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10 Festivals to Visit in Ukraine

Updated on November 16, 2015
Ukrainian strawberry
Ukrainian strawberry | Source

10. Strawberry Festival, Izyum

Known as “the strawberry capital of Ukraine” by the locals, every second Saturday of June sees this city celebrating its annual strawberry festival. Izyum boasts that they grow the biggest and tastiest strawberries in the world and many strawberry confections are made during the festivities. One of the traditions of this festival is to cook strawberry jam and share it with all the guests. That’s a lot of strawberries and a lot of jam, especially free jam.

Coffee in Lyviv
Coffee in Lyviv | Source

9. Coffee Festival, Lviv

Lviv is famous for its love of coffee; cafes exist on nearly every corner and the smell of freshly brewed coffee is a constant companion in the city. Naturally they would have a festival devoted to their favorite drink, a coffee addict’s greatest dream. Beans from all around the world are sold and various types of brews made for eager customers to buy. Even bike races are parts of the events in a unite show of people’s love for coffee.

The festival runs in late September, lasting three to four days usually.

Lekvar Jam
Lekvar Jam | Source

8. Lekvar (Plum) Festival, Hecha

A celebration held in the Transcarpathian region in late August, near Berehove, Hecha is all about plums. The making of lekvar (a traditional thick jam made from pure fruit) is the highlight of the festival. Visitors can help in the preparation to cook the lekvar and taste various rolls and other foods served with the jam, all washed down with a plum brandy called Slivovica. The culmination of the event is a contest to see who made the most delicious lekvar that day among all the preparations.

Carved Watermelon
Carved Watermelon | Source

7. Watermelon Festival, Hola Prystan

Anyone who likes farming competitions will definitely love the watermelon festival of Hola Prystan, its proper name being Ukrainian Watermelon—Sweet Miracle. Everything you could possibly imagine about watermelon is present, the center of the attraction being the weighing of giant watermelons brought all over to find the biggest one. Watermelon carving is, however, without a doubt the most beautiful part of the whole festival. Chefs cut roses and other complex designs into the fruit, a display that is as beautiful as it is mouthwatering.

Every third Saturday in August is the day the fair is held.

Chef sculpts two lions kissing during Lviiv Chocolate Fesitval
Chef sculpts two lions kissing during Lviiv Chocolate Fesitval | Source

6. Chocolate Festival, Lviv

One of the greatest holidays about chocolate you’ll ever see, the times for this festival vary but usually are around the early February-March times of the year. Chocolatiers from all over Ukraine and abroad come to Lviv to show off their skills to amazed customers looking to buy their favorite sweets. Everyone can participate in making chocolates and learn something about chocolate that they have never known before. Monuments and buildings are recreated entirely in chocolate

Not everything is purely chocolate, though. The Lviv Candle Factory makes special candles just for this event that resemble and even smell like chocolate!

Potato Pancakes
Potato Pancakes | Source

5. Potato Pancakes Festival, Korosten

These delicious pancakes are a special traditional food in Ukraine, so it is no surprise that there is a festival centered around them in early September. Potatoes are king here, but the pancakes themselves have their own special recipe and can be served stuffed with mushrooms, cheese, or meat. Stories, songs, and even jokes about potato pancakes are recited during the partying, and competitors are allowed to participate in contests involving throwing pancakes into a bowl of sour cream. Naturally there is also a competition to see who made the best potato pancake out of all the cooks, the judges being the visitors themselves.

Wine Festival in Mukachevo
Wine Festival in Mukachevo | Source

4. Wine Festival, Mukachevo

If you have ever wanted to taste traditional wines of the Transcarpathian region then this event is definitely for you. Festival Chervene Wine (literally translated as “Red Wine”) is famous among Ukraine for its high quality domestic wines and Mukachevo spares nothing on their merrymaking. The festival lasts four days, often in early January, and home winemakers from all around come to the city to show off their own creations. Traditions and old customs are very honored here, along with wine recipes that go back for centuries.

Lvivian silver beer stein
Lvivian silver beer stein | Source

3. Beer Festival, Lviv

Lviv is a city known for its partying, as another festival takes place in May, this time around beer. The city has its very own brand of beer, but it also showcases other beers from all around the world, dividing the city up into sections of what country the beer is from. Beer from Lviv was a favorite in the Austro-Hungarian empire, then later the Soviet Union which is a testament to its popularity and amazing taste. There are several varieties of it, all with their own unique taste and charm of their own.

Salo with borscht
Salo with borscht | Source

2. Salo Festival, Lutsk

Cured slabs of fatback, salo is considered a main symbol of Ukrainian cuisine. It is so loved, in fact, that the festival has been voted as Ukraine’s #1 food festival, and multiple records have been made there, such as the biggest salo sandwich in the world. Wine and plenty of meat and fat are to go around—it might not be the healthiest of food festivals but for those who love savory foods it is certainly the tastiest.

Ukrainian Bread
Ukrainian Bread | Source

1. Bread Festival, Ivano-Frankivsk

It’s a common stereotype that Ukrainians really love their bread so it shouldn’t as too big of a surprise for anyone that they have a festival about it as well. Late August is the time for this celebration, not just about bread and all the different types of it but every other bakery product as well. The most beautiful part of the event is no doubt the decorated bread that bakers proudly display—breads with flowers and patterns expertly crafted into them, they make bread a work of art that is both tasty and visually stunning for visitors to see.

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