Top 15 Castles to Visit in Ukraine

According to historians, there were more than 5,000 fortifications in Ukraine during different historical periods. Of course, many of them don’t exist anymore, however, there are numerous ancient castles that have been preserved until today.

Ukrainian castles make excellent tourist attractions. Famous battles, kings, treasures, exquisite architecture, legends – there are so many interesting things! In this article, we will tell you about the 15 best castles in Ukraine that you can visit on your trip.

Uzhhorod Castle

Uzhhorod castle from above
Uzhhorod castle

This is the oldest castle in this article. Carpathian Croats, an Early Slavic tribe, built it from wood in the 9th century. Later Hungarians conquered this land, burned the castle, and constructed a new one in its place. In the 16th century, the Uzhorod castle was rebuilt in renaissance style with the help of architects from Italy.

Uzhhorod Castle

There are many things to see in Uzhhorod castle. Reception halls, a chapel, statues of heroes from myths and legends, ruins of an old church. The castle hosts a museum with ancient books, treasures, weapons, and coins. You can also see Transcarpathian traditional clothing and musical instruments.

Uzhhorod castle from above

The easiest way to see Uzhhorod castle is to participate in one of our tours:

Mukachevo Castle Palanok

Mukachevo Castle

 

Mukachevo Castle

Palanok Castle is located in Mukachevo city of Zakarpattia province. It stands on a 68-meter high volcanic mountain and looks majestic rising above the city. This castle was first built from wood by an ancient Slavic tribe. Scientists don’t know when it happened, but Palanok Castle was mentioned in the documents that date back to the 11th century.

Ilona Zrini and son Francis
Ilona Zrínyi and son Francis

The castle’s heroine is Ilona Zrínyi, the Transylvania Princess and one of the leaders of uprisal against Habsburgs.  In 1685–1688 she bravely defended the castle against the Austrian army but in the end, had to surrender after three years of battles.

Mukachevo Castle is included in several of our tours:

Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle

Medieval Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle consists of 2 parts. Its old part with towers and walls was built in the 11th-12th century to protect this land of Рrincipality of Galicia–Volhynia (later Kingdom оf Rus’) from Mongols. A newer part with earthworks and ditches was built in the 17th century. During the long history of the castle, it was transformed and enriched by the architects and sculptors from Italy, the Netherlands, Armenia, Poland, France, Turkey, and other countries.

Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle in winter
Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle in winter

The visitors of the fortress can participate in horse riding, shoot from Medieval weapons, and strike a coin. At night the building is lit with white lights, and tourists can visit the evening excursion. Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle now also hosts festivals. Most popular are the Hot Air Balloons Festival and Respublica FEST dedicated to music and street art.

You will see the fortress and take part in a river cruise on tours:

Medzhybizh Castle

Medzhybizh Castle
Medzhybizh Castle

The wooden fortress has existed in Medzhybizh since about the 11th century. Medzhybizh was part of the Kingdom of Rus, then the fortress was demolished by the Mongols. Lithuanians came to this land and rebuilt the fortress to protect themselves from the Tatars. At different stages of its history, Medzhybizh was part of Poland, the Osman Empire, Russian Empire. During Soviet times the fortress suffered destruction, and restoration works are still in progress.

Medzhybizh Castle is open for visitors. Here tourists can see collections of local traditional clothing, crafts, household, and religious items, Ukrainian art, and sculpture. There is an exhibition dedicated to the Jewish community of the town, and a museum dedicated to Holodomor (Famine-Genocide in Ukraine in 1932-33). Medzhybizh fortress hosts educational events and Medieval festival that takes place in winter and summer.


Medzhybizh is located in the Khmelnytskyi region of western Ukraine. To visit it, you can join Sofiyivka, Shevchenkove and Vinnytsia Fountain Tour.

Khotyn Fortress

khotyn fortress panoramic view

Khotyn Fortress
Khotyn Fortress

The first wooden fortress was built in Khotyn by the Slavs to protect the city from the Mongols. Khotyn city at that time was part of Rus’. This city is one of the oldest in Ukraine – it was founded more than one thousand years ago. At different historic periods, Khotyn belonged to Moldova, Poland, Osman Empire, Russian Empire, and Romania. Now it is located in the Chernivtsi province of Ukraine.

Tourists will find many interesting things here. They will listen to stories about ruthless battles and different nations that controlled this fortress. Observe its giant thick walls, equipment that was used for attacks, instruments of executions and tortures, a collection of coins.

 

You can read more about this fortress in our article.

To visit Khotyn fortress, you can choose from the tours:

Akkerman Fortress

Akkerman Fortress is located in the oldest city of Ukraine, Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Odesa region. It is believed that the fortification was built in the 13th century by Genoese, however, at that time the city officially belonged to the Golden Horde. Later this area was under the rule of the Principality of Moldavia, which modified the fortress and gave it its current look.

In the 15th century, the Ottoman Empire conquered Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi. Then, Cossacks attempted many attacks on the fortress, however, never succeeded.  In 1812, the city was passed from the Ottoman Empire to the Russian Empire. During the Soviet Union times, the fortress was turned into a museum, and now it is one of the main tourist attractions of Southern Ukraine.

Akkerman fortress is very impressive – it is the biggest fortification in Ukraine. From the Northside it is surrounded by Dniester Estuary and from the other sides, it is protected by a ditch. The fortress has three defense lines: the citadel, the middle wall, and the outer wall with towers. This outstanding place has become a popular filming location, and also a venue for festivals and knight tournaments.

Lubart’s Castle

Lubart's Castle in Lutsk
Lubart’s Castle in Lutsk

Located in Lutsk, Volyn region. This castle was built in the 14th century as a residence for the last Prince of the Principality of Galicia–Volhynia. Later it became the favorite residence of the ruler of Lithuania Vytautas. The most important event in the history of the castle is the Congress of Lutsk of 1429. 15 rulers of Europe and their delegations – in total 15,000 guests, – came to Lutsk to discuss political problems of Eastern and Central Europe.

