Combining historic grandeur with a modern energy, Odessa is a major port and resort destination on the edge of the Black Sea. Its grand architecture fuses Art Nouveau, Renaissance and Classicist styles, while underground tunnels harbour a fascinating World War II history.
Things to do in Odesa
The Old Town of Odessa is an atmospheric place with elements of grandeur from its pre-Soviet years. The 19th-century Odessa National Opera and Ballet Theater is of particular note, drawing on both French and Italian Baroque influences in its design.
Soak up the port atmosphere of Odessa along its harbour or witness the grand mansions and monuments along the Primorsky Boulevard. If you want to dip your toes in the Black Sea, head to nearby Lanzheron Beach, where local families flock during the summer months.
The most iconic landmark in Odessa is the Potemkin Stairs, a giant staircase built in the 19th century to offer direct access to the harbour. The stairs were made famous in Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 silent film “The Battleship Potemkin” and challenge visitors even today.
Beneath the city of Odessa lies an immense network of catacombs and tunnels that were used as a refuge for Soviet partisans during World War II. You can learn more at the Museum of Partisan Glory, then visit the Museum of Smuggling to discover a lesser-known role the tunnels have played in Odessa’s history.
Getting around Odesa
Odessa International Airport is situated 25 minutes’ drive south-west of the city centre, and there are daily high-speed trains to the capital, Ukraine. Trams, trolleybuses and mini buses known as “marshrutkas” travel throughout the city, but the Old Town is best explored on foot.