Lifestyle Travel Diaries Ukraine

Synevyr Lake

November 15, 2016
Capathian Mountains Ukraine Travel Blog SIniciliya Veronica Pototska

For some reason, the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine are the most underrated destination in Europe. 

Synevyr Lake is Ukraine’s most picturesque and clean lake, located in the heart of the Carpathian mountains, in Synevyr National Park. I visited this region in summer two years ago and fell in love with the beauty of nature, evergreen mountains, pine tree forests, mountain rivers, natural springs, and waterfalls. Ukrainian traditions are amazing, the food is to die for, and the people that live in the Western Ukraine are the most welcoming and friendly in the whole world.

Yet, this destination is still underrated. Perhaps my journey will inspire you to plan your next holidays in the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine. The week I spent there was a truly amazing experience.

This time Vitaliy and I decided to explore the region in November and enjoy the colors of autumn. When we were just planning our trip, we couldn’t even imagine all the contrast in colors of the trees and landscape that we would see there.

Synevyr is one of the most charming places in Ukraine and it is also perfect for a digital detox. The reception is only available in some places, and the access to Internet (wi-fi, 3G) is very limited.

Synevyr Lake

On the first day when we arrived we took a long walk from the cabin where we were staying to the lake. In summer, the lake was very wide. The shores were covered with the crystal clear water that reflected the green mountains surrounding the lake. There was a small island in the middle and we took a wooden raft to get there. Swimming and fishing are prohibited to preserve the lake’s purity.

But when we came there on the first day of our trip in November, the lake was very small. We could literally walk on the surface that used to be covered with water a few months ago. 

The lake is surrounded by pine trees, paths that lead further to the forest, cabins that can be rented for a barbecue or a picnic.

Capathian Mountains Synevir Lake Ukraine Travel Blog Siniciliya Veronica Pototska Capathian Mountains Synevir Lake Ukraine Travel Blog Siniciliya Veronica Pototska Capathian Mountains Synevir Lake Ukraine Travel Blog Siniciliya Veronica Pototska Capathian Mountains Synevir Lake Ukraine Travel Blog Siniciliya Veronica Pototska Capathian Mountains Synevir Lake Ukraine Travel Blog Siniciliya Veronica Pototska

The Love Story

In Ukraine we love legends, they are a big part of our ancient culture. The name of the lake comes from a very sad love story of Ukrainian Romeo and Juliet named Syn and Vyr.

A long time ago, a rich Earl owned this land and all the people who lived there worked for him. His wife died soon after she gave a birth to a beautiful girl, whose eyes were crystal blue. Her name was Syn (which blue in Ukrainian). She was the only one in the whole world who could make the Earl happy. Syn grew up and became a beautiful young woman. One day she was walking in the mountains and met a young shepherd. His name was Vyr. They deeply fell in love with each other at the first sight.

Her father was very angry when he found out about them. That poor shepherd was a shame to the girl’s noble family. So the Earl forbade them to be together. But their love was too strong and Syn disobeyed her father’s will. The Earl ordered his servants to kill the poor shepherd and they pushed a big stone one him from the top of the mountain. When the girl heard about Vyr’s death she couldn’t hold her pain and cried. The beads of water started falling down one after another. She couldn’t stop crying until there was a lake of tears around her. Ever since this lake has become a symbol of those who are deeply in love with each other.

Capathian Mountains Synevir Lake Ukraine Travel Blog Siniciliya Veronica Pototska Vitaliy Pototskiy Capathian Mountains Synevir Lake Ukraine Travel Blog Siniciliya Veronica Pototska Vitaliy Pototskiy Capathian Mountains Ukraine Travel Blog SIniciliya Veronica Pototska

Brown Bears

When you travel to the Synevyr National Park make sure to visit the Brown Bears Rehabilitation Center. It was built to save the endangered Brown bears, rescue them from circuses, private collections and gas stations. The bears are brought here from all over the Eastern Europe old, ill and tortured. Some owners make the bears blind, tear up their teeth. Others don’t feed them properly, keep them chained in small cages or teach them to dance by forcing them to stand on heated metal plates. The idea of this rehabilitation center is to heal them and to break their habit to be close to the humans. These bears will not survive in the forests of Carpathian Mountains. They will always try to come close to humans because this is how they are used to live. This will bring both bears and humans to danger. The Authorities have taken a big piece of land with a natural landscape where they built dens for the bears and provide them with food.

