Odessa

Odessa is both an historically important and entertaining city, one whose history is matched by the splendor of the present day community. In the new millennium, the citizens of Odessa are hopeful that their wonderful city will continue on its road to prosperity, and as tourism is increasing, this dream seems to become closer with each passing day. Just over one million people live in this bustling city, and there is always so much to do that it will seem like there are millions who reside here. You will not find that Odessa is overcrowded or stifling, but when you venture out at night, it appears as if the whole city is active and out on the town. There are some fabulous nightspots in Odessa, and a couple of the shopping districts are outstanding. Citizens of Odessa, particularly the younger generations, are extremely friendly, and even the bars remain relatively peaceful and free of altercations.

The catacombs of Odessa are a main attraction for tourists looking for a little history and culture. These underground wonders are the most expansive in the world, and hundreds of people hid here during the Nazi invasions. They are absolutely incredible, and demand a visit. There are a number of extremely interesting museums in Odessa, and the architecture of the buildings and the main square are magnificent. Three or four of the restaurants in town are particularly outstanding, and the tourist offices are comprehensive and will always lead you on the right path for a wonderfully enjoyable stay. As the cruise ship docks, you will instantly be reassured that you are in for a spectacular vacation. The region is subtly beautiful, and during the summertime the beaches are exploding with activity.

Docking & Local Transportation

Cruise ships dock at the Port of Odessa (48/729-3803), located a 1 Tamojennaya Square.

Odessa has a vast but dilapidated public transportation system consisting of buses, trolleys, and trams. They are almost always crowded, and don't expect them to be prompt. However, one thing they are is affordable. Taxis roam the streets of Odessa, yet if you don't find one right away, head to one of the major hotels in town, where cabs often congregate.

Local Interests

The Catacombs of Odessa are perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this marvelous city. This eerie underground habitat became the home of many of the city's inhabitants during the two-and-a-half year occupation of Odessa by Nazi troops. Hundreds of years ago, when Odessa was very young, the closest rock source to the region was immediately underground, and over the decades catacombs developed. By the 20th century, and during the Nazi invasion, these catacombs had become the longest in the entire world. Inside this spectacular historic landmark is a museum created in honor of those lost during the German attacks, and the tours of the catacombs and the museum are remarkable.

The Literary Museum can be found at 2 Lastochkin (48/22-32-13) and is a glimpse into the culture and heritage of Odessa. Letters, books, and photos chronicle the lives of some of the most prominent Ukrainians, including Gogol and Pushkin. The exhibits and transcriptions are in Russian, but you can have a tour guide lead you and translate, if you desire.

Activities

Beaches

The most popular beach in Odessa, especially at night during the summer, is Arkadiya. To get there take bus #129 and you will be dropped off right where you want to be. In the area you will find some cafes, places to shop, and, of course, a pleasant beach atmosphere. Lanzheron is the closest beach from downtown Odessa, and you can reach it by taking Tram #5. Both these spots do tend to get crowded during summer, but it is to be expected, so don't let it deter you. You are sure to have a splendid stay if you relax and enjoy the warm hospitality of the beaches of Odessa.

Dining and Nightlife

The premier restaurant in Odessa is Steakhouse, found at Deribasovskaya 20 (48/348-782). All of the dishes are prepared with the utmost care, and the chefs take particular pride in their steaks. Besides the delectable steak entrees, you can order chicken, fish, and veal. Steakhouse is a lovely dining experience and the ambiance complements the wonderful food perfectly. The best bar in Odessa is Gambrinus, found at Deribasovskaya 31 (48/263-657). Beer vats make up the tables in this establishment, which might give you a clue about what you are getting into. This is a place that will definitely bring out either the drinker or the talker in you. Mick O'Neil's is located at Deribasovskaya 52 and is the most frequented nightclub in Odessa. Drinks, dancing, and music have made O'Neil's extremely popular.

Shopping

The Pasazh can be found along Preobrazhenskaya, next to the Hotel Pasazh, and is a collection of high-ticket shops and galleries