Odesa, the Ukrainian port on the northwestern shore of the Black Sea, lives on its reputation as an infamous city. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, a den of iniquity attracted adventurers seeking wealth and pleasures. Much like storied Shanghai and New Orleans, it was a haven for criminals, smugglers, pimps, and prostitutes. But above all, Odessa, world-renowned for its Potemkin Steps, was perceived as a metropolis “overrun and governed by Jewish gangsters and swindlers,” writes Jarrod Tanny in City of Rogues and Schnorrers: Russia’s Jews and the Myth of Old Odessa, published by Indiana University Press. Nowadays, a cosmopolitan cast of characters makes merry among neoclassical pastel buildings lining a geometric grid of leafy streets. Odesa is booming again – it now substitutes for Crimea as the main domestic holiday destination. It’s a golden age for local businesses, but it puts a strain on the already crowded sandy beaches. We spent few relaxing days in the “city of sin” parked just in the center next to Potemkin Steps – our favorite restaurant was in the garden behind the opera serving excellent and tasty steaks (300g Pork steak with blue cheese and garlic potatoes – 450 UAH), first drink we usually took in crowded bar Lou Lou (Appleton Rum with Fresh Grapefruit Juice – 185 UAH) or Boffo in the center and later we went by taxi (usually Bolt – 120 UAH) to famous lively Arcadia beach with many clubs (Red Line, Itaka, Ibiza – entrance 300 – 500 UAH and cocktails from 120 UAH). Some days we spent walking around the city and some on the beach in one of the clubs (entrance with bed and towel – from 200 UAH), or we took a beer (50 UAH) in Prince Bar to watch the street or tried very local cocktails with locals in one of many “shot bars” (100 UAH) on the promenade in Arcadia complex. Note, our parking location is free parking, but it’s voluntarily guarded by a group of friendly homeless people, so it’s good to tip them at the end of your stay 😊.
Parking location – Odessa: 46.488986N 30.742164E (🚻)