Top 20 Places to Visit in Western Ukraine for Foreign Tourists: Cities, Nature, Activities, and off the Beaten Path Destinations

In Western Ukraine, foreign tourists usually only know Lviv and the Carpathian mountains. However, there are many more great places worth a visit in the area.

In this article, we offer you a glimpse into nature, unique architecture, indigenous communities, and the mix of cultures of Western Ukraine. Let’s pick a few locations that you can explore here!

Best cities to visit in Western Ukraine

Lviv

When travelers plan their trip to Ukraine, Lviv is one of the first destinations they consider. The city’s great architecture and unique atmosphere attract tourists from all over the world.

Lviv’s Historic Center and St. Yuri’s Cathedral are included in UNESCO World Heritage List.

Panoramic view of Lviv
Panoramic view of Lviv

Lviv is also one of the best cities in Eastern Europe for food culture. Here you will find many restaurants with a unique atmosphere and great cuisine, and for prices much more affordable than for example in Kyiv.

There are many places to visit in Lviv. Start your sightseeing trip with Rynok Square and City Hall (1835). Then take a look at numerous ancient churches and monasteries, see Lviv Opera (1900) and City Arsenal (1556). If you plan to spend more than one day in the city, you will have enough time to walk to High Castle and visit Lychakiv Cemetery (1786) and Shevchenko Folk Art Open Air Museum.

rynok square
Rynok Square

A walking tour to Lviv undergrounds is an interesting experience for tourists. We also offer sightseeing tours in Lviv to show travelers the best parts of the city.

To see what places to visit in Lviv and what food to try, read our article dedicated to traveling in Lviv.

Kamianets’-Podilskyi

Kamianets’-Podilskyi is definitely a city not to be missed. This place will fascinate you with its Medieval architecture and atmosphere.

Kamianets-Podilskyi panoramic view

The city’s highlight is Kamianets’-Podilskyi Castle built in the 11-12th century on the steep banks of the Smotrych river.

Kamianets’-Podilskyi Castle
Kamianets’-Podilskyi Castle

Another attraction for tourists in this area is the picturesque Podilskyi Tovtry National Nature Park across which lies Dnister River Canyon. You can board a ship and go on a cruise to enjoy great views.

Dniester Canyon
Dniester Canyon

Participate in:

Chernivtsi

Chernivtsi is a unique city where Austrian architecture is combined with Romanian, Turkish and Ukrainian motifs.

The most important attraction of this city is Chernivtsi University (1882) that locals call ‘Ukrainian Hogwarts’. In the past, the building served as The Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans. Now, this magnificent landmark is included in UNESCO World Heritage List and accepts hundreds of tourists daily.

Chernivtsi University
Chernivtsi University

Other places that you should visit in Chernivtsi include:

  • Central Square and City Hall (1848)
View from Chernivtsi City Hall
View from the Chernivtsi City Hall
  • Olhy Kobylyanskoyi Street
  • Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (1860)
  • Chernivtsi Theater (1905)
  • ‘Drunk’ church (1939).

    'Drunk' Church in Chernivtsi
    ‘Drunk’ Church in Chernivtsi

You can also visit an open-air Museum of Folk Architecture and Life where you can see traditional Ukrainian buildings of the previous centuries as well as clothing, furniture, and everyday items.

Visit Chernivtsi on tours:

Both Kamianets’-Podilskyi and Chernivtsi are small cities and 1-2 days would be enough to explore them.

Pochayiv

Pochayiv is a major destination for Orthodox Christians. It is believed that in the year 1240, Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared here above the Pochayiv mountain.

According to the legend, the monastery was founded in the 13th century, but the building as it looks now was built in 1791.

Currently, pilgrims from all parts of the world come to the city to visit Pochayiv Lavra – a monastery of the utmost importance. Here they can pray in front of the icon of the Virgin Mary and the relics of Saint Job of Pochayiv.

Pochayiv Lavra
Pochayiv Lavra

Visit Pochayiv on Pochayiv + Spring of Holy Anna one-day tour.

Drohobych

Drohobych is one of those places that are called ‘hidden gems’ because few people know about them, but they are very interesting and exciting.

What to see here:

  • St. George’s Church (15th century) – one of the oldest and best-preserved timber churches that are included in the UNESCO World Heritage list;
St. George's wooden church
St. George’s wooden church
  • Church of St Bartholomew dating back to 1392;
  • Drohobych salt plant that has been in operation since the 14th century, and now tourists can visit it and see the ancient technology;
Tourists at Drohobych Salt Plant
Tourists at Drohobych Salt Plant
  • Drohobych Choral synagogue (1842).

Get to know Drohobych on the Drohobych Sightseeing Tour (1 day).

Best Locations in the Carpathian Mountains

Carpathian Tram (Vyhoda)

To see the beautiful landscapes of the Carpathian mountains, you can participate in a narrow-gauge railway ride that starts in Vyhoda village and goes along the Mizunka river. 

