Multi-Day Tour | Independent, Locally Hosted, Private

Essential Ukraine (7 days)

Exeter International

Kiev, Ukraine To Odessa, Ukraine

Valid for Departures Now Through: 31 Dec 2019


Day 1
Kiev, Ukraine
Intercontinental Kiev None

Today arrive in Kiev. Please note this flight is not included in program cost. On arrival in Kiev you will be met by your private driver for the transfer to your hotel located in the center of the city.

Legend says the picturesque town of Kiev was established in the late 5th Century, but the exact facts are obscure even to the modern historians. The oldest city in Eastern Europe and one of the most fundamental in the development of Slavic civilization, Kiev did not reach prominence until around the 11th Century with the reign of Prince Vladimir and the subsequent rule of his son, Yaroslav the Wise.

After time to relax, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby at 5:30 PM for an overview walk of the area around your hotel. No far from your hotel, are the St. Sophia Cathedral, St. Michael’s Golden-domed Cathedral, Khreschatyk Street (main street in Kiev) and Independence Square.

Your next stop will be the Golden Gate – one of the few remaining parts of Kiev’s original fortifications from the rule of Yaroslav I the Wise. Completely restored in 2006, the Golden Gate was originally built in the 11th Century to resemble the Golden Gate of Constantinople and was the main entrance into the ancient city.

Day 2
Kiev, Ukraine
Intercontinental Kiev Breakfast

This morning your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby. Today will be a day of exploring a city rich in culture and history. Your first stop will be to the famous Kiev-Pecherskaya Lavra Monastery with its underground catacombs. Considered the holiest place in the country, the Lavra, meaning higher-ranking monastery, was founded by the Greek missionary St. Anthony in the mid-11th Century, after the Kievan Rus adopted Orthodox Christianity as its official religion from the Byzantine Empire. St. Anthony and his followers gradually dug out a series of caves and narrow corridors where they lived and prayed. The monastery became popular and grew above ground as well to become an intellectual and religious center.

The Lavra grounds feature several monuments and museums. Today you will explore one of our favorites - the Museum of Historical Valuables. It’s collection of Scythian gold is unrivalled in the world. This museum features a stunning collection of jewels and other precious treasures and is well worth the time to visit.

Next, you will visit the 11th-century St. Sophia’s Cathedral, which is Kiev’s oldest standing church and one of its most popular landmarks and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The church was built to celebrate one of the military successes of Yaroslav I the Wise and took almost two decades to complete. The architecture is in the typical Byzantine traditions, and the interiors are covered with mosaics and frescoes from the 11th Century.

Afterwards join your guide on a short drive to Andreyevsky Spusk (Andrew’s Descent), which is one of Kiev’s most charming and famous streets. Historically, this winding lane linked the Upper Town to the riverside districts. According to the legend, a Christian preacher called Andrew sailed up the banks of the Dnieper River and landed in this particular spot.

Day 3
Kiev, Ukraine
Intercontinental Kiev Breakfast

This morning, after meeting your guide and driver, you will explore some of Kiev’s Jewish heritage sites. Prior to the Second World War, there were some 150,000 Jews, who made up 20% of Kiev’s population.

The city’s Central Synagogue was built in the late 19th Century in the very heart of Kiev near the popular Bessarabian market. The two-storey brick building features a tall arched façade and deep portico. It was closed by the Soviet regime and was later used as a puppet theater. Returned to Jewish ownership in the 1990’s, it was fully renovated and now features crystal chandeliers hanging from vaulted ceilings.

The older Podil Synagogue is located in the older part of the city along the Dnieper River. This redbrick building was Kiev’s first permanent Jewish house of worship and has survived more than a century of war and persecution. Its interiors include a gilded wooden Ark with fine carvings and new stained-glass windows. You may want to spend some time walking around the historic Podol (Podil) district – certainly one of the most popular in Kiev.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

Today a private meeting with some of the local Jewish citizens in Kiev has been arranged for you. Through your guide, who will act as a translator if necessary, you will be free to share stories about the local heritage of their community and synagogue.

