Odessa and Lviv both belong to the list of Ukraine’s most beautiful cities and the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
Odessa is located on the Black Sea in Southern Ukraine. Founded as a small fortress, it became an important centre of trade as part of the Russian Empire.
Today it is the third largest city of Ukraine, with a population of slightly above 1 million. Historical centre of Odessa is a place where life never stops, and the more peripherial Arcadia district is home to a large recreational zone, many restaurants and night clubs.
Odessa has always been a multicultural city, and its image is still defined by the heritage of many nations that have populated it. A lot of people from different countries come there for work, study or tourism.
Nevertheless, Odessa is known for its chaotic traffic, and the public transport of the city is still not very developed. Also, the city is located at a significant distance from the main European transport routes, and cargo sea traffic has a priority over passenger routes.
Also, Odessa has one of the highest levels of crime among Ukrainian cities, and takes 14th place in all-European crime rating. There is also a risk of conflict because of the city’s proximity to Russian-occupied Crimea, as well as the frozen conflict zone in Moldova’s Transnistria region.
Lviv is one of the oldest Ukrainian cities, as well as the political and cultural centre of the western part of the country. It is considered to be the most “European” city in Ukraine, due to the long time it spent under the rule of Poland and Austria. Nowadays, it is Ukraine’s seventh-largest city with a population of more than 700,000.
Lviv has a well-preserved urban core, which contains numerous architectural masterpieces of different eras, dating from the Middle Ages to modern times. The Old Town of Lviv is very compact, but at the same time diverse and rich with attractions. Most important districts of the city are located not very far from the historical centre, and can be reached on foot or by bicycle.
Despite many wars and changes of government experienced during the city’s history, many of its corners still preserve their old character, and hospitable locals try to do everything to make a visitor feel like at home. It is located near the western border of Ukraine, and relatively close to other important European cities. For example, Warsaw and Krakow are closer to Lviv than Kyiv, while Budapest is at approximately the same distance from Lviv as the Ukrainian capital.
But the Old Town of Lviv is quite small, but because of this it is frequently overcrowded due to a large number of visitors, and the narrow streets of the city centre barely manage to cope with large amounts of traffic. While not exceptonally dirty or polluted, Lviv still has a problem with waste management due to the lack of landfill space and the absence of a functioning waste processing plant.
A few years ago, there was a real rubbish crisis in the city, but at the moment the situation has improved and the city authorities are planning construction of a waste treatment factory.
Lviv would be a bigger deal to live in – it is more compact, less polluted and safer.