Ukraine travel tips
This article will provide you with answers to the most common questions and concerns travellers have before going to Ukraine, and also some useful tips.
Our tour agency based in Lviv provides more than 250 tours and excursions to the most interesting places in Ukraine. If you have any other questions about our country, feel free to contact us.
Is Ukraine safe to visit?
Ukraine is quite safe to visit, similar to most of the European cities. You have to be reasonably cautious, but there’s no need to be afraid. In the list of countries ranked by crimes per 1000 population, Ukraine ranked 51 out of 81 countries, being placed between Hong Kong and Moldova.
Some tourists may be discouraged from visiting Ukraine for the fear of war and occupation of its Eastern territories and Crimea. However, these areas are located far from the places where tourists generally go. The distance between the war-affected area and Kyiv is about 600 km which is the same as the distance between Paris and Milan.
In general, the rules of conduct in Ukraine and the safety principles are not different from those of the neighbouring countries such as Poland, Hungary, or Germany.
When travelling to Ukraine, be reasonably prudent. Beware of the pickpockets in crowded spaces, especially public transport or railway stations. Don’t put your valuable belongings in a backpack.
Avoid demonstrations and be careful when communicating with strangers. For example, if you’re visiting Kyiv city centre, you may encounter people wearing theatre costumes who offer to take pictures with them. Don’t agree to do that, as they will demand money from you.
Also try not to be outside alone in late hours, especially in remote areas. However, Lviv city centre is quite nice at night, with live music and people chilling at numerous restaurants and bars.
Save these emergency numbers in Ukraine: 101 - Rescue Service, 102 - Police, 103 - Ambulance.
When is the best time to visit Ukraine?
The coldest month in Ukraine is January: average temperature will vary from -8°C (17.6°F) in the North East to +4°C (39.2°F) in the South. The warmest month is July and then the average temperature will vary from +17°C (62.6°F) to +25°C (77°F). Summer days can be quite hot in Ukraine, with the temperature reaching +30°C (86°F), so the best time to visit Ukraine would be spring, early summer and autumn. If you’re not afraid of cold weather, winter in Ukraine is a great time to see beautiful mountain landscapes covered in snow and magical snowy cities.
Prices in Ukraine
Prices in Ukraine are much lower than in most of the European countries. As of 2020, the average salary in Ukraine is 425$, and in the 2020 ranking of countries by the cost of living prepared by "CEOWORLD magazine", Ukraine ranked 107th out of 132 countries.
Prices in Kyiv. The most expensive city of Ukraine is Kyiv. In Kyiv, dinner for 2 people at a mid-ranking restaurant would cost you 250-500 UAH (9-19$). As of 2020, metro, bus, trolleybus, tramway cost 8 UAH (0.3$) per ride. Taxi prices will differ according to the company. In general, a taxi would cost about 6.5 UAH (0.24$) per km. The city is quite big, so if you are travelling to another district, you will have to spend more than 100 UAH (3.7$) for your trip.
Prices in Lviv. Lviv is more affordable than the capital of Ukraine. Good but not fancy dinner for two may cost about 200-400 UAH (7-14$). Tramway and trolleybus cost 6 UAH (0.22$) if you purchase via an electronic system or at a ticket booth, and 7 UAH (0.26$) if you buy from the driver, buses cost 7 UAH. Taxi tariffs are the same as in Kyiv, but the city is much smaller, so in the end you will spend less on transportation, 50-90 UAH (1.8-3.3) per ride.
Affordable prices and good service are one of the reasons why foreigners prefer travelling to Ukraine.
What to bring to Ukraine?
- Plugs. In Ukraine, plugs of 2 types are used: C and F. So if you use a different plug type in your country, it is a good idea to bring a power adapter.
- Clothes. Weather in Ukraine changes quite often, so it is a good idea to bring clothes for different weather and be ready for a rainy morning, a warm day and a cold evening.
- Your medicine. Medicine in Ukraine is inexpensive and much of it can be bought without a prescription. However, if you use some specific medicine, it is better to take it with you.
