Welcome to Uzhhorod
Formerly known as Ungvar, this border town and main conduit for road traffic into and out of Slovakia and Hungary is a pleasant, if rather atypical, introduction to Ukraine. With its interwar villas, faded Hungarian shop signs, a whole neighbourhood of 1920s Czech-built administrative edifices, pedestrianised streets, a lively vibe and even the odd foreign tourist, it's as if central Europe has forgotten to end at the border, spilling over into the former USSR. With its large Hungarian and Romanian minorities and lots of cross-border wheeling and dealing, this is by far Ukraine's most cosmopolitan regional capital. Kyiv feels a long way away from here in every way, and war-torn Donetsk and occupied Crimea feel like a different continent.