Considering a trip to Odessa in January? Already in our beautiful, although a bit winterish town? Here are some tips on what to expect and how to make the most of your time in Odessa in January.
What weather to expect?
Temperature-wise, it can be anything from +10C (50F) to -15C (5F), 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, this is how Odessa looked last January. We saw the first snowflakes on the New Year’s night and then in two days the city looked like this:
Temperature can fluctuate a lot. So, if you come for a week, be prepared to see it change from way below zero to positive numbers within one week. So, to be on the safe side, pack your winter layers and your hats. You can buy an umbrella here ☺.
What are the perks?
The main (and perhaps only) perk of Odessa off season is the lower prices. All hotels, B&Bs and apartments tend to lower prices and offer great specials, as do the airlines.
Those, who are interested in taking tours will find tour operators being more flexible and offering special packages. As for us, at Odessa Walks we have a flexible group walk schedule, offer free extra time on a group walk and private tour and give special prices for booking multiple tours.
Another perk is seeing Odessa in winter holidays’ lights. Historic quarter, including Primorsky boulevard and Deribasovskaya street, gets decorated with beautiful holiday lights and New Year trees till the end of January. The main New Year trees are in front of the City Hall and on Deribasovkaya street.
The city, with its historic quarter and sandy beaches, is certainly much less crowded off season than in summer. But then, if you prefer to have the city all to yourself and really immerse into the local life, off season is the time to visit.
Top 7 Tours to Do in Odessa Off Season
To stay warm, yet get a feel for the city’s cultural heritage and have some fun, here are top tours and things to do in Odessa off season drawn on our customers’ experience.
Museum lovers or those simply curious to check out local museums are recommended to visit Odessa Literature, Fine Arts and Archeology museums. Don’t expect to spend a day in each, they are nothing like Metropolitan or Hermitage. The tour lasts two and a half hours maximum, but you’ll make interesting discoveries and… stay warm. Getting a guide is really worth it, since most of the signs and descriptions are in Cyrillic.
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?
One of the local desserts served for the Food tour
The Odessa Catacombs tour. The longest in Europe, Odessa’s catacombs are estimated to cover the distance of 2,5000 kilometers (1500 miles). Rain or shine, the temperature inside the tunnels is about +15C, and although there might be some water dipping from the ceiling in the “wild tunnels”, most of the underground area we visit during the tour is lit and dry. And temperature outside the tunnels is definitely warmer that outside :).
Now comes a fun part. Believe it or not, Odessa and its region have a very interesting history and long traditions of wine, beer and brandy production. So, whether you love the bubbles, wine, beer or brandy here you have an excellent chance to explore and taste any … or all!
The Akkerman Fortress and Shabo Winery Tour. This full day tour takes you to Odessa’s region, famous for its vineyards, the 16th century fortress, yellow sands of the Black Sea coast and the Dniester estuary. The longest you spend outside is about one hour when you see the fortress, but then the tour continues to the Shabo winery where you’ll have plenty of opportunities to warm up :). The tour is ideal for cold weather.
And if you are interested in attending a Christmas service at the church, please note that in this part of the world Christmas is celebrated on January 7th.
Shustov Brandy Factory Tour. Those who prefer strong spirits don’t need to travel far outside the city to tour local brandy factory and do brandy tasting. Founded at the end of the 19th century, Shustov brandy factory has preserved brandy making traditions, which made it one of the key suppliers of this drink to the Russian Tsar court hundred years ago.
Museum lovers or those simply curious to check out local museums are recommended to visit Odessa Literature, Fine Arts and Archeology museums. Don’t expect to spend a day in each, they are nothing like Metropolitan or Hermitage. The tour lasts two and a half hours maximum, but you’ll make interesting discoveries and… stay warm Getting a guide is really worth it, since most of the signs and descriptions are in Cyrillic.
Odessa Sparkling Wine Factory tour. The lovers of bubbles can taste Odessa’s best bubbles and explore the fascinating history of Ukraine’s only sparkling wine factory, founded by the French in 1896. And to do this, you don’t need to go further than the historic area of French boulevard. On this exclusive tour, you’ll see the original building of the factory, explore the production facilities, hear exciting stories about the first sparkling wine makers and factory owners – the French family of Henry Roederer, follow in the footsteps of the WWll legendary commander Georgy Zhukov and finally, taste a delicious selection of sparkling wine. Oh, and those Odessa guests who keep it kosher, we’ve got you covered – Odessa sparkling wine factory makes kosher bubbles.
And finally, those who are keen on exploring local beer drinking traditions, can join us for the Pubs Walk. The great thing about this walk is that you spend about twenty minutes getting to know an area and then you take a break in one of its pubs with “history” and which are hard to find on TripAdvisor. Here you can enjoy a drink, absorb the ambience, and discuss what you have heard so far with your guide. Once you have finished your drink, your guide will bring you back on route before stopping off at another hostelry for a break and more discussion. And thus the evening progresses until you have really explored and got to know the area, and have enjoyed the hospitality of three or so pubs.
So don’t fret to come and visit Odessa in January. You’ll enjoy excellent deals on the hotels and tours, will have the city to yourself and easy travels between the locations in case you want to travel to Chisinau or Kiev.