2 Days in Odesa, Ukraine (Travel Guide)

They said “Don’t go to Ukraine, it could be dangerous” Nonsense. It seemed like one of the most peaceful places in Europe. Why spend 2 days in Odessa? Because probably you need more. Here’s why.

It looks remarkably like most seaside cities if you go to the beach, and if you choose to spend your time in the center of the city, you’ll feel like exploring an old European town.

And to convince you that I really enjoyed Ukraine, read about my other experiences in Ukraine, in case you plan a bigger trip to this beautiful East European country:

The place is unexpectedly beautiful, and the people are friendly. Find out how to spend 2 days in Odesa, Ukraine.

Please note the local currency, which is the Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH). At the moment of writing 1 EUR = 30.6135 UAH. You can exchange all major currencies there (Eur, USD, etc.)

How to get to Odessa, Ukraine?

Any means of transport is possible, but for those looking for budget-friendly options:

If you are coming from Chisinau, Moldova, take the bus (in Chisinau Gara de Nord  – North train station – are busses towards Odessa every 2 hour. If you plan to travel during the weekend, there is also a train from Chisinau Central Station. I was lucky enough to take the 8:50 am bus from Chisinau.

But little did I know.
I admit I was in doubt when I saw the tiny bus and weird-looking driver, but when it started to move, I understood what was wrong with it: It had no suspensions.

After a 5 hour trip on that bus (because that’s how long it takes), every single bone in my body was hurting. I do not joke when it comes to back pains.

If you are coming from Kyiv, you can take a train. It is clean, nice, cheap, and fast (fast considering the distance, but it will take 7 hours), and you can buy the train ticket online here.  (note their spelling of Odesa – Odesa or Одеса and Kiev – Kyiv or Київ)

I took the 5:42 am IC train to Kiev (travelling from Odesa to Kyiv), and it was a dream. Loved it. The IC takes 7 hours (although mine had a 30-minute delay upon arrival), but I consider it to be a great option. The second class price for a ticket is 330 UAH (~ 11 Eur)

These are the budget options.

I arrived by bus from Chisinau, Moldova, where I explored Chisinau and its surroundings for 2 days. Remember not to leave Moldova without visiting a winery. I chose Cricova Winery because it is the most famous and the closest to Chisinau.

The bus Chisinau – Odessa was approx 12 Eur (50 MDL) in 2018.

Since you made it to Ukraine, don’t miss the capital and please go and visit Kiev. It’s a beautiful city.

2 days in Odesa: What to do in Odesa, Ukraine?

sped 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
Lanzheron Beach
sped 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine

The Beach in Odesa, Ukraine

It was not as long and wide as I expected (because I imagined it to be similar to the Romanian shore), but it was small and nice.

Even if you have only 2 days in Odessa, you have to check out the beach! You’ll like it!
Restaurants are right next to the beach, some terraces, places to buy beer and ice cream and a dolphinarium – Odeskyi Delfinariy Nemo. And hotels.

Right before reaching the Langeron beach, stands tall a huge memorial – Monument to an Unknown Sailor. I found it quite impressive, and the park next to it is also worth a visit. In the park, there were even bikes for rent.

sped 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
The fountain from the centre. Go there before all the restaurants open (8 am)

Odessa City Centre

As in many European cities, the centre of Odessa makes no difference and has many restaurants and it will be hard to pick one to sit down.
Some even have live music. The streets are full of people roaming around, and street artists are present to smile and wish you a good day.
The streets were colorful and full of soap, helium, and all kinds of colored balloons.
If I had to use just one word to describe it, it would be colorful. Even the ponies and horses were colorful. However, I am not happy to see them using animals, especially in such a crowded place.

In the evening, there were people dancing in the middle of the street, while one musician was playing the drums as a cover of famous songs. People seemed happy and it gave me good vibes. But I admit, it was the beginning of May. Probably in summer, it gets more crowded and it can become unbearable. It would, for me.

sped 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
Monument of the 12th Chair

The history of Odesa

Unfortunately, I have a bad memory when it comes to historical facts and dates, especially.

I never got history, but Odessa had a short history, fortunately. That is because the city was founded just 230 years ago. And that’s the beauty of it: it all looks like the same architect designed all of its buildings because, mostly, that’s what happened. Thank you, Russian Empress Catherina Empress, for your kind heart and for Odesa.