How can possibly people love being entertained by these gorgeous animals in circuses and private collections? Capathian Mountains Synevir Lake Ukraine Travel Blog Siniciliya Veronica Pototska brown bear rehabilitation center

A Picnic by a Mountain River

We stayed in a cabin in Synevyr Polyana (Synevyr Valley). It is a small village close to the entrance to the National Park. At the backyard, we saw a mountain river that flows from the lake down the valley. The river is dark and shallow, but the water is crystal clear. We were sitting on its bank and breathing the cold, fresh mountain air in and we started making a fire to warm up.

All the days we spent in the mountains were warm and calm, until the last one. A few days before, Pani Anna, the lady who takes care of the cabin, said that she sensed the snowfall coming. She grew up in the mountains and learned to understand the nature and to feel the upcoming changes in the weather. She was right. The last day did feel like the cold winter was coming.

We cooked Camembert and made coffee on fire!


Capathian Mountains Synevir Lake Ukraine Travel Blog Siniciliya Veronica PototskaCapathian Mountains Synevir Lake Ukraine Travel Blog Siniciliya Veronica PototskaCapathian Mountains Synevir Lake Ukraine Travel Blog Siniciliya Veronica PototskaCapathian Mountains Synevir Lake Ukraine Travel Blog Siniciliya Veronica PototskaCapathian Mountains Synevir Lake Ukraine Travel Blog Siniciliya Veronica PototskaCapathian Mountains Synevir Lake Ukraine Travel Blog Siniciliya Veronica Pototska

How To Get Here

The Lake and the Park are located here. To get here you should take a train or flight to Lviv. Then you can either rent a car, but not that the roads in some parts may be partially destroyed. Or you can take a train to Volovets station and a taxi/bus from there. Be prepared for a slow ride due to the damaged roads.

Where To Stay

I chose to stay at a small private hotel (cabins) called An Artist’s House. It is built in a traditional Carpathian style and has a traditional home style restaurant.

How Much Does It Cost

The rooms cost from 15-30 USD depending on the season.

The meals cost from 1 to 5 USD

Entrance to the National Park – 1 USD

Transfer/Taxi from Volovets to Synevyr Valley – 10-25 USD (this has to be checked before. You can always negotiate at the train station. English is rarely spoken in the area)

Photography: Veronica Pototska, Vitaliy Pototskiy. Retouch: Veronica Pototska

Gear: Canon Mark II, iPhone 6s+, Moment lenses

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  • Avatar
    Reply everyfootstepanadventure February 27, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Omg your photos are absolutely gorgeous! I didn’t get a chance to make it to Ukraine on my 3-month Eurotrip this past fall — definitely have to in the future!

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    Reply Christina February 28, 2017 at 7:26 am

    I’m filled with horror to hear about bears being chained up in small cages and forced to dance. It makes me angry that a human being could stoop so low! I’m so glad there’s a bear rehabilitation centre.

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    Reply Girlswanderlust February 28, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Your pictures of the Synevyr National Park and the lake look really beautiful! You mentioned that the lake was very small in November, so do you recommend to visit in Summer? I like the color of the nature of your pictures though.. I would love to see the Synevyr Lake and to visit the Brown Bears Rehabilitation Center! =)

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    Reply Sally E February 28, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Omg I am drooling over your photos, especially all the orange leaves. It reminds me of autumn in the U.S. I’ve never been to Ukraine so it’s nice to read about a lesser visited destination. I need to explore Eastern Europe!I also love that there’s a bear rehab center 🙂

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    Reply Flavio @ Adventurous Travels February 28, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    I believe the entire country of Ukraine is so underrated. People don’t go there because it’s cool and trendy to go to Paris, London or Bangkok, but not to a place like Ukraine.
    I’ve been there and it surprised me a lot – I loved the architecture of Kiev, the Crimea and Lviv. I even made to the ghost town of Prypiat near Chernobyl.
    The photos are beautiful – never hard about this lake and I now I will surely visit it when I’m next time in Lviv!

