Things to Do in Odessa: Odessa 2-day Tour Itinerary
A lot of our tour guests ask for suggestions for a 2-day Odessa tour program when planning a visit to our beautiful city. To make your travel preparations easier, our team drafted a few ideas on what to do in Odessa. Here they are.
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We recommend to start your Odessa visit with a general observation walking tour of the historic quarter. Three hours or so is enough to be introduced into the city’s history and lifestyle, see main sights, Odessa’s famous courtyards and some less touristy areas.
A good alternative to a walking tour is an Odessa city tour on foot and by car. With this tour you can see most of the city in one day: historical area, modern districts, beach area and whatever else you wish to explore. A huge advantage of such a tour – with a car you have more flexibility. You can choose, which sights outside the old town you want to see and in what order. Having seen most of the interesting spots on the first day of your visit, you can decide where to come back to the following day.
A good example: we often have guests who’d like to visit Arcadia. Arcadia is a very popular beach area, about a 20-minute drive from the old town. Having read about this sight online, tourists really want to visit it. In reality, there’s not much to see and do there. Unless you are into partying and nightlife. Once our tourists see it on a city tour, they understand that it’s not worth spending time on a separate trip there.
A big advantage of a guided tour on the first day of the visit: you get oriented in the city and receive plenty of useful tips from a local on where to eat and drink and what to explore on your own.
There’re several tour options for the second day, depending on your interests and amount of free time.
Odessa is standing on the huge labyrinth of the underground tunnels, known as the catacombs. The tunnels are multilevel. If put in one line, they’d cover the distance of 2,500 kilometers (1500 miles). Odessa’s catacombs are the longest in Europe. And they are very different from the underground tunnels of Paris and Rome. So, if you are adventurous and not scared to go underground, it’s really worth it to tour the Odessa’s catacombs.
The catacombs boast a very interesting history. In reality, they are mines, which were dug underground to get limestone. They were used by the smugglers and different political groups during the 1917 -1920 period. During WW2 the resistance lived there. Each period left its footprint.
There are several different catacomb tours, including the Wild Catacombs tour. On average a catacombs tour lasts 2-3 hours.
The turn-of-the-20th century Odessa was the third largest Jewish city in the world. The city gave birth to many prominent names in Jewish culture. Sylvester Stallone, Sydney Pollack, David Copperfield, Kirk Douglas, Steven Spielberg, Sigmund Freud, Bob Dylan, Boris Pasternak – these are just a few celebrity names, whose family roots are connected with Odessa. It won’t be a huge exaggeration to say that modern Israel was born here. The modern Jewish community is quite vibrant and counts about 50,000 people. A lot of artifacts survived the Soviet period and WW2.
The city’s Jewish history is really interesting and well worth exploring. A shorter Jewish walking tour takes about 2 hours. For a more comprehensive Jewish heritage tour, allow approximately 4.5 hours.
A very interesting historical neighborhood with its own distinctive character is Moldavanka. It was once the area populated by artisans, owners of the small shops, tailors, the city’s petite bourgeoisie. Germans, Jews, Bulgarians, Russians, Greeks, Moldavians, Polish lived next door to each other. Moldavanka was the same melting pot as Odessa. Although today, most of Moldavanka’s old buildings look pretty “tired”, the neighborhood managed to preserve its authentic flavor. Besides history, the area is famous for its cute old courtyards and red cats. Not to miss on the Moldavanka tour. Another “specialty” of Moldavanka is absolutely fascinating stories about criminal Odessa.
Foodies and those who are into touring the food markets should check out Odessa’s famous market Privoz, located right next to Moldavanka. The market celebrates the artisans, cultures and traditions of the city. Oh, and bring your appetite because you can sample local food from every vendor.
Odessa has a lot to offer for any type of a traveller. Hopefully, our ideas will help you enjoy our city.