We know Ukraine. We love Ukraine.
And we want You to know and love it, too
Number of days: 9
Cost: 39615 UAH
Western Ukraine has many unique gems to offer. During this trip we explore the region’s culture and traditions. We meet local craftsmen who introduce you to their work and life. We visit small private museums where owners share their passions and open up the heart of Ukraine through their collections and stories. We meet kids at three schools where you can share your experiences and world views, broadening their horizons. We take part in the local celebrations, prolonging the winter festive period. We indulge into local cuisine. We see locals creating pieces of art and daily objects, and we create ourselves. And all this happens in a beautiful region neighbouring picturesque Carpathian mountains. This trip will give you new perspectives, a real feeling of community, deep understanding of the local culture and a new beloved country where you will want to come back again and again!
Day 0, 11 January (Saturday), Lviv
Lviv is one of the favourite cities in Ukraine among Ukrainian and international travelers alike. The city is a charming mix of Ukrainian and Western European elements and hosts a vibrant culture scene. Arrival and check-in is anytime during the day. In the evening, those of us already who have already arrived in Lviv will get together for a dinner* at a popular restaurant, followed by a walk around evening Lviv.
Day 1, 12 January (Sunday), Lviv
Sometimes called “Little Paris”, Lviv welcomes guests with its medieval beauty, preserved in buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries, Gothic churches and narrow cobblestone streets. During our visit, Lviv will still be filled with the spirit from the christmas celebrations! We start our trip by exploring the city, visiting St. George's Cathedral, Lviv National University (former Galician Parliament), the House of Scientists, Liberty Ave and the famous Lviv Opera. Afterwards, we visit the local sculptor Hordii, who decided to dedicate his life to reviving and continuing the tradition of producing lyres. His musical instruments have been sold to many countries globally, including Canada, South Korea, Sweden and Malaysia. After lunch, you will have some free time. Afterwards, we move on towards Chernivtsi, the capital of Bukovyna region, where we spend two nights.
Day 2, 13 January (Monday), Chernivtsi and Glyboka
Any introduction to Chernivtsi should start with the most precious gem in the Bukovyna necklace: the former residence of the Metropolitan bishops, now the University of Chernivtsi. The building impresses with its beautiful architectural forms and exquisite interior design, with plenty of national motifs. The city itself is sometimes referred to as a "paradise for photographers" due to its many beautiful buildings. With a local guide, we will walk around the main squares of Chernivtsi and its main street. We will see the town hall and Kobylyanska theater, the local Walk of Fame and the most interesting churches of the city. After lunch we will visit the village Glyboka. The community of Glyboka has received attention due to their many initiatives aiming at developing the village and its surroundings, instead of letting the villages die out. We will have the chance to get to know the locals, learn about their lives and some of the projects. In Glyboka, we will also make our first school visit.
Day 3, 14 January (Tuesday), Vashkivtsi and Kosiv
The “Old New Year” with its traditions is one of the oddest Ukrainian holidays. Our guide will tell you more about it on our way to the Vashkivtsi village. There, we will find ourselves in the midst of a folk carnival with costumes, music and a parade. Traditional outfits are mixed with modern ones creating a unique and funky scene. After enjoying the folk party and lunch, we move towards Kosiv - our home base for the rest of the trip. You will have free time in the afternoon to explore the surroundings. In the evening, we have a festive dinner with carols and other traditional activities that Ukrainians enjoy during the Old New Year.
Day 4, 15 January (Wednesday), Babyn and Kosiv
Residence Khata-Maysternya in nearby Babyn village is a space for integrated learning, an area for training, seminars, camps and retreats. Here, amid the mountains, everyone can be themselves, comfortable, and cozy. The residence is located in the old Hutsul house, dating from the 1930’s, which has five rooms that serve as a hostel, classrooms and bathrooms, and give guests the chance to try authentic dishes made by locals. We talk to the enthusiasts running the residence about its creation, their work with the local community and informal education in Ukraine. We also have our second school visit here in Babyn. Kosiv has long been known as a center of folk art, rich in talent and skill - it's a real capital of the Hutsul folk art. Produce of the craftsmen from the whole region can be found here, including ceramics, clothing, embroideries, carved wood, foods, teas and much more. Everyone can find something for themselves here! We meet with Kosiv craftsmen to see how real Kosiv ceramics is born from the hands of the master, how it comes to life and takes the form from a piece of clay, how pottery becomes vivid and unique. You can also sit down at a potter's wheel and try creating yourself! In the evening, we pay a visit to another local family, practising woodcarving in several generations of the family.
