It’s probably true that when visiting a new city, every tourist strives not only to see the local landmarks but also taste the traditional food of the region, and to do it without their wallet taking a big hit. So where can you have a lunch in Uzhgorod while spending around, or at least not substantially more than 5 euros (50 UAH) per person?
The first place in this improvised contest rightfully goes to the Vertep restaurant that is located in the very center of the city at 13 Korzo St. You can easily end up spending more than 50 UAH for the huge variety of the delicious food in this venue, but having a tasty lunch that doesn’t leave you hungry for less than that is definitely possible, too.
Among the first courses offered in Vertep, there’s the traditional Ukrainian borsch (the red beet soup), chicken soup, bograch (meat soup, served here in a plate made of dark bread), as well as solyanka (thick, spicy, sour soup traditional for Russian and Ukrainian cuisine). They cost 18, 15, 25 and 24 UAH accordingly. A cabbage or a horseradish salad will cost you 9 UAH for a 200 g serving.
For the second course, you can order halushky with cottage cheese (17 UAH) or cabbage (16 UAH), or you can indulge yourself with dumplings with potato and sour cream (18 UAH) or cracklings (20 UAH). You can wash it down with juice that costs only 8 UAH for a serving here. Altogether, this totals up 51 to 62 UAH for the whole lunch.
The staff at Vertep is quick and friendly. The menu is available in Russian and English. The only possible downside of this place is that there’s no cell phone service inside.
The next place deserving your attention is located a bit further from the city center but not substantially. The café we’re talking about, Bürger (18 Svobody Ave), is a 10-minute walk from the pedestrian bridge on Teatral’na Sq.
What makes Bürger so special is that besides offering tasty and reasonably priced food, it also offers you the opportunity to take a look at and purchase hand-made souvenirs as well as works of famous Transcarpathian painters. Bürger is one of the coziest cafés in Uzhgorod where you can also enjoy the creativity of the many talented people from the region.
Having lunch for 50 UAH in Bürger is quite easy provided you don’t order any alcohol. Ukrainian borsch costs only 9 UAH, and the Italian minestrone soup or chicken bouillon runs at 10 UAH. For the second course, we recommend you try chovlent, a traditional Transcarpathian dish which is served here in a clay pot and costs 25 UAH. You can also order pelmeni (Russian dumplings with meat), manti (traditional Uzbek dumplings) or other dishes. Cabbage salad costs here 5 UAH, and 6 UAH will buy you a serving of “Vitamin” salad (cabbage, carrots, grated apple).
Entrance to the Bürger cafe
Menu is available only in Ukrainian, but the staff understands English too. There is free Wi-Fi in the café. The place is open every day from 10 a.m. till 10 p.m.
The Retro café-restaurant (29a Olbrachta St.) is another place to have a lunch close to the city center. This café is located near the Pidzamkovy (“Under the castle”) park and not far away from the transport bridge, which can be seen directly from its windows.
Retro is proud to employ chefs who participate in international culinary competitions and who have won numerous prizes.
So what can you try at this café for a total of 50 UAH per person? Here are some ideas:
Lotsy (fried pork with onion) for 30,50 UAH, French fries for 13 UAH and fresh cabbage salad for 6,50 UAH will cost you exactly 50 UAH.
For a serving of the traditional Transcarpathian bograch (18,50 UAH), segedinsky goulash (24,30 UAH) and bread (2 UAH) you will pay 44,80 UAH.
Chicken soup with noodles (16,10 UAH), cereal with meat and mushrooms (32 UAH) and bread (2 UAH) cost 50,10 UAH.
Menu is available only in Russian.
Inside the City Terrace restaurant
The City Terrace restaurant (2 Voloshyna St.) is another worthwhile dining option for someone visiting Uzhgorod. This centrally located venue features the traditional Ukrainian theme and is easy to find – it’s located in the very beginning of Voloshyna St. near the rock garden with the monuments to the famous Transcarpathian painters Bokshay and Erdelyi.
City Terrace is unique for our review because not just one, but two people can have a lunch here for 50 UAH. First courses like okroshka (a cold soup of Russian origin), borsch, bograch, solyanka, gutsul soup or mushroom bouillon run here for 12 to 18 UAH. But the most exciting thing offered by the restaurant is its business lunch special. For only 25 UAH, you can choose one of the three sets:
Borsch, cutlet with mashed potatoes and cabbage salad;
Chicken soup, rice with a chicken chop and fresh tomato and cucumber salad;
Bograch and lecso (thick vegetable stew, pronounced “lecho”) with eggs.
There’s no Wi-Fi in City Terrace but it’s definitely compensated for by the restaurant’s convenient location and its prices.
Bonus: Lunch for 3 euros!
The canteen on 47 Petofi Sq.
If you’re really on a tight budget, you can eat in Uzhgorod for a little as 30 UAH (3 euros) – you just need to know where!
