For the last 24 years, Ukraine has been an independent country. At least, formally. In reality, it’s development was stagnant due many internal issues, as well as external dependencies. Making it, not so independent.
Things started to change recently, thanks to daring Millennials generation. Who initiated internal processes that manifested in the revolution of dignity, also known as Maidan. And although now the country is in war with Russia, there are some amazing things under way, which make Ukraine an exciting destination for travellers looking for inspiration, and to get involved in something special.
Those who are concerned about the safety should remember that the war takes place only in a small area in the east of Ukraine. The majority of the country operates business as usual, and it is wide open for travellers. So if you haven’t yet considered visiting Ukraine, you should.
Here are my top three reasons why this is a great time to travel to Ukraine now.
Ukrainian society is now fully conscious, as far as their identity and future is concerned. It can be seen in various public events that are organised to support the army, as well as in the regular conversations taking place in local bars, cafes, and in the streets.
Not to forget about thousands of migrants from Crimea and the east of Ukraine, who moved to the Central and to the Western Ukraine. Every one of them has their story to share, and a different future ahead of them. Many are being taking care of by the social volunteers helping with housing and advice in their new cities.
Volunteers are shaping the future of the country at this very moment. Some are involved in the army, and in support of the military operation. Others are helping to develop a civil society. Anyone can volunteer in Ukraine, even if you are a foreigner.
Beyond the volunteering, Ukraine has one of the most dynamic startup communities in Europe. Since Maidan, it has become an active participant in the civil society. You can engage with this community through numerous events being held in the local startup hubs.
Ukraine hasn’t been globalised quite to the same degree as the majority of Europe has. That means that it still remains a very authentic country. You can see it its culture, and traditions, as well as in the nature.
No Christmas and Easter are quite like Ukrainian ones. Especially in the west of the country. Where the traditions of ancestors have mixed with the new ones, to create something unique. Children here still go from door to door singing Christmas carols, often dressed in distinctive costumes of saints and animals. While adults gather together around the Christmas table with traditional twelve dishes. And on the Easter families hand-paint the Easter eggs.
Staying with the locals is always a great idea. Services like airbnb.com can help you with that. Also, there are many festivals where you can feel the spirit of Ukrainian holidays. Particularly in Lviv, often referred to as the cultural capital of Ukraine.
To be specific, you will see more of your money. The value of local currency Hryvnia has diminished by 100% percent since the war has begun. And even though the prices have somewhat increased, now coming from abroad you can afford much more for your Euro, Dollar, or Pound than a year ago. And even then Ukraine was considered to be a cheap place to go.