In much of Ukraine, the climate is continental, with freezing winters and warm summers, which become progressively warmer as you move towards the south. The southern area, which overlooks the Black Sea, has a slightly milder weather in winter, but we cannot speak of Mediterranean climate (the winter is cold anyway), except on the southern coast of the Crimean Peninsula (see Yalta).

Precipitation in Ukraine is quite frequent throughout the year, but not abundant in most of the country, since it hovers between 500 and 600 millimeters (20 and 23.5 inches) per year in the vast interior area occupied by plains and hills. The rainiest season is summer because of afternoon thunderstorms. However, precipitation, though not abundant, is quite frequent, and often occurs in the form of light snow, so the winter is not dry.
In the Black Sea region, precipitation is even scarcer, in fact it is below 500 mm (20 in) per year, since thunderstorms in summer occur more rarely. The only area that is quite rainy is the western area of the Carpathian Mountains, where precipitation reaches 1,200 mm (47 in) per year, in addition to the small area of the Crimean Mountains, where it can reach 1,000 mm (40 in). To the west of the Carpathians there is another flat area, though small, where precipitation exceeds 700 mm (27.5 in) per year.

The sun in Ukraine rarely shines in winter, especially in inland areas, where gray skies prevail, while in summer it often shines, especially along the shores of the Black Sea.

Ukraine is a large country, the second in Europe with an area of 603,600 km² (233,050 mi²), and it is largely occupied by plains (in the east) and hills (in the west). The only mountainous area of some importance is found in the west, south of Lviv, where there's a portion of the Carpathian Mountains, which reaches its highest point in Mount Hoverla, 2,061 meters (6,762 feet) high. Here of course the temperature decreases with increasing altitude, especially in summer, while in winter cold air often clings to the soil, causing a thermal inversion that keeps the plain cold. In summer, thunderstorms in the mountains are more frequent and abundant.
Other mountains, though less extended, are the aforementioned Crimean Mountains, whose highest point is Mount Roman-Koš, 1,545 meters (5,069 feet) high.

Winter is cold in much of Ukraine: the average temperatures are below freezing (0 °C or 32 °F), except in the most sheltered areas of Crimea. Going south, the temperature increases a little, but remains below freezing in inland areas. Snow covers Kiev for about 80 days per year (which were about a hundred in the previous decades, when the climate was colder).
The coldest periods are those in which the Siberian Anticyclone moves over the country: in these situations, the temperature can drop to -30 °C (-22 °F) or even below. The average winter temperature has increased by a few degrees over the last few decades, especially in the interior. Anyway, periods of severe cold are still possible, although compared to the past they are less frequent and tend to be shorter.

In spring, both the temperature and the sunshine hours grow rapidly. In March, the snow melts in continental areas, which turns into mud and can make it difficult to travel on rural roads. In April, the first warm days occur, though they can be followed by the return of cold weather, with possible snow and frosts. In May, the temperatures generally start to become permanently pleasant, especially in the second part.

Summer in Ukraine is warm and quite sunny, with possible thunderstorms, which are more likely in the center-north. The maximum temperatures in July are around 25 °C (77 °F) in the far north (see Chernihiv) and 26 °C (79 °F) in the north (see Kiev), while they reach 27/28 °C (81/82 °F) in the south (see Dnipro) and on the coast of the Black Sea (see Odessa). The summer on the Black Sea Coast, especially in Crimea, is similar to that of the northern coast of the Mediterranean (French Riviera, Liguria), although the rains are a bit more frequent, 5/6 days per month.
Sometimes in summer the inland regions are affected by disturbances of Atlantic origin or by cool air masses from the north, so the average temperature is lower than in the regions overlooking the sea, but the former are also subject to heat waves, which last some days, and can raise the temperature to 35 °C (95 °F) or more.

In autumn, the temperature decreases rapidly. September is still a pleasant month in the Black Sea area, with highs around 23 °C (73 °F), while the north it's already cool, with highs around 18/19 °C (64/66 °F). Sometimes it can get cold, with the first snowfalls, already in October, however, the turning point occurs in November, when it starts to get cold across the country, and the sunshine becomes scarce as well.

