Country: Ukraine
Currency: Hryvnia (UAH)
Peak Season: July-August
Shoulder Season: May-June
Median Temperature: 10.00 C / 50 F
Main Languages: Russian, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Bus, tram, trolley, taxi
Recommended Duration of Stay: 4 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $150.00/day
Tourist Passes: n/a
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You don’t have to be royalty to enjoy the fine pleasures of Odessa. One-part Russian, two parts-Mediterranean, Odessa is truly one-of-a-kind. Situated on the southern coast of Ukraine and facing the fish-abundant Black Sea, the portside city is famous for its seafood restaurants, lavish hotels and imperial architecture—finely tuned to anyone with a refined taste. Highly coveted due to its warm location, it has suffered and benefited both the tumult and graces of housing multiple civilizations, including the Ottoman, Mongolian and Lithuanian and Greek empires. The city sheds some dark history too, which can be traced to the last years of the Russian Empire. At present, all Odessa has to offer is awe—whether one be eyeing aesthetics or just connoisseurship for food, wine and everything else in between.

Odessa boasts a confluence of Jewish, Russian, Greek and other Slavic cultures and tastes—whose specialty is, of course, trade and commerce; only in Odessa could one see such diversity in textile, craft and everything handmade. In relation, getting to Odessa by bus (or cruise which, at times, is the convenient option) is easy, whether coming from Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Russia or Turkey. See the Mediterranean face of Ukraine. Endear yourself watching opera and ballet. Catch your breath reading Pushkin’s poetry. Live to your heart’s content in beautiful Odessa.

Packing List

  • Casual, touristy clothing, but nothing short of decent because a lot of people still hold conservative values; dating and socializing with strangers at bars is quite popular here, so pack smart dresses as well
  • Comfortable walking shoes and some warm clothes, as well as an umbrella for unprecedented drizzles; bring beachwear, sunscreen, tanning lotion and a parasol for the great-but-packed shores
  • Local currency and extra shopping bags/trolleys for designer wear and handicraft shopping; though a portside and mercantile city, a lot of establishments do not honor credit cards and traveler’s checks
  • A decent camera, plenty of film and batteries for historical monuments and buildings; bring some books and portable electronics to keep you company should you opt out of the wild nightlife circuits
  • Essential medication and toiletries, with emphasis on anti-diarrheic and anti-headache pills for after-hours drinking; Ukrainian pharmacies rarely carry international brands, but most are open 24 hours

Things to Do

  • Visit without planning ahead—the city can be too overwhelming; considering how costly Odessa is going to be to the average tourist, it’s good to map out itineraries and take advantage of seasonal promotions
  • Brandish your jewelry and don’t sport touristy clothes—leave your valuables inside the hotel if possible; Odessa attracts many pickpockets and confidence tricksters due to its reputation as a tourist venue
  • Confuse Ukraine with Russia and vice versa—it can be misinterpreted; remember that you’re in a multicultural city, so avoid uttering any racial slurs and try to dismiss discussing war and politics
  • Enter a household without first knowing which pleasantries and manners to display—Ukrainians are known to be outgoing but are observant of house decorum, particularly with holidays and celebrations
  • Wear hipster clothes—odd public appearance is frowned upon and for a good reason—this side of Ukraine is “connected” to fashion capitals like Greece and Turkey, so what more could you expect?

DON'T

  • Visit without planning ahead—the city can be too overwhelming; considering how costly Odessa is going to be to the average tourist, it’s good to map out itineraries and take advantage of seasonal promotions
  • Brandish your jewelry and don’t sport touristy clothes—leave your valuables inside the hotel if possible; Odessa attracts many pickpockets and confidence tricksters due to its reputation as a tourist venue
  • Confuse Ukraine with Russia and vice versa—it can be misinterpreted; remember that you’re in a multicultural city, so avoid uttering any racial slurs and try to dismiss discussing war and politics
  • Enter a household without first knowing which pleasantries and manners to display—Ukrainians are known to be outgoing but are observant of house decorum, particularly with holidays and celebrations
  • Wear hipster clothes—odd public appearance is frowned upon and for a good reason—this side of Ukraine is “connected” to fashion capitals like Greece and Turkey, so what more could you expect?