When most tourists think of Odessa in Ukraine, wild beach parties and a laid-back Mediterranean atmosphere come to mind. Ask a local, and they will tell you that parties at Ibiza Beach Club are only a small part of the culture. There are so many more epic things to do in Odessa!
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Why Visit Odessa in Ukraine?
Most tourists to Ukraine are checking out things to do in Kiev but really, you cannot miss Odessa. Visitors will be pleased to discover that there’s no such thing as “the best beach in Odessa,” but a smorgasbord of sand-and-sea vibes diverse enough to satisfy pretty much everyone. Odessa, Ukraine – not to be confused with Odessa in Cyprus or Texas– is a young city by European standards.
From its early days as a busy Black Sea port, Odessa had beachside hotels, vacation resorts, and bodegas to keep the bourgeoisie, dock hands, and sailors entertained. Today, the city rises from limestone cliffs, almost hovering above the beaches. Throughout the day, locals dive with nets for rapani – a local shellfish delicacy. At night, the city lights dance on the waves as people splash in the twilight sea.
Backpackers hang out on the free city beaches of Langeron and Otrada, hiding beer in their bags. Wealthy foreigners lounge on the plush beds at Bright On Beach and take taxis to Ibiza Beach Club or Mantra to party and meet beautiful women. Families and those who like to get away from it all stay near Fontan and its luxury accommodations. This variety is the reason why the best beach in Odessa is the one that is the best fit your personal vibe.
If you are considering exploring beaches in Ukraine and you’re not sure where to start, here are the best local insider tips on Odessa’s best beaches and general things to do in Odessa.
City Convenience of the Free Langeron Beach
If you‘re born and raised in the Odessa city center, then chances are your summers were spent lounging on Langeron beach. In my opinion, it’s the best beach in Odessa for a local, non-touristy experience. Babushka’s carry bags of dried fish, shrimp, and hot corn on the cob. Women read romance novels and kids splash in the nearby water. Most Odessa residents come here to get away from the city, do a workout, or take a break from their workday.
You can walk to the free beach across from the Nemo Beach Club and Resort. Here, wooden platforms replace sand and stairs lead straight into the water. Pickpockets can be a problem, but here it’s relatively safe and you can ask a neighbor to watch your stuff.
Lounging Vibes and Cocktails in Otrada
If you walk following the coast away from Langeron and the port, you will run straight into Otrada beach. This is the best beach in Odessa for luxurious lounging close to the city center. My personal favorite is Bright On Beach with its signature Millennial pink beds, but there are tons of other paid beaches next door with different vibes.
About seven dollars can buy you a sun lounger with an umbrella for the whole day. Lay back and order mojitos or shashlik from the waitresses or partake in a local tradition and swim to the wave breaker seawall. It’s a brief 5 – 7 minute swim from shore. But beware, there are usually no lifeguards on duty, and although uncommon, riptides can happen in the Black Sea.
Luxury and Relaxation in Fontan
For that secluded getaway feeling or to see how the wealthier residents of Odessa spend their summer, head over to the beaches in Bolshoi Fontan. Translated to the “Grand Fountain” in English, this is a stretch of sand is the best beach in Odessa for clear and beautiful waters. It’s a more family-friendly area, but there is still plenty of partying to be had.
The Cuba Beach Club has a seaside restaurant, beachside beds and cabanas that are very affordable by European or U.S. standards. Seven dollars for a lounger with an umbrella or about twenty dollars for a daybed. Bring a beach read, order a cappuccino and enjoy the sparkling green water at one of Odessa’s best beaches.
Fontan’s peaceful atmosphere makes it the perfect place for a nighttime dip. One local tradition is to swim during a full moon or to wake up at 4:30 a.m. and go for a sunrise swim. Travelers who like water sports can try windsurfing or stand-up paddle boarding in a number of surf shacks on the beach.
