06/08/2011 11:35 am ET Updated Aug 19, 2011

Destin-Nation Ukraine: A Former SSR on a Budget (PHOTOS)

Ukraine isn't the first destination to top everybody's list, but it should be. The former Soviet republic is a prime destination for history buffs, outdoorsmen and adventure travelers alike.

The capital city of Kiev, founded in the 5th century, has been overrun and occupied by the the Khazars, Mongolians, the Lithuanians and the Nazis, among others, but still stands proudly today as home to roughly 2.7 million people.

The country has amped up construction ahead of their co-hosting gig (along with their western neighbor, Poland) of the Euro 2010 Football Championships in 2012. Matches will be held in Kiev, Donetsk, and Lviv, and the country has furiously worked at creating a new concourse at the Kiev airport, now to open in 2012, as well as ample hotel rooms for tourists and viewers alike.

Ukraine created its own money, the Hryvnia, in 1996 (1 Hryvnia equals 13 U.S. cents). Meals can cost between $30 and $40 per person in Kiev, with meals going for less in smaller towns that dot the country. Or opt for the far more budget-friendly option of cafeteria-style restaurants, where meals can go for as little as $4. Hotels are another story, with basic rooms starting out at around $100.

Major international carriers such as Delta, Continental, SwissAir, KLM and British Airways all fly with stopovers from New York's JFK airport to Kiev (a quick check shows that flights start around $1,400 with a stopover).

Photo: Vasiliy Efimenko/Flickr