In Ukraine people call Vylkove "The Ukrainian Venice". Of course this is not true. The only thing that makes Vylkove similar to Venice is channels. Over the past 50 years, many channels have dried up or were covered, so locals now prefer cars then boats.
It is interesting that 300 years ago, when Vylkove (formerly Lipovansk) was founded by Cossacks and Lipovans, it was standing on the sea shore. But over the past centuries, the sea receded by 18 kilometers.
Danube is the main local attraction. It is the largest river in Europe, with a length of almost 3,000 kilometers. The river is the border of ten countries, including Ukraine. Romania is on the opposite bank. Despite the fact that the number of fish in the Danube reduced, it is still there and fishing is an important source of income for local residents.
What to do in Vylkove: - Take a boat trip through the city - Visit the "Zero Kilometer", the place where the Danube flows into the sea - Learn more about the culture and cuisine of Lipovans - Visit the churches of old believers - Fishing - Try a local wine - Visit the unique Ermakov island, watch birds and animals
Vylkove has the main channel, the only one that is used constantly.
Vylkove already is quite popular among foreign tourists. Together with us there was a group of 10 germans, embassy staff. Foreigners also come to Vylkove during a cruise on the Danube. This is last point for them where they transfer into small boats and go to the Zero Kilometer, where the Danube flows into the Black Sea.
Around Vylkove is located Danube Biosphere Reserve. Wherever you go on the boat, your way will lie through the reserve. The ecosystem of the Danube Delta is the most interesting in Europe and one of the best in the world. During the two days of excursions we have seen a huge number of birds and animals.
At the end point of the route we made pictures with a symbolic sign. Here you can find beautiful shells and see rare birds. unfortunately we do not have special camera for birds, so did not make photos of them. But saw a lot, even pelicans.
Telephoto lens here is a must. We saw wild horses, wild cows, hyena, white-tailed eagle, bittern, cormorants, curly pelican, heron, pheasant, hoopoe. Among the big ones we missed only the forest cat and wild boar.
The island is surrounded by a special dam that prevents the growth of tall trees and shrubs. The dam is very convenient to walk and, by the way, the path that is seen on the top was made by animals, not people.
Vylkove also interesting because of Old Believers (Lipovans). We have little interest in religion, so did not even know who they are. In a nutshell: in the 1650s - 1660s church was reformed. Those who have not accepted the reform, became known as Old Believers. They are also Orthodox believers, just with a little differences. Details can be found in Wikipedia, for us the main difference was that the Old Believers are baptized with two fingers instead of three and have separate entrances to the church for men and women.
Vylkove has three churches: two for the Old Believers and one modern. We made photos from above to compare them. Purely visual - no difference.
On the Internet you can read what Lipovans are closed and unsociable. May be that is true. Although, when we flew there with a drone, the locals came up with interest and asked us about everything. No problems in communication were observed :)
Getting to Vylkove: This is the biggest problem. The fact is that the last part of the road is just awful, so travel time by bus from Odessa (from bus station Privoz) is about 4 hours (200 km), which is quite tedious. Find schedule here, but it's better to learn the actual schedule at the bus station. In any case first bus starts about 6:25. In the city bus brings you to the center, to the church. From here you can walk 5 minutes to the river port and find boat trips.