Clubs and Beach Resorts in Arcadia
Arcadia beach clubs and resorts are best for an all-inclusive holiday where you stay on the beach in the day and party from sundown to sunrise. On TripAdvisor, reviews rave that this outdoor mall is close to all the best Odessa beach hotels and restaurants. However, those looking for the city center and cultural authenticity will be disappointed. Arcadia is a half-hour drive to the city center and this is generally an area that most Odessits avoid.
In Arcadia beaches and clubs you will spot the famous Odessa telka, an affectionate but slightly derisive term for the beautiful Ukrainian women who dress like Kim Kardashian. Just remember that not every Ukrainian woman is a telka, but most enjoy dressing up and letting their inner telka out once in a while. The nightclubs, like Ibiza Beach Club host some of the biggest names in music. Book your concert tickets in advance and enjoy bottle service right on the beach.
A Ukrainian Health Retreat on the Kuyalnik Liman
The last beach in Odessa isn’t on the Black Sea and it’s a little out of the way, but still worth a visit. This is the best beach in Odessa for those looking for something totally different. Liman’s are saltwater estuaries that have mineral-rich mud with purported healing properties. The wild landscape around Kuyalnik resembles an alien planet more than a beach. Vibrant purple and blood red flowers carpet the ground the exposed cliffs have a reddish glow.
Undress and take a dip for your health, but be warned. If you rub the mud on your body keep in mind that it is medicinal. People with heart conditions are advised to not rub it all over their bodies. Local rumor says the mud works best on lung and breathing conditions, but please consult your doctor before trying any DIY treatment including this one.
There aren’t any stores in the area. Because it’s isolated, it makes for the perfect place for a picnic. Go to the local market and stock up on fruits, vegetables, and snacks, and enjoy yourself. Kuyalnik is about a 30-minute drive from the city, so hire a local driver or rent a car for the day to get here and enjoy the day.
What to Pack for Odessa Beaches Getaways
Naturally, you want to dust off your beachwear. Grab a beach towel, water bottle, bikini, swimsuit, sun lotion, sunglasses, hat, sandals, flip flops and a beach bag and settle down for beach time. Maybe pack a book, kindle, beach volleyball or even unicorn floatie to keep you entertained.
[su_highlight background=”#ef7583″]Check out the full summer vacation packing list.[/su_highlight]
Before you fly to Ukraine, get local currency from your bank as credit cards aren’t widely accepted. Cash is preferred in Odessa. Bring a little cash with you but leave your wallet in your hotel, just in case. Food and drink can be purchases near the beaches – except on the Liman.
The Best Time to Odessa’s Best Beaches
Since Ukraine’s Odessa has pleasant weather all year round, you don’t necessarily have to visit in summer, which is high season. Even February and March are great for a visit and ticking off a lot of things to do in Odessa. Temperatures are mild then.
Which of Odessa’s Best Beaches Is Coolest?
That depends entirely on your personal preferences. Do you like it more natural and with healing qualities, then check out Kuyalnik Liman. Fontan is for luxury getaways and Arcadia for nights out.
What Else Is there to Do in Odessa?
Besides its best beaches Odessa offers plenty of attractions. Book a day tour to see as many as possible and mingle with fellow travellers (which is great for solo travellers).
[su_note note_color=”#d2d2d2″ radius=”0″]Odessa Sightseeing – Tick off the main Odessa attractions in a day and from the convenience of a car. No need to walk around in the summer heat!
Odessa Cognac Tour – Did you know Odessa had a Cognac Museum? Of course, there is cognac tasting involved.
Catacombs Tour – Escape the sun and get some shivers down your spine in the world below Odessa. [/su_note]
Which of these things to do in Odessa are on your list?
[su_box title=”Guest Author – Aleksandra Bulatskaya” box_color=”#ef7583″ title_color=”#ffffff” radius=”4″]Alex is a writer and poet who explores multiculturalism, travel, culture, and belonging on her www.citizenset.com blog. She is currently working on her first novel titled, “When the Black Sea Gleams” about a young Ukrainian refugee who is deported from the U.S. and is forced to rebuild her life in a strange new land.[/su_box]
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