On the ride, you will enjoy the calmness of nature, see the mountains, fields, houses of local people, rivers, and waterfalls.

Carpathian Tramway
Carpathian Tramway

The train departs from Vyhoda twice per day: at 11:00 and 15:00. The ride lasts 4 hours. The train makes 3-4 stops at different locations including a sanatorium, river rapids, and a spring, and you can get off to see those places, buy souvenirs and try local food.

Ride Carpathian Tram on our tour Narrow-Gauge Railway + Dovbush Rocks (1 day).

Yaremche

In this cozy town, you can get to know the traditions of Hutsuls – an ethnic group of Ukrainians living in the Carpathian mountains. You will see beautiful mountain slopes where indigenous people herd sheep and cows and make delicious local cheese from their milk.

Yaremche

Yaremche is famous for its Hutsul souvenir market. Here you can buy an authentic vyshyvanka (traditional embroidered shirt), clothing from sheep wool like warm vests or socks, honey, herbal teas, cheese, and other locally-made products.

Other attractions of this place include Probiy waterfall and wooden Hutsulshchyna restaurant featuring traditional interior and food.

You can visit Yaremche on tours: 

Synevyr Lake

Synevyr Lake is a fairytale-like location at the heart of the Carpathian mountains at an altitude of 989 km above the sea level.

This lake is very big – its land area reaches 7 hectares. In the middle of the lake, there is an island, and on the bank, there are a sightseeing platform and wooden sculptures dedicated to the legendary characters.

Synevyr lake

The water of the lake is crystal-clear and you can see silver trout that have been living here since ancient times. The untouched forest surrounding the lake is also home to many rare animal and plant species.

Synevyr Lake

Synevyr lake is rather hard to reach by public transport, so if you want to go there, we recommend you to rent a car or take one of our tours:

Bukovel Ski Resort

Bukovel is the most modern and popular ski resort in Ukraine located at an altitude of 900 meters above sea level.

This ski resort offers a variety of hotels, restaurants, SPA, skating rinks, skiing and snowboarding schools. There are numerous ski tracks for all levels, from blue to black.

During the warm season, there are many options for activity holidays, too. You can rent a bike, 4-wheeler, and go horse-riding or trekking. There are also facilities for rock-climbing, paintball, tennis, Cheremosh river rafting, and an adventure park.

There is also a big artificial lake in Bukovel, and an outdoor swimming pool. So in summer you can go to the beach and try water sports.

Bukovel resort view

Tours to Bukovel:

Drahobrat Ski Resort

Compared to Bukovel, this highland ski resort is less famous and less developed, but also less crowded and more budget-friendly. You will not experience long queues here and will be able to enjoy untouched nature.

Drahobrat resort
Drahobrat resort

Drahobrat is located at an altitude of 1700 meters above sea level. Slopes here are fun and diverse, with thick layers of snow, and skiing here is exciting.

During the warm season, there are many things to do here too. In spring, the slopes of the mountains are covered with violet crocuses, and from mid-summer to autumn — blueberry.

Crocuses on the slopes of Drahobrat
Crocuses on the slopes of Drahobrat

In addition, you can take a cable car to the top of mountain Stih (1707 m) and visit lakes Dohyaska and Voroshes’ka to enjoy the beautiful nature of this area.

Visit Drahobrat on tours:

Hoverla Mountain

Hoverla is the highest and most famous mountain of Ukrainian Carpathians (2061 m). Getting to the top of it is an achievement you can be proud of. Some people even choose Hoverla as a location for important life events such as birthday celebrations or marriage proposals.

Hike to Hoverla is the most popular mountain route for tourists, and also the easiest one. Even if you have never hiked in your life, you can hike Hoverla. Children can hike Hoverla, too. However, you need to prepare your body for physical activities in advance. 

The ascent to Hoverla is a one-day hike that includes 6-8 hours of active walking. It is better to start the climb in the morning and go there with an experienced mountain guide, as you can easily get lost.

We have a separate article dedicated to hiking Hoverla where you can learn how to prepare for it.

Participate in our Hoverla hiking tour  Yaremche, Bukovel, Hoverla.

Relaxing vacation spots in Western Ukraine

Kosino Thermal Complex

Kosino is the best and biggest thermal complex in Ukraine with beneficial for health mineral water. This is a great place for all travelers, including families with children.

Here you will find fountains, jacuzzis, and 7 different saunas. Eucalyptus sauna, Hungarian sauna with beer steam, herbal and Roman saunas. The thermal complex has 5 unique pools of various shapes and sizes decorated with peculiar sculptures.

Kosino Thermal Waters
Kosino Thermal Waters

If you come here in summer, you can also visit the aquapark located on the territory of Kosino Thermal Complex.

Visit Kosino on our tours:

Zhaivoronok

Zhaivoronok is a modern thermal spa resort located in Berehovo. It has open-air and indoor swimming pools with natural mineral water the temperature of which varies from 31 to 45 degrees.

Zhaivoronok thermal pool

This complex includes a hotel, several restaurants, saunas, salt rooms, a zoo, and a spa salon.