You have to start your visit to the castle from the underground – the ground-level has risen since the castle was built, and now its first floor is belowground. The castle complex includes three towers connected by walls, a courthouse, treasury, and the remains of the John the Apostle Church and of the prince palace.

You can see several exhibitions inside the castle: ceramics, metal tools, furniture, weapons, visit a book museum and art museum. The only Bell Museum in Ukraine is also located here.

To visit Lubart’s Castle in Lutsk you can choose between Best sights of Volyn + Tunnel of Love and Volyn, Podillia and Bukovyna for 6 days tours.

Genoese Fortress

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Genoese Fortress, photo by Sergiy Klymenko, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3338350

The Genoese fortress is located in Crimea, Sudak – a multicultural ancient city founded in the 3rd century, and an important trade center. From the mid-13th century to the late 15th century several parts of the Crimean peninsula including Sudak were colonies of the Republic of Genoa. The Genoese built this fortress in 1371-1469 on an ancient coral reef which is now called Kyz-Kulle-Burun mountain. 

Protected from different sides by the sea cliff, mountains, and a ditch, the Genoese fortress was almost unconquerable. It has two parts: the lower part that protected the city from the enemies, and the upper Citadel that hosted the Genoese administration. The consular castle is the heart of the fortress. On the top of the mountain, you will see Kyz Kule watchtower (girl’s tower in the Tatar language). The fortress also had a secret mountain path. Genoese could use it when attacked to stealthily get down to the harbor and get away on their ships.

Sudak, together with the Crimean peninsula, is currently occupied by Russian and it’s not advisable for tourists to travel there.

Zhovkva Castle

Zhovkva Castle
Zhovkva Castle

Zhovkva town together with the castle was built by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth military commander Stanisław Żółkiewski in the 16-17th century. At first, it was meant to protect the city from the Tatars. Later it was rebuilt into a luxurious residence for the King

of The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with a park, zoo, and gardens.

In the following centuries, the castle changed its owners and gradually degraded. During WWI, the Russian army burned the town as well as a part of the castle when retreating. In WWII it was used as a prison and after the war as accommodation for citizens and officers.

Currently, this building is reviving. The restoration works are in progress, but the castle is open for tourists. Travelers can visit several halls with expositions and a courtyard. In addition, there is a forging shop and those who are interested can participate in smith workshops.

The castle is located at the central square of Zhovkva. The town itself is worth visiting too – it was built as an “ideal town”: well-planned, cozy and with many historic buildings. You can visit Zhovkva and the castle on our tour “Zhovkva, Krekhiv and Stradch”.

Zbarazh Castle

First Zbarazh castle was built in the 14th century and was destroyed by the Tatars twice. Its ruins are located in the village of Old Zbarazh.

The new castle was built in the 17th century when Zbarazh, which now is in the Ternopil region, was under the rule of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1649, during the Cossack rebellion against Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Cossacks led by Bohdan Kmelnytsky united with the Tatars and sieged the castle. The castle suffered damages, and several decades later, in 1675, was ruined by the Turks.

The castle nevertheless was refurbished and in the following centuries was used not as a fortification, but as a residence and military lodgement.

Inside the museum, you will find historical collections, art gallery and in its dungeon, there is an exposition of ancient torture instruments. To visit Zbarazh Castle, you can book our tours Zbarazh, Ternopil, Vyshnivets or Volyn, Podillya, Bukovyna for 6 Days.

Castles of Lviv region

The 4 most famous castles of Ukraine are located in the Lviv region. Together, they make up a popular tourist route that is called “Golden Horseshoe of Lviv Region” due to the shape of the route which is similar to a horseshoe. You can visit all of them just in one day on our Four Best Castles near Lviv tour. The castles of the Lviv region include:

Svirzh Castle

Beautiful and romantic Svirzh castle was built in 1484 in Renaissance style. Standing over a picturesque pond, it frequently has become a filming location. There is also an opportunity to participate in a hot air balloon ride over Svirzh castle and other castles near Lviv.

Pidhirtsi Castle

Pidhirtsi is a luxurious castle with fortification elements built in the 17th century. Tourist attractions here include the Baroque Church of St. Joseph, Rzewuski family vault, and the French park sculptures,  rare trees, and flowers. Another thing that interests travelers is a mysterious legend about a ghost of a White Lady and paranormal activities which, as rumor has it, happen here.

Zolochiv Castle

 

Zolochiv Castle was built in the 17th century as a fortress with a ditch and ramparts. Later Polish King built here an exquisite Chinese Palace for his wife. The castle has seen tough times. There used to be an Austrian prison, a Jewish ghetto, and NKVD jail. Currently, the visitors can view the exposition inside the castle, and in the Chinese Palace, there is a Museum of Eastern Cultures.

Olesko Castle

Olesko Castle is one of the oldest in Ukraine: it was first mentioned in the historic documents of 1327. The castle has two wings connected by a gateway, a courtyard with a well, and upstairs there is a pathway with a panoramic view of the neighborhood. Here you will find the exhibition of works of art, precious items and you can visit a nearby park with sculptures. 

To watch a virtual tour and read more about the castles of the Lviv region, go to our article 4 Beautiful Ukrainian Castles You Can Visit Near Lviv.

 

Whether you are a history fan, architecture enthusiast, or you just want to take great pictures for your social media, there are many castles in Ukraine that you will enjoy visiting. Check out our tours that include castles, pick a suitable date, and discover Ukraine!

Go to our main page to explore the best tours in Ukraine and get some ideas about how to make your time here unforgettable. 

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