A cruise along the Dnieper is the perfect way to experience the best that Ukraine has to offer. With a length of 1,420 miles, 680 miles of which lie in the country, the Dnieper is the third largest river in Europe after the Volga and the Danube.
It originates at the foot of the Valdai hills to the northwest of Moscow in central Russia and from there, traces a route through Russia before making two huge loops through Belarus and Ukraine before emptying into the Black Sea at the town of Kherson. From the 8th through to the 11th centuries, Vikings invaded and settled parts of Ukraine and Russia and established the first trading posts on the Dnieper to provide access to the markets of the Orient. As a consequence, the Dnieper also became known as the Amber Route. With a wealth of fascinating history to explore, it comes as no surprise that Dnieper River cruises are a popular choice with many river cruisers.
A Dnieper cruise generally begins in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, before passing through gently rolling hills, vast, green forests and rich agricultural lands. Along the way, you’ll pass ancient villages, historic sites and modern industrial complexes before you cross the northern Black Sea from Kherson to the legendary Ukrainian shoreside towns of Yalta and Odessa. With ancient cities and grand monuments to uncover, Dnieper river cruises offer the perfect way to experience Ukraine’s rich history and culture.
Ukraine’s famous capital is the perfect place to start your Dnieper journey. It’s one of the largest cities in the whole of Europe and also one of the contrasts, playing host to a wealth of historical buildings and also being something of a hotbed for scientific development. Its myriad Byzantine and Baroque structures are instantly recognisable thanks to their green and gold-topped colouring, with particular highlights being St Sophia Cathedral and the Cave Monastery. For a historical overview of the Ukrainian nation, be sure to visit Pirogovo Open-Air Museum.
Historically one of Russia’s premier holiday resorts, Yalta still oozes resort atmosphere and a stroll along the city’s main promenade, Lenin Embankment, is the perfect way to soak it up. Enjoying a coastal location is another of the city’s biggest attractions, the bountiful Nikita Botanical Gardens, which offer a wealth of stunning flora and some stunning ocean views. Culture lovers should not miss Chekhov’s House and Museum, where the famous author once lived and worked, while the city’s also home to a wealth of Russian Orthodox architecture.
Another coastal highlight of many Dnieper River cruises, Odessa is also one of Ukraine’s most well-known and popular cities. The best place to soak up the atmosphere is Deribasovskaya Street, which is a delightful tourist hot-spot and a great place to begin your tour of the city, as many of the attractions are within easy reach. Perhaps the most famous of these is the legendary Potemkin Steps, made famous by the iconic film Battleship Potemkin, with another key architectural attraction being Odessa State Academical Opera and Ballet Theatre.
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