Next, you may wish to see the monument to Shalom Aleichem – the renowned Yiddish writer and author of the novel, which later became the famous movie ‘The Fiddler on the Roof’. Your guide will also point out the House of Golda Meir, the fourth Prime Minister of Israel, and commonly known as ‘the Iron Lady’ of Israeli politics.

Just outside of the city limits, a grassy ravine called Babi Yar is the site where, in the course of only two days, September 29—30, 1941, German Nazis and their local supporters gathered and murdered 33,771 Jewish civilians. Throughout the Nazi occupation, Babi Yar was used as the execution site for gypsies, Jews, and Soviet prisoners of war and the Nazi’s meticulous records show that as many as 100,000 were killed here. Erected in 1991, a Jewish memorial was built to commemorate the more than 80,000 Jewish victims during the Holocaust. Another monument was built in 2001, which is dedicated to the memory of all the children who had died here.

Day 4
Kiev, Ukraine
Odessa, Ukraine
Bristol Breakfast

Today you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Odessa. Please note this flight is not included in program cost.

On arrival in Odessa, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 5
Odessa, Ukraine
Bristol Breakfast
This morning, your driver and guide will meet you to start your exploration of the city with a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts. The Museum of Fine Arts is housed in a beautiful 19th century building, once the palace of a princess of the noble Potocki family. At one point, this family's influence extended beyond this region and they have a palace in Lviv and a gorgeous castle in Łancut, Poland.This small museum features works by Russian and Ukrainian artists. Of particular note is the work of the outstanding seascape painter I. Aivazovskiy and others who followed in his footsteps. You also may enjoy the recently reopened collection of icons dating back to the 16th century. If interested, you may also enjoy a small exhibit of Soviet modern art on the second floor. The Museum’s main building is actually one of the most notable Classicism works in Odessa. The museum itself features twenty-six halls in historical and chronological succession, displaying one of the most astounding collections of Russian and Ukrainian art in the world. The first rows of halls showcase the ancient form of icon painting, while later halls contain 18th and 19th century works by masters such as D.Levitskiy, V.Borovikovskiy, O.Kiprenskiy, and V.Tropinin. Finally, the museum also houses a collection of Soviet propaganda art that is worth a look.From here, if you are up to it, it is the perfect starting point for a stroll down the picturesque harbor front of Odessa. Your guide will point out some of the city's most notable architectural monuments, including Vorontsov Palace. Of course you will also see the famous Potemkin Steps, which descend grandiosely 455 feet down to the sea front. Odessa’s own unique architectural landmark and a symbol of the city ever since they were featured prominently in Eisenstein's famous film, Battleship Potemkin.
Day 6
Odessa, Ukraine
Bristol Breakfast

This morning, your driver and guide will take you approximately 12 miles outside the city to see one of Odessa's most famous sites – the catacombs. This underground network of tunnels carved into the limestone served as a base for partisans during WWII and was actually their home for over two years. People of many nationalities and faiths worked together to defend the city from the Nazi army and this gives one a glimpse into their struggle and sacrifice. Please note, entry and exit of this site requires a flight of stairs. You will walk underground for approximately ½ mile. Please wear appropriate footwear. This excursion is not recommended for those who suffer from claustrophobia.

The rest of the day is at leisure to explore Odessa on your own.

Day 7
Odessa, Ukraine
None Breakfast

Transfer to the airport to meet your onward flight. Please note that this flight is not included in cost.

Tour Features


Experiences have not been selected at this time


A private, historical and cultural tour of Kiev and Odessa.

About Us

For 25 years, Exeter International has built their reputation for meticulous planning, personalized service and unparalleled destination knowledge through our collaboration with fellow Virtuoso members and clients. We are the best of both worlds between a traditional tour operator and DMC. You have the convenience of working with our passionate team of U.S based travel managers, while your clients experience the best of each country in our sphere of expertise, including top guides, seamless (cross-border) operations and 24-hour support throughout your clients' trip.

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Contact your Virtuoso Advisor for more information.

