New Year is such a holiday that adults and children equally adore. It is always associated with snow, snow hills, big Christmas tree and a miracle that everyone believes in. The best place to find all of this in an era of global warming is in the mountains. So I decided to meet the New Year 2020 in the Carpathians – the highest mountains of Ukraine.
My route to the small resort town of Yaremche laid through Ivano-Frankivsk. From the railway station of Frankivsk you can easily get to Yaremche for just an hour and a half by bus or suburban electric train. But even in Ivano-Frankivsk it is worth staying at least half a day to walk along its main tourist street – Independence, that locals call the “100-meter way”.
Here you can see ancient European architecture, climb to the observation deck of the city hall or look into the luxurious Ukrainian Greek Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Resurrection. Fans of beauty can be interested in the local Carpathian Museum of Art. And you can warm yourself near the central Christmas tree of the city with delicious mulled wine for only 1 euro.
But if there was little snow in Ivano-Frankivsk, then in the town of Yachemche, surrounded by mountains, whole snow hills awaited me. I could easily reserve a room for myself in one of the local estates on the website booking.com, and every morning, going out onto the balcony, I could enjoy an amazing view of the mountains. The issue of nutrition was also easily resolved: I paid for breakfast and dinner at a neighboring estate specializing in feeding tourists. Although it was possible to buy groceries at a local round-the-clock supermarket, opposite the train station, and cook meal in the shared kitchen itself.
Mountains are incomparable in their beauty and purity of air. Perhaps that is why I slept here like a log.
There are many entertainments and excursions for tourists in the Carpathians: trips to waterfalls and mountain lakes, visiting nature reserves and feeding deers by hands, riding quad bikes in the forest and trout fishing, tasting local cheeses and wines. But I chose the most interesting, in my opinion, route and went to the most popular ski resort of the Carpathians – Bukovel. There are several ski slopes with different levels of difficulty, ski lifts working around the clock, instructors and lifeguards, cafes and restaurants and even SPA. You can spend half a day at the Voda Club for only 30 euros, swimming in a warm open-air pool, visiting saunas and a massage room, dine in a local restaurant and relax on the soft loungers in the lounge area.
But be prepared for the fact that in Bukovel everything is very expensive, even for European standards. Below we show the prices for ski lifts and ski equipment rental in local currency – the hryvnia.
But this does not stop whole crowds of skiers from coming here on vacation and just tourists, including from Europe. There are the most luxurious and expensive hotels in the Carpathian region, prices for which you can find on booking.com. Those tourists who have a more modest budget, stop in neighboring villages or Yaremche and come to Bukovel by a tourist bus or taxi.
By the way, in Yaremche there is the largest souvenir market of the Carpathian region. You can find here everything: from traditional woolen socks and embroideries to dozens of types of local home-made alcoholic beverages. I also could not resist and bought a little bit of everything.
I celebrated the New Year itself with friends at the central square of Yaremche around a real 15-meter Christmas tree, accompanied by a concert by a local youth pop group and numerous fireworks. After midnight, we went to taste street food and ride on a small local ice rink. In general, it was fun and sincere. And most importantly – there was a lot of snow, which means that the holiday was a real one!