Odessa, Ukraine: The Complete Guide

Ever since Crimea became under Russian control in 2014, Odessa became Ukraine's premier—and pretty much only—beach destination. It's where everyone tries to go at least once during the scorching summer in order to escape the unbearable heat.

Is it a city you should also put on your radar? In this article, we'll discuss all of this and more.

Orientation

First of all, there are two parts to Odessa, at least which are of importance to visitors. There's the scenic downtown, arguably one of the most beautiful in Eastern Europe, and the beach area along with its beach bars, nightclubs, etc.

The downtown

The downtown area is worth a visit all in itself. It's simply gorgeous and definitely gives other cities a run for its money—not only in Eastern Europe but in the richer Western Europe as well.

There are tons of

In terms of the beach area, opinions differ, but words such as “glamorous” or “scenic” don't really come to mind.

The beach

Odessa has a relatively large coastline, containing tons of different beaches which are frequent by different people. The closest beach from the city itself is called Lanjeron; to reach it simply walk eastward from the center, and sooner or later, you'll get there.

As you head south along the coastline, you'll get to such beaches such as Otrada, Arkadia (see below), and a bunch of other beaches

Beach bars

There are a couple of very popular nightclubs that every local knows about: Ibiza and Ithaca. During the day, there's a pool area and a beach area. So, you can rent a beach chair or an entire tent either near the pool or closer to the water.

Since the water isn't always very clear and the sand isn't exactly powdery white (we will get into that later), it's probably better to do so near the pool.

Of course, these are premium areas, so not only do you have to pay for the chairs, but there's also a fee for entering the place itself.

Once you're on the property, you can order drinks and food, and whatever else your heart desires.

The prices are rather steep. I don't remember the exact numbers, but they were also higher than elsewhere.

There are other beach bars, all catering to a different demographic with different services and prices. The last time I visited Odessa, I actually stayed in a quaint beach bar near the southern part of the city. It was much chiller and calmer than the other party beach bars and matched what I was looking for perfectly.

The women

Alright, so I won't keep beating around the bush. Most of you are probably came on this page expecting me to talk about women.

Apart from what has already been covered here, Odessa's women are some of the most beautiful and sexiest in the entire country. I suppose they have the sun to thank for that.

They're tanned, have great bodies and are always wearing the latest threads. I've even heard that fashion starts in Odessa and is later adopted by the rest of Ukraine.

But, easy they're not.

It's not possible to arrive in Odessa for a weekend (or even a week), meet a bunch of women and have sex with them quickly.

If you want something to happen with women, you would need to factor in at least a couple of weeks (a month is even better).

Plus, the city is overrun with Turkish men, so the local women definitely know why male tourists come to the city. (And it's not to look at the fine architecture).

That means you really need to know what you're doing or at least be living in the city for a while.

Odessa – livable city?

I guess the jury is still out on this one. Is Odessa a livable city is a question that I've been asking myself for as long as I've been in Ukraine.

I suppose the biggest downside of the city is that beyond the scenic downtown (which really isn't that big) and the beaches there really isn't much to do.

The locals don't speak much English. They're also not very friendly, or at least as friendly as in other parts of the country.

The beaches aren't anything to write home about. The sand (or rocks) can get very coarse in some places and you have to get pretty lucky to see clear water. (When I spent a week there, most of the time the water was green due to other water debris).

Then, when you happen to venture outside the main center, you'll quickly realize that Odessa is very poor. There are neighborhoods with broken down homes, entire blocks without street lights.

Essentially, once you live downtown, you immediately get a feeling that you're truly in a third world country.

Then, outside the summer season, the city turns grey and it rains a lot. While it doesn't get as cold as in the capital, it's still not the same city as it was during the summer.

While I can see myself spending a month or two in the summer, I could never live there in the winter.

All of this gives Odessa a decidedly provincial city feel.

When you're in Kiev, you actually feel that you're in the capital, but when you're in Odessa, you really feel that you're in some city on the edge of the country.

Final thoughts

For the reasons above, I really can't recommend the city as a base outside the summer months. It's just too small and provincial to give you a decent quality of life that you would have if you lived in a bigger city like Kiev.

However, what do I know? Maybe you'll visit and immediately fall in love with the city and view every con listed in this article as a pro.

Is Odessa worth it? There's really only one way to find out.

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