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Odessa is a city in Ukraine, a country in Eastern Europe. Used to be the most populous of Ukraine in the second half of 19th century before it was beaten by Kyiv.
Ukrainian is the country's only official language, but the native language of most of the population in Odessa is Russian, although the majority of the people also understand Ukrainian. Young people tend to know English, although not many people can speak it fluently.
The best restaurants will have a menu in English if you ask them, but many cafes and bars might not have them.
Odesa International Airport (ODS) has daily direct connections from and to Kyiv, Vienna, Istanbul, Warsaw, Budapest, Minsk, Munich and Prague. Several days a week there are also scheduled flights to Athens, Dubai, Milan, St.Petersburg and Tel-Aviv. You can also fly to Riga.
The airport is easily reachable from city centre, as well as other districts by a number of minibuses.
There is a daily High Speed train to Kyiv from Odessa (7 hours). All direct sleeper trains from central Europe have now been discontinued, a change in Kiev is necessary. However there are still services from Minsk (22h) and Grodno (26½h) on irregular dates. There is a daily train from Chişinău taking five hours too.
Frequent buses provide connection to Moldova, either through Transnistria or directly to the right-bank part of Moldova. An average trip to Chişinău takes about 5 hours along the best roads in Moldova and costs around €6 one-way, buses for the reverse of this journey appear to be less frequent (a few per day). Domestic buses are plenty and usually cheap.
The public transport in Odessa consists of trams, trolleybuses and mini-buses (called marshrutkas), running throughout the city. Trams and trolley-buses are the cheapest, but may get very crowded, especially in the tourist peak season.
What to see
The most interesting thing to see in Odessa is the old town itself. The city was once the center for trade for the Russian Empire as well as an intellectual and artistic centre prior to the revolution and during the Soviet unnion. Much of the grandeur of the city dates from the period before the Soviet takeover and subsequently Odessa shows its age.
The economic hardships that befell the city falling the collapse of the Soviet unnion in 1992 have left vast portions of what was a magnificently wealthy old city in a state of total disrepair.
In the much smaller and better kept part of the old town there is a large and beautiful Opera house and some very nice parks. There is also one main street leading through the centre that is vibrant with people selling street goods to tourists.
If you're looking for a nice route in a city center, try go from Grecheskaya square through Gavannaya st., then onto Gogolya street, in the end of which turn right and you will see Tyoschin bridge (Mother-in-law bridge). Walk through the bridge and take a stroll along the Primorskiy boulevard. In the end of the boulevard you'll see the city hall. Turn right and go up to the Opera House, from where you can get to Deribasovskaya street. It's especially beautiful in the evening.
What to do
Walk ın the lıvely Prıvoz market (one of the bıggest ın former USSR) and enjoy cheap and tasty food.
Walk along the Deribasovskaya street. It has a very colourful pedestrian part, especially at summer or early autumn evening time.
Walk along the Primorskiy Boulevard (bul'var). It's also a very good promenade place.
In the middle of the Primorsky Boulevard, you will find a monument dedicated to Duke Rechelieu, one of the founders of Odessa.
From this point you can walk down the famous Potemkin Steps, to the Primorskaya street and to the Marine Terminal, where a lot of buses and trolleybus.
If you turn 180 degrees from Potemkin Steps, you will see Catherine Square, which you can take a short walk to. This square features a recently erected a monument to Catherine the Great, who is also one of the founders of Odessa.
Yekaterinenskaya Street: Walk on it a few blocks from its very beginning. A first couple of block is full of greenery, elegant houses where on a first floor there is either a restaurant or some store. In two blocks it intersects with Deribasovskaya street.
Odessa Philharmonic, Bunina street. Go for a concert to the beautiful historic building of National Philharmonic Theatre.
Dolphinarium Nemo. Mainly a paradise for children, but also for adults if you are a fan of these majestic marine mammals.
Most of the city waterfront, except the port territory, forms a beach zone. All of the beaches are located at the eastern edge of Odessa. The most popular beaches are the following: listed according to their distance from city center.
Otrada - is slightly farther from the city centre than Lanzheron. It is the closest to the centre among the beaches located under the French Parkway.
Dolphin - is 3 more tram stops past Otrada.
Chkalovski - two nudist beaches located between Dolphin and Arcadia, near the Chkalovski sanatorium. The smaller first one is wildish with strange bathers and lots of rocks. The second, 500m further on, is bigger and frequented by many families with a nicer atmosphere. Little sand, mainly pebbles.
Arcadia - is the most popular beach and tourist place with lots of restaurants, bars, discos, night clubs and other entertainment. It's home of the upscale nightlife in summer.
Malibu - is a beach at Luzanovka neighborhood, easily reachable by numerous bus routes which link the city centre with the Poselok Kotovskogo section of Odessa. Malibu is the cleanest beach on the sea shore with excellent service similar to ones in Arcadia.