Keep Odessa on the top of the list if you are planning to visit Ukraine. It is located on the bank of black sea so it is the biggest sea port of the sea. This is a wonderful place filled with beaches and beautiful yards. You can visit this city of romance and love in affordable amount.
Why should anyone visit the city?
The most prominent feature of the Odessa holiday is the sea side and beaches. You can roam around at the beautiful scenic places at the black sea. You can stay at the beach resorts, hotels, lodges and try some of the delicious cuisines of Odessa. It is the largest Black sea port so you can watch huge cruise liners taking visitors to explore the Black sea.
How does one get to the destination (airport, ferry or others)?
Odessa international airport offers daily flights to almost every major tourist destination of the world. You can select a variety of best airlines to and from Odessa.
Railway service of Ukraine is very affordable and comfortable to travel. You can easily reach Odessa from different cities of Ukraine. You can see the train schedule and book ticket online from the website. Different counters at the main hall of station exchange e-vouchers for tickets. All routes start and end at the main station Odesa Hlavnaya.
Buses are available to travel to the shorter distance from the Pryvoz Bus Station. However, you can book a bus seat from the Central Bus Station to travel to longer distance. Pryvoz Bus Station offers some coaches to travel for longer distance.
Highways are very well maintained and well signposted so you can easily manage reaching Odessa by road. There are plenty of filling stations so you do not need to worry about the fuel. Highways are unsafe late at night.
You can reach many destinations connected to Odessa with sea. The schedules and tickets can be obtained from the website. Ferries of Odessa also stop on many other Black Sea Ports.
Is the city safe? What areas are not safe?
Some sidewalks are crumbling, not repaired or have large holes, mostly in the inner city sides. You have to be careful especially while walking in the night. There are abundant pickpockets in every corner of the city. You have to be very careful in crowded places, tourist attractions, busy streets and public transportation.
What’s the weather like?
March to May is the spring season that is moderately cold. It is the slowest time of tourist crowds. You can get wonderful deals and a pleasant weather to visit the city.
June to August is the summer season with a comfortable high temperature and very little precipitations. The tourist crowds start in June and remains coming until August. Travel and accommodation costs are also high.
September to November is the season of fall. Temperature starts becoming colder but remains pleasant. Tourism remains on peak during the fall season and prices of hotel and accommodation as well.
December to February is the coldest time of the year. There is a fair amount of rain and snow. Tourism becomes very slow and the prices of travel and accommodation becomes less.
What languages are spoken in the area? Is English spoken?
The official language of Odessa is Russian. The dialects are influenced by Yiddish and Ukrainian. Many locals in the city center and people related to tourism industry speak English language. Try to stay in the main tourist areas and use taxi instead of regular city bus to avoid interaction with only Russian language.
What’s the local currency?
Is US Dollar widely accepted?
The official currency of Odessa is Hryvnia. People gladly accept US dollars so there is no issue of currency exchange. You can exchange the money from exchange offices or airport. US Dollars and Euros are the most convenient currencies to carry in Odessa. Euro is more popular than USD.
What are the best areas or districts to stay in the city?
Kievskyi District is the second most prestigious area of Odessa to stay. There are a number of educational institutes, restaurants, cafes, bars and shopping areas. It has an easy access to the beaches, museums and a lot of other attractions.
Malinovskyi District is the touristy neighborhood. This is the western part of the city with many research and design institutes. There are 19th century buildings, household areas, cottages and a lot of residential areas.
Suvorovskyi District is the industrial area located on the eastern coast of the Black sea. Many attractions are near and it is easily accessible by public transport. You can get to city center in 40 minutes by bus.
Primorskyi District is the best area to stay in the heart of the city. It has a plenty of colorful architecture, old buildings, National Academy Theatre of Opera and Ballet, clubs, bars, beaches and much more.
What’re your top 3 hotels (budget, moderate, luxury) and why?
Frapolli is only 3minutes walk away from the National Academy Of Opera and Ballet. The rooms are very comfortable with free Wi-Fi access, mini fridges, TVs and desks. Upgraded room have balconies with many amenities. However, suites have living rooms and whirlpool tubs in bathrooms.
Hotel Gagarinn is located near the Gagarinn Plaza Shopping center. It has a very nice location with tram stop, Chorne Sea and many eateries. Rooms are adorned with art work, have their safes, free access to Wi-Fi and other amenities. Suites and upgraded rooms have sea views and sitting areas.
Hotel De Paris Odessa – Mgallery is located near the Potemkin Stairs from 19th century and Lanzheron Beach. It is a luxury hotel with stylish interior, free Wi-Fi access. Rooms have minibars, designer toiletries, tea and coffee makers, living areas and balconies. Hotel offers a bar, restaurant, complimentary parking and gym. It is a pet friendly place.
How does one get around the city? Taxi, Uber, similar apps, ATVs?
Trams and Trolley Buses are a very cheap way to get around but they become very crowded sometimes. There is no conductor so you have to pay to the driver. You have to see the stop yourself because mostly there are no signs. It is not for the first time travelers of Odessa.
Taxi is the easiest way to get around. You can easily get different taxi apps in Odessa to use. Uber is also frequently available. You can use Shark Taxi and Taxi bond as well. You have to call the number to book a taxi in Odessa. However, you can operate Uber app like it is used around the world. Uklon is also like Uber. Here are some of the taxi service numbers whereas operates might not speak English.
- Euro-Taxi +380 (48) 777-4-555, +380 (482) 333-400
- Optimalne Taxi +380 93 332 4444 (mobile)
- Pantera-Express Taxi +380 (482) 342000
- Prometey Taxi +380 (482) 355355
Can you highlight the Top 5 MUST see sightseeing?