What are the best mobile operators in Ukraine and their tariffs
The most popular mobile operators in Ukraine are Kyivstar, Lifecell, and Vodafone. As of 2020, you can purchase a SIM-card freely and don’t have to present your passport. Prices start from 75 UAH (2.7$) per month. A typical package includes several GB of 4G internet and minutes to call other numbers in Ukraine. Companies may also offer unlimited internet and minutes for calling abroad. In addition, Wifi is available at most of the public places.
Transportation in Ukraine
Ukrainian cities have dense networks of transportation allowing you to easily access any place you’d like to visit. Public transport in Ukraine consists of buses, trolleybuses, tramways and minibuses (“marshrutkas”); Kyiv, Kharkiv and Dnipro also have metro. Public transport in Ukraine doesn’t have air conditioning, so in hot summer days metro will be your most comfortable option.
If you prefer using a taxi, Uber and its local analogue app called Uklon are the safest and most convenient for foreigners.
To travel between cities in Ukraine, you can use a bus, train or plane. The biggest international airports of Ukraine are located in Boryspil, Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa and Kharkiv.
There are many ways to reach Lviv from Kyiv:
1. You can buy train tickets online. You can choose a high-speed train and reach Lviv in about 6 hours, or a regular train - in that case, your journey will last up to 14 hours depending on the route.
2. There are flights to Lviv from Kyiv Boryspil airport. Take into consideration that it takes time to reach this airport. Currently available airlines are Windrose and UIA.
3. There are also numerous websites selling Kyiv to Lviv bus tickets for various dates and time. The advantage of travelling by bus in Ukraine is that you can buy the tickets last minute, while if you choose to travel by train you should purchase the tickets a couple of weeks in advance.
By the way, when visiting Lviv, you can easily access the Carpathian mountains which are just within 2-2.5 hours of driving from the city. Carpathian mountains is a popular tourist destination because there are a lot of unique villages and museums, ethnic groups that preserve their ancient culture, fresh air and stunning natural landscapes. This area is a little remote from public transportation, and if you’re not planning to rent a car, it may be difficult for you to reach. Check out our selection of tours to the Carpathian mountains to find a tour to your taste and we will provide you with the best transportation. In addition, our company also provides transfers.
How to exchange money in Ukraine?
In Ukraine, you can freely exchange the world’s most popular currencies, however, rates are the most beneficial for Euro and United States Dollar, so it’s better to bring these currencies with you. You can exchange the money at special currency exchange booths which are widespread and easy to find, or at any bank. As of 2020, you don’t need to present your identification documents when you’re exchanging less than 150,000 UAH.
In addition, Ukraine is a modern country and in most of the shops, restaurants and hotels you will be able to pay with your credit card. However, it is still better to have a little cash with you (below 50-100 USD should be enough).
Can I drink tap water in Ukraine?
Unboiled and unfiltered water in Ukraine is not advisable for drinking. If you can’t boil or filter the water, buy bottled water or ask your hotel if they have a water dispenser.
What languages are used in Ukraine?
The official language in Ukraine is Ukrainian and it is spoken by most of the people. Some people also speak Russian, especially in Southern and Eastern parts of the country. Many people speak English, and you may encounter people who know Polish, German, French, Spanish, Italian and other languages. If you need to ask for help, address a young person: in Ukraine, younger people usually know English better.
Do I need a visa to go to Ukraine?
Citizens of the EU, USA, UK, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Norway, Serbia, Georgia, Hong Kong, Israel, Turkey and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (except Turkmenistan) don’t need a visa to come to Ukraine. Check the resources of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine to find out if you need a visa.
If you are planning a trip to Ukraine, consider contacting a local tour company. They will offer you professional guides and diverse experiences for affordable prices. Our Vidviday travel agency invites you to immerse yourself in the local culture, visit unique places and make new friends. Check out our best tours and see if you can find something for yourself. You can join our group tours or order a private tour. We also provide airport pickup services and transfers, bus rental and guide services in the language you speak.