All travelers always face a question how to best explore a new destination: on their own, with a private guide or by joining more cost efficient group tours. When our customers question us about the best ways to see Odessa we suggest them either joining our group walks or booking a private tour. Each option has its own advantages. In this blog post we are going to look at the top five benefits of a private tour. We list them randomly, as each of us has his own priorities.
The Italian story of Odessa goes back a long way, centuries before the city’s foundation. In the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, the Black Sea region was so familiar to the Italians that adventurers like Marco Polo in the late thirteenth century could write: “We have not spoken to you of the Black Sea or the provinces that lie around it, for there are so many who explore these waters and sail upon them every day… that everybody knows what is to be found there. Therefore I say nothing on this topic”.
A little bit of Italy in Odessa
Kandinsky, Babel, Zhabotinsky, Gilels, Oistrakh. These are just a few names from an endless list of musicians, writers, painters and other Bohemian types whose lives are connected with this beautiful city. Founded on a steep deserted Black Sea cliff at the dawn of the eighteenth century, Odessa, only a hundred or so years later produced a fare share of prominent names in literature, art and music.
When I was creating Odessa Walks tour agency I set myself a goal: I wanted all our guests (we prefer calling people who attend our tours “guests” as opposed to an absolutely impersonal word “customers”) to really remember their time in Odessa. So, I thought a lot about what makes a private tour a memorable experience? Having been in business for almost five years now and drawing on experience of doing tours in four different destinations, I am confident with the answer (which will not come as a big revelation to many of you): a fantastic guide and a well-planned tour route. Exactly in this order. Because often times, a well-planned route can be changed with a few spontaneous ideas generated by tour guests and it takes a great guide to smoothly fit the changes into the tour itinerary. Those who’ve taken the tours know what I mean J – “we want to see the things, which have just come to our minds on top of what’s in the itinerary and within those initially agreed 5 hours J”.
Launched in 2011, original Odessa Walks food tasting tour is certainly among our and our guests’ favorites. Authentic restaurants each with a different flavor. Variety of delicious local foods. Insider views into eating traditions. And in between the food stops you walk through the city’s historic quarter in a comfortable walking pace exploring its landmarks and off the beaten path areas. What can be better?!
Ukrainian port of Odessa is considered by cruise lines and travelers sailing the Black Sea a real highlight of a Black Sea journey. “Pearl of the Black Sea”, “a lively artistic and cultural centre”, “Southern Palmira” – these are just a few descriptions of the destination, mentioned in the adverts. So, let’s look at what is so special about Odessa.
Kiev. Lviv. Odessa. The order may change, but these three cities are a must visit among most of the international travelers touring Ukraine. And rightfully so. Each city has its own enchanting story, which hugely impacted its architecture, culture and spirit and made it a highlight on the Ukrainian travel map. For those who want to immerse in Ukraine’s rich and diverse history a visit to all three cities provides an excellent chance to do so.
Since we are passionate about Odessa, live in this beautiful city and do business here, we’ll talk about Odessa. What has made it so special and why we think you absolutely must visit our hometown.
With just a few days left till the end of the last autumn month, we are looking forward to welcome winter to our part of the world, yet reminiscing about beautiful autumn colors in Odessa’s historic quarter. Here’s a quick video about how beautiful Odessa was this November. Enjoy watching and if you have not been here yet, we do hope you put Odessa on our travel list and visit us in the near future! 🙂
Having called at Constanta (Romania) and Varna (Bulgaria) a week ago, ms Prinsendam (Holland America cruise line) closed the 2015 cruise season in the Black Sea. So, it’s now time to sum up its results.
How did this season go for us? Honestly, much better than the last year’s. While we certainly missed all the 100 cruise ship calls, which we used to get in 2012 and 2013, we were thrilled to welcome those few, which called on Odessa, Constanta and Bulgarian Varna, Nessebar and Burgas this year. And we tried to make the most out of the situation both for the travelers and ourselves.
Windstar cruises Star Pride was one of the first cruise ships who visited us this year. She called on Odessa on May 24 with around 200 passengers aboard. The weather was gorgeous, simply perfect for touring. Since the cruise line included a visit to the National Opera and Ballet House into the cruise itinerary, our guests had only till 1.30pm to see the city. As usually, we ran group walks on this day (but started the morning one half an hour earlier than scheduled to cater to the Windstar travelers schedule) and private tours. And it certainly looks like both our guides and guests had a great time. Here’s one of the guest’s comments: “I emailed Odessa walks and had the pleasure of dealing with Olga to arrange everything – she was super flexible and even changed our itinerary slightly at my request up to the day before the tour. Our guide Jane was super informed but still fun and had a great balance between history and information about current day Odessa. 5* for sure.”