10 Most Beautiful Castles in Ukraine

Updated On October 5, 2023
Genoese Fortress

Get on a plane when peaceful times are in Ukraine, so you can explore the many castles and forts here.

As with most European countries, Ukraine has plenty of castles and fortifications.

You will be welcomed by museum curators and castle historians alike, who are ready to share their side of Ukrainian culture with you.

In fact, you can see everything from ruins to UNESCO World Heritage Sites when in Ukraine.

Discover the 10 most beautiful castles and fortifications that are in Ukraine in this helpful guide.   

10 Most Beautiful Castles in Ukraine

Akkerman Fortress

The Akkerman Fortress located in Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi is also sometimes referred to as the Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi Castle.

The castle dates back to the 12th century in the Middle Ages when stone structures were heavily depended on for protective measures.

The original city where the castle is situated is Tyras. As a fortress, this complex is situated near the Black Sea and a two hours drive from the city of Odesa.

For those visitors hoping for a medieval fortress, Akkerman Castle can’t be beaten due to its massive size.

Admission is affordable and provides a first-person glimpse at one of the most well-preserved forms of medieval architecture in Ukraine.

Learn what it was like to live back in the Middle Ages in Ukraine with this informative and educational experience.

Golden Gate

While the Golden Gate is not a complete castle, it is a monumental work of architecture and fortification.

Located in the big city of Kyiv, Ukraine, the structure was built as a gate in the 11th century.

Since then, the Golden Gate of Kyiv has mostly been dismantled from its original structure.

However, visitors still have access to quite a beautiful gate thanks to heavy remodeling that was completed in the 1980s. 

While most Americans think of the Golden Gate in San Francisco, this gate predates that by so long there is no connection. But there is a connection to another famous gate.

The Golden Gate of Kyiv was named in recognition of Constantinople’s Golden Gate.

To most bystanders, the gate resembles an Asian pagoda.

Today, the gate structure is being used as a history museum for local and national artifacts.

Genoese Fortress

The Genoese Fortress in Sudak is one of the most important forms of history in Ukrainian heritage.

Here you have a UNESCO World Heritage Center recognized for its historical relevance.

Dating back to the 6th century, the Genoese Fortress is a sprawling complex that has been under constant construction and renovation.

Today, there is an interesting blend of medieval and Byzantine architecture, and not in relation to Italianate architecture as the name Genoese suggests.

Instead of being connected to Genoa, Italy, on a positive reflection, the fortress was actually built to protect against the Genoese who were fighting to take over the Ukrainian city. 

Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle

The Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle was constructed in a Ruthenian-Lithuanian style of architecture.

The Ruthenians are a noble family line, while Lithuania is a country adjacent to Ukraine and Poland.

When combined, Ruthenian-Lithuanian covers the people and culture most reflected in the castle features.

A Polish fortress was added to Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle in later years. 

Today the Kamianets-Podilskyi State Historical Museum-Reserve is located inside the castle.

Visitors can take a tour or rent the castle for their big day or special event.

The castle itself is a grand structure kept in fairly good condition since its erection in 1890.

Nowadays, instead of royal parties, the gatherings include book readings and orchestra performances.

See Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle for yourself with a personal tour the next time you are in Kamianets-Podilskyi.

Khotyn Fortress    

The Khotyn Fortress of Ukraine is an excellent form of medieval architecture.

This fortress was instrumental in protecting the countryside from invaders in the Middle Ages.

Situated on top of a hill, the fortress served as a 13th-century fortification lasting all the way to the 18th century.

The waterway of the Dniester attracts boats that could bring about a sneak attack, which is why the Khotyn fortress has been so important and fortunately impenetrable for centuries.

When visiting the Khotyn Fortress, it is easy to see it as a castle dating to medieval days.

With towers and turrets, the stone castle walls look like a fairy tale.

Today the castle is currently housing the State Historical and Architectural Reserve.

Take a trip to the Khotyn Fortress to better learn how Ukraine protected itself against invaders in medieval times.

Olesky Castle

The Olesky Castle also called the Olesko Castle, is not the biggest and most elaborate castle in Ukraine.

However, the castle is one of the oldest castles in the country with construction completion done in 1327.

Then in the 1600s, the castle was completely renovated to be the structure that visitors see today.

Olesky Castle resembles a medieval village with a drawbridge that leads guests to the castle grounds.

Today the castle has been transformed once again, this time into a history museum.

Visitors get a chance to see what it would have been like to live in Ukraine during the 14th century.

