Winter holidays in Ukraine: immersion in Carpathian fairy-tale

What to do in winter in Ukraine?

Winter is the right time to get out of home. One may think this season is grey and dull. Probably you have not found your holiday destination yet? Traveling is a perfect way to brighten up life. Winter holidays in the Carpathians encompass vivid emotions and unforgettable impressions. With picturesque mountain landscapes, traditional food and drinks, historical landmarks, relaxing thermal-baths and natural beauty, Trans-Carpathia is ready to embrace you. 

Here are 6 options not to miss during winter holidays in the Carpathians

1. To see the unique landmark of Old Ruthenian architecture – Tustan

Not far from the village of Urych, southward of Boryslav city, in Eastern Beskids, a one-of-a-kind construction, Tustan, is settled. It is a Medieval rock detinets fortress and the custom-house of the 9th – 16th centuries, Old Ruthenian rock complex. 

Tustan used to serve as a defensive and administrative center as well as the custom-house on the important salt way that led to Transcarpathia and Western Europe from Drohobych. As time effaced the boundaries of the states, Tustan lost its significance and was consigned to fate. Today you can see the remnants of the barrier, corridors, stairs, caves, vaults, and wells. Along with the Urych rocks, Tustan is included in the National historical and cultural reserve. It is definitely worth being seen by travelers. 

[National historical and cultural reserve “Tustan” in Urych village
[National historical and cultural reserve “Tustan” in Urych village
Tustan used to serve as a defensive and administrative center as well as the custom-house on the important salt way that led to Transcarpathia and Western Europe from Drohobych. As time effaced the boundaries of the states, Tustan lost its significance and was consigned to fate. Today you can see the remnants of the barrier, corridors, stairs, caves, vaults, and wells. Along with the Urych rocks, Tustan is included in the National historical and cultural reserve. It is definitely worth being seen by travelers.

A wonderful idea for a short family weekend is to visit Tustan taking the one-day winter tour “The Carpathians for 1 day”.

You may  also be interested in having a rest in the Carpathians.

2. To indulge yourself with thermal baths in Kosyno

We feel a little happier when we care about ourselves. Treat yourself to a little pleasure, the rich thermal baths of Transcarpathia. It is hard to imagine a wonderful winter holiday without thermal pools.
It is not a secret that hot mineral water has a positive impact on your skin and body. Pores get cleaned and your body refreshed. 

Where to go to experience thermal baths? Hit the road to Berehove, a small Transcarpathian city known all around Ukraine for its thermal sources. Visit “The Kosyno thermal waters”, a super modern relaxing complex that offers 5 pools and 7 saunas. The water in the pools is unique for its composition and chemical properties. The landscape around is picturesque since the thermal complex is located in the oak grove.

Relaxation complex “Kosyno Thermal Waters”

Berehove also possesses one more comfortable place. It can be perfect to have a rest with children since it houses the only covered thermal pool in Ukraine. This is a relaxing complex called “Zhaivoronok” (“The lark”). The water in this complex is rich in health-giving properties since the pools are filled with natural mineral water right from thermal boreholes. You can take a bath in the pool during the tour “10 gems of Transcarpathia”.

Thermal pool “Zhaivoronok” (photo by Andy-pix)
Thermal pool “Zhaivoronok” (photo by Andy-pix)
Thermal pool “Zhaivoronok” (photo by Andy-pix)
Thermal pool “Zhaivoronok” (photo by Andy-pix)

Besides Kosyno and “Zhaivoronok” you can visit the relaxing complex “Zolota Hora” (“The gold mountain”), located not far from Uzhhorod. The complex includes four modern pools, two of which are placed indoor and three outdoor, the temperature of the water reaches 29-39 degrees. The water is rich in healing properties and compositionally similar to the thermal waters of the best resorts in France, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Thermal complex “Zolota Hora”
Thermal complex “Zolota Hora”

You can immerse in winter spa holiday in the Carpathians during the tours:

3. Skiing! And the Hutsul folklore at Bukovel

It is hard to imagine holidays in the Carpathians without skiing. What else can give the portion of adrenaline and excitement if it is not a mountain down-run? Or snowboarding that is getting more and more popular in Ukraine. Afterwards, pleasantly relax with a cup of tea and mulled wine, laced with a picturesque view on snowy hills. Perfect! You can take a ski trip with your kids to have a family vacation or alone to have some rest and escape the city’s rush and routine. 

Skiing at Bukovel
View to the skiing resort of Bukovel

Bukovel traditionally offers dynamic skiing activities and quality service. But not only skiing! You can also join excursions to get familiar with the culture of one of the most interesting ethnic groups of the world, the Hutsuls. You can visit the museum “Hutsulshchyna” (“The Hutsul Land”) located in Kolomyia. 

Visit Verkhovyna, it is also quite an interesting place. Here you can stay in a real Hutsul manor house, visit the museum, the Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, and have a photo session wearing Hutsul clothing. 

A photosession in traditional hutsul clothes
Verkhovyna. A museum by the movie “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”
Hutsul party. Traditional hutsul dance “Arkan”

Roman Kumlyk museum of musical instruments is also engaging to visit. The museum was opened on January, 7 2000 and it is settled in a family house. It took the owner 30 years to collect the exposition. The museum displays different household items, ancient Hutsul clothes, working tools, money symbols of different times and many other things telling about everyday life of the Hutsuls. The collection of musical instruments is a special gem here.  

