Authored by Alona Tiunina
Even though I grew up in Ukraine, I didn’t realize how much natural beauty there is in this country until I started camping.
While most tourists like to go to see the cities, local Ukrainians love to camp.
Why? Because it’s generally free.
You might know that Ukraine is not a very rich country, so we Ukrainians derive a lot of pleasure from nature. These 3 awesome places to camp in Ukraine tend to be filled with locals, but hopefully this guide in English helps bring some interested foreigners to my beautiful country.
3 Awesome Places To Camp in Ukraine
Camping in Ukraine FAQ
Q: Is camping free in Ukraine?
A: Camping in all national parks in Ukraine is free, however if there is a campground set up with showers and firepits you may have to pay a small fee.
Q: How long can you camp in Ukraine?
A: As long as you want, provided you are in a tent on public land. You cannot plonk an RV in a park and just live out of it, but if you wanted to spend a month in the Carpathians in a tent, that’s totally okay.
Q: What should I bring for camping in Ukraine?
A: You should bring what you normally would for camping in most countries. Food, water, shelter, and supplies.
Many paid campsites have a little shop on site where you can shower, buy water, and even get cooked food, but that’s something you should look into beforehand.
Q: What about making a fire?
A: This one is a bit tricky, since the rules can be vague. Generally though, if I see fire pits on the land already then it’s okay to set up a fire.
I would not however make a fire in a random spot. For more experienced campers you can bring a hotplate to cook on, which won’t violate any rules.
#1 Dzharylhach Island
Dzharylhach Island is one of my favorite places in Ukraine, and an absolute gem for camping enthusiasts. It is located in the Kherson region about an hour and a half ferry ride from the mainland.
Unexpectedly, this island almost feels tropical at times. Soft white sand and clear blue water make up this strip of land. In fact, it’s quite common to see dolphins playing about near the shore.
Because of its national park status, camping on Dzharylhach is absolutely free. You can backpack over there and stay as long as you like. For less experienced campers, there is a campsite where you can rent an already set-up tent, air mattress, and pillows. Prices for a tent rental are 150 UAH per person, per night – about $5.
This cafe is also where you’ll go if you want to rent a tent on the island. Just walk up and ask for a tent and the worker will show you (provided there is one available).
If you prefer to book ahead of time you can head to the Skadovsk Information Website to do so. It is in Russian, but your web browser should translate to your preferred language.
- Get yourself to Kherson. Whether you fly in, take the train, or a bus, there are plenty of ways to get to Kherson city from Kyiv, Lviv, or Odesa.
2. Take a bus to Skadovs’k. From Kherson central bus station (Polkovnyka Kedrovskoho St, 1, Kherson, Kherson Oblast, 73000) hop on a local bus to Skadovs’k which will take around 2 hours.
The prices can vary depending on the type of bus, but they are generally around 100 UAH (~$3.30). There are on average 7 busses a day leaving between 7 am to 6 pm.
3. Walk to the beach from the bus station (15 minutes) and buy a ferry ticket at the pier to Dzharylhach. The ferries leave for Dzharylhach every day at 8am, 9am, 10:30 am, and 2 pm. The tickets are sold round trip and cost 200 UAH (~$7). Enjoy the boat ride to Dzharylhach!
Bakota is a very popular camping spot for local Ukrainians, even though it isn’t the easiest place to get to. This spot is primarily car camping, and you’ll need to pay 250 UAH (~$9) a day to park at a campsite.
This is not per car, but per site. We actually had about 13 people and 4 cars last time I camped in Bakota. To get to Bakota you’ll need your own car (or rental) as there is no public transportation here.
The campsite is located around the north east section of the “lake”. I say lake in quotations because it’s actually a man-made reservoir that connects to the Dnister river. However there are plenty of lake activities you can do like fishing, jet-ski. boating, swimming, and the like.
The history of Bakota is interesting because it used to be an historic town in the valley since around 1240a.d. However when the Soviet Union decided they needed a reservoir, they flooded the valley and destroyed the town.
How To Get To Bakota:
Since you’ll need to rent a car the easiest thing to do is just pop the location into Google Maps and follow the instructions.
Unfortunately there is no way to pre-book online. You’ll have to call ahead to reserve a spot, or just show up whenever and find an available one.
I would say it’s very likely there will be a spot available, but for those who like to have a plan in place you can call this number to arrange: +38068508-68-47 or +380679836138
There is a small town about 15 minutes drive from the campsite called Hrushka where you can buy groceries and other supplies.
#3 Skolivski Beskydy National Park
Located in the Lviv Oblast in Western Ukraine, this is one of my favorite places to do a bit of weekend camping. Because I live in Lviv, it’s actually quite easy to reach Skolivski National Park.
In Ukraine we have something called an Elektrichka, a long distance electric train. From Lviv it’s easy to just hop on the Elektrichka at the train station and take it directly to Skole, a riverside city surrounded by the park. The final destination is usually a city called Mukachevo.
There are about a dozen trains a day that go from Lviv to Skole and the price is around 70 UAH (~$2.50). You can check the ticket timetable here.
Camping near Skole is not difficult, but it’s much more rough than Bakota or Dzharylhach. There are very few paid grounds so the best thing to do is hike until you find a nice spot by the river and set up camp.
Or if you want to do a bit more hiking then make your way to the top of Parashka mountain for an amazing vista of the surrounding area.
If you are a tourist to Lviv and feel like you’ve run out of things to do, then taking in the nature of the surrounding area by Skole is a great choice. It can be as cheap as you want, especially if you like to fish or forage for your dinner.
And remember, it doesn’t matter where or how you camp, as long as you respect the nature around you. Please take your trash with you and clean up your campsite area before leaving.