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    Reply Nisha February 28, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Lovely, lovely post! Loved the colors. Your jackets match the color of leaves. 🙂

    Not been there but yes the country is beautiful. I watch a TV serial of Ukraine.

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    Reply Milijana February 28, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous, as always! I fell in love with the orange autumn leaves in the first photo at first sight. The love became stronger and deeper with upcoming photos of complimentary orange leaves and emerald lake! Your post made me wish to visit Ukraine exactly in autumn!

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    Reply nycgingeronthego February 28, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    These mountains are lovely. Ukraine as a whole is underrated. I loved my trip there nearly a decade ago. I need to dig up some old photos. The people were so incredibly kind. I love all of the fall foliage, your photography is excellent! And it is so incredibly affordable!

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    Reply Blair Villanueva March 1, 2017 at 5:28 am

    Hello Veronica,

    This place is so beautiful and you are lucky to capture its beauty from your lenses. This might be a selfish though but, I like visiting underrated places – means you can still enjoy it with less crowd, because we all know what happens when its crowded.

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    Reply Candy March 1, 2017 at 5:44 am

    Wow! I was blown away by the colors of the lake and leaves. It seriously gave me color inspiration for a project I have in mind. I can’t believe I have never heard of this place. It is by far the most beautiful lake I have seen.

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    Reply Joy Generoso March 1, 2017 at 7:08 am

    What a beautiful place! Your photos are all captivating. Lovely colors! I will add this lake to my bucket list. 😉

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    Reply Mihaela Lica Butler March 1, 2017 at 8:00 am

    This post reminds me of home… Yes, I’ve never visited the Carpathians in Ukraine, but I am all familiar with them on the Romanian territory, brown bears and all. Stunning pictures. Now I am homesick! 🙂

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    Reply Ariane March 1, 2017 at 11:08 am

    I definitely think that the Carpathian Mountains are underrated! I’ve never been ther BUT after reading your post and especially seeing your AMAZING pics I really think of planning a trip there. I loved the mesmerizing colours of your photos, so I really think that october november might be the perfect time to go on a trip to Synevyr Lake ! Thanks a lot for making me discover this beautiful location! 🙂

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    Reply Anonymous March 1, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    I cannot believe how beautiful the place is, and I’ve never, ever heard of it! Also, how affordable it is. Is that cabin the place you stayed? It looks so unbelievably dreamy!

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    Reply Joe March 1, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Looks like a real hidden treasure of Europe, and its remoteness – digital detoxing every now and then is good for the soul – only adds to its appeal 🙂 The love story is unbearably sad, although beautiful in the explanation for the lake. And I agree with you about the brown bears too!

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    Reply Shane Prather March 1, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Wow the mirror lake reflections are stunning! I would love to visit when the foilage was so colorful!

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    Reply Cori Carl March 1, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    What a beautiful spot! I’m too much of an urbanite to head into the wilderness (or don matching outfits) but I love your photos. A friend of mine is traveling in the Ukraine right now and I’m living vicariously through her posts.

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    Reply mappingmegan March 2, 2017 at 1:20 am

    Wow, Synevyr Lake sounds like an incredible National Park – I literally know nothing about what you could expect from travel to Ukraine, and now I feel ashamed to say that because there’s obviously so much beautiful nature! We’re huge outdoor and wildlife lovers so it sounds like I need to start doing some research and plan this as our next trip. Your photos are stunning … really fascinating too to hear about local legends for how natural landscapes came to be!

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    Reply travelerettenyc March 2, 2017 at 2:19 am

    I would love to go to Ukraine. A friend of mine went to Ukraine recently and had a good time. I enjoyed the romantic and sad story of the lake of tears. But hearing about people mistreating the brown bears is really sad. My father’s family is from Romania and the dictator Ceausescu used to hunt and torture Romania’s brown bears for fun. As you say, how can people be so cruel?

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    Reply The Soul of Seoul March 2, 2017 at 2:21 am

    That really is a picturesque spot. Would love to go there. I have to say.. the stories in the post are rather said compared to how beautiful the photos are. Lovers kept apart and bears treated horribly. Seems like a place a bit sad but beautiful at the same time.