Trembita playing in Roman Kumlyk museum of the Hutsul lifestyle and musical instruments
Trembita playing in Roman Kumlyk museum of the Hutsul lifestyle and musical instruments
A collection of music instruments at the museum of Roman Kumlyk

You can go skiing and get familiar with the Hutsul during our skiing tours:

4. To visit ancient palaces and castles

The Winter Carpathians are not only skiing and thermal baths, but also exciting excursions. Trans-Carpathia offers quite a big number of them to visit. One of the most beautiful and romantic is the Schönborn counts’ palace, settled amidst the picturesque Carpathian Mountains. The castle has a so-called astronomical structure. It has 365 windows (equalling the number of days in the year), 52 rooms (equalling the number of weeks in the year), and also 12 entrances (equalling the months in the year). Pay attention to the pond in the garden in front of the palace: the owner of the park decided the outline had to feature the map of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Schönborn family palace is included in the top 10 most beautiful castles in Ukraine. 

The palace of Schönborn

Another well-known castle, Palanok, is situated on the volcanic mountain. It used to be the most durable fortress in Ukraine, constructed in the 14th century by prince Fyodor Koriatovych and enveiled with the heroic glory thanks to princess Ilona Zrínyi.

The most durable fortress in Ukraine – castle “Palanok”

The fortress looks like a cascade of terraces with different constructions: walls, towers and buildings, consisting of three parts: Upper, Middle, and Lower castles. There is a huge exposition of the historical museum, picture gallery and art salon inside the castle. 

Inside the castle of Palanok

The Mukachevo Castle “Palanok” is one of five fortresses in Europe that has never been taken by storm.

Castles are included in the tours:

All of these tours are perfect for both a family winter holiday with kids, and a romantic trip with your significant other. 

5. To visit a deer farm at village of Iza

Iza village is the real capital of willow weaving in Transcarpathia. Willow-weaving activity here goes back to ancient times, in the course of years this craft has been improving and getting more and more popular. In the village, you can buy different souvenirs made of willow – starting from plain ones to real masterpieces. They offer woven baskets, furniture, lampshades, vases, pet boxes, and many other different things. If you want, you can ask them to make something especially for you. 

Iza village is the capital of willow weaving in Ukraine
Iza village is the capital of willow weaving in Ukraine

Another peculiarity that will surely be interesting for children; this is the only farm in Ukraine where they breed dappled deer, located not far from Iza village. The territory of the farm spreads over 60 hectares with 150 deer grazing on it. You can look at the deer only through the fence, but there is a possibility to feed them right from your hands. So don’t forget to grab the animals’ favorite, biscuits, on your way!

Deer farm in Iza village (photo by Ivan Kmit)
Deer farm in Iza village (photo by Ivan Kmit)

Spot the deer and enjoy winter holidays in the Carpathians during tours:

6. To taste the best cheese 

Transcarpathia is not only the land of wine. It is also known for its cheese! To taste the latter, head for Nyzhnie Selyshche village located in the landscape foothill of the Carpathians 15 kilometers northeast from the administrative center, Khust city. 

“The Selyshche cheese factory” in Nyzhnie Selyshche
“The Selyshche cheese factory” in Nyzhnie Selyshche

Today “The Selyshche cheese factory” produces three cheese varieties: “Selyshche”, “Khust” and “Narcissus of the Carpathians”. At the cheese factory, they will give you an interesting excursion, first at the factory itself, then in the basement to taste cheese and drink a glass of Transcarpahian wine. At the end of the excursion, you can buy the cheese you like the most.

Delicious tasting at “The Selyshche cheese factory” (photo by O. Khmelnytsky)
Delicious tasting at “The Selyshche cheese factory” (photo by O. Khmelnytsky)

Indulge yourself with cheese and more, during “The cheese and wine tour around Trans-Carpathia”

Iza also houses one more cheese factory called “Baranovo”. It offers 15 varieties of dairy products and four varieties of own-produced sausages. Some products are made according to special recipes that no cheese factory in Ukraine possesses. You can visit this place taking the tour “10 gems of Trans-Carpathia”

Cheese factory “Baranovo” in Iza village
Cheese factory “Baranovo” in Iza village

One more interesting thing: not far from the Vynohradiv Chorna Hora there is a farm called “The Carpathian Bull”. Now the farm keeps more than 30 Carpathian bulls you can watch, and also try and buy different varieties of bull and sheep cheese.

Cheese tasting at the bull farm in Vynohradiv city
Cheese tasting at the bull farm in Vynohradiv city
Animals at the farm of “Carpathian buffalo”

Take the tour, , to visit the farm and taste bull cheese:

For those who are so adventurous they want to visit all the best places in Ukrainian mountains, we’ve got the tour “6 days in the winter Carpathians” during which you can visit castles, taste cheese and relax in the thermal baths. It is a great opportunity to get together with friends or family and have a winter holiday in the picturesque mountains. 

Take our winter tours and explore the many places to visit in the Carpathians.

Have fascinating trips!

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