Primorsky Boulevard is the home to the tall mansions which are turned into hotels and museums. There are Potemkin stairs and Istanbul park. You can see many monuments like statue of Duke of Richelieu in Roman garb. He was the first governor of Odessa.
Odessa Passage is the most favourite place for the shopping lovers. It belongs to the 19th century. The well-developed shopping passage is covered with a glass canopy and metal. This shopping passage has a hotel at the three top floors. You can see many sculptures used to decorated this place.
City Garden is the oldest park of the city. It belongs to the 18th century whereas it was the private property of the brother of Jose de Ribas. It has iron lanterns, paved paths and flowerbeds which are protected with iron fences. Beautiful pavilion and fountain area is used for the summer theatre and recitals. It appears more sophisticated.
Odessa Opera and Ballet Theatre is the amazing cultural center belonging to the 18th century. You can see the beautiful and technical details of the architecture in the day time. It is the best place to witness the Opera and Ballet performances.
Archaeological museum is the oldest museum that dates back to the 18th century. This museum displays the archaeological finds from Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Egypt. There are almost 170,000 collections. The coin collection contains 50,000 exhibits from ancient Greece and Russian Empire.
What’s the best place to take a photo?
Odessa has a lot of places to click some fabulous photos for your travel itinerary whereas the best recommendation is the Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art to click some amazing photos of the famous artists like Abraham Bloemart, Rubens, Gerard David, Francesco Guardi and many others. It is constructed in a nobel sky blue mansion belonging to the 18th century.
What about the top 3 restaurants?
Alexandrovskyi is the amazing place located in the 19th century mansion. It was made by Joseph Konelskiy, a famous merchant, collector and philanthropist of Odessa. You will get amazed by the delicious food and classic ambiance.
Sophie café is the most relaxing corner of the city. This is the best place for the people looking for a calm ambiance and delicious food. The menu has a huge variety of European, Ukrainian and French food.
Kumanets is located in the city center. It is a good option for the vegans because their menu has many vegan dishes. The restaurant is designed with traditional embroidered shawls, spinning wheels, vintage things, jugs, wooden burning stove and many more.
What about the top 3 breakfast places?
Kompot serves typical Ukrainian breakfast. You can get delicious food items to add in your morning meals like pancakes, cottage cheese, croissants and coffee. There are many branches of Kompot in different places of Odessa.
Jardin is a beautiful romantic garden. This is the best breakfast place for couples. The interior is cozy and inspired by the French and Italian style. You can spend a wonderful time in a pleasant atmosphere.
Dacha Restaurant is known as dacha summer cottages with gardens among the locals. It is designed as a cozy rural place. There is a beautiful garden, wooden furniture and a fire place. This place offers six menus recognized by different relations like Dad without Mom, Mom and child etc.
What’s the one thing you MUST eat in the city?
Odessa has a huge variety of food to try. Many restaurants offer international dishes. The best and unmissable one is the plov with black sea mussels. This dish came from the nomadic tribes of Odessa and inspired by the food from the Black sea.
What about food markets?
There are many places to have food in Odessa. You can buy fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, fresh seafood and a huge variety of street food. Some of the best food markets are:
Khalis food market – farmers market
City food market – fresh fruits and vegetables
Odessa food market – food joints and cafes
Where should one go at night? Any bar/nightlife areas or districts you recommend?
Nightlife Odessa is the home of entertainment in the south of Ukraine. It is located near the black sea so the beach area becomes filled with huge crowd of tourists during summer season. The city also offers an amazing nightlife. The party areas of Odessa are divided by the seasons.
Beach areas have many summer clubs where you can enjoy water sports in the day time, dance and music in the night. The crowds turn to the city center during winter. Avoid taking taxi from the nightlife areas and use Uber, Uklon or other call cab services.
Any rooftop bars or restaurants that you recommend?
Panorama is the best place to enjoy wonderful food and drinks. The restaurant offers a sea and park view whereas it is not open but covered with a glass top.
Nautilus Lounge Café is the modern style restaurant with amazing sea and promenade views. It is an amazing place to enjoy an evening.
Can you recommend the best shopping areas? Best shopping mall?
Fontan Sky center is a famous place where most of the locals buy their needs. It offers furniture, clothes, accessories, sports goods, household, perfumery, computer products and anything you name. There are stores of Adidas, Moschino, Chesterm Polo, Levi’s, Guess and many more.
Afina Gallery is located at the heart of the city. It is a seven story shopping mall with a huge variety of shopping. You will find many local and international brands in the mall.
Do you recommend any tours outside the city? Islands? Boat Tours?
You can plan a day trip from Odessa to following places.
- Wild Odessa Catacomb
- Odessa Ecological river tour in nature park
- Jewish Heritage Tour
- Nuclear missiles base tour from Odessa
Are Casinos allowed? Blackjack tables? If so, what’s the best Casino in town?
According to the law of Ukraine gambling is illegal so there are no casinos in Odessa. This law is not applicable to the lotteries.
Any last advice for people visiting the city?
- Tap water is not suitable for drinking so you need to buy bottled water. Light blue capped bottle is water and dark blue one is soda water.
- Avoid going out in the areas other than the city center at night. The streets are not safe in the night because snatching and robbery is very common.
- You can buy a plenty of handmade crafts and souvenirs at the local markets in Odessa.
- Use only official taxi services in the night and avoid using the random taxi services to go to the suburbs of the city.