The second-largest country in Europe after Russia also borders it to the east and north-east, which means that it’s located in Eastern Europe. Ukraine isn’t exactly the first country that comes to mind when you plan to make your next trip, but it’s still home to some magnificent man-made and natural landmarks. This especially becomes evident in the list of 7 Wonders of Ukraine.
Even though the country is one of the poorest in Europe, it’s home to vast amounts of fertile farmlands, making it one of the largest grain exporters in the world. This means that large parts of the country consist of big open spaces which are scarcely populated, a great contrast to the country’s largest cities Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best things to do in Ukraine, tourist spots that you must check out while you’re in the country!
1. Saint Sophia Cathedral
Saint Sophia Cathedral is arguably the most famous landmark in the capital city of Ukraine, Kyiv. The building was named after the famous Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and was originally completed in the 11th century. It was the first structure in Ukraine to be ist on the UNESCO World Heritage list as well, something that happened in 1990.
The building is one of many structures in Ukraine that feature the distinctive combination of Byzantine architecture with Ukrainian Baroque. This style is easily recognized by its amazing domes which are often gilded, as is the case with this fascinating church. Today, it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ukraine and it features a museum which details the history of the church and Christianity in the country.
Official website: Saint Sophia Cathedral and Museums
2. Motherland Monument
Very few monuments in the world are as prominent as the Motherland Monument in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. It’s part of a museum by the name of “National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War” and the museum tour literally ends near the foot of this immense statue.
The statue itself is made of stainless steel and is 62 meters (203 feet). With the building below it included, it towers 102 meters (335 feet) above the city of Kyiv, an amazing sight to behold. What’s remarkable about this sculpture is that the shield depicts the State Emblem of the Soviet Union. This means that it’s an extremely controversial statue, yet a famous landmark in Ukraine’s capital and definitely worth a visit.
Official website: Motherland Motherland
Hoverla, also sometimes referred to as “Mount Hoverela,” is the tallest mountain in Ukraine and part of the vast Carpathian Mountains. This huge mountain range covers vast areas in Central and Eastern Europe and is the third-longest range in Europe after the Ural Mountains and the Scandinavian Mountains.
The most famous mountain in Ukraine isn’t that high compared to the highest mountains in Europe as it stands just 2,061 meters (6,762 feet) above sea level. This means that it’s very accessible to well-trained hikers, especially in the Summer. It’s not advised to climb this mountain in the Winter because of the freezing temperatures. And yes, the views from the ceiling of Ukraine are magnificent, that’s for sure!
4. Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
Kyiv Pechersk Lavra was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage together with the Saint Sophia Cathedral in 1990, and there’s no wonder why. This structure was originally founded as a cave monastery in the year 1051 and has since been the most important location of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe.
It’s considered to be a sanctuary in Ukraine as well and has received a special preservation status. The buildings of the complex feature the state museum, the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historic-Cultural Preserve, and the official seat of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The underground 11th-century cave system is one of the most remarkable tourist attractions you’ll ever come across.
Official website: Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
5. Koyashkoye Salt Lake
The Koyashkoye Salt Lake is one of the numerous pink lakes that can be found in countries all over the world. It’s located on the Kerch Peninsula, the main peninsula of the larger Crimean Peninsula. Even though Crimea is part of Ukraine, it’s also claimed by Russia for strategic reasons.
The algae living in this extremely salty lake produce a red hue which makes this such a remarkable natural spectacle. The color of the lake can range from pink to scarlet, a bright red color, depending on the amount of sunlight that the lake has been exposed to. Because this is a relatively unknown tourist attraction, you won’t find huge numbers of tourists lining up here as well, making it an amazingly pristine piece of nature that is worth checking out while you’re in Ukraine.
Read more on Listerious: Facts about the Koyashkoye Salt Lake
6. Potemkin Stairs
The city of Odesa is located in the southern part of the country and lies on the shores of the Black Sea, just west of Crimea. It’s the third-most populous city in the country after Kyiv and Kharkiv and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country as well. Because of its location, it’s often referred to as the “Pearl of the Black Sea.”
One of the most famous landmarks in this amazing city is a huge staircase known as the “Potemkin Stairs.” This immense staircase consists of 192 steps and was built between 1837 and 1841. It has since become the symbol of the city and one of the most popular spots for tourists to take pictures, mainly because it offers amazing views of both the city and the Black Sea.