Where to Go 19:45 10 Oct 2020

Rivne - Ternopil - Khmelnytskyi: an ideal route for travel in any season

Considering travel, we want to get in the car and go across the horizon to meet unknown places and adventures. We wish that the route was offbeat; the forest changed into wide river valleys, cliffs, and rocks outside the car window; beautiful cities with an interesting history connected with forgotten villages somewhere in the countryside. Today, Rubryka offers you to go on an imaginary tour of three Ukrainian regions: Rivne, Ternopil, and Khmelnytskyi. Passing from north to south, where medieval history combines with unique nature, you can choose any combination of locations, stringing them like pearls in a necklace, depending on what your heart is most drawn to. Traveling to the south, or an overnight trip, or journey for the entire weekend. Plenty of ideas for adventure here… Let's go?

1. The Tunnel of Love

Our journey begins with the small village of Klevan in the north of the Rivne region. The town is quite ancient; the first mentions date back to the 15th century, although historians believe that the settlement was founded in the 12th century. Besides the remains of old buildings, Klevan is known throughout Ukraine by the Tunnel of Love, a natural plexus of branches of dense forest. The train, which still runs here on a stretch of 4 kilometers, retains the perfect arched shape of the branches, and interesting legends add to the atmosphere a taste of love and romance. Until 2017, there was no such object anywhere in the world, until a similar attraction was opened in China. The tunnel is happy to welcome visitors throughout the year: both avid romantics and skeptics, whose hearts are sure to melt.

Тунель кохання восени

How to get there: Klevan is located 350 km from Kyiv on the E40 highway and 25 km from the city of Rivne. Since we have a road trip, we go for the atmosphere by our transport or hitchhiking.

2. Ostroh City

Moving from Klevan to the south, you should visit Ostroh, one of the most picturesque towns in the Rivne region with a surprisingly rich history. As early as 1241, Ostroh Castle was built on the site of a fortification destroyed by the Mongol-Tatars. The castle later became the family residence of the Ostroh princes.

Місто Острог

In the 16th century, the city was taken care of by Prince Vasyl-Konstantin Ostrozkyi, who opened the oldest educational institution in Ukraine, Ostroh Academy, which gathered the most talented teachers, scientists, and students of those days under its roof. In addition to the school, there was a printing house under the leadership of Ivan Fedorovich, which published Ukraine's early printing masterpieces, including the Ostroh Bible. Restored in 1994, today the Academy is a leading educational institution in Polissia.

Місто Острог

How to get there: Ostroh is located 70 km from Klevan, you need to go on the road through Rivne.

3. Castle in Dubno City

Now is the time to set off on the road towards the city of Dubno, which will continue our journey. In this city, by the way, there is another castle of the Ostroh princes. Its history dates back to the 10th century, but the castle got its modern shape in 1492 during the reign of Fedir Ostroh. Today there are several palaces and fortifications with the well-groomed territory, where everyone can be told the history of the city and the castle.

Замок у місті  Дубно

How to get there: go about 70-80 km from Ostroh to Dubno; it will take 1-1.5 hours.

4. Tarakaniv Fort

Near Dubno, there is an interesting fortification and architectural monument of the 19th century, Tarakaniv Fort, which was created to defend the western borders of the Russian Empire. Located in the middle of a dense forest, it was actively used in battles during the First World War, but by the 1940s, the fort lost its significance. After the Second World War, the Soviet authorities tried to set up a cannery here, but the high humidity didn't allow it. Today it's an abandoned ruin of a once-great fortification and, perhaps, one of the few surviving monuments of the First World War in Ukraine. Quite mystical is a place that nature is trying to recapture, full of stories about the ghosts of the dead soldiers and mysterious passages and mines that were used to hide from enemies. It is worth going here with a guide to immerse yourself in enigmatic stories and not get lost among the old walls of the fort.

Тараканівський форт

How to get there: The fort is 8 km from the center of Dubno, so it is better to visit due to easy access.

