buy real pieces of art here.
The Austrians already built a railroad line through the Carpathians, which connected the present-day oblast capital Ivano-Frankivsk and the Romanian town of Sighetu Marmației. The line winds along the Pruth River, through tunnels and over bridges, and crosses the Carpathian Mountains. This created some of the most beautiful railroad bridges in the region. The viaducts in Vorokhta, which lies between Yaremche and Verkhovyna, are some of the regional Instagram-favorites. Artists have placed street art images of a Hutsul woman and a Hutsul man at the foot of the viaduct.
Many people use Yaremche as a base for a visit to the Ukrainian Carpathians. And indeed, Jaremche is not only picturesquely situated on the River Prut. It is also a home to a pretty waterfall. The Probij waterfall, about 8 meters high, is one of the most famous sights in the Carpathian mountains in Ukraine. With its wooden architecture, the restaurant Hutsulshyna is also an architectural icon of the Carpathians. Here you can taste delicious dishes from the Hutsul cuisine. You can also buy some handicrafts at the town’s souvenir market. Jaremche is a great base for day trips to the Carpathians, especially to the nearby Gorgany mountain range.
Bukovel is the most famous ski resort in Ukraine and is more and more developing from an insider tip to a real must-see place. The ski resort is located at an altitude of about 1000 meters (3000 feet) and is quite easy to reach by car or bus. Bukovel has 63 ski slopes, including 13 blue slopes, 41 red slopes and 9 black slopes. The longest slope is more than 2.100 kilometers (1.3 miles) long. 14 ski lifts will take you up the mountains. Besides the ski attractions you can admire the fantastic mountain panorama and there are countless activities from mountain biking to paintball. I enjoy Bukovel almost more in the summer.
Pip Ivan with Observatory
Pip Ivan Chornohorski is not only the third highest peak of the Ukrainian Carpathians. On its summit, in the 1930s, the then Polish government built an astorological and meteorological observatory called White Elephant, the walls of which have been preserved to this day. The building in the style of Polish Constructivism is now being restored slowly. Tours to the summit usually start in Dzembronya and take at least a whole day. The ascent is difficult. On the other hand, other hikers are rare on some days and you can enjoy the landscape in relative silence. However, we recommend you to book a tour for the ascent.
Dzembronya is a picturesque village located in one of the most remote corners of the Carpathians. The only way to get here is to drive for hours on a road filled with potholes. In return, real seclusion awaits you here. On the hiking trails from here you can hike to Vukhatiy Kamin and explore the area. There are many small mountain creeks and countless hiking trails. In the guest houses you can stay with locals who will cook for you dishes from the local Hutsul cuisine. From them you can also buy brynsa, the sheep cheese that shepherds still make by hand here in the mountains.
The Manyava Skete has existed since the 17th century in a remote valley of the Ukrainian Carpathians. The monastery is also called Ukrainian Athos. The monks actually live a lonely and secluded life. Currently, eight monks live here. The skete is famous for an icon of the Virgin Mary, who is said to have “cried” here twice.
There are several churches on the site, the most beautiful of which is the wooden church of the Holy Cross. A spring also starts here. A legend says that the spring stopped gushing when the Austrians closed the monastery at the end of the 18th century and it flowed again when it was reopened in the 1990s.
Oleksa Dovbush was the Robin Hood of the Carpathians. He was a born a Hutsul and founded his own gang, which is said to have had up to 50 members. Legends about him say that he robbed the rich and gave it to the poor. No one knows for sure how much of this is true, because the stories about him are mostly penned by others, including Ivan Franko. The bandit is said to have had his residence in a rock complex in the Carpathians, which is called the Dovbush Rocks because of him. Here you can see some cave dwellings and climb up some ladders and ropes to the top of the rock. From there you have a fantastic view over this part of the Carpathian mountains.
Mount Pikuy is the highest in Lviv oblast. The ascent is not exactly easy, but even from here you have a great view of the Shkolivskiy Beskids, as the section of the Carpathians is called here. On weekends it can get crowded on the peak, because groups of tourists like to come here and be driven up to the top by a tractor. But that’s only for wimps, because the point of a Carpathian hike is to climb peaks and enjoy the peace and solitude. Day tours to Pikuy are available from Lviv.
Slawske is one of the most popular destinations in Lviv Oblast. Many Lviv citizens go here for the weekend or for a day trip. In this mountain village there are several ski slopes and a market to admire. But especially beautiful is the single-seat lift to the top of Mount Trostyan, the local mountain of Slavske.
The lift is not for the faint of heart, as the engine occasionally fails and there have been cases where passengers had to be rescued from the lift in the middle of winter. If you’re not afraid of that, you’ll enjoy the ride, which first takes you over a small hilltop back down into the valley before the lift then climbs up to the actual mountain. Here, too, the view is great and there are some Shashlik stands where hungry travelers can feast.
You can learn more about other beautiful sights Carpathian mountains in Ukraine in our article about Transcarpathia.