Founded in the 18th century, Odessa is a lively port town on the shores of the Black Sea that's as much a vacation destination for locals as it is for foreigners. From the historic architecture of its old town to its leafy parks, golden beaches and consistently sunny weather, there's charm to be found in every corner of Ukraine's fourth-largest city.
Arguably the most famous sight in Odessa is the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theatre, an 1880s architectural marvel designed by the same minds behind the Vienna State Opera. Another must-see are the Potemkin Steps, which lead down to the Port of Odessa. If you'd rather not climb back up, a funicular railway carries travellers back to the top. For something more offbeat, check out Odessa's 19th-century limestone mines, which are now a network of catacombs found below street level.
Prymorsky Boulevard is one of Odessa's prettiest streets, lined with trees, neoclassical buildings, monumental statues and landmarks such as City Hall. For a look at the true Odessa, head to Deribasivska Street – a pedestrian-only commercial strip packed with bars, restaurants and strolling shoppers. At the street's western end sits City Garden, where you can rest on a bench in the shade.
With a lengthy waterfront facing the Black Sea, Odessa is a city of beaches, and locals make good use of them all summer long. Lanzheron, the main beach, is popular for its central location and local entertainment, while Otrada is reachable via cable car and lined with buzzy beachside bars.