With a cultural history ranging from the Ottomans to the USSR, Odessa has long held a place as an important warm-water port on the Eastern Mediterranean. Odessa was founded by Catherine the Great in the late 18th century, drawing immigrants from all over Europe to make their fortune.
Odessa Opera House © Jewgienij Bal
Today Odessa is a popular tourist destination in the Ukraine, due to its sunny climate, sandy beaches and attractive city centre. The old town is clean and safe, though a bit run-down and neglected since the Soviet era. The wide tree-lined streets, like Primoskiy Boulevard and Deribasovskaya Street, are home to beautiful buildings like the Odessa Opera House and Panteleymonivsky Church. Some of the most elaborate and photogenic buildings in Odessa are located on Gogolya Street.
With the exception of the port territory, most of Odessa's waterfront is made up of beaches. The most popular beach in Odessa is Arcadia, which boasts a number of restaurants, nightclubs and other tourist-oriented establishments; Malibu is another popular beach; and located near Arcadia is Chkalovski, a nudist beach.
One of the most interesting attractions in Odessa lies beneath the city. The world's largest network of catacombs was used by the resistance during the Nazi occupation, and today can be explored by tourists with a private guide.
A holiday in Odessa is a must on any trip to the Ukraine. The city centre is full of interesting museums and plenty of cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs for tourists to explore. It has been written that Odessa has 'more charm than any city in the Russian Empire', and that includes the friendly and cultured inhabitants.