Odessa – a city trip at the Black Sea

Please note: all our trip reports are independently written and based on our own experiences. All links and recommendations are not sponsored, unless explicitly labelled as such.


 

Odessa was on our list for quite a time now, finally we had a slot free for a short trip of four day to explore the city.

I flew to Odessa with Ukraine International Airlines through Kiev, had a smooth flight, but as the flight arrived in the late evening that day, there wasn’t much more than going to the hotel, getting something to drink from the 24/7 supermarket across the street and prepare with some sleep, to walk around a lot in the heat of June the next day (temperatures between 25 and 32° C during my stay). I stayed at the City Hotel Bortoli, a new hotel near the center of the city (Tripadvisor) . Unfortunately they didn’t reply to my request of an airport transfer, so I booked my transfer through http://odessatransfers.com/, contacted them by mail, got very good information, for security reasons you even get name and plate of your driver before you arrive. I paid 1055 UAH for the return transfer, which is about the same you pay for a taxi. Everything worked out good, even if the driver told me to be careful about the criminality in Odessa, but to be honest, I didn’t have any problems with it, neither during daytime, nor at night. As in every big city, everyone should act commonsensible and be fine with that.

I used my first full day in the city to explore the most important sights, so I walked from my hotel, to the Preobrazhensky Park, down the Derybasivska vulytsia where you can find a lot of restaurants, bars and shops, along the Opera to the Potemkin Stairs, over to the beach area at the Black Sea and back to the city center. That was quite a long walk, plus that it was hot, but no problem, you find small stores, cafés and bars all along the route, so you can always take a break and get something to drink. As prices in Odessa are far below Western European or North American standards, eating and drinking is also affordable for budget travelers.

The streets of Odessa give the city its charm: a lot of trees are planted along the roads, so that the city is green and walking through the city is not too exhausting during sunny weather, as the trees are providing enough shade.

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I liked the city much for this reasons, with all the old buildings in different shapes, Odessa has its own, very pleasant atmosphere.

A very nice discovery was a gallery nearby the Preobrazhensky Park, I discovered it by chance, just walking by and looking inside, it was beautiful, but see yourself:

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The entry is opposite of the cathedral in the park, at Preobrazhenska vulytsia.

Not far, you find the Opera building, a beautiful rococo style building, obviously not only a popular building to take pictures of by tourists, but for locals also, especially for wedding photography. The park and the fountain right beside it are inviting to have a break and enjoy good weather.

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From here it is just a short walk over to the most famous landmark of the city: the Potemkin Stairs. They’re not too photogenic, as from the top, you look onto the harbor and from the bottom you see nothing but stairs, but nonetheless, the architecture, that is letting you see the landings only when looking from above and making them invisible when looking from the bottom is quite interesting. Plus, those are some huge stairs.

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For those of you who are a bit lazy: no worries, there’s a funicular right next to the stairs, so you can take it back up.

I took a walk from here to the beach. The access road to the harbor you need to walk for some 600 meters is not a treat for the eyes, but as soon as I walked up to the stadium to get to the beach promenade, I felt better again, walking through a nice park that gave a lot of shade during that hot day. Additionally I really enjoyed the view onto the harbor from above, one can perfectly observe the work going on there.

The beach in Odessa is divided into public and private areas, the public ones are packed during good weather, while the private areas that cost a few bucks of entry fee are not too full, so you can have a relaxed day at the beach. There are many bars and restaurants along the beach promenade; I sat down in one to have a drink. The beach makes Odessa a good destination for travelers looking to combine a short city and beach trip.

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From here I took a walk back to the city center to spend the rest of the day (it was already late afternoon) in bars and restaurants.

My second full day in the city was a day I used to relax. I took walks through the nearby parks, had some good food and drinks in different places around the city and browsed through the Afina Center Mall. During a hot summer like this, a day of relaxation after exploring most of the city the previous day was something I really liked.

Odessa was a really interesting city, I liked it for its beautiful old architecture, friendly people, good food and affordable prices on almost anything. I will definitely come back here one day to enjoy the city one more time.

As I went to many restaurants and bars during my stay here, here are my favorites:

  • Hot Chococlate, sweets and pastry: Lviv Handmade Chocolate (Tripadvisor)
  • Affordable and tasty Georgian food: Kinza (Tripadvisor)
  • Good local and international beers: Pivnoi Sad (Tripadvisor)
  • Great steaks and drinks: Steakhouse. Meat & Wine (Tripadvisor)
  • Best Burgers in Town: Sailor Jack (Tripadvisor)
  • Stylish bar, specialized on Absinth and other Spirits: Zelda (Tripadvisor)

 

How to get to Odessa?

Getting to Odessa from within Europe is possible by car, coach or train for sure. Odessa’s Airport is not too big, but anyways it offers some good connections, so you can get here from almost all over the world. Here is a choice of airlines serving Odessa (as of Summer 2018): Ukraine International Airlines (via Kiev), airBaltic (via Riga), Austrian Airlines (via Vienna), Belavia (via Minsk), Czech Airlines (via Prague), flydubai (via Dubai), LOT Polish Airlines (via Warsaw), Onur Air (via Istanbul), Pegasus (via Ankara), TAROM (via Bucharest) and Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul).

If you like to use a search engine to look for the best prices, use some like www.momondo.com or www.skyscanner.com.

 

Thank you for reading, we hope we were able to give you some interesting tips and inspiration for your own trip to Odessa.

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