Chernivtsi. Another place that I – and probably you too – have never heard of. And I actually wasn’t planning on visiting it. That was until one of my fellow Ukrainian volunteers convinced me to go there. She originally came from this town and was totally in love with it. It made me hesitate. Maybe this town was something I didn’t want to miss. So I decided to go. After all, it was on my way back to Lviv so it was no extra trouble.
A beautiful welcome: Olha Kobylyahska street
Around 2 in the afternoon my bus from Kamyanets-Podilsky arrived in Chernivtsi. I had six hours to explore this city, because my train to Lviv wasn’t leaving until late in the evening. And so my stopover in Chernivtsi began. First stop: pedestrian zone Olha Kobylyahska Street. One of the most charming areas in Chernivtsi, simply because for the first time in weeks there were no honking cars around me. Quietness at last. I made my way along the beautiful facades, saw several brides along the way getting their picture taken, came across a gigantic pink church and ate chocolate at the Lviv Chocolate Factory. I had already seen this chain two times outside Lviv and hey, I cannot say no to chocolate (who can?).
The Drunken Church
I decided to leave the main street and explore the back alleys. Sometimes these streets are even better than the popular areas, which was also the case in Chernivtsi. On my stroll I saw some great street art works, spotted several Ladas and wandered through charming cobble stone streets. On top of that, I also saw another striking church that almost looked like a melted candle. Locals call it the ‘drunken church’, which you will understand as soon as you look at the picture below.
The University, the pride of Chernivtsi
From the back alleys I circled my way to the pride of Chernivtsi: the University. Or actually the pride of my fellow Ukrainian volunteer, because she advised me to go here. Personally, I didn’t expect much of it. How interesting could a university be? I was wrong, luckily. This University almost looks like a classy British school, but with a slight touch of Eastern Europe architecture with the domes on top. Sadly, I got there after opening hours, so I couldn’t take a look inside.
And that was it! That evening I took the train back to Lviv where my adventures in Ukraine came to an end. Writing this post, one and a half month after the trip, I look back on my time in Ukraine with positive memories. I met so many great people, laughed, shared stories and discovered places I had never heard of. One of those places is Chernivtsi, and I’m glad I got to see it.
How to get to Chernivtsi?
- From Lviv: there are a few train options. The fastest option takes 4 hours (the 19.05 train), other options take much longer. There is also a bus option, but it is a long ride (8 hours).
- From Kyiv: there are around four daily trains, travel time varies from 6 to 9 hours. These are most likely night trains. There are also several night buses from Kyiv to Chernivtsi, but prepare yourself for a long ride (10 to 12 hours).
Want to read more about my trip in Ukraine? Click here.
And what do you think of Chernivtsi?
This post is written in 2015 and updated in 2020.