People who travel to Kiev know that the Ukrainian capital has a vibrant night scene. It has plenty of excellent bars, cafes, and venues for top notch entertainment. But in the summer, whether you are staying in one of the fine Kiev hotels, or enjoying a budget package in your choice of Kiev apartments, you might want to take a couple of days to visit Odessa, Ukraine’s hot spot on the Black Sea.
This energetic city of over a million people is the summer vacation capital not only for Ukraine, but also for much of Eastern Europe. This is only partly because Odessa is close to some of the Black Sea’s best beaches. A major factor for Odessa’s popularity is that it has a rocking night life that attracts Ukrainians, and also draws foreign tourists away from their accommodations in Kiev and other Ukrainian vacation spots.
Arkadiya is Odessa’s largest and most popular beach. You can reach it by taking the tram. From May to September it is also the number one scene of beach club night life. This is where you can book tables in glitzy clubs so you can watch fashion shows, professional dance performances, and pop concerts. The entertainment goes on until well after midnight, and it includes opera, ballet, dramatic theater, folk music, and performances by the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra. If you’re coming here from a Kiev hotel, it’s a good idea to book your tickets in advance. Zolotoy Bereg (Golden Shore) is a bit farther away, but the beach here is fantastic. Also check out the beaches at Riviera, Kurortnyy, Chaika, Lanzheron, and Otrada. At Otrada you can avoid the steep steps down to the beach by taking the funicular. It’s inexpensive, and fun.
Wherever you go in Odessa, you will find great food. The central streets of the city are lined with cafes, restaurants, and kiosks that offer everything from fine dining to budget meals to tasty quick snacks. American-style fast food is there for people who want it, but why eat burgers and fries when there is delicious Ukrainian fare to be had? If you want to buy some packaged foods to take home with you, check out the huge grocery store in the basement of the Galeria Afena in Gretchevskaya Square.
Odessa’s night spots offer a great variety of music. Depending on where you go, you can hear standard Russian pop music, Ukrainian folk, and everything in between. The good spots have live bands and dancing. Check in advance for special promotions such as ladies free nights, and ladies only nights. For the more popular places, you might have to call as early as three days in advance to reserve a table near the dance floor.
A side trip to Odessa from your accommodations in Kiev should not be difficult. Odessa is served by road, air, and rail. A night in Odessa could very well be the highlight of your Ukrainian vacation.