Located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, Odessa enjoys warm summers to go with its glorious sandy beaches. Odessa is also famed for its cosmopolitan city life and elegant neo-classical architecture. The biggest draw of the city itself is the Old Town which is abundant in grand buildings and boulevards designed with a certain Mediterranean flair. The Old Town is also dotted with perfectly manicured parks most notably the City Garden (Gorodskoy Sad), where visitors can enjoy a picnic by the musical fountain and watch some outdoor theatre.
Essential activities in the city include a wander along the famously grand Primorskiy Boulevard followed by a walk down the famous Potemkin Steps, an iconic piece of architecture that also serves as a visual illusion. Browsing the boutique stores found within the upmarket Passage Gallery is a favourite pastime for shoppers. The city also boasts a healthy portfolio of museums including the Maritime Museum and Sea Port Museum which both trek the story of the city’s maritime importance and the Archaeological Museum and Odessa Region Museum which each pay homage to the city’s past. Fans of the arts can enjoy the Picture Gallery, the Museum of the Cinema, the Museum of Western and Eastern Art and the Literature Museum.
In the evening it is worth buying tickets to the Odessa Opera which plays out in one of the city’s most iconic and beautiful buildings, the Neo-Baroque Opera House. Visitors may also want to try to see the Odessa Philharmonic, which is also housed in a grand historic building.
Be sure to save a couple of days for the beach, especially during the summer months. The Lanzheron beach is found close to the city centre and is good for families as it’s also next to the Dolphinarium. Arcadia Beach is ideal for a full day and evening entertainment as it offers a range of beach facilities, shops, cafes and bars.
Odessa enjoys a warm temperate climate which is much more pleasant all year round than the continental climate of Kiev. Peak season is during the city’s summer months from June to September when visitors can expect sunny beach weather and warm sea waters. It’s cheaper to travel outside of these times, however, and the best time to get a deal but enjoy mild weather would be during the shoulder seasons of April – May or September – October. On the 2nd September Odessa enjoys its city birthday and prices may be more expensive during this weekend. On the 1st April the comedy festival can also see prices rise as can the Mayday celebrations in early May. However during all of these celebrations the city is a magical place to be.
An extensive public transport system is available in the form of trolleybuses or trams. Passengers can buy tickets from the conductor once aboard. If there is no conductor, exit through the front and pay the driver at end of journey. A minibus is another very common form of transport in the city. There are no stops however, so you will need to hail one. Take a map to show the driver where you need to alight and then pay as you exit the minibus.