Terms & Conditions

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The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.
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Reviews and Recommendations for Exeter International


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Highly recomended

By: KandeeB

Reviewed on: 06 Jun 2013

Exeter International was staffed with first class personnel from the drivers to the EXTRAORDINARY guides through out the trip. The vehicles used to transport us were luxurious. The hotels were commensurate with the level of quality expected by the cost and located in the most advantageous sites. Totally organized and stress free experience.
Travel Advisor:  Brigitte Feinberg
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Great high-end travel company

By: Not provided

Reviewed on: 23 Aug 2013

Does superb job for demanding high-end travel Customized travel with excellent guides and programs. You pay but you get what you pay for.
Travel Advisor:  Leah Bergner
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Highly recommend

By: Jean

Reviewed on: 01 Oct 2013

Exeter was very well organised with very good guides and drivers. Our requests were responded to with professional speed. Some of our hotels could have been better. But we understand that they were the best available. We would have no hesitation using this agency again and recommending them to others.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Yale
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Pampered Travel

By: KandeeB

Reviewed on: 07 Nov 2013

Exeter provides luxury travel with all the hassles and worries removed. The quality of their drivers and guides is first rate. From the minute you arrive until your final departure you are in excellent hands. The itinerary is well thought out and provides many special visitations not offered to other tourists. I have heartily recommended Exeter to several people without any reservation.
Travel Advisor:  Brigitte Feinberg


By: Jean

Reviewed on: 13 Jun 2014

We have used Exeter on a prior trip and were equally happy with them this time. We did have a Russian Visa situation which could have been serious, but was resolved quickly.The guide spoke very good English and was knowledgable in history and art along with the local architecture. The driver was also very safe in a chaotic traffic system.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Yale

highly recommend

By: BB

Reviewed on: 22 Jun 2014

Travel Advisor:  Rochelle Lieberman

Highly recommended

By: Mkt123

Reviewed on: 11 Jul 2014

We were connected with local English speaking guides and drivers that gave us an inside view of each country we traveled to. The experience was priceless.
Travel Advisor:  Martha Rhodes

Oustanding Guides

By: J & W

Reviewed on: 15 Oct 2014

All of the services provided by Exeter were truly outstanding. The hotel accommodations were excellent. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and well organized. The drivers were prompt and courteous. The suggestions for restaurants and additional things to do and see were very good. The printed booklet of helpful hints and language support was a nice bit of support for travelers who are visiting countries for the first time.
Travel Advisor:  Sara Krutsinger

Across the Russian Far East

By: Judee 544

Reviewed on: 30 Aug 2015

Everything was perfectly planned and resulted in a wonderfully exciting trip with all of our interests and needs taken into account. going on such an adventurous and challenging trip, so far away when one is no longer young could have been quite difficult, but instead was nothing but a fabulous experience. Wonderful guides and wonderful experiences on the Trans-Siberian Express and the cities of the Russian Far East, and a lovely hotel at the end in Moscow.
Travel Advisor:  Vivian Rubenstein

Excellent Russian Trip

By: Roger

Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2016

Exeter provided all of our guides and support for a 9 day family trip to Russia - very well informed, personable guides and smooth transportation. We were a bit hesitant to go to Russia but highly recommend - the trip of a lifetime !
Travel Advisor:  Tony Huffman
Not Recommended


By: TheGrapevine

Reviewed on: 14 Feb 2017

Take out trip insurance - not going to bash - but you get the idea.....
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1st Class

By: Carlos Gavidia

Reviewed on: 08 Mar 2017

From the beginning to the end this organization really surprised me! From getting our travel visas for Moscow to every detail of the tour pick up transfers and tours through the city were perfectly executed
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Yale



Reviewed on: 14 May 2017

Exeter was excellent with tour logistics and great guide. Seamless trip.
Travel Advisor:  Britt Gerber

Great planning and service

By: WWII And Cold War History

Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2017

Exeter planned an excellent two week trip for me and my three teenagers. We went to Poland, Germany and Amsterdam. We focused on WWII and Cold War history. The plan was thoughtful and well paced. When I had questions Exeter staff responded promptly. A very good experience.
Travel Advisor:  Josh Friedman

St. Petersburg Tour

By: B Snead

Reviewed on: 18 Jul 2017

Our driver and guide could not have been better. Polite and accommodating for the three days we were in St. Petersburg. We saw a lot of attractions, got some behind the scenes tours and were able to access some sights prior to the general public. I would use Exeter again without hesitation!
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth


By: Hodges

Reviewed on: 17 Jul 2017

Exceeded all expectation. Super cost effective to compared to Oceania.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth

Germany & Russia

By: Oz

Reviewed on: 19 Jul 2017

I strongley reccomend Exeter for shore excursions. Their staff and vehicles were first class, and the value was tremendous. We never felt uncomfortable or worried about being back to the ship on time. True professionals.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth

Great tour

By: mt

Reviewed on: 25 Aug 2017

Knowledgable, efficient and friendly tour operators!

