The only region with two seas: what to visit in Kherson region
In summer, it's especially fitting to travel to the southern shores. A deserted island, desert, sea beaches, reserves, and even mountains… What's it about? Of course, about the Kherson region.
Hooray! This summer we're going to the sea!
"This season we'll be able to swim. We've held some consultations with the Institute of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases of the National Academy of Medical Sciences and experts have confirmed that sea salt together with ultraviolet rays destroys the coronavirus, so it'll be allowed to open the beach season in Ukraine," Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Ukraine Viktor Liashko stated this at a briefing on May 18.
While European countries are thinking about the timing of opening borders for foreigners, it's time to look closely at the seaside resorts and other vacation spots in our country.
And where to search for the sea in Ukraine, if not in the Kherson region?
The Kherson region is the only region of Ukraine that has access to two seas, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The territory of the region has 200 kilometers of the sea coast, dozens of resort settlements, 75 deposits of healing mineral and thermal waters, 80 objects of the nature reserve fund.
But not by sea alone: you should go to the south of Ukraine not just to swim, sunbathe, and bring home an annual supply of vitamin D and a hand-collected set of seashells. In the Kherson region, there's everything: the largest desert in Europe, the "Dead Sea," arboretums, rivers, lakes, islands, even mountains! And rare wild animals and fine wines with a long history.
We've collected the most fascinating places of Kherson and the Kherson region, many of which you've never been to.
🏜 Oleshky Sands
Kherson "Sahara" is the largest sand massif on the map of Ukraine and the second largest desert in all of Europe. On the top list of Ukrainian tourist places, this object takes second place.
The area of the desert occupies about 200 thousand hectares and consists of seven "arenas." Dunes and barchans in the desert reach a height of 5 meters and are moved by winds.
In summer, the sand heats up to 70 degrees, and hot rising currents coming from the sands disperse the rain clouds. Therefore, it rains less here than in Kherson, which is on the other side of the Dnieper. There are also sandstorms, during which one can see neither the sky nor the sun.
Specially planted dense forests grow around Oleshky sands, which prevent sand masses from spreading further.
Today, the forests of Oleshky Sands are considered one of the largest artificial plantations. Here you can meet wolves, hares, gerbils, wild boars, and pheasants.
How to get there: Oleshky Sands Nature Park borders with the military training ground, so it's better not to go there alone. To get the most out of a desert trip, use the services of travel agencies. Accompanied by professional guides, you'll find yourself in the heart of the sands and walk through forest oases. And there you can ride ATVs.
The distance from Kherson is 40 km.
⛰️ Kherson Grand Canyon
Kherson Grand Canyon or Kherson Mountains is one of the most beautiful places in the Kherson region, located near the village of Stanislav, where two limans merge: Dnieper liman and Buh liman. But Stanislav cliffs are interesting not only for this. They look different every season.
Kherson mountains are unique deep beams combined with steppe vegetation at an altitude of up to 50 meters above sea level. Once in this canyon, you realize that you're surrounded by atypical landscapes for Southern Ukraine. People recommend visiting the Kherson Grand Canyon in the spring or early summer. At this time, wildflowers grow on the beams, and one can feel the intoxicating aroma of steppe plants in the air.
Kherson mountains are an opportunity to enjoy extraordinary landscapes. Some websites write only about the part that is in front of Stanislav. It's really the largest one of the ravines, but there's a much larger number of ravines behind Stanislav, and you can step down some of them and come to the water. If you look at the space map, you get the impression that some giant walked and plowed a huge area.
How to get there: Kherson Grand Canyon can be seen from the water and swam by in kayaks, so book a day tour at the Kherson Tourism Center.
Distance from Kherson: 50 km
💖 Lemuria pink lake
The lake is located in the village of Hryhorivka, Chaplynka district, in one of the bays of Sivash. Its surface area is 9.2 km2. The lake has a fabulous pink color due to the Dunaliella salina microalgae, able to live in very salty water. It produces carotenoids that give the water a reddish-pink hue. In addition, water contains many trace elements. Therefore, salt and brine from the lake are considered medicinal. Earlier, salt was mined on the lake; the salinity of the pink lake reaches about 30% in summer. The water of the lake not only keeps a person afloat but also doesn't yield to its healing properties to the salt waters of world-famous resorts.
Locals rent out rooms to tourists in their homes. Living conditions aren't much refined, but the prices are very reasonable.
