Central & East Europe

Essential Ukraine

Photo credit: Gary Krosin

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Lviv, Kiev, and Odessa


The cradle of Slavic civilization, Ukraine offers an abundance of cultural treasures, a richness of detail, and a largeness of spirit that can make a devotee out of even a seasoned traveler. Sandwiched between Europe and Russia, this resilient region has experienced the influence of Polish princes, Cossack hetmen, Turkish khans, Russian communists, and Ukrainian poets and nationalists. On this compact journey, explore Western Ukraine’s Lviv with its European feel before flying to the glittering capital, Kyiv, and then on to the historic port city of Odessa.

Travels to:  Ukraine



  • Days 1-3: Lviv (Ukraine)

    Explore beautiful Lviv, founded in the 13th century. Wander its lovely UNESCO-listed Old Town Square, surrounded by 16th-18th century merchant dwellings. Conquered by the Poles in 1349, Lviv has a Central European feel, having survived relatively unscathed from WWII and Soviet influences.


    • Lviv’s lovely Old Town, with Prospekt Svobody, Ploshcha Rynok (Market Square), the Town Hall
    • Pharmacy Museum, its walls lined with shelves stacked with little boxes, antique bottles, vessels, and scales
    • Lychakiv Cemetery, where some of the graves are crowned with sculptures by Ukraine’s most prominent artists
    • Museum of Folk Architecture and Crafts, a 123-acre forested park outside of Lviv dotted with little villages of original wooden buildings from the 18th-20th centuries
    • Potocki Palace, the lavish beaux-arts presidential palace built in the 1800s that now houses part of the Lviv National Gallery’s European art collection
  • Days 4-6: Kiev

    In the capital, Kyiv, visit 11th century St. Sophia and the Caves Monastery, admiring the golden domes and underground tunnels lined with mummified monks. Also admire the artwork decorating Kyiv’s Metro system and stroll through one of the city’s most charming areas, the cobbled descent down Andreevsky Street.


    • Golden Kyiv, capital of Ukraine and mother city of Eastern Slavic peoples
    • St. Sophia Cathedral and Monastery with it’s golden domes, and Pecherskaya Lavra or Caves Monastery, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites
    • The Chernobyl Museum, remembering the 1986 explosion and fire at Reactor #4, only 62 miles from Kyiv
    • Andreevsky Street, lined with galleries, gift shops, restaurants, cafes and artists’ studios
  • Day 7-8: Odessa

    Enjoy the lively port city of Odessa, Catherine the Great’s naval base and strategic fort. Explore the WWII partisan catacombs and the famous Potemkin Steps on the waterfront.


    • Potemkin Steps, immortalized in Sergei Eisenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin
    • The stately Odessa Opera House, a Baroque symbol of the city
    • Catacombs where the Ukrainian partisans literally took their resistance movement underground

Dates & Prices

Please note:

  • Private trip prices vary by season and are subject to hotel availability for your travel dates.
  • Listed prices below are based on double occupancy and a 2 traveler minimum.
  • Hotel upgrades, additional nights, and solo traveler prices are available on request.

Land tour price, per person, starting from:

Call for dates and prices

What's Included

  • Tour Includes
    • Shared accommodations as noted in the itinerary. Contact MIR for hotel upgrade prices.
    • Meals, as noted in the itinerary.
    • Restaurant tips for included meals.
    • One arrival and one departure transfer. Additional arrival and departure transfers available at additional cost.) MIR will arrange for travelers to be met upon arrival and seen off on departure, whether or not we make your air arrangements.
    • Ground transportation throughout itinerary by private vehicle (Type of vehicle depends on number of travelers in your group).
    • Services of experienced, English-speaking local guides, drivers, and other staff, as noted in the itinerary.
    • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees, as outlined in the itinerary.
    • Special events, excursions, and cultural performances, as outlined in the itinerary.
    • Complete pre-departure information, including detailed packing list, reading list, and Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
    • Final document packet, including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
    • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements, on request. (Please note that international airfare is not included in the land tour cost).
  • Not Included
    • International airfare and taxes/fuel surcharges.
    • Internal airfare. (Internal airfare is quoted separately and subject to change by airlines).
    • Meals and drinks not specified as included in the itinerary.
    • Single supplement if requested or required.
    • Baggage handling.
    • Gratuities to local guides, drivers, porters, and other service personnel.
    • Expenses incurred as a result of delay, modification, or extension of a tour due to causes beyond MIR’s control.
    • Travel-related insurance including cancellation, medical, and evacuation insurance.
    • Visa fees, excess-baggage charges, airport departure taxes, vaccination and other medical costs.
    • Optional pre- or post-tour extensions.
    • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, email, laundry, and alcohol.

Activity Level

Level 2: Moderate, but Customizable

This ‘Essential’ itinerary, which is designed for private travel, features long days walking and standing, and some possibly long days in the touring vehicle. Only those fit to travel and who accept the local conditions should consider joining this program.

There is a significant amount of touring on foot, and those travelers planning to take the program as written should be able to walk one to two miles a day comfortably. Footing can be an issue and travelers should be able to negotiate cobblestones, uneven surfaces (possibly steep and/or wet), and deal with situations without handrails or ramps. In the hotels, you may find that showers/baths have steep steps up or ledges, which can become slippery and require extra caution. Some attractions are only accessible via steep staircases. Museums rarely have elevators, and hotels may not have elevators as well.

Past travelers have also encountered challenges with plumbing, bureaucratic service, variety of locally available foods, and availability and quality of public restrooms.

Accommodations in the basic program are generally three- to four-star hotels, some quite small with basic amenities and services. Upgrades may be available, please call for details.


Traveler Reviews

  • "MIR’s arrangements were excellent and we were well-prepared for this adventure into a country with which we had no prior experience. The reading list was very good, accommodations were more than adequate, and the tour itself was most adventurous."

    A. Cohen

    Valley Forge, PA

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