Baltic Cruise

By: Roger

Reviewed on: 17 Sep 2017

Fantastic tour service. Their guides and drivers were outstanding. Guides all had an excellent knowledge of the city and the history. We are very pleased that Ralph recommended Exeter. When comparing notes with others that had used the tours supplied by the ship, we learned that we had seen and accomplished much more than they had. Our guides were able to make special arrangements that others could not. Will always use Exeter when it is available
Travel Advisor:  Ralph Iantosca

Great tour

By: Ann

Reviewed on: 26 Sep 2017

Everything was wonderful. Very nice guide and well informed about the places we visited.

Exeter International

By: Goodwitch

Reviewed on: 02 Oct 2017

All guides were great and expedited airport service was fantastic
Travel Advisor:  Joanne Smith

St Petersburg

By: Swan

Reviewed on: 06 Nov 2017

Absolutely fabulous
Travel Advisor:  Sherrie Coffey

Custom Guided Tour

By: JJ

Reviewed on: 18 Dec 2017

The tour guides and drivers were outstanding plus. They were very personable, always early, and their local knowledge was excellent. All of them were eager to please and all adapted to the changing crowd situation caused by weather, national holiday, or political meeting.
Travel Advisor:  Eleanor Hardy

Well run independent travel to Russia

By: Susan and Murray Morrison

Reviewed on: 18 Jun 2018

From getting visas for us to planning a private visit to Russia for us, Exeter International was top notch. No detail was overlooked. The guides that Exeter provided were outstanding, spoke fluent English, had a good grasp of Russian history and were willing to accommodate our every interest. The guides were truly experts about their cities: museums, palaces, and surroundings. In addition, the guides were friendly and helpful. Exeter ran a well organized, well thought-out tour of Russia for the two of us.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Yale

Family time and fun

By: Jane

Reviewed on: 27 Jul 2018

My experience with Exeter was positive. The drivers were on time and very courteous. There was water in the cars for us. They had information to offer as we drove to destinations. They were accommodating to our schedules and were very helpful if we had questions. We missed walking around the interior of a famous church due to the day the tour was scheduled. There were services going on and we could not enter. Another tour was partly taken up by a long walking tour to get to a castle. I would have rather spent time inside the castle. We had to exit with the guide and missed a lot of interesting things. Too bad we were not allowed to stay inside on our own to see more.
Travel Advisor:  Stephanie Miller Murphy

less common places tour

By: ssunsfanatic

Reviewed on: 26 Jul 2018

good tour to less visited places in Bergen. We had been to the more common tourist sites.
Travel Advisor:  Leah Bergner

Central Europe

By: Tour of Central Europe and QM2 to NYC

Reviewed on: 26 Jul 2018

Vienna, Prague, Krakow, Berlin, Hamburg. Wonderful hotels, wonderful guides, wonderful restaurants. Not one single mistake or hiccup. Exeter does an outstanding job.
Travel Advisor:  Brigitte Feinberg

St. Petersburg

By: SandStar

Reviewed on: 06 Aug 2018

We had a wonderful trip. Hotel was excellent. They were able to accommodate our special requests and schedule. We highly recommend the local guide, Anya, who was extremely knowledgeable about local and Russian history.
Travel Advisor:  Linda Zelisko

Exeter tour guides

By: smcknight

Reviewed on: 06 Aug 2018

We had basically positive experiences both days we toured with Exeter guides. The first day there was a little too much emphasis placed on taking us to "gift shops" and expecting us to buy tourist trinkets. The heat and the crowds may have been easier to bare if we had gone to the Hermitage in the early morning instead of wasting 45-50 minutes in a trinket shop. The second guide was very professional and led us seamlessly through Catherine's palace and the palaces on the canal in St. Petersburg.
Travel Advisor:  Joanne Meyer

Every detail was perfect!