Due to its incredible color and healing brine, Lake Lemuria is becoming increasingly popular with tourists and photographers. About 10,000 people from our country and abroad visit this wonder of nature every year.
By the way, a photo of the Ukrainian "Dead Sea" by Ukrainian photographer Yevhen Samuchenko recently graced the cover of the print magazine, National Geographic Traveler.
Distance from Kherson: 100 km
🌿 Askania-Nova Biosphere Reserve
Askania-Nova Biosphere Park, named after Friedrich Falz-Fein, is a veritable oasis in the hot Kherson steppes.
The park, like Oleshky sands and pink lake, occupies the first spots on the top of the most famous tourist destinations in Ukraine. The reserve was founded in 1898 by a wealthy landowner, Friedrich Falz-Fein, who specially allocated a section of his own land for scientific research.
Currently, the reserve has more than 500 species of plants and more than 3 thousand species of animals. In 1984, the UNESCO Council included Askania-Nova in the list of the planet's reference areas.
The modern territory of the reserve is divided into three large parts: the Northern, the Velykyi Chapelskyi hollow, and the Southern. There are also zoological and dendrological parks, a science museum, a botanical garden, and an ornitho-park in Askania-Nova. Hoofed animals, i.e. bison, saigas, European deer, Przewalski horses, kulans, red deer, mouflon, and two-humped camels, live in Askania in the wild.
A full walk-around Askania-Nova is not a one-day route. The huge territory of the reserve occupies 33 thousand hectares. Here you can move on foot or by car accompanied by employees of the reserve. You can stay overnight in the village of "Askania-Nova" in the private housing, hotel or campsite.
How to get there: solo or with a tour, the distance from Kherson is 141 km.
Skadovsk is a resort town of national importance, located on the coast of Dzharylhach Bay. The settlement was founded in 1894 as a seaport on the lands of landowner Serhii Skadovskyi. Earlier, the fishing village of Ali-Agok was located in this place.
Due to the warm and shallow waters of Dzharylhach Bay, Skadovsk is often called a children's resort. There are many children's camps, guesthouses, sanatoriums, and hotels. Vacationers come to Skadovsk for a safe beach holiday and wellness programs offered by local resorts. The town is small, but with a developed infrastructure, you won't have to starve and feel bored because you can find a lot of entertainment for all tastes in the city.
The "Aquarelle" dolphinarium was opened in Skadovsk eight years ago. It combines a dolphinarium and a Rehabilitation and Recreation Center of international standard. Here you can take a dolphin therapy course, which includes swimming and communicating with dolphins, massage, and training with a psychologist. A show of Black Sea bottlenose dolphins and fur seals awaits their guests.
There's a terrarium on the territory of the dolphinarium. There is another interesting object, a "backward" house, in which everything is upside down.
In the heart of Skadovsk, there is an entertainment complex "Treasure Island." Here you'll find a Ferris wheel, which offers a magnificent view of the city and the bay, dozens of attractions, games, and a water park. In summer, Skadovsk hosts music and sports festivals, the most famous ones are "Black Sea Games," "Jazz over the Sea," "Black Sea Starfall."
Distance from Kherson to Skadovsk: 98 km
🏝️ Dzharylhach Island
The island of Dzharylhach, which means "burnt trees" in Turkic, is located in the Black Sea directly opposite Skadovsk. It's separated from the coast by Dzharylhach Bay. Dzharylhach is the largest island in Ukraine and on the Black Sea in general. The island has an elongated shape and is continued with a long sandy spit in the west, which seems to connect the island with the shore with a small gap. The island spit is separated from the large land by a narrow strait, which can dry up, turning the island into a peninsula. So sometimes you can get to the island just on foot, but usually, Skadovsk residents send tourists here by boat.
Upon arrival on the island, you'll be greeted by crystal clear sea, clean sand, and miles of pristine beaches. Seashell and white beaches are the highlights of the island. Dzharylhach is a protected area where millions of birds nest, even pelicans do in some years.
Another landmark of the island is the old lighthouse, which is over 100 years old. It was installed in 1902 according to the design of Eiffel, the creator of the world-famous Paris Tower.
The park has created conditions for tourism; there's a small cafe, a tent camp, fishing is allowed.
