While Ukraine may not be your first thought when it comes to a beach holiday, the country’s coastline has plenty of long sandy beaches to rival the south of Spain.
Spits of soft sand stretch out into the Black Sea and the warm shallows of the Azov Sea are perfect for paddling. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider Ukraine as a beach break destination, and these are the best beaches to start your visit with.
Enjoying a position in a sheltered sandy bay on the Black Sea, Odessa has long been a popular beach holiday spot for Ukrainians. It’s a small, cultural enclave of literature and music where leafy boulevards house Baroque opera houses. In summer, folk flock to Lanzheron beach – which is as white-sanded as any beach in Ibiza. Following the sealine along the coast, there are concrete beaches, rocky outcrops and boardwalks where people spend the day fishing, barbecuing and lazing in the sun.
Koblevo, on the Mykolaiv coast of the Black Sea, is a place of restoration and relaxation. The steppe herbs that scatter the hillside down to the sea are said to have healing properties – and there’s the undeniable pull of the wide, sandy beaches for a restorative stroll. Kobleve Beach has bone-white sand dotted with loungers and laid-back beach clubs, along with a wooden pier jutting into the azure sea – and during the summer, a huge inflatable slide provides a little adrenaline rush.
The port city of Berdyansk is blessed with a spit of soft sand, stretching out into the Azov Sea. Known as the “shallowest sea in the world”, the waters of the Azov Sea are easily warmed by the sun, creating perfect swimming and floating conditions. There’s a bit of buzz to this resort town as the sea mud is said to have healing properties and mineral springs pull in the crowds for a spa-style break.
This long, sandy spit is crowned with a water and amusement park, ideal for a family day at the beach. Fringing the shallow Azov Sea, the water is usually warm and sheltered enough for swimming and paddling. Hotels and guesthouses line the sand, creating a resort atmosphere and ensuring a healthy selection of places to eat, drink and shop.
The port town of Skadovsk has a couple of sandy platforms that slip into the shallows of the Black Sea. Families head here for days of ice cream and inflatable fun at the beach, courtesy of the slippery obstacle course at Bryhantyna. A handful of casual beach-side eateries fuel the day and boat trips run from the pier to the nature reserve of Dzharylhach Island.
Dzharylhach Island is a beach destination in itself, where a long spit of sand and marshland sits beneath Ukraine’s south coast. The water here is ethereally turquoise and the sand is white as sugar. There’s no accommodation on the island, but boats run from Skadovsk – and you can camp on the beach while enjoying a couple of canteen-style restaurants. The island is a nature reserve, home to an abundance of wildlife and, if you’re lucky, you might spot some dolphins off the shore.
This long, sandbar of a beach is jam-packed with things to do – banana boats zip through the water and parasailors soar on high. The sand is dotted with parasols and loungers and the shore slips gently into the Black Sea for a kid-friendly place to paddle. There’s an aquapark with twisting slides and pools for all ages and several water sports centres cater to every interest. In summer, this place gets busy and it’s easy to see why.
The Central City Beach in Chornomorsk is a popular spot for weekends away and can get very busy in summer. But, following the concrete walkway along the shore, you’ll find several sandy bays which are blissfully quiet, even in peak season – that’s if you don’t mind a bit of a walk. Along the coast from the city, Wild Beach is hemmed in by cliffs where golden sand meets the Black Sea and further along, Plyazh Sanzhiyka is an almost deserted stretch of sand with turquoise shallows.
This is an updated version of an article originally by Maria Sibirtseva.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.