Europe’s biggest country by area is Ukraine, a largely undiscovered gem due to the ongoing conflict at its borders. Over the years, Ukraine has struggled to break free from Russia’s grip and despite gaining its independence in 1991, conflicts continue. Ukraine is a fairly new independent nation and that’s probably the reason why many people are curious to know if Ukraine is in Russia. However, despite its ongoing troubles, the country is worth exploring, largely because it’s so off the beaten tourist track.
Although Ukrainians may not come across as very amiable at first, they are in fact very hospitable people. Their friendliness is visible at the colorful markets that are everywhere. You can soak in the local vibe and catch on the infectious chatter at these sprawling markets, although you may not understand the Ukranian language.
There is a lot to see and do in Ukraine with its diverse landscape ranging from the Carpathian Mountains to the river islands of the Dnieper River. Most of the country is quite flat so the folding Carpathianians are a delightful obstruction. Forested hills and rushing rivers mark this part of the land where you can get a feel of rural Ukraine. Horse-drawn carts are a common sight here as are tiered wooden churches. Ethnic highlanders called Hutsuls, dominate thifrs region.
Ukraine’s history goes far back in time but is still being shaped by the continued strife. Ancient and recent history is prominently visible in Ukraine’s cities. You can unravel the mysteries of Eastern Orthodoxy at Kiev‘s Monastery of Caves, pause to soak in the scenic view from Odesa‘s famed Potemkin Steps or embrace the charm of Ukraine’s food capital, Lviv.
Lviv has a veritable number of treats to tease your tastebuds. Pamper your sweet tooth with delicious chocolate or strudel or awaken your senses with some of Eastern Europe’s best coffee. Besides food, there is much that you can discover in this city that is also the cultural beat of Ukraine.

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