Historic seaside charm and a lively party atmosphere come together in Odessa, the third-biggest city in Ukraine. Spot 19th-century architectural masterpieces and relics from the country's Soviet past as you stroll the grand central streets, from the Opera House to the Passage Hotel. Based on the Black Sea, the city has a sunny beachfront strip where you can make the most of the nightlife at one of the city's many nightclubs.
In Odessa, you can stay in an elegant hostel with original details like a marble staircase or even a place inspired by the palace of a 18th-century aristocrat. Want to go green? Pick an Odessa hostel that’s decorated using all-natural materials, including the bed curtains. Stays with communal spaces give you room to unwind after a day by the port, while those with self-catering facilities mean you can save money for a beer. Look out for hostels in Odessa with free Wi-Fi too, for planning your sightseeing itinerary.
Right in the heart of the city, you'll find the Primorsky neighbourhood which is brimming with things to see, from local bars to historic architecture as well as the Odessa National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet. It's also home to the pedestrianised Deribasivska Street. For a night out, head to the coastal district of Arcadia, which has been likened to Ibiza. Kievskiy district is the ideal blend of restaurants, beaches, shopping malls and bars.
When in Odessa, take the chance for a photo on the Potemkin Steps. You can stand at the bottom and look up at the optical illusion created by the 192 steps. Go underground and explore the catacombs, which were a place of refuge for partisans during World War II. For a coffee break, head to Derybasivska Street, a tree-lined pedestrianised space with plenty of local cafés. Lanzheron Beach is close to the city centre, so a spot of sunbathing is always in easy reach. If you find yourself in the industrial outskirts of town, keep an eye out for the quirky Darth Vader statue – which used to be of Lenin.
To get to the centre of the city from Odessa International Airport, catch the trolley bus to the train station. The journey takes around 20-35 minutes. From the train station, you can find arrivals and departures to and from other major cities in Ukraine. Getting around Odessa itself is easy thanks to the city's wide network of trams and trolley buses.