When you think of southern Ukraine, you probably think of the beaches of the Black Sea coast or the lively coastal metropolis of Odessa. But there is a whole range of unique natural landscapes and places that you should definitely see. We have compiled the most beautiful sights of Southern Ukraine for you. We think that all of them are worth a visit.
Odesa has always been a melting pot of cultures. This international flair can still be felt today, which once attracted Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, Germans, Greeks, Bulgarians, Armenians and many other cultures to the city. The opera house is one of the most beautiful in Ukraine and to see a performance here is a unique experience. Every visitor to Odesa should also climb the Potemkin Steps, after all the famous scenes of Sergei Eisenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin were filmed here. The sandy beaches are great for sunbathing before heading to the city’s exciting nightlife for a cocktail.
The Danube Delta is one of the most beautiful natural regions in Europe. Even though especially the Romanian part has already gained a certain fame, there is also a lot to see on the Ukrainian side. And for the wildlife there are no borders anyway. On the Ukrainian side you can see, among others, pelicans, which spend the summer here.
In the picturesque village of Wylkowe with its small canals you can stay with locals in the guest houses and from here you can take boat trips to kilometer 0. In the evening you can enjoy fresh fish soup and grilled specialties. The Danube Delta is one of the most beautiful nature experiences in Ukraine.
Akkerman Fortress is the most impressive fortress complex on the Ukrainian Black Sea coast. There was already a settlement here at the time of the Greeks. In the Middle Ages, the fortress served to dominate the mouth of the Dniester River. The fortress walls were among the best in the region. They protected Genoese, Lithuanians, Moldovans, Turks and Russians from their respective attackers. Today you can visit the huge complex and learn more about life in the medieval fortress.
Kherson is not only scenically located not far from the mouth of the Dnipro River. Originally, the city belonged to the Crimean Khanate for a long time, but came under Russian rule under Catherine II. The remains of the former fortress with St. Catherine’s Cathedral still bear witness to this today. The harbor still has a maritime flair, which the inhabitants also like to tell about, because Kherson was also a base of the Russian and Soviet Black Sea Fleet until the independence of Ukraine.
Fishing islands near Kherson are a real specialty. They are located in the forks of the Dnipro. Here there are small huts, some of which are inhabited all year round and whose inhabitants sometimes go to work by boat or still live from fishing. Also here there is a great variety of birds and even water snakes, which you can see on a boat trip from the port of Kherson. For those with a lot of patience, it is worth extending the tour to the unique lighthouse of Ajihol, which was the first tower in the form of a rotational hyperboloid.
Askania Nova Nature Reserve
Another unique feature of southern Ukraine is the Askania Nowa reserve. In this nature reserve live more than 50 species on more than 300 square kilometers in the middle of the steppe of Southern Ukraine. Originally even a colony of the Counts of Anhalt and planned as a sheep farm, it was used as a nature reserve by Friedrich Falz-Fein from the end of the 19th century. Among other things, he bred antelopes here. Later, horses, zebra and also Przewalski horses were added here. In Askania Nowa they continued to be bred as one of the few places in the first half of the 20th century. Otherwise this species would have died out. Today you can visit this reserve during a safari.
The Sivash, or Lake Sivash, is a system of small bays at the western tip of the Sea of Azov, surrounded by the Ukrainian mainland and the Crimea. However, the Sivash is geographically separated from the Sea of Azov by the Arabat Spit. Due to the shallow water depth of maximum 3 meters and evaporation in summer, the salinity sometimes rises up to 30%, which corresponds to that of the Dead Sea. Due to a type of algae living here, the water even turns pink and is therefore often called pink salt lake. The minerals present are extracted and sold to spas abroad.
Due to a species of algae living here, the water even turns pink and is therefore often called pink salt lake. The minerals present are extracted and sold to spas abroad.
Dzharylhach is the largest island of Ukraine and the entire Black Sea and with an area of 56 square kilometers about twice the size of the North Sea island of Norderney. The island is uninhabited, but there are some camps and restaurant on which many Ukrainians spend the vacation or come here for a weekend. On the island there are also several. The wildlife of the island is strictly protected and besides wild boars live here, among others, deer and mouflon. During the day many guests come from nearby Skadovsk and use the beautiful sandy beaches for swimming. Dolphins can often be seen from the shore.
The Oleshky sands are the largest desert in Ukraine. They are declared as semi-desert, but it can get indescribably hot here in summer. There is still some residual vegetation in the dunes and the 300 square kilometers of semi-desert is bordered by pine and pine forests, which were planted to prevent the spread of the dune. Today you can explore the semi-desert on hikes and sometimes even see snakes here. However, it is necessary to make an appointment in advance, as the desert was a military training area in Soviet times and ammunition remains are still lying around everywhere. On guided tours you can learn more about the flora and fauna of this unique landscape.
Mykolaiv is the second largest city in southern Ukraine after Odessa and the capital of the oblast of the same name. The city is famous for its shipbuilding, which you can see in the Museum of Shipbuilding and Fleet. Here the history of the city as a shipyard city of the Black Sea Fleet is told. At the foot of the city plateau, under the bridge, you can board an excursion boat and admire the city from the water, which is undoubtedly the most befitting version of a sightseeing tour in Mykolaiv.
Kinburn Spit, like Dzharylhach, is a true natural paradise. Over 600 species of plants grow here and more than 4000 species of animals, many of which can only be found here. For example, there is a huge orchid field here, which is unique in Europe. The salt pans and wetlands with some pine forests give the peninsula a special flair. At the top there was a Turkish fortress until after the Crimean War, but it had to be dismantled after the defeat.
Museum of the Strategic Missile Forces of the Soviet Union
What would it be like if you had to push the red button and could wipe out entire countries? At the Museum of the Strategic Missile Forces of the Soviet Union, you can put yourself in that exact position as Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles waited to be launched toward Western Europe in this former missile silo. On the guided tour through the area you will go down eleven floors and see how the crew of the silo would have survived a nuclear war. You’ll also see all kinds of missile technology and learn all about the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons program. Bonus: When you press the red button, it actually triggers the original sound that would have occurred if a nuclear missile had been launched. Scary!
Rock canyons of the Southern Bug
The Southern Bug River rises in western Ukraine, almost 100 kilometers from the oblast capital of Khmelnytsky and flows from there over 800 kilometers through Ukraine. North of Mykolayiv it cuts through a granite plateau, which has created a unique rocky landscape with canyons. Here you can not only go excellent hiking, but also go down the torrential stream in inflatable boats. This experience is certainly one of the most exciting on your trip to southern Ukraine.