Day 5, 16 January (Thursday), Kolomyya and Sheshory
Our third, and for this trip last, school visit will take place in Kolomyya. After talking to the school kids, we will walk through the renovated historical and cultural center of Kolomyya and get acquainted with its magnificent buildings dating back to Austro-Hungarian times. We will see the central square, the town hall, churches of different denominations, and the oldest theater in the Carpathian region. We will visit the local Pysanka museum, the Ukrainian art of painting easter eggs. The architectural structure in the form of a large, painted egg made of colored glass became the postcard motif of the region and Kolomyya itself. A workshop in egg painting is available here as an optional part of the itinerary (not included in the tour price). In the Museum of Folk Art of Gutsul and Pokuttya regions we will see unique collections of ceramics, wood carvings, leather belts and axes decorated with folk patterns, Hutsul traditional carpets, traditional icons and more. There is also a reconstructed Hutsul interior from the end of 19th century. In the afternoon, we move on to the village of Sheshory to visit a canyon with waterfalls and later enjoy a dinner* with folk music in a local hut.
Day 6, 17 January (Friday), Kryvorivnya and Verhovyna
As a source of national traditions, the village Kryvorivnya has always attracted artists. This place inspired great Ukrainian poets such as Ivan Franko, Lesya Ukrainka, and Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky. Here, Kotsiubynsky wrote his novel “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” and, half a century later, Sergej Parajanov filmed his famous movie with the same name. We will visit the Hutsul house where this movie was filmed. Afterwards, we move on to Verhovyna. Due to the inaccessibility of the mountains, this village has seen relatively low influence from the outside for centuries and has kept alive many interesting customs, traditions, folklore rituals, folk tales and legends that have disappeared from other regions of Ukraine a long time ago. We visit Roman Kumlyk’s museum of folk musical instruments. The owner has been collecting pieces for the museum over a period of 30 years. We will be guided around by his daughter who took over the museum after Roman passed away. You will learn about local culture, see diverse household items, and many instruments will be demonstrated in action. To better understand a big part of Ukrainian culture, we will dive into the world of Hutsul embroidery, learn the meanings of the different colours and patterns and hear the stories living in the collection’s exhibits. Next, we visit a neighbouring village where a family bakes traditional bread. The recipe is secret, but a part of it is the bakers’ singing throughout the process. To continue the culinary part of the trip, we will then have a workshop in making traditional, horse-shaped cheese in a local creamery. We finish the day with a dinner with Hutsul folk singing and dancing.
Day 7, 18 January (Saturday) Kosiv and Yavoriv
Kosiv is well-known around Ukraine for its Saturday market. Locals buy anything possible here
- from food to household items to parts for their electrical tools. Visitors of the region appreciate the market for its huge selection of local crafts for very reasonable prices. We spend some time on this market, which is bursting of life in every corner. Next, we visit a local motorcycle club run by local enthusiast Vasyl for over 40 years. Each item of the impressive MC and car collection has its own story: something was exchanged, others were bought, but the craftsman knows everything about each of his “iron horses”. From the MCs in Kosiv, we move on to a more usual craft of making woolen blankets in Yavoriv. We will see how the warm and soft blankets are produced by hand by around 60 craftswomen and their families. Also on today’s agenda is a visit to one of the local designers who create modern clothes with inspiration taken from the classic folk motives. You can get to know about the life of a designer, the process of clothes creation and the passion of keeping traditions alive through modern forms and interpretations. Our last dinner together is served in our home hut and includes kutja – a traditional Christmas dish that is served on 18th January.
Day 8, 19 January (Sunday), celebration of The Baptism of the Christ
The Baptism of the Christ, or Jordan, as this day is also called, is celebrated by a church service. Afterwards people go in a procession to a river. The procession ends with the rite of the Jordanian watershed. We watch the procession and the rite, and afterwards drive to Ivano Frankivsk. The tour ends with a common lunch where we say our farewells. We can arrange transfer back to Lviv, as well as assisting you with the purchase of train tickets to Kyiv.
Early-bird discount: €100 (valid for first 6 spots!)
This tour is presented in cooperation with TraToS - Travel To Share Ukraine. TraToS is a social entrepreneurship aiming at promoting Ukraine as a travel destination, while empowering local communities to strive and develop. Every tour includes several school visits in smaller towns and villages, to give the local youth a chance to meet international travelers, leran more about other countries and cultures, about the world in general. These meetings give the kids inspiration to study, learn languages and travel the world, the conversations broaden their horizons and empower them to be the agents of change in their home communities. Each tour is also climate positive, meaning TraToS compensates for all carbon emissions produced by our group. You leave only positive footprint after yourself when traveling with us and TraToS!Last but not least, for each tour TraToS donates money to a Ukrainian NGO working with local schools to improve their quality of education. So your travel gives a systematic improvement to the education in Ukraine!
17.10 Balzac to from Berdichev
06-09.01 Hutsul Christmas