By: Beth

Reviewed on: 31 Aug 2018

Exeter was a joy to work with. Our drivers and tour guides were helpful, friendly, and very knowledgeable. I traveled with my 13-year-old daughter, and our tours were uniquely tailored to interest her. I had heard horror stories about obtaining Russian visas. Not for us! Exeter took care of everything, and quickly. I loved the custom packet that they sent me in advance of the trip. It listed our itinerary in detail, helpful phone numbers, restaurant recommendations, and travel tips that were specific for our destinations. I would enthusiastically recommend Exeter for travel planning.
Travel Advisor:  Andre Koester

St. Petersburg tour

By: Rocky Mountain Flier

Reviewed on: 31 Aug 2018

Becky recommended Exeter International for my party of four. We all agreed after two full days of touring with our guide and driver that we would not have wanted to see St. Petersburg any other way. Our guide was excellent and very informed and we liked the driver too. We were able to avoid the long lines and were admitted to areas of the palaces that other visitors would never have the opportunity to see. We invited her to join us for lunch on both days whereby we learned even more about St. Petersburg.
Travel Advisor:  Becky Sullivan

Exeter/Norwegian Tour

By: Lien

Reviewed on: 21 Sep 2018

Exeter (Jody Ricottone) coordinated my recent sole tour of Norway. This involved guides in three cities, hotels in those cities and in two fjordside locations, trains and ferry, rental car and other transfer arrangements. I was very pleased with everything, including that Jody paid close attention to what I wanted and was responsive to my requests. Her recommendations and examples of somewhat similar sole tours really assisted me in my planning. The entire trip went off without a scheduling hitch, and introduced me, as I had wished, to Norwegian sites and experiences I never would have seen or had without Jody's good work.
Travel Advisor:  Wanda Worsley

Russia St. Petersburg

By: Jay Johnson

Reviewed on: 07 Oct 2018

The guide and driver were both wonderful and full of knowledge and professionalism. I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone. They also had great suggestions for lunch venues, during our stay in and about St. Petersburg.
Travel Advisor:  Jay Johnson

Russia Private Tour

By: Susan

Reviewed on: 01 Oct 2018

We engaged Exeter to provide a private tour in St Petersburg, Russia. Exeter was outstanding!! We had a guide, Anya Smirnova, and driver for 3 days and it was a fabulous experience. Anya spoke perfect English and was able to relate the sites we saw to Russian history and culture in a fascinating manner. We asked her many, many questions that she readily answered. Her knowledge was extensive. We had special entry to the exhibits, bypassing the long normal entry lines. We had the flexibility to see what was of interest to us, and the ability to visit sites that the ship tours did not include. For lunch we stopped at wonderful restaurants that served authentic Russian food at reasonable prices, which was far better food than on the ship. The day at Peterhof Palace, with the extravagant fountains and grotto, was especially memorable. Our experience with Exeter was outstanding and I would highly recommend them for future private tours.

Great Tour Group

By: Tommy

Reviewed on: 07 Oct 2018

We had a four day touring experience with Exeter in Prague and both my wife and myself could not be happier. Peter, our driver met us for the transfer from our ship to Prague right on time and throughout our tour. He was extremely professional and made sure we were where we needed to be and was always pleasant. We felt very comfortable while being driven. Lucie, our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable in all areas that we visited and made sure we got to see everything we were supposed to see and more. She worked things out while we were with her to ensure things went like clockwork and we were not disappointed. I can't say enough how using Exexter made our time in Prague a wonderful experience and I would not hesistate using them again.
Travel Advisor:  Ourisman Travel


By: Sharon

Reviewed on: 25 Oct 2018

The quality of the tours and the guides was great. Some of the guides were exceptional. The tours were informative and we enjoyed them very much.
Travel Advisor:  Joanne Smith

russian guides

By: Toni

Reviewed on: 29 Oct 2018

Exeter was all you could ask for. We were always met on time and the guides were terrific.
Travel Advisor:  Jamo Ladd