The following schedule will give you an overview of what to expect on our 8 day Odessa tour. Remember that this is just an outline, not all inclusive and subject to small changes. We strive to be flexible and accommodating at all times so last minutes changes can be met.
After traveling for the last 20+ hours the last thing you want is a rushed and hurried first day. We have planned this day to be slow paced and relaxed. We want you refreshed and ready for day 2!
Most of the international flights coming into Odessa arrive sometime between 2:00PM and 4:00PM. However, if your flight arrives outside these times be assured we will meet you when you do arrive. If you have an option when booking your flight to Odessa please keep these times in mind. When you walk off the airplane in Odessa you will walk down a flight of steps. There are no concourses in Odessa. At the bottom of the steps look for a person holding up a sign that will say “Go Ukraine Tours”. Identify yourself to this person and you will be seated in our company van. When everyone is on board we will collect your luggage and proceed to V.I.P. passport control then customs. This is an exclusive expedited service that we provide to our clients and it only takes a few minutes. There are no long lines and no waiting! Then we will head for the city center.
Once in the city center we will escort you to your own private apartment that has been reserved just for you. You will be given time to unpack and rest up a little. We will pick up everyone around
6:00PM and conduct a short familiarization walking tour of the city center. We will point out the closest ATM, convenience store and general orientation of the area. This is a slow paced, easy, walking tour that will only take about 30 minutes.
After our short walk we will go to one of the nicer Ukrainian restaurants in the area. This restaurant was hand-picked by Anna and me to provide you with a good overall exposure to true Ukrainian dishes. At this time each person (or couple) will be given a cell phone to use while in Ukraine. It will be pre-programmed with the numbers of Steve, Anna and our staff. This is so at any time day or night you can reach one of us for any needs you may have. This will also be a good time for any questions to be asked. This first meal is provided as part of the tour package, so enjoy! After dinner you will be driven back to your apartment for a much needed good night’s rest.
About 9:00 AM the next morning we will all meet for breakfast. Then the tour really starts in earnest. Most of day 2 will be a walking tour conducted at an easy pace with lots of time for rest and sightseeing. We will see many of the traditional sights narrated by a professional English speaking guide with vast knowledge of Odessa and Ukraine. Because of the small size of our groups we encourage you to ask any and all questions that you may have.
In the early afternoon we will go on a boat excursion leaving from the local dock. After the boat ride we will return to the city center for an enjoyable meal at “Fanconi”. This is another one of the fine local restaurants. They specialize in sushi and have set the local standard for this fine dish. However, if you are not a sushi lover there are many other great dishes from Ukrainian to almost any western dish you could think of.
After dinner it will be a 2 minute walk to the famous Odessa Opera House. There, you will enjoy an evening performance in one of the premier opera houses in all of Europe. Be sure and bring your camera as the only time you can see inside is when you have a ticket for a performance!
We will start the day early as we have a long drive today. We will eat breakfast then load up in our van for a three hour drive to Vilkovo. Vilkovo is a city built on a river and canal system. Sometimes it has been called a “Venice of Odessa” but there are not a lot of similarities. This city is and its people live just as they have for many hundreds of years. They still make their own canoes. They grow gardens and take the produce to market by floating down the river. They live in houses built right on the banks and live by fishing and what they can grow in their gardens. It has many UNIQUE characteristics and you will be conducted on a tour designed specifically for you by us. We will be staying in a small riverside resort where you can fish, relax, play volleyball or just talk with new friends. In the evening the locals will be preparing an outdoor riverside grill and BBQ. If you are the angler in the group you can even have your “catch of the day” prepared right along with the rest of the meal! We will be spending the night in small one room cabins. They are modern and comfortable but have no phone or TV. But who wants to watch TV on vacation anyway? There is just too much to do!
Since we will be spending the night away from Odessa you will need to plan on bringing a small overnight bag with you. On day one of the tour we will be passing out small “gym bag” style bags, one for each person, just for this purpose. Because of the space limitations in the van every person can only bring what they can put in this bag. So PLEASE plan accordingly! Again, it will just be for one night.