The canteen of this price level that’s closest to the city center is located in the Dom Byta building (“Budynok Pobutu” in Ukrainian) on 47 Petofi Sq. The canteen is open 9 a.m. till 7 p.m daily except Sundays.
The variety of dishes in this venue is quite wide and changes according to the day of the week. There is no use to give examples of prices because whatever you take, you can have the first and the second course, salad, bread, dessert and something to drink for less that 30 UAH here.
For the first course, you can order borsch or green borsch, bograch, rassolnik (soup made from pickled cucumbers), cheese soup with field mushrooms, vegetable or tomato soup. For the second course, you have a choice of pork, sausages, meatballs, steaks, various chicken dishes, chovlent, Uzhgorodian schnitzel and many others. Vegetarians will also feel at comfort here.
As expected, there is no Wi-Fi in the canteen and the staff doesn’t speak English, but if you are really adventurous (and want to save some cash!), that won’t stop you.
Finally, you can eat at the canteens of some state-run institutions that are located in the city center. One example is the canteen of the “Tysa” broadcast company on 18 Kyiv Embankment.
The history of coffee in Transcarpathian covers more than 5 centuries, and over this time, the locals have taken the art of coffee brewing to perfection. There are many cities in Ukraine with lots of nice coffee shops, but Uzhgorod remains one of the leaders. And that’s definitely not the case when quality is sacrificed for quantity. There is a saying: “Lviv is famous for its coffee shops but Uzhgorod is famous for its coffee”. Lvivers aren’t quick to recognize this, but only until they actually try the Uzhgorodian coffee. It’s no use to describe it; you might as well try to draw love or to sing a dream.
While walking in the center of Uzhgorod, you’re sure to smell that magical coffee aroma coming from the small cafés located along your way. You could drop by any of them and you won’t make a mistake. Excellent coffee is served in the Medelin chain (5a Koryatovycha sq. and others), Korado (24 Voloshyna St. – just across the street from the hostel), Antresol (1a Koryatovycha sq.), Hirchychne zerno (in the same named pass). All these coffee shops are located in the center of the town so you won’t have to spend a lot of time looking for them. Good coffee is also served in more expensive venues such as Lychee (68 Mukachivska St.), Fan-Fan (17 Korzo St.), Old Continent (4 Petofy sq.). The prices may be a bit higher, but the atmosphere, the service and the taste of this magical drink will be worth it.
The locals know how to enjoy coffee; they take small sips and enjoy every drop of this drink. When friends meet in Uzhgorod, instead of saying, “Let’s grab a beer,” they say, “Let’s go get some coffee.” And there’s plenty of places to go: small cozy coffee shops, conceptual Ukrainian-themed venues, expensive restaurants and ordinary chain cafés – everything can be found in Uzhgorod. That’s not to mention bistros and pizzerias, buffets and bars where you will definitely find some of the most popular varieties of coffee. Many venues are open from the very morning till late into the night, some of them round the clock. And be sure that everywhere you will be kindly offered all sorts of coffee and coffee drinks, from espresso to the cold frappe.
If you are not a big fan of popular brands and touristy spots, fear not! There is something special for you in Uzhgorod, too. This coffee shop was opened only recently but it’s already found its place on the coffee map of the town. Reki Manki (5 Korzo St.) is a small but very lovely café located in one of the Uzhgorod’s narrow central streets. The coffee is amazing over here, and they also serve sweet cooked semolina! And don’t forget cocoa with marshmallows as well as delicious homemade sweets. Suffice to say that I have never been to such a cozy place. Locals are fascinated with this café.
It’s hard to say what coffee means for Uzhgorod. Is it just a drink or part of the culture? I’d go for the latter. Coffee is kind of a cult for the locals. They drink it in the morning and late in the evening; they mix it with milk and cream, chocolate, alcohol, spices and even fruits. Here, coffee can be added into desserts, sweets and sauces! It seems like these experiments with coffee will never end. But it’s only for the better because every time you’ll visit Uzhgorod, you will have a chance to try something new and unusual.
Do you think that coffee is overrated in Uzhgorod? Well, maybe, but who cares? Just try it and you will understand everything.
Up till recently, the village of Kosyno (Koson’) in Berehove county was known among Transcarpathians primarily for its thermal baths, notably the Shoshto-Thermal recreational complex. Now there’s one more association to add to the list: the sweets.
It’s all due to the “Hermina” confectioner’s shop that was opened in the very center of Kosyno in early 2013. The complex includes the confectionery itself as well as a restaurant, which is expected to open its doors in May.
The choice of confectioneries in Hermina is truly impressive. The owners made it a point to pay the dues to the confectionary culture of the former Austrian-Hungarian empire. You can try the Viennese Sachertorte, the Hungarian Dobos or Eszterhazi cakes, the traditional Slovenian crème cake, and many more. There’s also in-house specials such as the Hermina cake, as well as the cakes based on the contemporary recipes from the Zila confectionery house in Hungary.