Distance from Kherson: 105 km
⬆ Arabat Spit
The huge sandy spit, Arabat Arrow, is the longest natural beach in Europe. The Arabat Arrow is located in the west of the Sea of Azov and separates the sea and the Sivash salt lake. Most tourists go to the resorts of Henhirka, Shchaslyvtseve, and Strilkove, which are best reached from Henichesk by shuttle bus or taxi. Henichesk can be reached by rail.
After the annexation of Crimea, this part of the Ukrainian coast has become extremely attractive not only for our tourists but also for foreign tourists. Over the last six years, Arabat has seen a tremendous increase in the quality of service and infrastructure.
Besides many private boarding houses, recreation centers, and campsites for any money, there are many free spots for lovers of wild recreation with tents in Arabat. Arabat Spit is not only kilometers of natural beaches; it also has water parks, thermal and mineral springs, healing salt lakes, an ostrich farm, and a bee sanatorium near the village of Shchaslyvtsevo. Locals will always offer you tours of the Kherson region.
The sea on Arabat is shallow and warms up quickly, so the beach season on the spit begins in May and ends in late September. The number of sunny days in this place reaches about three hundred a year!
Distance from Kherson: 210 km
🛶 Byriuchyi Island
In the Henichesk district, there is another unique wildlife area, Biryuchyi Island. In fact, it's also a spit, which reaches several tens of meters in the narrowest spots, but gradually expands to 5 km. This place is connected with the coast only by a thin isthmus, which is completely hidden underwater in autumn and spring storm season. And then Biryuchyi Island turns into an actual island, cut off from the big land.
Most of the island is a protected area of the Azov-Sivash National Nature Park. Rare species of animals, plants, and birds have found refuge on Biryuchyi Island. The island is inhabited by red deer, mouflon, fallow deer, kulans. There are also Scythian mounds, where ancient stone women and an old lighthouse stand, which is a symbol of the island, several springs with mineral water, an underground freshwater lake.
How to get there: The easiest way to get to the island from Henichesk is by excursion boat. Upon arrival, the tour will turn into a photo safari in an open jeep. The route, which runs through the protected steppe, will allow you to get acquainted with the flora and fauna of Biryuchyi Island, see deer, mouflon, and wild horses.
The distance from Henichesk is 18 km.
⛵️ Zaliznyi Port
If you are a little tired of virtual recreation, come to Zaliznyi Port!
Zaliznyi Port is a small resort village in the south of the Kherson region, 55 km from Hola Prystan. The village is small, but the number of private villas, resorts, hotels, guesthouses, and camps here is simply outrageous. You don't have to even arrange accommodation, but just come unexpectedly and you will always find a place in a private hotel. However, to get to the hotel on the first line and not walk to the sea for 15 minutes, it's still better to book the room in advance.
Hot sand, sea bathing, tanning, and water entertainment are the main recreation program for "passive tourists." Local drivers and sightseeing buses will gladly take you to a hot geyser nearby and even to Askania-Nova. At night on the main promenade of Zaliznyi Port, which stretches for several kilometers, a party life is bustling. On the promenade, shining with lights, you can eat and dance to your heart's content.
But here you can enjoy the beauty of wildlife; west of Zaliznyi Port, there's the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve, the largest marine reserve in Ukraine. 80% of the reserve is the area, prohibited for ordinary tourists. But even within the limits allowed here, you can see a lot of interesting flora and fauna of the steppe region.
Distance from Kherson: 90 km.
⬇ Tendra Spit
The Black Sea Biosphere Reserve includes the large island of Tendra Spit, more than 20 smaller islands, Tendra and Yahorlyk Bays, and mainland areas around the water area of almost 15 thousand hectares. Volyzhyn Forest, Yahorlyk Kut, and Potiivska Strilka are the most popular of them.
The "entrance" to the protected island "Tendra Spit" is open in the northern direction of Zaliznyi Port, the spit can be reached only by water. You can always rent a boat from Zaliznyi Port or the neighboring, also resort village, Lazurne. Local tour agencies also offer inexpensive day trips to the spit.
Tendra is a real wild island, pristine land that stretches in the Black Sea for 65 km. Hundreds of species of migratory and nesting birds live on the island and are strictly protected by law and reserve personnel: herons, pelicans, cormorants, gags, wild geese and swans, bustards, pheasants, white storks. There are about 80 species of fish in the sea, including 3 species of dolphins.
It also has its own lighthouse, which was built in 1827.
On the island you can spend the night in a tent, you will have to take food and drinking water with you.
Distance from Zalisnyi Port: 50 km