So, you want to move to Ukraine. That is great, but Ukraine is a big country, almost exactly the size of Texas. There are a lot of good choices to consider.
There is some gorgeous scenery down in the Carpathian Mountains and some nice beaches around Odessa, but you will probably want to be in a city or town in the west of the country.
Bear in mind that no matter what city you choose that finding beautiful women to date won’t be a problem. Ukrainian women have zero problem with dating Western guys, and many of them even look at is as being an ideal situation to find themselves in.
The first thing to be aware of here is that if you’re in a relationship with a Ukrainian woman, immigration rules state that you’ll be living in the same city or town as her – that’s not a choice you get to make.
Also if you want to stay in the country longer than the 90 days permitted under a standard visa, then you’ll need to apply for a Temporary Residency Permit (TRP).
Kyiv or Kiev is the capital of Ukraine, and located just a few hundred miles from the European Union, this is a city which still hasn’t become overrun with Western tourists looking to “discover the East”.
In fact, the city has very few tourists full stop, but that’s probably to do with the media hype about the country’s dispute with the Russian Federation, which is located about 600 miles to the east.
The most expensive homes and apartments can be found in the west of the city, referred to as the “Right Bank”, including districts like Obolon, Shevchenko, Sviatoshin, and Podil.
Kiev is what you’d expect from an Eastern European city in terms of architectural features, but the similarities stop there. The older parts of the city might look and feel like leftovers from the Soviet era, but the rest of the city is striving to become European.
It’s the most expensive city in the Ukraine, but the cost of food, accommodation and general living here are still much lower than London, Amsterdam, Dublin or New York, for example. Apartments here cost an average of about $200 – $300 per month for a really nice place.
Kiev might actually be the capital for the best cheap world class food. For instance, Silver Spoons is one of the better restaurants in the city and you can get an incredible gourmet meal for $20 that would cost $80 in Los Angeles and $100 in New York.
And there are dozens of other restaurants just as nice. Seriously, if you spend a month in Kiev you will become a foodie.
If you’re looking to relocate to Ukraine, and also search for a new job, then Kiev is where you’ll find the best opportunities.
Lviv is the jewel of Ukraine. The city has been incredibly fortunate. Over a score of wars have raged around it since the city’s founding and there has been some fighting in and near it in both World Wars, but Lviv has not been leveled in nearly 800 years. It was only under Soviet rule from 1945 until 1991 and the architecture and ambience of Lviv is amazing!
Of all the cities in the Ukraine Lviv is the one that looks and feels most European, but without losing that olde worlde charm it has so much of. It’s located just off the border with Poland, and is currently the IT hub of the Ukraine, so if you’re looking for a beautiful new girlfriend/wife and a new IT job, then you’ll be in the right place.
The added bonus here is that Lviv is a really picturesque city, leaving you feeling like you’ve wandered onto a film set without realizing it.
The city is far too big to walk across each day, well not unless you enjoy a brisk 17km walk to get to work and then the same to get home again. So, most people bicycle to and from work during the summer, but rely on public transport once the -15 degree temperatures kick in.
Taxis here are also very cheap, so you don’t even need to bother with public transport if you’re earning a Western salary.
The café culture here is something you won’t experience almost anywhere else in the world. During the summer all the cafés put tables outside in the street, and live music and conversation goes on until the wee hours of the morning.
And it’s not just the coffee shops that make this a great city – the restaurants here are among the best in the country, and you have to check out the pastry shops too.
Apartments in the old city center are the best option for most foreigners looking to relocate here because they’re located in such close proximity to everything.
With that being said these buildings are usually pretty ancient, so you’ll need to double check to make sure everything in your apartment works as expected.
Although you might think this city has appeared out of nowhere – mainly because you don’t recognize the name – it was formerly known as Stanyslaviv during its time as part of the Soviet Union, but was renamed to Ivano-Frankivsk once the Ukraine gained independence.
It’s a small city by Ukrainian standards, with a population of just over 240,000 people, and is located in the far west of the country.
This means it’s as far away from the potential trouble in Donetsk and Luhansk as is possible.
So what makes this city an ideal place to live? From a visitors point of view it’s extremely cheap to visit and live in, with a cheap hotel room costing just US$150 per month (yes, per month), or you can rent a basic 1-bedroom apartment here from US$100 per month and a basic meal in a restaurant won’t cost you any more than $5, including a beer.
From a resident’s point of view the city has dozens of schools and several large universities, so your education needs are taken care of, and the cost of living here is as low as you’ll find anywhere in the country. This is a bright, active city with more than enough parks and gardens for you to chill out in.
The only potential downside is that purchasing certain types of property here – in one of the “cottage towns” for example – is becoming as expensive as it is in Poland and other developing countries.
There are some nice restaurants here and it is close to the ski resorts in the Carpathian Mountains and also not far from the beaches and night Odessa. Lviv is also an easy trip of about eighty miles, so the location is great.
Located adjacent to the Black Sea, Odessa enjoys the same sub-tropical climate you’d find in Greece, Italy or other Mediterranean countries.
That’s why it becomes a real tourist trap during the summer, with tens of thousands of people visiting the city to party the day and night away. The obvious benefit here is that the city will be filled with more tanned, beautiful women than you can shake a long stick at.
You won’t find too many people here speaking fluent English, so brush up on your Ukrainian or Russian if you want to be able to get by.
The older parts of the city are stunning, but once you get outside those areas there’s lots of depressing Soviet-era buildings around, and they’re occupied by lots of people who don’t have very much.
With that being said the city center is an extremely safe place to live, even if you find yourself wandering the streets after midnight.
People here are obviously very friendly towards foreigners because of the city’s status as the tourism capital of the Ukraine, so you’ll never feel unwelcome at any time of the year.
The only real downside to the city is that because it attracts so many tourists each year it also attracts a large number of scam artists, pickpockets, etc. , so you need to watch out for that.
Rental prices here are pretty low too, with a 1-bedroom apartment renting for just US$300 per month in the centre of the city, and under US$200 per month if you live on the outskirts.
You can buy your own apartment for about US$100,000, which is expensive by local standards, but still a fraction of what you’d pay in the United States or most countries in Europe.
Now here’s a city you won’t find on many of the “best places to live in Ukraine” lists even though a lot of expats choose to live here because it’s one of the friendliest cities in the country.
Most people relocating to Ukraine choose either Kyiv, Lviv or one of the bigger cities as their final destination, which makes Poltava something of a hidden gem for anyone looking for a city with a low cost of living, lots of beautiful single women, and lots of great restaurants, bars and cafés to hang out in.
Some of the locals will speak faltering English, so you will need to practice your Russian/Ukrainian language skills if you want to live here long-term, and if you want to strike up conversations with local girls.
The city is well organized, clean and very safe for foreigners to live in, but obviously don’t go wandering late at night around areas of the city you’re not familiar with.
Modern, comfortable and affordable apartments are to be found in the center of the city, with cheaper but slightly more grim options available within a short walk or drive from the heart of Poltava. This is fairly typical of most countries that were once part of the Soviet Union.
The only city on the above list not specifically situated in Western Ukraine is Poltava, and it was only included because of its huge popularity with expats living in Ukraine.