Palanok Castle

The Palanok Castle in Mukachevo is a famous structure that stretches across an entire hillside.

Instead of traditional gray stone walls, though, this castle features an Italianate style of architecture.

Palanok is associated with the Italian word palanca, which means “palisade” or “wooden fortification.”

This directly connects the castle with the Italians as well. 

Speaking of wells, there is a very interesting story that comes from the origins of Palanok Castle.

According to local legend, the devil himself came to visit the castle.

He wanted some water from the well and tried to pay his way, but was fooled.

So the devil reportedly jumped into an 85-foot deep well on the property–where you can still hear him yelling to this day.

Continuing with the uniqueness of this castle, in 1633 Palanok Castle was purchased by the Transylvanian Prince Francis I Rakoczi.

Lubart’s Castle

Another well-preserved example of castle architecture is the beautiful Lubart’s Castle.

Also known as Lutsk Castle, this structure was completed in the 14th century for a Lithuanian royal family.

The castle today is a famous landmark in Lutsk, Ukraine, and a national symbol of pride.

Lubart’s Castle is also one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine.

Visitors to the massive fortification will be in awe at the sheer scale of the walls and towers of Lubart’s Castle.

Definitely built for the goal of protection, this castle is a pristine representation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Along with a towering main gate, there are thick walls surrounding the complex.

Guests are welcome to explore the grounds, which feature a walkway around the top side.

This is the perfect place to pretend you are a knight of the Teutonic Order trying to stop an invasion.

Pidhirtsi Castle

Ready for a haunted castle in Ukraine? Here you go, the Pidhirtsi Castle, in a town also called Pidhirtsi.

This castle was built in the mid-1600s in the Renaissance style

. There are influences of French, Italian, and Polish architects in the building plans.

Visitors can still view statues of saints that are carved into the sandstone used for the exterior of the castle walls.

Currently, the castle ownership of Pidhirtsi belongs to the Lviv Art Gallery.

Here is where visitors can request private tours, as the castle has a long-standing history.

Along with being involved in many wars, the castle halls also served as a health and wellness sanctuary for tuberculosis patients. 

As for the haunted area, check out the basement.

You do not have to pay to visit the castle, but you will need to purchase a ticket to get in.

Maria Zhevuska is the name of the ghost, by the way.

She was married to Zhevuski Duke and they lived, and most likely died, in the castle. 

Kachanivka Palace 

Kachanivka Palace is another place that was opened for tuberculosis patients centuries past.

However, this palace is an estate with more than just a history of sickness and death.

Writers, authors, and other creative professionals have spent time working in this palatial residence.

Kachanivka Palace features a sprawling landscape of ponds, fountains, and walking trails that are certain to inspire the most brilliant minds. 

The castle estate is located on the Smosh River in Chernihiv Oblast, Ukraine in the Pryluky Raion.

It was constructed by Pyotr Rumyantsev in the Neoclassical style of architecture.

Along with the palace, there is also a church, aviary, orangery, and water tower.

Visitors today can explore Kachanivka Palace and the surrounding gardens and features.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many forts and castles are there in Ukraine?

Supposedly, Ukraine was home to at least 5,000 fortifications at one time, which was in the 1700s when most of the castles were constructed.

Today, the majority of these forts and castles have crumbled or been demolished.

You can easily visit a dozen or so of the most beautiful castles in Ukraine as these are renovated and used for public purposes.

Who constructed the castles of Ukraine?

Back in the Renaissance, when castles were being built for fortification purposes, Ukrainians who were among the magnates owned these properties.

A magnate is a family like a lord or a tzar, and some of the most famous magnate families are the Krasicki family and the Kmita family.

These families were the ones with the power, money, and resources to be able to build castles and fortifications.

The resulting structures protected those less fortunate and thereby increased the power of the magnate families.

What is the oldest castle in Ukraine?

There are several castles in Ukraine that are increasingly ancient.

Many castles were constructed in the 12th century during the Middle Ages as a way of protection against attacks from invaders and wild animals.

Perhaps, then, the oldest castle in Ukraine is fittingly called Olesky Castle.

As the name suggests, the castle is old, dating back to the year 1327.

Can we visit and tour castles in Ukraine?

Yes, in peaceful times, it is acceptable to travel to Ukraine to tour castles.

However, at the end of 2022, there is a travel advisory that prevents most tourists from visiting Ukraine due to the full-blown invasion by Russia.

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