Wassily Kandinsky, one of the founders of abstract art, moved to Odessa with his parents in 1871, at the age of five. Since then for forty years his life in many different ways was connected with the city at the Black Sea.
The largest in Ukraine collection of antiquities of northern Black Sea region. One of the four world museums displaying the first golden coin made in Kievan Rus’. Unique Scythian gold collection.
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.
“How to get from Odessa to the capital of Moldova, Chisinau?” – This is a frequent question we get from our guests. Of course, the best and fastest (but certainly not the cheapest ☺) way to travel to Chisinau, which is located just about 200 kilometers (124 miles) away from Odessa is by car or taxi. But if you don’t have a car and are looking for a cheaper alternative to a taxi, then a public bus is the only option. And since I’ve recently traveled to Chisinau from Odessa here’re a few tips and comments drawn on my personal experience.
If you are considering a trip to Odessa in the winter or you are already in our beautiful coastline town, here are some tips on what to expect and how to make the most of your time in Odessa off season.
When is the off season in Odessa?
End of October to mid-April. Including Christmas and News Year’s.
What weather to expect?
Temperature-wise, it can be anything from +10C (50F) to -5C (23F), but what really makes a huge difference is the wind. Northern winds make any walk around the city a highly unpleasant endeavor. As for the snow, there’s usually none up until the very end of December. Last year we saw the first snowflakes on the New Year’s night and then in two days the city looked like this
Odessa Opera Theater is stunning. Included by Forbes into the list of top 10 sights in Eastern Europe, the Opera Hall stands in one line with La Scala in Milan, Grand Opera in Paris and Vienna State Opera. Don’t miss out on your chance to see it during your visit to Odessa. Meanwhile, sneak a peek at its interiors with our video:
Thursday, May 5
18.30 – The Barbour of Seville, Gioacchino Rossini (Opera in 2 acts)
Friday, April 6
18.30 – Cipollino, Karen Khachaturyan (Ballet)
Satuday, April 7
18.30 – Eugene Onegin (Concert performance)
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.
Stay warm and keep on exploring. That’s what all of us at Odessa Walks say during winter season. After all, if you happen to be travelling to Odessa, Ukraine in winter, why should cold, snow or rain keep you from sightseeing?
True, Odessa does not look its best offseason, as green leaves of chestnuts, plain trees and acacias, together with lots of flowers, which beautifully decorate historic city center, add a vibrant color palette to the look and feel of the city. It’s also true that sea wind, grey skies, cold temperatures (add snow, which can cover Odessa for a couple of days in December and January, to this!) don’t make sightseeing enjoyable. Nevertheless, if you are in Odessa in winter, what are the top things to do to best explore the destination?
Here are top 5 choices from the Odessa Walks team (based on our own and customers’ experience):
Food Tasting Tour. Although it’s a 3-hour tour, it’s a perfect way to see Odessa’s historic area with most of the must-sees in a chilly weather. With the three food tastings done seated in authentic local cafes every 45 minutes of the tour, you stay warm, immerse into local culture and lifestyle, and savor absolutely delicious local food: appetizers, a hot dish and dessert. And during the strolls between the food stops you have an excellent chance to see the landmarks, less touristy areas and learn local history. What can be better?
National Opera and Ballet Theater Visit and Tour. Do visit the Odessa Opera and Ballet theater even if you are not big on theater. It’s one of the most beautiful theaters in the world together with Grand Opera in Paris, La Scala in Milano and Vienna State Opera. And if this has not convinced you yet, it’s the cheapest opera hall in both the New and Old World with a cheapest ticket costing $1 and the most expensive one $5.5.
Shustov Brandy (Cognac) Factory Tour with Brandy Tasting. The supplier of the Emperor’s court before the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, the Shustov brandy factory boasts a fascinating history. The guided tour lets you explore the history of the largest cognac producer in Ukraine as well as taste many kinds of brandy and find out why it’s still called (and has an official permission from the French to do so) cognac in Ukraine.
Catacombs Tour. The story has it that if put in one line, the tunnels would cover a distance of 2,500 km (about 1,500 miles). This makes Odessa’s catacombs the longest in Europe. Snow or rain, inside temperature of about +14C (54F) makes this tour a particularly great sightseeing option in the wintery Odessa.
Archeology/Fine Arts Museum. At the times of Russian Empire, Odessa’s Archeology and Fine Arts museums were the largest museums outside Moscow and St Petersburg. Archeology museum boasts collection of antique items from the Bronze Age to the period of ancient Greek colonies to the Kiev Rus time found along the shores of the Black Sea. A true jewel of the museum is a collection of gold, which represents Scythian and Hunnic gold ornaments; golden and silver coins of the ancient Greek colonies; one of the eleven ever found golden coins of Prince Vladimir from Kiev Rus; collection of coins of the Russian Empire.
Fine Arts Museum features an enchanting exhibit of Ukrainian icons of different periods, paintings of Russian Empire’s first portrait painters, realist artists, symbolists and abstractionists, including Wassily Kandinsky. One thing to take into consideration before heading to the museums: most of the signs are in Cyrillic, so it’s really worth seeing the museums with a guide.
So, don’t get too frustrated if you come to Odessa and the weather is not what you’ve expected. There are still quiet a few things to do to enjoy your time in this fascinating city.
Need help arranging any of these tours? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll be excited to help you!
Late spring, summer and first two months of autumn are typically the best and most touristy time in Odessa. In the beginning of November things slow down a lot (like in every coastal town), the weather gets chilly, sandy beaches turn empty and all Odessans start dreaming of the next summer.
Although, it will be wrong to say that Odessa is completely avoided by tourists in November. There are quite a few people who prefer to travel offseason to enjoy better deals, skip the lines to the sights and avoid the crowds. With the moderate November weather and fairly blue skies, Odessa has its own charm in autumn and is worth a couple of days visit.