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    Reply Sandy N Vyjay March 2, 2017 at 3:29 am

    I gasped as I saw the tall trees around the beautiful lake! This place is a masterpiece. The pictures are just so beautiful, I could not take my eyes off it. My Europe list is now going to begin with Synevyr Lake first

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    Reply ashlynsargent March 2, 2017 at 5:59 am

    Wow! These pictures are perfect! I cant get over how beautiful the oranges and the blues look together. I would never have expected this to be in Ukraine, but now I’m dying to go!

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    Reply Thuymi @ March 2, 2017 at 10:14 am

    I had no idea that this was even here in Ukraine! Your style is also incredible and I love the pictures, so Instagram worthy!!! It is also very cheap which makes it inviting as well, its now on the list!

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    Reply Bhushavali March 2, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Its incredibly beautiful!!! Esp I believe its the beginning of Autumn, the mix of greens and browns and oranges, along with their reflections, is so visually magical!! That wooden shack looks too good!!! I’d love to meet some brown bears too. The prices are really so economical as well!!!

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    Reply Christopher James March 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    This definitely appeases my Canadian sensibilities, thanks for sharing! I’ve definitely taken note of this!

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    Reply World Of A Wanderer (@worldofawander) March 3, 2017 at 1:20 am

    I’ve never heard of Synevyr Lake, but now I absolutely want to visit! What an interesting story about how the lake got it’s name. It’s very sad and unfortunate the things that some animals endure for the entertainment of humans. Thankfully, there are incredible organizations like the Rehab Center you mentioned for these brown bears. Also, your photos are stunning!

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    Reply Indrani March 3, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Such a fairy tale like place… I wonder why it is under rated. I too want to visit. Very interesting the lady resident of the place could sense the arrival of winter!

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    Reply Mike Cotton (@MikeCjourno) March 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Your opening photograph captured my imagination. Ukraine and Synevyr Lake looks like an incredible location to photograph the autumnal colours. Mountains + lakes + colourful forests + bears – well, you could almost be in Canada.

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    Reply Allison Rebecca March 3, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    What a beautiful place! I love relaxing and peaceful places like this that aren’t too ‘touristy’. Thanks for sharing!

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    Reply thefashionableaccountant March 3, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Wow this looks absolutely incredible! I have always wanted to visit the Ukraine, since my son is part Ukrainian. This sounds like the staying there part also was very reasonable!!

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    Reply Alison R (@SoChicLife) March 3, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    This is absolutely gorgeous and your images are incredible! I’ve never considered visiting the Ukraine but you are right – most definitely underrated. Can’t believe how reasonable the prices are either. Thank you for sharing your trip!

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    Reply thecoffeemom0617 March 4, 2017 at 2:02 am

    your photos are absolutely beautiful! This is never a place I would have even thought of traveling to, but the prices in USD seem very inexpensive.

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    Reply workoutwithdi March 4, 2017 at 2:29 am

    These are some GORGEOUS photos! Love the orange crisp leaves, it looks beautiful there. Those cabins looks super cute. Did you go inside?

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    Reply Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh March 4, 2017 at 3:46 am

    Wow what a very beautiful location. That looks like my kind of place! I want to curl up in that cabin with a fire and blankets with a cup of hot chocolate.

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    Reply jlawsonn March 4, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    The pictures are absolutely stunning I love them. It looks like such a beautiful place to visit and the leaves are so gorgeous

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    Reply Journa March 4, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    The place is so amazing. The story of Syn and Vyr made me sad but it is totally beautiful.

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    Reply Tereza (@cityscapebliss) March 4, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! I’ve never heard of this park before but sounds like a wonderful place for a little break. I’d love love love to visit! x

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    Reply TiffanyJane March 4, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    These photos are so gorgeous! I’m obsessed with the flow and vibes of the photos here. You make this place look like a dream.

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    Reply Amy Desrosiers March 4, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    These are some truly stunning and gorgeous pictures. I have never traveled outside of the US but the Ukraine has such beauty.

