11 Ways to Explore the Ukrainian Wilderness

The most beautiful ridge in the Carpathians
The most beautiful ridge in the Carpathians | © Хіраш Володимир / WikiCommons
Maria Sibirtseva

Ukraine is an extremely diverse destination for travellers. Every single trip to this Eastern European country can easily become your unforgettable memories. Whether in the Carpathian Mountains on the west or incredible natural reserves on the south, you will have a life-changing experience and discover the genuine spirit of the Ukrainian wilderness.

Raft the rush of Southern Bug River

Southern Bug River is the only large river that flows solely on the territory of Ukraine. It stretches for 500 miles (806 kilometers) and captures Bug Guard National Park—one of the local seven natural wonders. Because of the rapid flow and steep cliffs, the area is a popular spot for extreme sports. For instance, a lot of people are rafting the river, hiking along its coast or practicing alpine skills on the rocks at the Aktove canyon.

Southern Bug River

Book a mystical tour to the Exclusion Zone

If you are not surprised by mountain wilderness, there’s an opportunity to explore the Ukrainian Exclusion Zone. Despite the past events, Chernobyl is a Radiation-Ecological Biosphere Reserve nowadays. It is a popular destination for the courageous and curious, those not afraid to meet wild animals and face the thrilling legacy of the catastrophe. Before heading to Chernobyl, you should know that the city has a special curfew, but there is a hotel to stay at overnight.

Chernobyl exclusion zone

Watch an incredible sunrise at the peak of Hoverla Mount

The Carpathian Mountains is definitely the most magical place in Ukraine. There are so many fascinating views, that it is impossible to name the best one. However, the widest panorama can be observed from the top of the highest mount in Ukraine Hoverla—6,761 feet (2,061 meters). Those who have conquered the peak of the mountain claim to have seen the most incredible sunrise of their lives.

View from Hoverla Mountain

Gaze at the stars in the abandoned observatory

Another must-visit spot in the Ukrainian Carpathians is the abandoned observatory on the Pip Ivan mountain, which is the third highest peak after Hoverla and Brebeneskul. White Elephant (Biały Słoń) meteorological station was built by the Polish in 1938. It stopped functioning after the second world war but still remains visited by tourists. Some come here to explore the destroyed building, while others prefer to camp nearby and gaze at the starry sky at night.

Starry sky

Ride the 1,130-meter trolley in Bukovel

Bukovel is a famous ski resort in Ukraine, known not only for amazing infrastructure and high slopes but also for the longest trolley in the country – 3,707 feet (1,130 meters). Such an adventure is a chance to feel the wild spirit while descending the steep rope on the height of 623 feet (190 meters). It will take just 100 seconds to fly from the top of Bukovel Mount to the very centre of the ski resort. Skiing here is available all year round.

Trolley ride

Surf the sand dunes of Ukrainian Sahara

Ukraine is a country with a unique geographical location. On the west, one can travel to the ski resorts and conquer mountain peaks; the south amazes with two seas (the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov) as well as an unbelievable phenomenon of a desert.

The Oleshky Sands is a part of the national nature park of the same name. Locals call it Ukrainian Sahara and find it an engaging hiking trail. In addition, the area is perfect for a jeep safari. Just imagine the feeling of freedom when driving the sand dunes of the largest sand arena in Europe.

Oleshky Sands

Hike to the banks of Synevir Lake

The miracle of the Ukrainian Carpathians is located at an altitude of 3,244 feet (989 meters) above sea level. Many call it the Sea Eye since a small island in the middle resembles a pupil of an eye. Synevir Lake is covered in mystery and legends. One such legend says that these waters heal, thus lots of tourists come to the Sea Eye to cure their illnesses. Moreover, the lake constitutes the most beautiful hiking route in Ukraine.

Synevir Lake

Detox from social media on Kinburn sandbar

The Kinburn sandbar is a place where you can relax body and soul from the crazy city bustle, enjoy the silence, sunbathe, swim and dive. Here you will not find any venues and usual beach entertainments. Kinburn sandbar is the 28-mile-long (45-km) peninsula, so get the tent from the storeroom, head to the south of Ukraine, find the spot you like the best, and do a complete social media detox for yourself.

Kinburn sandbar

Freeride in Slavske for adrenalin

Slavske is another popular ski resort in Ukraine; however, it is visited for the reason of steep free ride routes. Since it starts snowing quite early in the mountains, from the middle of November to late April, the resort turns into a mecca for adrenaline lovers. It is situated just 88 miles (138 km) from the city of Lviv, therefore, many locals come to Slavske for a weekend. In general, there are 11 trails, which are available for both beginners and professionals.

Slavske ski resort

Climb the Hawk’s Eye Rock for the breathtaking view

Hawk’s Eye Rock is a significant geological monument of nature. It was shaped in a form of an arch (thus resembling an eye) as a result of erosion. At the foot of the rock on the north side, there’s a small cave, which travellers like to explore. The real highlight of the Hawk’s Eye Rock is the view, that opens up from the top. It is dangerous climbing up, but the breathtaking panorama on the Carpathian Mountains is definitely worth making an effort.

Hawk’s Eye Rock

Hitchhike Central Ukraine through

Unlike some countries, hitchhiking is allowed in Ukraine. Thus, it is easy enough to find a vehicle or a person to take you as a companion for a nominal fee or for free. Travelling around Poltava and Kirovograd regions, you will be able to see the obscure part of the country, which has a lot to offer for lovers of beautiful nature.

Summer blossom

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article