Bordering Russia to the east and the EU to the west, Ukraine is a large piece of land barely found by the typical traveler.
Intrepid adventurers will journey to Ukraine for visiting Kiev, after which pay a brief go to to different huge cities akin to Lviv or Odesa, however the remainder of the nation stays fairly unknown to most of us.
Nonetheless, Ukraine has quite a bit to supply and after spending 45 days roaming across the nation, discovering every little thing from intriguing medieval castles to a nuclear missile launch facility, that is one of the best journey information obtainable on the web, containing every little thing you could know for touring to Ukraine, from transportation tricks to prime experiences, cultural info, visas, security and far more!
On this Ukraine journey information you will discover:
Greatest time to go to
Journey insurance coverage
Ukraine and Russia
Tradition, language, and faith
Introduction: why journey to Ukraine?
Touring in Ukraine is a singular expertise, like nowhere else.
Are you aware why?
As a result of right here, you possibly can spend weeks admiring dreamy, Medieval castles and fortresses and perfectly-shaped, cute previous cities and, on the identical time, you possibly can uncover essentially the most offbeat locations in Europe, starting from a nuclear missile launch facility to the ghost metropolis of Prypiat, and an unlimited vary of Soviet and Communist heritage.
There isn’t one other single nation in Europe the place you are able to do a lot of the above in a single single journey.
And one of the best of it’s that, apart from a couple of locations, a lot of the nation stays uncooked, genuine and really, very Ukrainian.
Touring in Ukraine could be a actual offbeat European journey, like nowhere else on the continent.
The best way to get a visa for touring to Ukraine
Do not forget that Ukraine is in neither EU nor the Schengen space, so totally different visa guidelines apply.
Usually, most nationalities can get a 90-day free visa on arrival.
Nonetheless, WATCH OUT! As a result of there are a few nations, together with Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico whose residents, unexpectedly, might want to pre-arrange an e-visa.
I traveled to Ukraine with my Mexican girlfriend and, since Mexicans can get a free visa on arrival in completely each nation in Europe, we simply assumed that she wouldn’t want one for visiting Ukraine however apparently, she did and, on our arrival, she was deported.
We traveled to Moldova to use and watch for her visa which, by the best way, took virtually two weeks, plus she needed to submit quite a lot of paperwork, from journey insurance coverage to the flight or prepare ticket in a foreign country.
In any case, right here you will have extra data about this painful course of.
Greatest time to go to Ukraine
Winter – Winters in Ukraine are lethal – as you already know – however if you’re simply planning to go to Kiev, Lviv or some other huge metropolis, so long as you put on correct garments, you need to be positive. In any case, touring in Ukraine, in winter, onboard a Soviet prepare could be a distinctive expertise.
Summer time – I traveled in Ukraine over the last two weeks of August and, whereas Lviv was principally all proper, the countryside was totally scorching, with temperatures round 30-35ºC.
Spring and autumn – One of the best seasons to go to Ukraine. Not so scorching, not so chilly. I spent the entire month of October within the nation and colours had been at their best, completely stunning.
Touring in Ukraine by marshrutka in summer season
Most marshrutkas don’t have AC and, for some incomprehensible purpose, previous girls – and so they have full authority to do it – will all the time shut the home windows as a result of they really feel chilly, even when it’s 40ºC contained in the minivan, and funnily sufficient, no one will complain. If you’re backpacking in Ukraine in summer season, concentrate on that.
Greatest books for impartial journey in Ukraine
Ukraine journey information by Bradt – One of the best information ebook is, by far, the one written by Bradt, as they supply so many particulars about each area within the nation, together with many mentions of actual offbeat gems and deep and helpful journey ideas for Ukraine.
CLICK HERE TO CHECK PRICES
Ukraine journey information by Lonely Planet – A great buy as properly, however I want Bradt, because the Lonely Planet doesn’t get that deep into the totally different locations.
CLICK HERE TO CHECK PRICES
Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich – If you’re visiting Ukraine, it means that you could be go to Chernobyl as properly and, for that, I like to recommend you get this ebook, written by a Nobel prize successful writer, a compilation of testimonies straight associated to the catastrophe. A helpful ebook for anybody eager to empathize with all victims.
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Why go to Ukraine: Prime 5 experiences
Only a small glimpse of among the issues you are able to do once you journey to Ukraine:
1 – Discover one of many best cities in Europe
Kiev is a tremendous metropolis with masses to see, masses to do and a lot happening.
I spent two weeks within the capital and so they had been one of the best days of my journey.
