Kharkiv Travel Guide
Despite its location in eastern Ukraine, Kharkiv is a safe place to visit. As the second-largest city in Ukraine, it’s the de facto capital of the east.
Here, you will find beautiful churches, interesting museums, and a complete lack of tourists.
Come check out our Kharkiv travel guide as we cover the best things to do on Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Make the Annunciation Cathedral your first stop when exploring Kharkiv. Religious authorities built this church in 1888, and in time, it became this city’s most significant Russian Orthodox cathedral. Upon its completion, it was one of the tallest churches in the entire Russian Empire.
You won’t be able to miss this icon, as it is done up in a candy-stripe design that makes it stand out from its surrounding structures. Indeed, this church is an outstanding example of Neo-Byzantine architecture, so be sure to take plenty of photos.
Note that you’ll have to pay an admission fee to get inside. However, it will prove to be money well spent, as its amazing stained-glass windows and ceiling frescoes will impress even the most cynical traveller. Photographers should consider returning at night, as the exterior of the church is lit up after dark.
Once you are ready to move on, head over to the Kharkiv Art Museum. Within its walls, you’ll find 20,000 pieces of art sourced from around Ukraine and the world. This institution is a significant cultural treasure of Ukraine, as it has existed since 1805.
Its most significant collection revolves around masterpieces created by Ukrainian and Russian artists in the 19th and 20th centuries. If you are short on time, be sure to check out pieces created by Repin and Semigradsky. Entry is cheap, but do note that you’ll pay more if you want to engage in flash photography.
Are you looking for subject matter that’s just a little bit lighter? Examine the advances in technology from the Ukrainian perspective by visiting the Software and Computer Museum. Here, you’ll find specimens dating from the 1930s. It took collector Alexander Kovalenko over four years to assemble his initial collection of computers and associated gadgets. As you explore the gallery, you’ll find artifacts that include the Apple II, the first-ever laptop computer, and a first-generation iPhone.
Some exhibits in this museum are interactive. For instance, many of its video game consoles allow visitors to play games such as Pong. Take your time and have fun exploring the beginnings of modern information technology!
The birds and the bees are always a touchy subject, no matter the culture. It can be especially awkward in more conservative parts of Ukraine. To combat misinformation and misconceptions, the Museum of the Sexual Cultures of the World was founded in Kharkiv.
Dedicated to both sexual history and education, you will find many eye-opening sights within its walls. One minute, you could be looking at an ancient Greek statue of a fertility God, complete with a giant phallus. The next, you’ll be checking out displays meant to educate teenagers on the basics of sex.
If you’re travelling with minors, note that curators restrict access to those 18 years and over.
If you are travelling as a family, aside time in your schedule to check out the Kharkiv Dolphinarium. Despite its name, there is more to this place than just dolphins. It is a fully functional aquarium that features animals such as crocodiles, sea turtles, and other tropical fish.
If you want to catch a dolphin show, there are three shows daily: At noon, 3 pm, and 6 pm. On weekends, there is an additional show at 9 pm. The Kharkiv Dolphinarium closes on Monday.
While in Kharkiv, set aside 15 minutes of your day to check out the Mirror Stream Fountain. After the death and destruction of World War II, Kharkiv officials built this landmark to commemorate the fallen.
While it is a spectacular sight to see, some sources state that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a misconception – no evidence exists to back up this claim. If you have night photography skills, come by at night, as it is brilliantly-lit by multicoloured lights.
Do you love watching soccer/football? Take in a local match at Metallist Stadium. This venue hosted games during Euro 2012 and was home to FC Metalist Kharkiv before they went bankrupt in 2016.
This gorgeous facility didn’t sit empty for long, though. Shakhtar Donetsk, chased from its stadium by civil war in Donetsk, made Metallist Stadium its new home. With capacity for 40,000 spectators, there are plenty of excellent seats at each game.
After a long day spent sightseeing, kick back and relax at the Park of Maxim Gorky. Not only is it a green space with 130 hectares to explore, but it also plays host to an amusement park. Here, you can ride an exhilarating roller coaster, or a Ferris wheel, which offers amazing views of Kharkiv.