In addition to the cakes, there’s also a variety of pastries to try at Hermina. The prices of 6 to 10 UAH per piece makes them totally affordable even for the most budget-conscious traveller. In summertime, Hermina is expected to treat its visitors with real Italian ice cream.
So if you’re going to Kosyno to spend a relaxing weekend dipping in the thermal baths, don’t forget to drop by Hermina for a cup of excellent Transcarpathian coffee and a piece of cake or two. It’s definitely worth it!
Hermina confectionery, Bocskai St. 1, Kosyno, Berehove country (Zakarpattia region).
How to get there: From Uzhgorod to Berehove by bus (70 km), then by bus to Kosyno (20 km), or by car. Buses to Berehove leave from the Uzhtorod bus station regularly.
Good news! Beds at Five Flags Hostel are now available for booking through Booking.com, the largest booking network out there. Booking.com bookings are guaranteed, and they also carry the lowest price guarantee.
The best part? Booking.com bookings are free! No deposits, commissions or any of that nonsense, just pay cash on your arrival Book your bed at Five Flags today:
We’re happy to announce that accommodation rates for Five Flags hostel have been dropped! Now you can spend a night in the very center of Uzhgorod for just €8.49 (approx. 85 UAH). The private room rate has also been dropped to €12.49 (approx. 124 UAH) per person per night.
As usual, please consult our rates page for the details on our current pricing.
Japanese Cherry blossoming in Uzhgorod (click to enlarge)
It’s not necessary to travel all the way to Japan in order to admire the bright pink flowers of the famous Japanese Cherry tree, sakura. These miraculous trees grow in Europe, too, namely in Uzhgorod, the capital of Transcarpathia.
In late April – early May, a large number of travellers from Ukraine and abroad try to plan their itinerary so as to spend at least a couple of days in Uzhgorod. It’s during this time of the year that the city turns into a magic garden filled with the fantastic aroma of blossoming Japanese Cherries. Zankovetska, Mytna, March 8th streets and the Svobody avenue are all filled with people enjoying the cherry blossoms and taking pictures.
Sakura blossoms for two weeks. If you arrive to Uzhgorod closer to the end of the blossoming period, you’ll see the snowstorm of petals falling off the trees, circling in the air and carpeting the ground all around in pink.
There are a lot of tales about how Japanese Cherries arrived to Uzhgorod. According to one of them, back in the 16th century, an important trade route from Far East to West passed through Uzhgorod. One day, a few locals noticed saplings of a plant that looked like regular cherry on the travellers’ carts. So they stole a few, only to see that the trees don’t fruit but instead blossom every spring with beautiful blossoms.
Historians hold different opinions as to when exactly sakuras were brought to Transcarpathia. According to some, the first Japanese Cherry was brought to the region in the 17th century by a member of the noble Drugeth family. Uzhgorod historians maintain that the first Japanese Cherry trees appeared in the city in the Czechoslovakian period of 1919-1939, when a city district of Maly Galagov (the Czech town) was being actively developed. This is when a lot of sakura trees where planted, and today, most of them can be found on Galagov’s streets.
The Japanese Cherry’s second wind in Uzhgorod came in 1990s, when it began to be planted and sold commercially to lay people for planting in their backyards. And in 2009, the Alley of Sakuras was planted in Uzhgorod, which is said to be the longest of its kind in Europe.
It’s interesting to note that they tried to plant Japanese Cherry in a lot of places throughout the globe, but besides Japan, the tree really took root only in Transcarpathia and some of the states in the US.
According to a Japanese tradition, planting a sakura tree brings success and happiness. Transcarpathians add that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s 100% applicable to the blossoming of Japanese Cherries in Uzhgorod.
It has become a good tradition in Uzhgorod to start the winter holiday season with the celebration of the St. Nicholas day, which in the Eastern Orthodox Church calendar falls on December 19th.
This year, the St. Nicholas day in Uzhgorod will be celebrated for the 4th time with a parade of St. Nicholas’s “young aides.” These “little Nicholases” (Mykolaychyky) in red costumes will be handing out sweets and singing Christmas songs, and then will all come down to the city’s central Teatral’na square, where the main Christmas tree of Uzhgorod is already waiting for them. The little Nicholases will decorate it with ornaments made by their fellow Uzhgorod’s schoolchildren.
In 2010, almost 1,000 little aides of St. Nicholas took part in the parade. This year, in addition to the “little Nicholases,” there will be about a hundred of grown-up ones among them. A year ago, the celebration was marked by an unveiling of a bronze statue of a saint’s aide, and this year, the parade’s organizers will present a special colorful mailbox that Uzhgorod’s kids will be able to use to send letters to their patron.