From epic church buildings to weird Soviet locations and nice nightlife, Kiev is a metropolis which it would be best to return to.
Learn my information: The best way to spend Four days in Kiev
2 – Wander round distant mountain villages within the Carpathians
If you wish to go to and take a look at genuine rural life in Ukraine, head to the Carpathians and spend a couple of days mountaineering from village to village.
The mountains are fairly and the area has by no means had a lot publicity to the skin world, not even throughout the us, as these distant lands had been troublesome to regulate.
3 – Try the dreamy castles & cute previous cities in Western Ukraine
Most of Western Ukraine used to belong to the Austro-Hungarian Empire after which to Poland, so it’s simple to know why they’ve so many castles, and the totally different cities and villages have Central European-like structure.
4 – Pay your respects to the victims in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
You already find out about Chernobyl, so I received’t go into particulars, however the exclusion zone is 150km north of Kiev and, although it’s changing into too fashionable and form of touristy, it’s good to go and see with your individual eyes the implications of one of many worst human catastrophe in our historical past.
Learn my information: The best way to go to Chernobyl responsibly
5 – Go to a nuclear missile launch facility
An previous Soviet nuclear missile launch facility has been turned was an superior museum the place, moreover trying out all of the navy nuclear arsenal, you’ll be able to go into one of many silos and the underground management room.
The best way to journey to Ukraine
By air – Each Lviv and Kiev have every day flights to just about any nation in Europe and it’s not troublesome to discover a finances flight.
By land – Ukraine shares a border with:
- European Union: Hungary, Romania, Poland and Slovakia. Crossing these borders needs to be very simple, with no secret procedures.
- Belarus: You’ll be able to cross the border however remember that the visa on arrival (for Belarus) is barely obtainable if you happen to fly in & out from Minsk so, if you wish to enter/exit Ukraine by way of Belarus, you could apply for a Belarussian visa on the embassy.
- Moldova: Numerous borders to select from however most individuals appear to want taking the prepare from Odesa to Chisinau. I personally entered Ukraine from the northern Moldovan border, close to Chernivtsi, on my method to the Carpathians. Learn my Moldova journey information.
- Russia: Regardless of the continued battle, the border is open. Verify this report to learn the way to do it.
By sea – There may be the potential for touring to Ukraine by ferry from Batumi (Georgia) to Odesa. There are two corporations providing this service, Ukrferry, and Ferrysped, and detailed schedules could also be discovered on their web sites. A ticket prices round 100USD. Learn my journey information to Georgia.
Journey insurance coverage for Ukraine
As all the time, don’t overlook to journey to Ukraine with correct journey insurance coverage, and I like to recommend you get World Nomads for the next causes:
- The one firm that gives an infinite medical finances
- You’ll be able to ebook it whereas on the street
- It covers the biggest variety of nationalities
CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE QUOTE
Ukraine and Russia: What the hell is happening
CRITICAL INFORMATION FOR YOU TO KNOW WHEN YOU TRAVEL IN UKRAINE
Ukraine shouldn’t be Russia!
Ukraine shouldn’t be Russia the identical manner that Canada shouldn’t be the USA or New Zealand shouldn’t be Australia.
Certain, they share a superb piece of historical past and a few cultural points, however you don’t must spend a lot time within the nation to appreciate that they’re certainly very totally different, particularly once you journey in Western Ukraine, which wasn’t a part of the us till the tip of WWII.
Ukrainians are significantly delicate on this matter, to the extent that they even get offended once you write Kiev as an alternative of Kyiv, as Kiev is the direct Russian transliteration, although each phrases are accepted in English.
The Ukraine-Russia battle
At this time, as you might know, there may be an ongoing battle between Ukraine and Russia.
It’s an precise battle.
In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea to themselves and sure, Crimea isn’t a part of Ukraine anymore.
Their map has modified and no matter Ukrainian map during which you see Crimea, is already outdated – sadly.
These days, the continued battle is going on in one other area named Donbas, a historic area in jap Ukraine, as we speak protecting Donetsk and Lugansk provinces (oblasts).
Most individuals residing in these provinces are ethnically Russian and, after Crimea was annexed to Russia, these pro-Russian folks declared their independence from Ukraine and the issue arose when Russia determined to help the rebels.
I don’t know what the tip of this shall be of this however Ukraine’s map may be altered once more within the subsequent few years.
These are the explanation why, in the remainder of Ukraine, particularly within the West, the folks completely despise the Russian Authorities and don’t prefer it when foreigners establish Ukrainian tradition as a mere variant or extension of Russian, so concentrate on that.
