• Alex van Terheyden

Ternopil - a friendly city in western Ukraine worthy of one's time


Stepan Bandera Ternopil Monument
Stepan Bandera - Ternopil

Found tucked between Lviv & Khmelnytskyi in western Ukraine located on the banks of the river Seret this small city could easily be missed by most Travellers and tourists keen to head either further east or further west. And yet like so many Ukrainian cities dotted around the magnificently large landmass; that is Ukraine - this city has its qualities and charms that many will feel enriched if they take the effort to experience. Ternopil (pronounced Ter-Nop-ill at least by this Englishman) once went by a similar name Tarnopol until 1944 when it was changed by the Soviets who had freed it from Nazi occupation.


To get to Ternopil I took a train from Lviv Train station. A route you and many foreign visitors will likely favour as it’s only a 2-hour train journey from beautiful Lviv city. A word of advice though when travelling by train to Ternopil (if you can afford it) pay the extra for a more comfortable carriage. I sadly made the mistake of opting for the cheapest ticket with the Proidz app which in turn meant I ended up laying in a carriage with no ventilation from open windows and no air conditioning. Not the most comfortable of rides I’ve ever endured - some chicken buses in Honduras could be defined as more comfortable.


This being western Ukraine the 230k residents of Ternopil mostly speak Ukrainian so do take the time to brush up on some basic Ukrainian. It goes a long way to be able to simply say “Please” & “Thank you” (“Bud Laska” & “DyaKuyu”). Although thankfully the younger population in Ternopil, like most places in Ukraine, probably speak better English than some of your English speaking friends ever could. The population is a homogenous 99%+ Ukrainian - this brings with it certain benefits to the local population and visitors. Low crime rates and a general feeling of safety combined with clean streets make for your time there (at least in my mind) extra relaxing.

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ternopil
Ternopil Cathedral

The beautiful city of Ternopil was founded in 1540 although some historians have suggested a settlement existed here before the Mongol raids in the 13th century, due to their brutality, all signs of that settlement were wiped off the land; as they came, they saw and destroyed everything in their path. This is a similar story to many settlements in this part of the world - only the most rigorous archaeologists and time travellers will be able to unearth one day what was once here centuries before.


The 500 years of history that is known in Ternopil is though fascinating and worthy of anyone’s time should they have a vested interest in expanding one’s knowledge base and scratching beneath the surface. Ternopils 18th century Cathedral built-in 1749 stood out the most for me as it dominates the centre of this peaceful and welcoming city.


If you are curious about whether it is worthy of a day trip, weekend or even longer? Maybe my video will sway you - in my video, on Ternopil I spent 24 hours exactly in Ternopil and took in the nightlife and every significant monument on the map - sadly due to lockdown measures I failed to see any museums or galleries but they do exist should you be looking to spend longer in the city than I did.


One of the incentives to visit should be the incredible value of the hotels in the city for the simple reason this place is off the beaten track so prices are a fraction of what you will see in Lviv or Kyiv. The Airbnb market is a little small (but there are some bargains to be had). However, my tip would be to check out one of the many hotels and go old skool and imagine what it was like back in the old Soviet days.

If you are needing extra information on how to navigate around Ukraine - I put together a free guide on how to travel around Ukraine with the different forms of Transport. In this guide, I explore the various modes of transport. All of which makes Kropyvnytskyi more accessible and less off the beaten track.


I am not sponsored by the Ukrainian Government or any Travel Group, I simply have written this post as I enjoy travelling. Please do check out this blog for more independent travel ideas and my YouTube Channel. As always, videos can always be found on YouTube & LBRY. I use both as sadly YouTube is now censoring content whereas LBRY is for Free-Speech.