When many people think of taking a European vacation they probably imagine strolling along the Seine with their lover, or seeing Michelangelo’s David in Florence. I mean, those are both two amazing things to do. However most people would even consider traveling to Ukraine. It is a country at war, the winters tend to be unbearable, and Eastern Europeans have a reputation of being unfriendly. All that being said, Ukraine is still an underrated tourist destination and one that should be on travelers radar.
What Is There To Do In Ukraine?
Ukraine is a large country. In fact, it’s the largest country entirely in Europe. This means that there is something for everyone! From adventure travelers to those just looking to relax, you can spend months exploring the country and still not tire of things to see and do.
If you are looking for a city break you can’t skip out on the capital of Kyiv, nor the cultural capital of Lviv. For adrenaline junkies you can go skiing in Bukovel, or white water rafting in Vorokhta. And if you are just a good old nature lover then camping by the sunken city of Bakota or the uninhabited Dzharylhach island could be for you.
5 Amazing Places To Visit In Ukraine
1. Lviv – A Beautiful City In Western Ukraine
The cultural capital of Lviv has a storied history. From being the capital of the kingdom of Rus to a part of Poland, the pearl of the Austrian Empire to the gem of an independent Ukraine. There are so many things to do in Lviv almost anyone can have a great time.
For dining I highly recommend a trip to the most popular restaurant in Lviv, Kryivka. This restaurant in a bunker under Rynok square is themed, but don’t let that put you off. The walls are papered with interesting artefacts from one of the most tumultous periods in Lviv history. Youc an see old military medals, propaganda posters, and plenty of old (non-functioning) weapons.
2. Bakota – A Less Than Easy Place To Go Camping Like A Local
The site of a submerged city, Bakota, is currently a reservoir connecting to the Bug river. This is a very popular camping spot for Ukrainians and there are plenty of activities you can do. I like to just relax and enjoy nature, but you can go boating, fishing, or hiking the cliffs around the area.
You will need a car to get there as public transportation doesn’t really exist, but that just means you’ll have to do a bit of car camping.
3. Dzharylhach Island – The Largest Island In The Black Sea
Dzharylhach Island is an uninhabited island in the Kherson region of Ukraine that is another beautiful place to camp. You can only get there by taking a ferry from the mainland, and there are no accommodations other than tents. Rest on the soft white sand or play with the dolphins that come very close to shore.
If you do spend some time there you have to try the island specialty – stingray borsch! This soup is made daily by the shanty little cafe near the pier. And don’t forget to see the sunset by the famous Dzharylhach Lighthouse!
4. The Pink Lake – One Of The Most Unique Places In All Ukraine
Located on Arabatska Strilka, about 6 hours by bus from Kherson City, is one of my absolute favorite places in the whole country. Officially named Henichesk Lake, this natural pink lake is an amazing sight to behold.
The color is due to a non-harmful bacteria that thrives in the high salt content of the lake. Many people even take salt home to cook with it, I know I brought a few kilos back! Make sure to wade out as far as you can go so you can see the most naturally pink section.
5. Kyiv – The Capital Of Ukraine
No list about places to see in Ukraine would be complete without Kyiv. A capital going back all the way to Kievan Rus, the city is a mix of classic Eastern European architecture and ugly Soviet commie-blocks. However don’t let the ugliness deter you. The city is lively and fun if you know how to do it right.
Spend some time at the Bukta food center on the Dniper river, or hit up an amazing pool party in the warm months. Walk through beautifully manicured parks and see the Mariinsky Palace, or visit the Pechersk Lavra – an historic cave monastery filled with the bodies of Orthodox saints.
About the author:
Alona Tiunina is a travel blogger from Ukraine who has been to (almost) every region in the country. When she is not traveling she enjoys binge watching Netflix and scouring airline tickets for her next trip.
5 Bucket List Things to Do In Valle De Guadalupe
If you want to get away for a relaxing Mexican vacation, there’s no better place to do it than Valle De Guadalupe.
Known as the “Napa Valley” of Mexico, Valle De Guadalupe is situated in the northern part of Baja California, just a short trip from Tijuana. If you live in Southern California, it’s the perfect place for a weekend trip, but people from all over should consider it as a vacation destination.
