Odesa

This Southern city has a lot of nicknames. “The Sea pearl of Ukraine” is, perhaps, the most popular one.

And this pearl shines – day and night! 

Here you’ll find 19th century architecture rubbing shoulders with a unique urban city flavor. Talented sense of humor trenches here upon the real everyday wisdom. For starters, visit ‘Privoz’ which is the main city market. Go to the fish stall or the old shopping stalls, and be ready to listen, see and remember.

Dried and smoked fish at the city market Pryvoz
Photo: jaras72, Shutterstock

To experience the real Odesa you should walk along its unique yards which are located in the historical centre and in the Moldavanka district. As most of the houses in the city center had been built before the revolution, almost all of Odesa’s yards are two – or three-storied, closed and picturesque. 

Old courtyard in Odesa
Photo: Lex Shi, Shutterstock
Grape branch in the sunlight in Odesa yard
Photo: Photo_Olivia, Shutterstock

A well developed gastro tourism scene, fantastic fresh seafood, never-ending night life that attracts people from all over the world (check out the Arcadia district), waterfronts, beaches in and around the city – you will definitely fall in love with Odesa. You have absolutely no choice!

Our top 3 (unobvious) recommendations

  1. Visit the Catacombs! 

The Odesa catacombs are the former underground quarry where stones were mined to build Odessa in 19th-20th centuries.This is a huge and fantastic network of labyrinths and tunnels extending for 3,000 kilometers under Odesa and its suburbs!

Underground Odesa catacombs
Photo: Alina Filatova, Shutterstock

The catacombs served as the partisan headquarters during the WW2. 

Don’t try to get there alone – it’s easy to get lost at this labyrinth. 

  1. Honour the noble opera house with your presence!

A true architectural masterpiece can be found in the city center of Odesa – the National Opera and Ballet Theater. In the 19th century its construction was entrusted to the famous Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer, the authors of the magnificent theater buildings in many European cities. In 2008 Forbes Magazine named Odesa Opera Theater among its ‘11 exceptional Eastern European sights’.

Beautiful panoramic view of the Odesa State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater early in the morning without people
Photo: LALS STOCK, Shutterstock

However, it’s not only beauty that makes Odesa Opera House a true highlight of the city. The theater’s repertoire impresses audiences with a variety of more than 80 performances paying special respect to the works of Ukrainian composers. Moreover, Odesa Opera House is one of the few theaters where organ music concerts take place.

And if you happen to visit this Southern Ukrainian city when the Odesa International Film Festival is taking place, you will see the longest red carpet in Europe meeting distinguished guests just in front of the theater building.

  1. Try diving! 

Not everything is to be found on the surface. Join one of the diving clubs and explore underwater Odesa

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