Visit the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev
The Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves) is a stunning complex of domed churches and museums dating back to the 11th century. It's been called the cradle of Russian monasticism and is a sacred historical site which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A must-visit for tourists in Kiev for its unique underground caves, buried monks, and spiritual atmosphere.
You Should Know The Kiev Pechersk Lavra is an active monastery dedicated to Christianity but welcomes visitors of all faiths to experience its rich atmosphere.
Admire Saint Sophia Cathedral
An outstanding example of Kievan architecture and one of the city's most recognizable landmarks, the Saint Sophia Cathedral was designed to rival the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (then Constantinople). Located in the historic center of Kiev, the cathedral has immaculately preserved interiors and an astounding collection of frescoes and mosaics.
You Should Know Join a guided group tour to enjoy the cathedral to the fullest. Private guides provide narrated tours during which you can learn about the rich history of this holy place of worship.
Explore Exciting Zaporozhye
A former Cossack stronghold, Zaporozhye has one of the deepest river locks on the continent which will raise your ship a dizzying 11 stories. Zaporozhye is also home to one of the biggest hydroelectric dams in Europe. There's lots to do in town. Don't miss the chance to watch Cossack horsemen show off their acrobatic equestrian skills. Or head over to Khortytsia, a large river island teeming with animals, birds, and plants, as well as a reconstructed Cossack fort.
Best Time To Visit If you love the outdoors and want to enjoy warm-weather activities, the best time to tour Zaporozhye is from late May to mid-September.
Discover Kherson, a City Founded by Catherine the Great
Named after the ancient settlement of Chersonesus, Kherson is a riverside port city and hub of Ukraine's shipbuilding industry. For visitors, it's the ideal place to explore quaint villages and get a glimpse into rural life. The Askania-Nova wildlife reserve harbors antelopes, zebras, and dozens of bird species. Another interesting attraction is the Ochakovsky Gate, a remnant of the 18th-century Kherson Fortress.
You Should Know Craving some McDonald's? Fabrika, Kherson's single-story mall features a range of international and local brands and plenty of fast-food joints and coffee shops.
Spend a day exploring Odessa.
Often called the Pearl of the Black Sea, Odessa is a city of elegant parks, leafy streets, and sandy beaches. Walk along Primorsky Boulevard, stop at the famous Potemkin Steps (there are 192 of them!), or take a guided tour of the Odessa Art Museum, housed in the grand Potocki Palace.
You Should Know If you've grown tired of the same old excursions with boring historical facts, visit the Odessa Catacombs, a maze of fascinating abandoned mines and underground tunnels used by Soviet partisans during World War II and later by smugglers.
Enjoy Vibrant Constanta
Located on the west coast of the Black Sea, 185 miles from Istanbul, the ancient city of Constanta is more than just Romania's largest seaport. Tracing its history back 2,500 years, Constanta was founded by Greek colonists, but later conquered by the Roman Emperor Constantine and named after his sister. Now, historic monuments and ancient ruins vie for attention with a grand casino and touristy shops.
You Should Know Constanta is the focal point of Black Sea coastal tourism, so you'll be spoilt for entertainment choices with plenty of nightclubs, cabarets, and open-air restaurants.
Visit the Stavropoleos Monastery in Bucharest
Home to the largest collection of Byzantine books in Romania, the Stavropoleos Monastery in Bucharest is an Eastern Orthodox Monastery built in the Brancovenesc style. Taking its name from the Greek word Stauropolis, meaning the city of the cross, the monastery also has a large collection of music books.
You Should Know Just across the road from the Stavropoleos Monastery is Bucharest's most popular eatery, Caru' cu bere (the beer wagon), housed in a historical building. Stop for lunch and sample some authentic Romanian cuisine like skinless sausages (mici) or a rustic stew.
Sail the Spectacular Iron Gates Gorge
Sailing through the magnificent Iron Gates Gorge is an exhilarating experience. Here, the river is forced into a narrow channel that forms the border between Serbia and Romania. The tranquil beauty of the gorge is interrupted only by monuments like a marble tablet erected in memory of the Roman Emperor Trajan and an imposing sculpture of Decebalus, his opponent.
You Should Know If you absolutely must see the Iron Gates Gorge, a top attraction in Europe, choose one of the longer Dnieper River Cruise itineraries, such as the 18-day cruise starting and ending in Prague.
Relax on the sundeck
The best part about the Dnieper River Cruises is that you don't have to be active every day. Sit back and relax on the sundeck of your river cruise ship or in the privacy of your stateroom balcony as you sail past picturesque lakes and tranquil Ukrainian countryside, with sunflower and fruit fields adding a splash of color to an otherwise monochromatic green landscape.
You Should Know A Dnieper River Cruise is a great choice for people looking for a relatively quieter vacation. No barges, tankers, or boatloads of tourists. All you'll likely encounter are some fishing boats.