A country shrouded in the secrecy of the Soviet Union for decades, Ukraine is beginning a new part of its history as a modern independent state. However, the country has been the site of unrest and war in recent years which has created various stereotypes and false information that have stopped people traveling. In this section, we’re going to break down the most frequently asked questions we get about Ukraine, dispel the myths, and give you the lowdown on what to do and what not to do when you’re traveling to Ukraine.
Do I need a visa to enter Ukraine?
Ukraine is aiming to grow its tourism industry and has made entry for various nationalities very easy. Unfortunately for some others, they have made it slightly more difficult and a visa or visa on arrival must be prepared.
Citizens of the European Union., Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Vatican, Iceland, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Israel, Turkey, Mongolia, the U.S., Canada, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Argentina, Paraguay and the Commonwealth of Independent States (except Turkmenistan) can stay in Ukraine up to 90 days within a 180 day period without a visa. However, other citizens such as Australians and New Zealanders require a visa on arrival that must be prepared in advance. We strongly advise you to check the visa requirements before you travel.
Please be aware that to the Ukrainian government, entering Crimea or the separatist-controlled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk on a Russian visa is classed as illegal entry to Ukrainian territory. If you later try to visit Ukraine and show any evidence of your travel to Crimea, you could be refused entry at best or arrested and fined at worst.
Is Ukraine safe these days?
Yes, the majority of Ukraine is safe to visit. The parts that are not safe for travel are the Crimean Peninsula and the war-torn regions of Donetsk and Luhansk Eastern Ukraine. However, it is unlikely that your travel to Ukraine will bring you anywhere near these danger zones, and entry for most foreigners is prohibited anyway so they do not pose a threat.
In the main tourist areas of Kyiv and Odessa, it is generally very safe. However, petty crime can still occur so be aware of pickpockets and scams in tourist areas downtown. Always check for the latest travel advice issued by your home country including safety and security, entry requirements, travel warnings, and health before traveling to Ukraine.
What’s the best way to get to Ukraine?
The most common route into Ukraine is via Boryspil International Airport just outside of the capital city of Kyiv and is served by a variety of flights. The airport is modern and has sim cards and currency exchanges in arrivals. However, we advise changing money in downtown or in your home country beforehand for a better exchange rate.
To get from the airport to downtown, there is a new train that connects the airport and the central railway station. There are also regular buses that do the same.
If you want to take a taxi, do not accept rides from the hawks who approach you in arrivals as you will be ripped off so ignore them for your own wellbeing. The arrivals lounge has free wifi and you can simply order an Uber for the best price. A taxi ride from the airport to downtown should be between 15 and 20 Euro.
Kyiv also has another airport called Zhulyany which is located 8km out of the city center. It is mostly served by budget airlines like Wizzair. This airport is very convenient for reaching the city center and a taxi will cost you between 5 to 7 Euros.
What’s the best way to travel around Ukraine?
The best way to travel around Ukraine is by train. They are Soviet-era but many have been modernized and are comfortable. There are direct day and night trains available to and from all major cities and towns in Ukraine.
Best of all, you can buy tickets in advance on your phone and use an app (alongside a passport or ID) to show the conductor to board the train. Find your bed or seat number and settle in for the journey. First-class is two beds to a room, the second class is four beds to a room, and third class is an open wagon with beds everywhere.
How do I change money in Ukraine?
Ukraine’s official currency is the hryvnia (UAH). Currency exchange offices that exchange Euros, US dollars are very common in cities, and the exchange rate is usually very fair. However, download a currency converter app that works offline in order to compare the exchange rate offered to the international rate to avoid being scammed.
ATMs are very common and you find several at every frequented place, like airports, train stations, shopping malls, and hotels. Be careful of tampered machines that are designed to skim your card.
What power outlets are used in Ukraine?
The electrical voltage in Ukraine is the same as the EU standard. In Ukraine, the power plugs and sockets are of type C and F. The standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
Is it safe to drink the tap water in Ukraine?
No, it is not safe to drink tap water in Ukraine. Bottled water is cheap and readily available.
What’s the Internet like in Ukraine?
Almost every cafe and restaurant in big cities have free Wifi for paying customers, simply ask the staff for the password which is ‘’wifi parol’’ in the local language.
If you’re in Ukraine even only for a short period it’s well worth buying a local sim-card. They cost between 1 and 3 Euros usually and are pre-packed with high-speed data and ready to be used right after you put it into your phone. 4G is standard and connectivity is great across the whole country except when driving through very rural areas.
Taxis in Ukraine
When using Taxis in Ukraine it’s best to use Uber in big cities. Taxi drivers rarely speak English, so the app helps you to orientate and get fair prices. Never hail a taxi on the street as a foreigner or use the ones waiting around bus and train stations, it’s a sure-fire way to get ripped off..