5. Kremenets City 

Moving south, we find ourselves in the north of the Ternopil region (the south is always the north of something new), in the city of Kremenets. According to our editors, this is one of the most interesting small towns in Ukraine, which has quite a several attractions and is included in the list of historical settlements of Ukraine (the city was founded in 1266). Indeed, the entire central part of the city is permeated with its centuries-old history and the people who once lived here. You should start your acquaintance with the Castle Hill of Bona, which is part of the Kremenets Mountains and named after the Lithuanian Queen Bona Sforza, who was a cruel woman and according to legend hid her treasures in the castle walls. The castle itself was destroyed in 1648 by the Cossacks, but the mountain offers a picturesque view of the surrounding area. (Castle Hill is the highest point of Volyn). Also, the known place is the Jesuit College on the territory of the Jesuit monastery, which later became the Volyn Lyceum, which was liquidated in 1831. The library, numismatic office, collection of paintings, engravings, and sculptures, as well as the collection of the Botanical Garden, were confiscated and handed over together with some students to the newly established St. Volodymyr's University in Kyiv (now Taras Shevchenko National University). The botanical garden still exists in the city, and it is unsurpassed. Being in this city, it is impossible not to move to the times of the Polish Commonwealth, because the history of the city is closely connected with the Polish rule over the western regions of Ukraine.

Місто Кременець 

How to get there: Kremenets is 40 km from Dubno on the E85 highway.

6. Zbarazh Castle

A trip to the Ternopil region turns into a continuous castle tour, as the region is a leader in Ukraine in the number of castles and fortresses, and one of the most beautiful and best-preserved is Zbarazh Castle. It was here that the events of the Battle of Zbarazh took place during the liberation war of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi. The castle reached its peak in the 17th-18th centuries during the reign of Princes Vyshnevetsky and later Potocki. The fire of 1896 and hostilities almost destroyed the castle, and the reconstruction of the fortress continues to this day. Currently, there is a museum of local lore in the halls of the palace, exhibition halls with thematic expositions, an art gallery, museum departments, and in the dungeon, there is an exhibition of ancient tools used for torture.

Збаразький замок

How to get there: Zbarazh is located 55 km south of Kremenets on the E85 highway.

7. Ternopil

Although Ternopil hasn't preserved a large number of ancient buildings or churches, this city is well suited for a break on the road. Ternopil is most famous for its huge lake right in the middle of the city with a cozy promenade, a large park, and a picturesque gazebo for reflection and photo shoots. In recent years, the city has become a gastronomic center, where Ukrainian traditions are intertwined with cuisines from around the world, and together with bars and clubs, Ternopil becomes the center of the nightlife of our route. And all this at very nice prices, which are more affordable than in Lviv and the capital.


How to get there: Ternopil is 25 km from Zbarazh on the P43 highway.

8. Brewery in Mykulyntsi

From the nightlife of Ternopil to beer tasting the next day. The Brovar brewery in Mykulyntsi is considered to be one of the oldest breweries in Ukraine. The labels of the branded Mykulynetske beer indicate the date "+1457," which includes the first mention of the brewery in describing the military campaign of the Polish king in the Moldavian principality. The industrial production of beer was organized in Mykulyntsi by Count M. Rey in 1885, who organized the production of three types of beer. In 1939, the plant was nationalized, in Soviet times it produced Zhyhulivske, Ukrainske, and Rizke beer, then appeared Podviine Zolote and Berezneve. In 1995, Brovar LLC was established based on the plant. Now the range has about a dozen varieties of live beer. And fortunately for fans of this drink, there are tours and tastings.

Пивзавод в Микулинцях

How to get there: Mykulyntsi is located 20 km south of Ternopil.

9. Terebovlia bridge

This mark on the route is at first glance a short stop near the bridge, but the place is so beautiful that you can observe the surrounding landscapes for a long time, so the editors offer to have a picnic here waiting for the passing train. The railway bridge-viaduct with 9 arches was built in 1896, connecting Terebovlia and Chernivtsi, and is still used for its intended purpose. And the picturesque landscapes around it make it even more unique.

міст віадук

How to get there: Terebovlia is located 15 km from Mykulyntsi, south of the E85 highway.