Tradition, folks, language, and faith
Fashionable Ukraine as it’s recognized as we speak, with its present borders had by no means existed earlier than the nation received its independence in 1991.
Over the centuries, totally different components of the nation have been dominated by totally different civilizations, from the Kievan Rus – a federation discovered by Slavic folks which Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus declare their cultural ancestors come from – to the Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia – which was once a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after which Poland and it was solely annexed to the us after WWII.
Ukrainians declare that their fashionable tradition straight derives from each the Kievan Rus and the Kingdom of Galicia, so their conventional tradition is a mixture of east and west – properly, not that western however Central European – and their conventional garments are named vyshyvanka, that are additionally worn in Belarus and are fairly much like Polish and Moldovan ones.
Through the independence day, someday on the finish of August, I seen that many Ukrainians had been carrying the vyshyvanka.
The folks: Ukrainians
Some vacationers say that Ukrainians are critical, or that they will generally be unfriendly, however that is only a traditional Soviet angle, seen in different former Soviet nations as properly.
Sure, a few of them do look critical however, when you get to know them, Ukrainians are nice folks and are very hospitable as properly, particularly within the rural areas.
Within the Carpathians, for instance, we had been randomly hosted by some locals who adopted us on Instagram and their degree of hospitality was akin to that you just expertise when touring in Iran 😉
Ukrainian is the official language and, in an effort to perceive the way it differs from Russian, take Spanish and Portuguese as examples.
Many Portuguese perceive Spanish and vice-versa as a result of each languages are very shut however very totally different on the identical time, identical as with Ukrainian and Russian.
The Russian language, nonetheless, is extensively spoken throughout the nation and, in Donbas and the Crimea it is usually acknowledged as an official language together with Ukrainian.
In Western Ukraine, Ukrainian is the language that prevails.
By the best way, Ukrainians use the Cyrillic alphabet and if you happen to can’t learn it but, I strongly advocate you do be taught it, as a result of it is going to be an actual game-changer for touring in Ukraine.
Most Ukrainians belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and so they affirm that that is the unique Church of historic Kievan Rus.
One thing that shocked me about Ukraine was that faith performs a vital function of their society, greater than some other European nation I’ve been to.
In smaller cities and cities, church buildings are filled with younger folks throughout Sunday providers and in huge cities akin to Kiev or Lviv, whereas the younger era doesn’t actually apply their faith, they do imagine in God, usually talking.
Visiting the limitless church buildings and wonderful Orthodox complexes will all the time be one of many highlights of any Ukraine journey information and I extremely advocate you go to Pochaiv, the second holiest monastery within the nation, after Kiev Lavra, however the one in Pochaiv is nicer, for the easy purpose that it’s larger and positioned in a rural, mystical space.
Meals in Ukraine
Ukrainian delicacies isn’t the spotlight of the nation however it’s all proper, not dangerous in any respect.
Generally it’s troublesome to find out which dishes are Ukrainian and which of them are Russian, as you’ll find them in each nations however in any case, Ukrainian delicacies is hearty and made for feeding lots.
Some Ukrainian meals you might be more likely to style throughout your journey
- Borsch – The nationwide meals which they’re most happy with is borsch, a beetroot soup extensively eaten throughout all the previous USSR, however Ukrainians affirm and re-affirm it’s initially from Ukraine, and I imagine them, as a result of borsch is nowhere else as obtainable as on Ukrainian menus; properly perhaps in Belarus as properly. Borsch is the best way to go and it’s historically served with bitter cream and with one thing named salo.
- Salo – Slices of pork fats, very salty and highly regarded. Ukrainians discover it an actual delicacy however I don’t prefer it.
- Varenyky – While you don’t know what to order, you order varenyky, the traditional dumplings obtainable in lots of Slavic nations, however they all the time differ in form, filling and have totally different names. Ukrainian varenyky are often crammed with brynza (native cheese) or potatoes.
- Syrniki – Usually eaten for breakfast or brunch, these are some small, thick, native pancakes crammed with cottage cheese, however they will additionally comprise apple and different elements.
- Rooster Kyiv – This was bizarre, and never my favourite, however it is extremely conventional. It consists of fried rooster crammed with dairy butter and herbs. An actual bomb.
And there’s extra.
Native eating places in huge cities could have many different selections however, within the rural areas, the choices shall be restricted to borsch and varenyky.
I as soon as had borsch + varenyky for Four days in a row!
Then, within the Western a part of the nation, since that space was once a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after which Poland, conventional dishes are extra Central European, so you discover issues like goulash, whereas within the Carpathians, you discover Moldovan and Romanian dishes akin to banusz.