Relax in Zhaivoronok pools on tours:

Lumshory

Lumshory is a picturesque village at the foot of the Carpathian mountains that has been known for its mineral water tubs since as early as the 17th century.

Lumshory tanks
Lumshory tanks

Here you will experience something you are unlikely to have seen somewhere else – bathing in tanks with hydrogen sulfide water and fragrant herbs heated up with firewood underneath the tank. Furthermore, you will bathe in those unique tanks while observing beautiful nature and breathing the fresh mountain air.

Lumshory river
Lumshory river

After bathing in the tubs, travelers take a dip in the cold waters of the Turychka river that flows nearby. Then they come back to the tanks to experience the change in temperature and drink local herbal tea. 

This activity rooted in ancient traditions rejuvenates the skin, has a good impact on nerves and strengthens the immune system.

Tours with Lumshory tanks include:

Best Natural Locations in Western Ukraine

Tunnel of Love

Tunnel of Love is as romantic and unusual in reality as it is in photos. It is a 5 km long railway track where the trees have formed an archway. The tunnel is located near the town of Klevan, Rivne region.

Tunnel of Love is a popular tourist destination and a great location for photoshoots. You can visit the Tunnel of Love throughout the year, and every season in this place has its own charm.

Tunnel of Love Klevan Ukraine

Tip: Come here with an insect repellent, as there are too many mosquitos in the tunnel.

Here you can read our article about the Tunnel of Love to find out what else you can see in Klevan and how a Japanese director chose the tunnel as a location for his movie.

Our tours to the Tunnel of Love:

Caves of Ternopil Region

Scientists have discovered more than 100 caves in the Ternopil region! However, only a few of them are open for tourists.

You can visit Verteba Cave with its mazes and many treasures belonging to different time periods. This cave hosts the first in the world museum of Archeology, Trypillian culture, and Neolithic Caves.

Verteba cave
Verteba cave

Crystal (or Khyshtaleva) alabaster cave is one of the most comfortable for tourists caves of the Ternopil region. The passages of the cave are about 27 km long, full of stalactites and stalagmites.

Khyshtaleva cave
Khyshtaleva cave

Optimistic (Optymistychna) Cave is the world’s longest (240 km) gypsum cave. This cave is so large that it hasn’t been yet fully explored. Here you will encounter lakes, crystals, clay, ionized and clean air, and much more.

Mlynky Cave is the most popular cave among tourists and has many routes sorted by level of difficulty. Here you can see stone formations with peculiar shapes, stalactites, stalagmites, and colorful crystals.

Mlynky cave
Mlynky cave

In our article about the caves of this area you can find out what equipment you need for visiting caves in Ukraine.

We invite you to visit caves in the Ternopil region on our tours:

Best Castles to Visit in Western Ukraine

Castles of Lviv region

The most beautiful castles of Ukraine are located in the Lviv region, in proximity to each other. Therefore, tourists like to visit them within one trip. The tourist route includes Pidhirtsi (1635), Olesko (1390), Zolochiv (1634), and Svirzh (1484) Castles.

Castles of Lviv regions are available for visits on 1-day tours:

Castles near Lviv

Mukachevo Castle Palanok

Palanok Castle is located on a 68-meter high volcanic mountain in Mukachevo city of Zakarpattia region. The castle as it looks now was constructed in the 14th century.

Mukachevo Castle Palanok
Mukachevo Castle Palanok

This castle is famous for its turbulent history. Most eminently, for the uprisal against Habsburgs and its brave leader Ilona Zrínyi.

Currently, this castle hosts a historical museum.

Khotyn Fortress

Khotyn is one of the oldest fortresses of Ukraine. It was built in the 13th century on Dnister river banks to protect the city from Mongol attacks.

This fortress has experienced many ruthless battles and sieges. The most severe was the Khotyn battle of 1621 which ended with the defeat of the Ottoman army.

In modern times, this fortress is a popular museum, and you can see ancient weapons, execution equipment, and coin collections inside.

Khotyn Fortress

Visit Khotyn on tours:

Lubart’s’ Castle in Lutsk

Lubart’s Castle was constructed in the 14th century and intended to serve as a residence for the last Prince of the Principality of Galicia–Volhynia.

Lutsk castle

The first floor of the castle is now below ground because the ground-level has risen since the inauguration of the castle. 

Inside the castle, you can see many exhibitions of historic objects such as furniture, ceramics, tools, and weapons. There is also a book museum, an art museum, and the only Bell Museum in Ukraine.

Western Ukraine is a diverse and interesting region with many great tourist places.

However, as a foreign tourist, you need to do your research and be adaptive. Be ready, that if you are traveling to the countryside, the bus drivers most probably won’t speak English. Use online maps and translation tools to help you. In addition, some of the roads may be full of potholes and transportation might take more than expected. So plan your trips with a margin.

We offer you to take a look at our tours in Ukraine to enjoy a comfortable and hassle-free holiday in our country.

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