Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe, which lies at the northwest end of the Black Sea, with Russia to the east, Belarus to the north, Poland to the northwest, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, and Romania to the south west and south, with Moldova in between. Geographically, it is the largest country within Europe, with a land area of 603,628km2 (233,062 sq mi). Ukraine has been known as a global breadbasket because of its vast, fertile farmlands. In fact, it was the third-largest grain exporter in the world in 2011. Besides being one of the most attractive agricultural land acquisition regions, Ukraine also has a well-developed manufacturing sector, especially in aerospace and industrial equipment. The World Tourism Organisation ranks Ukraine as the eighth most visited country in Europe.
Ukraine is teeming with beautiful and historical places worth visiting. The Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is comprised of six separate locations, with 90% of the reserve made up of virgin forest that serves as home to rare flora and fauna. The extensive Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra is a famous pilgrim site. Besides being the holiest ground in all three East Slavic countries (Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus), its tight cluster of gold-domed churches and underground labyrinths lined with mummified monks hold a certain charm to both tourists and pilgrims alike. Visit the streets of the entrancing Andriyivsky Uzviz, which is filled with Ukrainian crafts, Soviet memorabilia, matryoshky dolls, and several other unique goods. It is home to the Bulgakov Museum and literally the early home of the author of The Master and Margarita himself, Mikhail Bulgakov. It is also home to the National Museum of Ukrainian History, which exhibits archaeological and historical artefacts. Visit the redesigned and rebuilt Kamyanets-Podilsky Fortress, with nine towers varying in shapes and sizes and linked by a strong wall. It has a museum located beyond the New East Tower, which houses exhibits that tell the history of Kamyanets-Podilsky and Ukraine. Meanwhile, the open-air Pyrohovo Museum of Folk Architecture, is a beautifully and well-maintained rustic building worth visiting. Go see the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ploshcha Rynok, and its old market square at the centre. Other notable places to visit are the beautiful Sofiyivka Park and the stunning Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve.
How to get around within Ukraine
The fastest way to navigate around big cities is by marshrutka (routed taxicabs). You can also get on a minibus, which follows routes like the regular buses do. The state-owned Ukrainian Railways operate the trains in the country, which follow a system similar to Russians. However, Ukrainian trains are rather older and slower compared to European standards, but rest assured that they are punctual, reliable, and cost-effective. If you choose to drive around in a car, you must strictly follow traffic rules, especially speed limits. Buses pretty much cover the entire country. The two major bus companies that ply to and from all of the major cities in Kiev are Avtolux and Gunsel. Another relatively cheap alternative of navigating around is by plane. Ukraine International Airlines offers low-cost flights and WizzAir, which offers flights between Kiev and Simferopol, also offer flights at competitive prices.
How to get there
If you’re getting in by plane, the cheapest way is through the Boryspil International Airport (KBP) near Kiev, with main international hubs including Budapest, Frankfurt, London, Milan, Munich, Oslo, Prague, Rome, Vienna, and Warsaw. Some of the numerous airline that serve the airport are Austrian AUA, CSA Czech Airlines, LOT, Lufthansa, Alitalia, Air France, British Airways, KLM, Norwegian, Ukraine International, as well as low-cost carriers such as Wizzair and AirBaltic. If you prefer to get in by train, there are daily direct overnight trains from Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Warsaw, Belgrade, Bratislava, Budapest, Bucharest, and Sofia to Lviv or Kiev. A fast way to get through the border is by scheduled buses (compared to trains). If you are coming from Istanbul, Georgia, Varna (Bulgaria), you can get on a ferry. Driving is also possible if you’re coming in from Poland or Slovakia.
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