This weblog is purely about Ukrainian meals and has some actually good data.
Is it secure to journey to Ukraine?
Due to current occasions, some folks might understand Ukraine as a harmful vacation spot to journey to however belief me, it’s not.
Maidan protests (2014) – In 2014, Kiev witnessed a collection of protests towards the Authorities that lasted for greater than Three months, leading to a number of peaceable demonstrators being murdered by the police.
It was loopy and such was the gravity of these protests and repression, that they had been all around the worldwide information for weeks.
Throughout these Three months, touring to Kiev wasn’t beneficial, in fact, however this was a previous episode that ended with the Prime Minister Yanukovych fleeing the nation and the celebration of recent elections
Donbas battle – As we beforehand mentioned, there’s a battle happening in Donetsk and Lugansk, during which in accordance with the UN, greater than 13,000 folks have died as of 2019.
The battle, nonetheless, solely impacts these two provinces, doesn’t transcend them and, even if you happen to needed to go there, you couldn’t as a result of foreigners aren’t allowed anymore.
Apart from that, moreover all of the common crime-related stuff, akin to pickpocketing, that occurs in any metropolis, touring in Ukraine is secure, very secure, and any Ukrainian will let you know that.
Cash in Ukraine
In Ukraine, they use the Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH) and, roughly, 1€ = 26UAH.
Bank cards are usually accepted anyplace and most banks will settle for worldwide playing cards, although they have a tendency to cost a small payment.
How a lot does it price to journey in Ukraine?
As per prices, Ukraine is an affordable nation to journey round, particularly as a result of their forex has devalued massively for the reason that Crimea disaster, when 1€ was once equal to 10UAH.
Backpacking finances for Ukraine:
Assuming you keep in dorms and eat in finances cafeterias, you’ll be able to simply journey in Ukraine for 25€ a day.
Typical prices (approx.)
- Dorm in a finances hostel: 200 UAH (7€)
- Funds condominium in Kiev or Lviv: from 600 UAH (25€)
- Native meal in a cafeteria: 100UAH (3-4€)
- Native beer: 40UAH (1.50€)
- Evening prepare from Lviv to Odesa economical class: 200 UAH (7€)
Transportation ideas: The best way to journey round Ukraine
The nation is huge however the public transportation system is nice, which makes touring in Ukraine pretty simple.
Soviet trains at their greatest. Wonderful method to see the vastness of the nation.
When you have traveled in different Soviet nations akin to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan or Russia itself, their prepare system doesn’t fluctuate a lot. The truth is, it’s the identical.
You will get to just about any metropolis however do ebook your tickets upfront, particularly throughout excessive season, as a budget ones run out shortly.
There are various kinds of carriages however the Soviet system has Three lessons:
- berth: no compartments however bunk beds are positioned all around the carriage.
- compartment: 4-bed compartment.
- deluxe: 2-bed fancy compartment.
When you have by no means ridden a Soviet prepare, I like to recommend you journey in berth.
In case you might be questioning, economical class in Ukraine (berth) isn’t like in India or Sri Lanka, not even shut. They give you clear mattress linen and the beds are comparatively comfy.
You’ll be able to verify costs, timings and ebook your ticket on this hyperlink (official governmental website).
Marshrutka means minivan in Russian and you might use them when going to smaller cities.
In the event you depend by kilometer, it’s far more costly than touring by prepare and round 5 occasions extra uncomfortable, however if you’re getting deep into Ukraine, this may be your solely selection extra usually than you suppose.
Apparently, buses additionally run between main cities however I don’t see a superb purpose for taking them, other than when prepare tickets to your vacation spot are bought out however in any case, for lengthy distances, it is usually beneficial to ebook your ticket upfront.
In any case, you’ll be able to ebook your tickets on this web site.
Web in Ukraine
Ukraine has wonderful 4G protection and getting a SIM Card may be very simple, as they didn’t even ask me for my passport.
I personally purchased Lifecell, however Kyivstar appears to be the preferred one.
Costs are ridiculously low cost and I believe I paid round 75UAH (3€) for a SIM Card filled with 4GB of knowledge.
Extra data for touring to Ukraine
Ukraine Trek – This weblog has quite a lot of content material about hidden locations within the nation.
Right here you’ll be able to learn some extra posts about Ukraine
If you’re going to Moldova, verify all my Moldova journey guides
And right here you’ll be able to learn my content material about Belarus
Going to Georgia? Verify my final information to Georgia
I hope you loved my Ukraine journey weblog. Please, depart a remark for any query you might need.