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Ukraine

When to go

Spring (late April to early June), when perfumed chestnut trees bloom and people throw off heavy winter coats, is the best time to visit. The Orthodox rituals surrounding Easter are fabulous, and there’s a sense of reawakening as cafés set out pavement seating and hikers take the heights of the Carpathian and Crimean Mountains. (Even in April though you might still find snow on Hoverla, the country’s highest peak.)

During the sometimes stiflingly hot summer, things get pretty busy as locals head en masse for Crimea, the Black Sea Coast and the Carpathians. Indeed, Yalta in August is complete madness and probably best avoided. Most theatres close throughout July and August when the country’s focus shifts to the great outdoors.

Autumn is almost as inviting as spring, as the crowds dissipate and the mercury drops to a more comfortable level. In December and January it’s bitingly cold inland, particularly in the east; however this is a good time to head to the Carpathian Mountains, Ukraine’s skiing district.

It’s wise to book ahead during the public holidays in the first weeks of January and May.