Today, we’re going to talk about 5 unforgettable things you need to experience in Valle De Guadalupe. Whether you’re looking to lounge on the beach or visit some world-class wineries, Valle De Guadalupe has got you covered.
1. Let Your Inner Wine Lover Out
The main reason Valle De Guadalupe is such a popular tourist destination is becuase of its nickname – the “Napa Valley” of Mexico. It’s one of the largest producers of world-class wine in the world (the Baja California region produces 70% of Mexico’s wine), so oenophiles flock from all around to visit the amazing wineries in the region, take tours, and even visit museums.
There’s no shortage of wine tours available to keep you busy for your entire stay, if that’s what you’re looking for. The wineries range from small family owned establishments to world-renowned wine brands, so you’ll be able to experience the full breadth of the Mexican wine industry.
2. Try Some World-Class Restaurants
Where there’s wine, there’s usually fine dining, so you won’t be surprised to find some of the best restaurants in Mexico in Valle De Guadalupe. The best thing to do is get some research done ahead of your trip and pick the restaurants you want to try, becuase you won’t be able to visit them all.
If you want to play it by ear, you might benefit from asking some of the locals where they eat. There’s no better way to experience Baja California than by doing as the locals do.
3. Enjoy An Excursion Through the Country Side
Once you’ve got your fill of great food and wine, you might want to see some of the natural beauty that surrounds the area. Fortunately, there are a couple of unforgettable sightseeing options available to you.
Fans of offroading will enjoy both the ATV or Moto Tour of Valle De Guadalupe. These allow you to experience a fun jaunt through the countryside with a trained guide. Just remember to go before you’ve had too much to drink.
Another important aspect to consider when preparing to go on an atv trip is maintenance. Take your atv into an atv repair shop to make sure it is in tip top shape before going out. There’s not much worse than getting out on the trail, sometimes miles out, and having engine trouble.
4. Or Fly Over It
If you’re not an offroad lover, then you’ve still got one amazing sightseeing option. Try out a hot air balloon ride over the valley and you’ll be treated to some truly unbelieveable views of the town and the surrounding country side, which is covered in expansive wineries. This is a serious bucket list experience.
Enjoy Your Trip to Valle De Guadalupe
So, why not make Valle De Guadalupe your next vacation destination. Not only will you be able to cross a few things off your bucket list, like taking a hot air balloon ride or visiting a tiny Mexican winery, but you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the natural beauty as well. There’s enough to do for a longer vacation, but it’s close enough for a weekender as well, which is what makes this Mexican Napa Valley so special.
If you enjoyed this post, come back again for more on travel, food, and wine.
Best Toy Stores in the World Worth Visiting
Plan your trip around your kids but make sure you throw in some parent fun too. Theme parks can be extremely expensive and exhausting, so where do you take a kid that is fun and won’t break you bank? Try taking your kids to one of these legendary toy stores, where you can play for free and who doesn’t love a toy store?
Traveling with your kids in mind is a great way to have a good vacation and what do kids like better than toy stores? If you have kids, then you know that they rule your world. If you don’t have kids, well, enjoy your freedom, haha.
No, but seriously, traveling with kids can be a nightmare if you don’t keep them busy. Have you ever seen a family traveling and everyone seems happy…? I didn’t think so, most families either do a trip for the kids or the parents, but the key is to travel for both.
Plan your trip around your kids but make sure you throw in some parent fun too. Theme parks can be extremely expensive and exhausting, so where do you take a kid that is fun and won’t break you bank? Try taking your kids to one of these legendary toy stores, where you can play for free and who doesn’t love a toy store? Toy stores bring out the child in all of us and maybe they’ll have a giant keyboard like in the movie ”Big.” Check out the best toy stores in the world and make your family enjoy traveling by catering to everyone.
Hamleys – London, England
Take your kids to the oldest toy store in the world at Hamleys in London. Opened in 1760, geez that’s old, and featuring seven floors of toy store goodness. Allow your kids to play with over 50,000 toys and not buy a single one, haha. This particular store is a busy tourist attraction, with over five million visitors yearly. This place is massive and if you can’t find something fun to play with here… you are most likely dead inside.