About 8:30AM we will pick up everyone in our van and drive to Belgorod-Dnistrovskyi. After a short breakfast it will take about an hour and a half for the drive. In Belgorod you will visit the ancient fortress dating back hundreds of years. This area is rich in culture and history. This will be part of the old Ukraine that many tourists fail to see on most tours. After the fortress and museum you will visit the wine culture center. There you will see where they have been making wine for hundreds of years. Even though the region and culture dates back for hundreds of years the winery is a new and modern example of one of the finest wineries in Europe.
We will return to Odessa in the early evening. We will dine in an open air café located adjacent to the famous “Lock-Bridge.”
Today will be a little more relaxed and at a slower pace than the day before. The morning will be free for you to choose where and when to eat. You may prefer to stay in and sleep late and make your breakfast in your apartment or you can select from many of the wonderful restaurants close by and within easy walking distance. We will meet and do some morning shopping. There are many wonderful stores and vendors scattered around the city and this will be a good opportunity to by those much sought after souvenirs! As a group we will have a light lunch and then everyone will be in for a REAL treat.
We will be spending the afternoon in a REAL Russian Banya. This is an experience that you do NOT want to miss! Nothing can really prepare you for what is to come but this will be fun! We will be going in two different groups, the men in once place and the women in another. Be thinking about, steam rooms, pools of cold water, massages, and hot wet tree branches being gently slapped on your skin. With a little beer or vodka to help you relax and the world will suddenly look like a better place! You will be talking about this for years to come!
In the evening we will eat dinner at a truly unique place. “The Dacha Restaurant” is an Odessa landmark. It has great food, an outdoor location and just plain fun. It will be the perfect end to a perfect day.
We will meet for a group breakfast and then off to the catacombs. Odessa has a vast expanse of limestone catacombs underneath it. These all started off as a natural formation but were expanded in the 17th century by the local residents. The very town and many of its buildings were built from limestone excavated from these limestone caverns. These caverns were used during World War 2 to hide from the occupying Germans. We will be visiting both the natural and the man- made extensions of these. The natural formations that we will visit are not open to the general public. We will have an expert tour guide to lead us and he will show us many places that very few people get to see. Again this is a UNIQUE tour that you cannot find anyplace else.
No visit to Ukraine or Odessa would be complete without a trip to the beach. Odessa has many beautiful beaches and we will spend the afternoon with the locals just relaxing, soaking up the sun and enjoying the fresh clean air. You will be able to swim in the Black sea, lie in the sun or just sit under an umbrella and sip a cold beverage or two. This is a premiere people watching spot and a good place to relax and read a book. There are many shops and kiosks waiting to be explored.
We will spend the evening at eating at one of the fine seaside restaurants. After dinner we will attend the evening performance at the “Dolphinarium.” This is a classic Odessa attraction and is a lot of fun. Later we will watch the sun go down and watch the stars come out while we enjoy a story book evening at the seashore.
After breakfast we will go on a local bus tour around the city. We will visit what has been referred to as “criminal Odessa.” This is another unique excursion and you will have to experience it to really understand it.
Most of the rest of the day will be spent either on or around the thriving Odessa beach areas. We will visit Arcadia Beach. This district has many fun places. The architecture is both new and old and is an entire separate city from the rest of Odessa.
You will have a chance to swim in the Black Sea, go shopping or just relax for a few hours. In the early afternoon we will begin the pinnacle of our tour. The Gypsies! We have arranged for a group of performing gypsies to entertain us for the evening. You will experience true gypsy life and culture. They will sing, dance and perform for us while a special evening meal is prepared for you right on the beach. You will get to experience authentic gypsy life that is not usually seen in other places. This is a great experience.
We will return everyone back to their apartments in the early evening so you will have time to start packing for you flight home the next day.
At the end of the evening we will return to Odessa.
The following morning at about 11:00AM we will be picking everyone up and will be heading for the airport. It will have been a fast 8 days and we hope everyone will have enjoyed it. We at goukrainetours.com have gone to great efforts to design a tour that you cannot find anyplace else. We are confident that this will have been a TRULY UNIQUE experience and hope that you will tell all of your friends about us.
I hope to see you in Ukraine very soon!