There are some funny tourist trains/buses providing tours for lazy tourists. Like I was because after I arrived in Odessa, I walked for 4 hours and got really tired. So it is nice to just sit and explore the city. They have English-speaking guides (just ask them for the English tour).

Instagram places in Odesa, Ukraine

The architecture of the entire city is very Instagramable (speaking of the love-and-hate relationship I have with my Instagram), and it is hard to put your camera away.

But please do take some time just to admire! Don’t start taking pictures of everything because it will be impossible to do so, and every street is worth a picture.

spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
The Passage of Odessa reminds of the galleries of Vienna or Milan, don’t you think so?
spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
Monument to Catherine the Great and Founders of Odessa
Monument to Catherine the Great and Founders of Odessa
The Odessa Port
spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
Odessa National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater. The exterior is beautiful and the square in front is also very Instagramable
spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine

Insomnia Haunted house

Care for a different experience? Then this is for you. (Try to keep calm; it will all be okay.)

I found this randomly while walking on the street. It is on the same street as the hostel where I stayed. You can find them online, on their website, or on Facebook, but remember you need a reservation. I forgot to make one a day before, and luckily, there was a free spot on my last evening in Odessa.

I don’t want to spoil this for you, but it’s something to try out and enjoy. Suppose you enjoyed haunted houses when you were a child. Follow the rules and try to move fast.

Check them Insomnia- The Haunted House on TripAdvisor.

No photos allowed. Sorry.

Where to eat and where to sleep?

I booked my accommodation on Booking.com. The only decision I had to make was if I want to stay in the city centre or near the beach. Unfortunately, you cannot have both. I stayed really close to the centre and I was happy with that. Also, because I get to see the Black Sea every year in Romania (if I’m home), so it was easy to pick the centre.

I stayed at this really cute hostel: Hogwarts Hostel. If you are into Harry Potter, you will love this location.

I booked a private room with a bathroom, so it was like a cheap hotel with a theme. They even had a cat, Mrs Norris. Everything was perfect, including the location and cleanliness, except that not all staff from the reception spoke English.

It’s good they have a 24/7 reception, but it didn’t help much when the lady at the reception was too sleepy at 5 am to understand I needed a taxi to get to the train station. Ahh. That morning was a nightmare.

But other than that, there are many options close to the city center, or to the beach, which look really good.

Where to eat if you’re spending 2 days in Odessa?

Odessa has many really nice restaurants. If you are in the center, there are literally restaurants on each and every street. It is hard to choose.

There are many restaurants with vegetarian and vegan options although none was exclusively vegan. It is easy to understand why, as Eastern European cuisine has its main dishes made from animal products. People are more prone to eat familiar food, I guess.

spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine

For the first lunch in Odessa, I picked Gastrobar Khleb.Vino.Zhizn, and it was beautiful. Inside (because the facade was in works) and in the plate, loved it, and it had vegan and vegetarian options.

spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine

As I was taking pictures of my food, some people from the next table looked at me and said in Romanian, “It must be a good restaurant if people are taking pictures of the food.” Haha, they thought I didn’t understand. And they had no idea I take pictures of everything.  But this food was worth it.

Another place worth a visit, for breakfast, which can be served anytime, because it’s open 24/7, is Benedikt. We liked it so much here (especially my boyfriend), we got back for an evening breakfast. The inside is very nice and cosy, the staff is friendly and the variety of breakfasts is impressive. Don’t worry, vegan options are also on the menu.

spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine
spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine

The takeaway from this Odessa trip

I loved it, and I often find myself thinking I would like to move there. There is much more to experience, more food to taste, crazy architecture to stare at, and the beaches… make it a perfect spring/autumn destination. Some Twitter friends suggested that it gets crowded during the summer, so that’s why I recommend the beginning or end of the season.

Don’t miss Odesa if you find yourself in Ukraine. Try to stay a bit longer, and maybe book a walking tour in Odesa. Oh, and they have a famous flea market, but it was closed when I was there.

I almost forgot to mention the famous Odessa cats, which are everywhere.

spend 2 days in Odessa, Ukraine

These are my tips and recommendations on how to spend 2 days in Odesa, Ukraine.

Now tell me, have you been to Ukraine? How was your experience? Or are you planning your trip for this year? Can I help?

Iulia Vasile

Iulia is a travel expert, blogger, engineer, freelance copywriter, and a curiosity-driven personality. She sees travel as the ultimate tool for self-improvement and personal growth, and that's the main topic of her blog, Juliasomething.com.

View stories