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    Reply onlybyland March 4, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    I wish I had know about this when I was in Lviv a couple of years ago. I’d have definitely made a day trip to the Synevyr lake. I love your reflection photo, with the colours of the trees it looks so beautiful!

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    Reply Amber Nelson March 4, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    That is so beautiful that it doesn’t even look real. Wow, I would love to visit there!

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    Reply shelbbunks March 4, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Wow, these pictures are amazing! That is not at all how I would have imagined Ukraine to be. Beautiful destination.

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    Reply toughcookiemommy March 5, 2017 at 1:21 am

    The photos of the lake are absolutely breathtaking. I have a feeling a lot more people will want to visit once they read your post.

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    Reply Blythe Alpern March 5, 2017 at 5:51 am

    One of my favorite things about this post is that it introduces to a place I never would have thought to visit. The second thing is the pictures of the lake. I love the contrast of the orange leaves against the emerald water. It is breathtaking and the story behind the lake is so sad, yet so intriguing.

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    Reply Nastja Novak March 5, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Your photos are just breathtaking! Now i really want to go there. And the prices are really cheap for the nature that you get to experience! Thank you for this great article!

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    Reply Kristin March 5, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Ummm can I just be transported there right now please? That is just gorgeous! And your photos are incredible!

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    Reply Anna March 5, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    Such colourful photos, love it! Also the legend of the lake’s name is so lovely! I’ve only been to Eastern Ukraine so far, but the Carpathians have always been of interest to me. In a way, it’s nice that the region is not flooded with tourists yet and you can get a very authentic, raw experience of this destination, or so I believe at least.

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    Reply Shayne Zalameda March 6, 2017 at 3:08 am

    You blend well with the nature! I love these shots! Hoping I could take photos like these, too! So stunning! I can’t stop looking at it and imagining I was there, too! <3

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    Reply Amber March 6, 2017 at 5:39 am

    omg I enjoyed every second of this post! The pictures are lovely and I want to go on ALL of these adventures!

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    Reply Amanda Love March 6, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    I love going to places like this. I find peace here and it’s also very relaxing! I think it’s great that you got to share this, underrated places are the best!

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    Reply Carolyn March 6, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    That looks beautiful and I love the story about true love and the puddle of tears. Stories like that just make the atmosphere even more romantic.

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    Reply theclutterboxblog March 6, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    love your photos! Crisp and beautiful! The lake is lovely. The is a lovely story, so sad. Lakes of tears are always lovely and I love that her name is blue. The Bear rehabilitation sounds like a wonderful place!

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    Reply Kathleen March 7, 2017 at 6:46 am

    How stunning is that lake and mountain area! <3 I also love the back story, so romantic and so sad. Brilliant post – it’s always great to learn of somewhere new!

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    Reply effcaa March 7, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    These photos look so stunning! Can’t wait to explore Ukraine on my own, we’re coming in the first week in May this year. So excited!
    xx finja

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    Reply xxxgingerpawsoutdoorsxxx March 8, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    First, I want to compliment you for your wonderful photos! Second, the love story of Syn and Vyr, thank you for sharing. I got into the story and then while browsing suddenly saw a brown bear! Lol. But this is really a lovely post. Thank you.

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    Reply halefg March 8, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    A great set of photos! Thank you so much for sharing. I always have been wanting to go to Ukraine, although I always picture it as a visit to big cities, some pretty places like this one would also be an option. Very colorful pictures!

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    Reply OurSweetAdventures March 9, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    This place looks absolutely stunning and romantic. This would be a wonderful place to visit and just get lost in nature. The beauty is out of this world. The love story is amazing. The bears would be really cool to see up close and it is great they are helping to get them back to norma.

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    Reply gokulr27 March 10, 2017 at 6:02 am

    Such a quaint and peaceful place. A perfect spot for a romantic date.

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    Reply travellingslacker March 10, 2017 at 6:56 am

    Wow, just mindblowing vistas. Any mountain lover will die for these autumn colours. I can just set up a hut and live here forever!

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    Reply Agness of Fit Travelling April 27, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    This lake is so picturesque! I am adding it to my bucket list right away!

    • Siniciliya
      Reply Siniciliya April 28, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      Agness, I am happy you did! This place is totally underrated!

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