The Lego Store, New York, New York
Who doesn’t love Legos? The brand that began the intelligent toy movement, making kids critically think since 1932. This massive two-story store in Rockefeller center is waiting for your family to play.
Kiddyland – Tokyo, Japan
For the Tokidoki lovers in the world, head to Kiddyland in Japan for every Japanese toy ever. Well, not every toy from Japan but they sure do have a lot. Featuring strictly Japanese toys, Kiddyland is a playground for kids and adults from all over. You’ll feel like a kid immediately as the brightly colored toy store is made for fun.
American Girl Place – Chicago, Illinois
Do your kids love dolls? Then the American Girl Place is for you. Featuring every doll in their collection, your kid won’t leave here empty handed.
Playthings Etc. – Butler, Pennsylvania
The self proclaimed “world’s coolest toy store,” Playthings etc is anything but normal. The building is built to look like a stealth bomber and is completely metal, so it’s not your normal Toys R Us. The toy store that lets you play with anything is their unofficial motto. So unwrap whatever you want and play, just don’t break it or you bought it.
Nintendo World, New York, New York
Nintendo World is for the Mario heads and video game nerds of all ages. Save the princess and help your brother Luigi defeat Bowzer at this awesome shrine to Mario.
Disney Store – London, England
The most epic children’s brand, Disney has a huge flagship store in London that is radical. Feel like you are at Disneyland or world without dropping $100 per person just to get in. It’s Disney World on the CHEAP!
Prepare your kids by telling them they only get one toy and be honest. Don’t cave, the kids will enjoy themselves and the parents should enjoy themselves too.
US Issues Travel Warnings to American Spring Breakers in Mexico
Thousands of college students are preparing to head down to Mexico for spring break but some of their destinations have been declared unsafe for Americans by the U.S. State Department.
Uh oh, sounds like things in Mexico are heating up just as the spring break season is upon us. Thousands of college students are preparing to head down to Mexico for spring break but some of their destinations have been declared unsafe for Americans by the U.S. State Department. This comes right around the time of President Trumps’ new travel ban but this is more centered on Mexico’s violent drug cartels.
High levels of crime have been reported in certain popular vacation areas and our government has warned against traveling to these areas. The travel warnings couldn’t have come at a worse time, as college students are finishing up mid-term exams and their plans are already booked. Changing plans last minute is never a cheap option and college students are already strapped for cash. I guess it’s all up to you if you decide that the travel warnings are too much, so check out the evidence.
Which regions are affected and how serious are the warnings?
Recently, U.S. citizens have been targeted by Mexican Cartels in robberies, kidnappings and carjackings. The newest warnings replace ones from last April and now include 14 or Mexico’s 31 states, including popular vacation destination of Baja California Sur, Guerrero and Nayarit.
Guerrero is the most violent state in all of Mexico for the third year in a row and is home to the insanely popular destination of Acapulco.
Acapulco has been hit hardest by the recent violence as band of militias roam around the city setting up roadblocks and extorting cash from tourists. These groups are heavily armed and responsible for recent kidnappings in the area. Acapulco is now the leading murder capital in Mexico and has overtaken Ciudad Juarez as the center of the bloody cartel wars.
Acapulco is strategically located in the center of the Guerreo’s pacific coastal highway drug trafficking network, making it a dangerous place to be. The area is the largest opium producers in all of Mexico and is the most violent city in all of Mexico.
In 2014 there were 43 spring breakers reported missing in a wave of violence and riots. The city has less and less American spring breakers every year.
Cabo San Lucas
Located in the Baja California Sur state of Mexico, Cabo San Lucas has seen it sown recent trend of violent crimes against tourists. The resorts are obviously safe but once you step outside those guarded gates, the city gets dangerous fast. A huge drug cartel area because of its proximity to California and the easy route of boats to cities like San Diego and Los Angeles.
Major drug trafficking routes like the one that runs through Cabo are extremely dangerous and the U.S. State Department warns against travel here. American spring breakers would be worried and might want to change travel plans accordingly.
Cancun and the surrounding Mexican Riviera seem to be the safest vacation destinations in all of Mexico. Try changing your trip to Cancun if the travel warnings scare you as much as they scare me.
I hope you stay safe out there and follow all travel warnings.
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