10. Dominican Church in Chortkiv

The next stop will be the small town of Chortkiv, famous for its neo-Gothic church. It was built on the site of an old monastery, which was cared for by the Dominicans since the early 17th century. Currently, the church in Chortkiv is considered one of the most beautiful neo-Gothic buildings in Ukraine.

Домініканський костел у місті Чортків

How to get there: Chortkiv is located 40 km south of Terebovlia on the E65 highway.

11. Optimistic Cave

Well, it's time to move away from cultural heritage and move to the natural one. Moreover, in its rather unusual sense. Did you know that the Optimistic Cave in the Ternopil region is the longest in Europe, the longest gypsum cave in the world, and the second-longest among limestone caves in the world (second only to limestone Mammoth Cave in the USA)? It was discovered by Lviv speleologists only in 1966, and it got its name because researchers estimated that its length would be about 3 km, and it turned out to be as many as 260! The cave is still not fully explored, so tours are conducted only in the presence of experienced speleologists. But it's so exciting, all these stalactites, stalagmites, and gypsum formations of different sizes and shapes… everything, as in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer… Worth a try!

Печера Оптимістична

How to get there: the entrance to the cave is located near the village of Korolivka, Ternopil region, 45 km from the town of Chortkiv.

12. Dniester canyon

If you don't want to go down to the cave, you should look at the canyon from the Dniester coast. The Dniester is the second longest river in Ukraine that creates picturesque meanders along the way, flowing through the Ternopil and Khmelnytskyi regions along our route. On the Dniester, the mountains come so near to the river that they form a canyon, the riverbed of which the river flows. Typical views of the Dniester canyon are steep rocky or forested shores, wild and untouched nature, picturesque islands. Streams of springs in some places break off the cliff into the river, turning into scenic waterfalls. A canyon is an ideal place for kayaking/canoeing or overnight in tents by the river, where you can easily find pristine beaches for stops and enjoy nature.

Дністровський каньйон

How to get there: on the same road from Chortkiv as to the cave, there is a route to the White Stone, which is the starting point of many rafting routes.

13.  Cave of Atlantis

It is quite difficult to avoid the topic of caves, being at the edge of the ancient sea, which, departing millions of years ago, left behind gypsum deposits, where the caves were formed. Maybe that's where Atlantis was? Who hasn't heard the legends of this mysterious continent! In 1969, Kyiv speleologists discovered another unique cave and named it Atlantis. It is as karst as Optimistic, but its walls are crystallized by 80%. The crystals shimmer so beautifully and mythically, as if you were entering another world, that speleologists, finding a cave, confused it with the lost Atlantis. Currently, the cave can be visited by anyone with the permission of the Khmelnytskyi Speleological Club, where there is instruction and dedication to speleologists. The main thing is that only memories and photos can be taken out of the cave, the crystals must remain in place to preserve the beauty and ecosystem of the cave.

Печера Атлантида

How to get there: The cave is located on the border of the Ternopil and Khmelnytskyi regions near the village of Zavallia.

14.  Podilski Tovtry

An extensive area of ​​the south of the Ternopil and Khmelnytskyi regions is occupied by Podilsky Tovtry, remnants of coastal reefs stretched parallel to the ancient coastline, whose height within the National Nature Park reaches an average of 60-65 meters above the surrounding plain. They can be viewed from different angles: the canyon of the Dniester, or the plains, but covered with forest and meadows of ancient rocks, which hide the mysterious caves, are truly mesmerizing.

Подільські Товтри

How to get there: Tovtry is located in the south of the Ternopil and mostly the Khmelnytskyi regions.

15. Kamianets-Podilskyi

The last pearl of our route will be Kamianets-Podilskyi, which still resembles a medieval city, as the number of historical and cultural monuments is second only to Kyiv and Lviv. The most recognizable object here is the Kamianets Fortress, which harmoniously fits into the surrounding landscape. In the towers and basements, there are exhibitions of expositions that tell the history of the city and the castle. The old town, which has been a candidate for the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2012, also offers the Town Hall and the Dominican Cathedral, and the surrounding area offers observation decks to the city center and the Smotrych River Canyon.


How to get there: Kamianets-Podilskyi is located 503 km from Kyiv and 102 km from the regional center, Khmelnytskyi.

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