Rural towns and villages, resorts and wellness spots, mountain peaks and hiking trails – the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine have something to draw in every traveller. Surrounded by pure nature and perfect for exploring all year round, this is the definitive guide to Ukraine’s most picturesque and thrilling destination.
Ukraine’s vast territory makes it an amazing destination for hiking. However, the most exciting trails are located in the Carpathian Mountains. One of the highest mountain ranges, Chornohora, is worth seeing, as people say you can observe the panorama of the whole Western Ukraine from the top. Another trail to take is the Marmarosh massif, which lies on the border with Romania. At 1,940 metres (6,364 feet) high at its peak, this trail is especially beautiful in spring and summer when the greenery, colourful flowers and berries cover the mountaintops.
If you want to challenge yourself while in the Ukrainian Carpathians, why not try to climb the most popular (and highest) mountain peak, Hoverla? The hike may take a while, but as a result, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view that opens from the height of 2,061 metres (6,761 feet) above sea level.
If you don’t have the time or opportunity, there are plenty of lower but no less scenic mountain peaks to conquer. Brebeneskul rewards climbers with a beautiful crystal lake carved by glaciers. Pip Ivan is perfect for history lovers, as you can explore the abandoned observatory at its peak, named White Elephant. The peaks of Menchul, Turkul or Hemba also offer incredible views.
If you have the choice of staying in either a large city or a rural town, go with the latter every time. This is where you’ll be able to experience the local colour and plunge into the real, authentic Ukraine. For instance, the alpine settlement of Dzembronya is where virgin nature is interwoven with ancient customs and traditions that visitors can witness, such as the collecting of herbs by a real molfar (a person who is believed to have supernatural and healing abilities) or a traditional Hutsul (ethnic group inhabiting the Carpathians) church wedding.
The villages of Synevirska Polyana and Lazeshchyna are centres of green tourism for visitors wishing to get off the beaten track, offering an unforgettable experience of exploring the forests, collecting mushrooms, using the water from a natural source and living in a tent or wooden house. Meanwhile, Yasinia is known for the stunning wooden Church of the Ascension – a UNESCO World Heritage site.
There’s no region in Ukraine more saturated with natural wonders than the Carpathian Mountains. You’ll be delighted to discover the magic of Synevir Lake, which features a tiny island in the middle that looks like the pupil of an eye. Shypit and Probiy waterfalls, located near the largest Ukrainian ski resorts, provide a wonderfully mysterious backdrop to any photo opportunity or picnic in any season. Meanwhile, the valley of blooming daffodils is a phenomenon you can spot only once a year; in May, thousands of tourists come to the Carpathians to witness this incredible miracle of nature.
The Carpathians aren’t just for fans of sightseeing or hiking. During the winter season, several popular resorts (Bukovel, Drahobrat, Slavske, Izky and Play) welcome tourists who can enjoy sports such as skiing and snowboarding, snow tubing and sledging. You can make your visit complete by taking the opportunity to taste Ukrainian and regional cuisine in numerous restaurants and cafés or climb the mountain peaks. In summer, camping in the Carpathians helps you disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the modern world and relax in the stunning surroundings.
The fresh mountain air, calming atmosphere and healing resources of the Carpathian wellness spots attract people from all corners of Ukraine and the world. Opened at the beginning of the 19th century, Truskavets is a resort where you can find 14 different kinds of mineral waters in which to relax and rejuvenate.
Shayan is a budget-friendly alternative to the well-known Georgian Borjomi resort and a perfect destination to improve your wellbeing in general. The healing properties of its mineral waters are used for internal and external applications. For instance, whirlpool relaxation, therapeutic baths or vacuum massage are the most popular services among visitors. For thermal waters like in Hungary, come to Berehove, which offers warm, relaxing swimming pools and baths.