The celebration is promising to be a lot of fun. Here’s how it was back in 2009:
The old wine cellars built by the Rakoczi dynasty in the 18th century in the historical center of Uzhgorod will welcome this year’s guests of the “Beaujolais of Zakarpattia” festival.
The 5th festival of young wine will take place on the weekend of November 19th-20th and will be solely devoted to Transcarpathia’s young wines of the 2011 harvest. The wines will be available for purchase starting at 40 UAH per liter.
Also, for just 50 UAH, you’ll get a chance to purchase a special wine glass with the festival’s logo engraved on it. Along with the glass, you’ll receive a special voting card that you’ll be able to award to the maker of your favorite wine at the festival. In return, you’ll be able to claim 1 liter free from them. At the festival’s closing ceremony, the best winemaker who has collected the most voting cards will be announced.
It’s not just the wine that you’ll be able to get at the festival. Don’t miss out on the famous red paprika from the village of Dobron’, or the cheese from the Seliska creamery known throughout all of Ukraine. And of course, you’ll be able to taste various national dishes at the festival, such as the rich, steamy bogrács (bograch). A number of Ukraine’s folk bands will perform, too, notably the Rock-H band with the festival’s official song called “Vinko chervenoye”.
Don’t miss this celebration of young wine in Uzhgorod!
A tiny corner of Ukraine, a picturesque village in the Carpathians surrounded by mountains where you can hike in summer and ski in winter. Around here are only forest-clad mountains and high meadows. This place is virtually unknown to an average Ukrainian, and yet most Czechs know about it and many have visited.
The "Old Village" museum in Kolochava
So what’s so special about Kolochava, this truly miraculous village in the Mizhgirya county of Transcarpathia?
For starters, there’s the wooden Svyatodukhivs’ka (Holy Spirit) church built in 1795 – a monument to the wooden architecture of Transcarpathia, now a museum.
Then there’s the Ivan Olbracht memorial museum. The famous Czech writer and journalist visited Kolochava in 1933 when shooting the “Unfaithful Mary” movie about the life and hardships of Verkhovyna people.
And, of course, how can you miss the “Old School” museum in Kolochava, which has a “Soviet school” and a “Czech school” – snapshots of two periods in the history of the village when it was part of Czechoslovakia (1919-1939) and then part of the Soviet Union after 1945.
As if three museums weren’t enough already, make sure to check out the open-air museum of folk architecture and rural life called “The Old Village.” The museum’s exhibits, dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries, paint a particularly good picture of the rural life and culture of Verkhovyna. “The Old Village” is being actively built out; there are plans to add a blacksmith shop, a mill, an amphitheater and even a railroad track to it.
Apart from the huge concentration of museums per square mile (there’s ten of them in Kolochava), there are also a lot of monuments, memorial plaques and other historical artifacts in the village. At this point, there are about 50 such objects in Kolochava, each of them representing a particular page in Kolochava’s history. That way or another, the village’s every historical event, every notable person is immortalized.
Kolochava’s Czech Connection
A monument to Ivan Olbracht in the village
Whereas Kolochava is a true terra incognita to Ukrainians, it’s very well known to Czechs. To them, Kolochava is the land of their childhood’s fairy tales where the legends about the famous outlaw Nikola Šuhaj come to life. Every Czech child has read “Nikola Šuhaj the Outlaw” by Ivan Olbracht – a book written in 1933 about this famous robber, a native of Kolochava. Nikola was buried in his native village, and his grave is visited by lots of Czech tourists each year. That way or another, every little place in Kolochava is connected to the book.
Finally, there’s a sheep breeding school in Kolochava opening its doors every summer. For a modest fee, you get to climb high into the mountains and live several days in one tent with a shepherd who shepherds flocks of sheep all summer long. He’ll teach you how to make sheep cheese, milk sheep and feed small lambs.
And if you’re lucky to visit Kolochava in the first week of August, you’ll get a chance to experience the “Romantic Souls” Festival with music bands coming from Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and, of course, Czech Republic. That’s the place to hear trembita – the famous Guzul pipe – and have fun dancing to songs in almost all European languages.
But if you’re only able to visit the village in wintertime, no worries. There’s always something to do in the wondrous Kolochava: Warming yourself in a cozy Carpathian hut, skiing or mountain hiking. Just don’t forget your warm clothes and waterproof shoes.
There’s a modern tourist center in the village that offers comfortable accommodation and a national cuisine restaurant.
How to Get to Kolochava from Uzhgorod
There are several ways to get to the village of Kolochava from Uzhgorod. The first one is to hop on any train to Lviv, get off at Volovets and then continue with a bus to Kolochava. The second one is to take a bus to Mizhgirya and then change to another bus going to the village. If you’re traveling by car, take the Kyiv-Chop highway to Mizhgirya and then turn to Kolochava.