Getting to and from some of the beaches in Odessa can be a bit of a hassle. Most of the city is located on hills and the slopes are partly covered with huge parks where motor vehicles are prohibited. You therefore usually have to go by foot along rather steep lanes to reach the shoreline. Luckily, there is a quirky, fun and a little bit scary alternative: Riding the Communist-era cable car connecting the upper part of town with Otrada Beach.
Opened during Soviet times in 1971, the cableway system hasn’t changed much since then. Even though it has gone from state-owned to privately owned and has been regularly maintained, it now resembles a nostalgic relic of the past. In total, the fleet consists of 65 tiny open gondolas painted in bright colors and decorated with pictures of popular USSR cartoon characters and other themes for kids. Each cabin is designed to carry a maximum of two adults with small children.
One-way, the 0.26 miles (425 meters) ride takes roughly six minutes. From a height of up to 121 feet (37 meters), there is a panoramic view of, among other things, the Black Sea, tennis courts, and dense thickets of acacias.
Since the cable car never stops, you have to embark and disembark the gondola on the go. The average speed of movement is 4.6 feet (1.4 meters) per second. The Odessa Cable Car must not be confused with the Odessa Funicular, which is an inclined elevator that runs alongside the Potemkin Stairs.
Know Before You Go
The upper station can be reached by tram No.5. Get off at the Pyrohovska stop, walk under the Mauritanian Arch and then continue straight on for a few minutes until you see the cable car station on your right-hand side. Follow the signs saying Канатная дорога.
The lower station can be found by the southern part of the Otrada Beach, near the small marina. Again, follow the Канатная дорога signs.
As of 2022, the cable car is running daily during daytime (unless the weather is bad) and a one-way ticket costs 100 UAH (approx. €2.6). Children under the age of three or with intellectual disabilities ride for free. If you speak Ukrainian, you can call +380 68 350 6051 for more info.