Inland areas


Here are the average temperatures of Kiev, the capital, located in the north of the country.
Kiev - Average temperatures
Min (°C)-6-6-15111416151050-5
Max (°C)-1061421242625191250
Min (°F)212130415257615950413223
Max (°F)303243577075797766544132

In Kiev, precipitation amounts to 610 mm (24 in) per year. The wettest season is summer. Here is the average precipitation.
Kiev - Average precipitation

The sun in Kiev is rarely seen from November to February, while in summer it shines quite often. Here are the average sunshine hours.
Kiev - Sunshine


In the north-west, Lviv is a bit less warm in the summer, since it is located at 300 meters (1,000 feet) above sea level.
Lviv - Average temperatures
Min (°C)-6-6-248111312840-5
Max (°C)0161419222424181361
Min (°F)212128394652555446393223
Max (°F)323443576672757564554334

In the center-south, Dnipro (formerly Dnipropetrovsk) in summer is instead a little warmer than Kiev.
Dnipro - Average temperatures
Min (°C)-6-6-2511151716115-1-5
Max (°C)-1061522262828221450
Min (°F)212128415259636152413023
Max (°F)303243597279828272574132

The coast


The coast of the Black Sea is not so mild in winter. In Odessa, the average temperature in January is -0.5 °C (31.5 °F), there are on average 40 days with snowfall, and the cold record of the past 20 years is -23 °C (-9 °F). However, summer is warm and sunny, with some thunderstorms. Here are the average temperatures.
Odessa - Average temperatures
Min (°C)-3-317121618181493-1
Max (°C)2371320242726211584
Min (°F)272734455461646457483730
Max (°F)363745556875817970594639

In Odessa, just 455 mm (18 in) of rain fall per year.
Odessa - Average precipitation

In Odessa, the winter sky is often gray, while the summer is sunny.
Odessa - Sunshine

The Black Sea, cold in winter, becomes acceptable for swimming in July and August, while it is a bit cool in June and September. In the east, the Sea of Azov, more closed and sheltered, in summer is a bit warmer.
Odessa - Sea temperature
Temp (°C)7569152023242116129
Temp (°F)454143485968737570615448


In Crimea (which was annexed to Russia in 2014), winter is not as cold as in Odessa. However, in winter, the Crimean peninsula and the Sea of Azov are affected by cold winds, sometimes violent.
In Simferopol, located in the interior of the peninsula, the average January temperature is 0.5 °C (33 °F). Here are the average temperatures.
Simferopol - Average temperatures
Min (°C)-3-305101416161172-1
Max (°C)45916212629292317106
Min (°F)272732415057616152453630
Max (°F)394148617079848473635043

The only relatively mild area in winter is the south coast of the peninsula (see Yalta), south of the Crimean Mountains: these mountains partially protect the coast from the cold northern wind, which turns into a down-slope, dry and relatively warm wind. Here the average winter temperatures are about 4/5 °C (39/41 °F). Summer is hot and sunny, with some thunderstorms. Here are the average temperatures in Yalta.
Yalta - Average temperatures
Min (°C)224813172121161174
Max (°C)771014202528282318129
Min (°F)363639465563707061524539
Max (°F)454550576877828273645448

The sea in Yalta and Sevastopol reaches 24 °C (75 °F) in July and August.
Yalta - Sea temperature
Temp (°C)878101520242422181310
Temp (°F)464546505968757572645550

Best Time

The best time to visit Ukraine as a whole runs from mid-May to mid-September. Since in July and August hot days can occur, you can opt for the two periods, mid-May to late June and the first half of September, in order to avoid heat waves, which may occur in midsummer especially the south-central and the east of the country; anyway, those who can stand the heat can go in July and August as well.
For a beach holiday in the Black Sea, the best time is summer (July and August), when you will find a sunny and warm weather, tempered by sea breezes, with a few rainy days.

What to pack

In winter: pack very warm clothes, such as a sweater or fleece, a down jacket, a fur hat, gloves and a scarf. For Jalta, pack a sweater, a jacket, a raincoat or umbrella, a scarf and earmuffs for the wind.

In summer: in Lviv, pack spring/autumn clothes, being ready to add or remove the outer layer; an umbrella. In the north-east and Kiev, pack T-shirts and shorts for hot days, a jacket and a sweatshirt for the evening and cooler days; an umbrella.
In the south and on the Black Sea coast: pack light clothes, a sweatshirt or light jacket for the evening.