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Your Private English Speaking Guide in Ukraine

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Happiness is not a station you arrive at,

but a manner of travelling.

 

Margaret Lee Runbeck.


 
This page contains some data and links you might consider useful if you are going to visit the country. I would be glad to help if you need some specific information and have questions which could be answered by native Ukrainian living in Ukraine. Don't hesitate to contact me
 
UKRAINE VISA

 
The residents of
USA, Canada, EU, Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Vatican, Liechtenstein, Andorra, the Commonwealth of Independent States and some other countries
do not require visa for a stay of up to 90 days or transit through its territory. Visas are still required for citizens who enter the country with the purpose of employment, permanent residency, study or with any other purpose if they are going to stay in Ukraine for more than 90 days over a 180 day period. The period of visas validity could be prolonged at so called local Visa and Registration Offices. Visas are not issued at the border. Check the official site of the Ministry of Foregn Affires of Ukraine for more detailed information, also concerning other consular issues, foreign embassies and missions in Ukraine contacts, etc.
 
PASSPORT
 
All travelers need a passport valid for at least 90 days following your departure date from Ukraine. Make sure you have blank visa pages in your passport as you will get it stamped upon arrival and departure.
 
INSURANCE

 
Medical insurance is a must if you are going to Ukraine. Actually, travellers are seldom asked to prove it upon crossing the border. Don't worry if you are told the insurance you have got is not acceptable because you can buy a Ukrainian one on the spot and it is really cheap.
 
LUGAGGE

 
weight should not be more than 45kg (32 for some other directions) per suitcase for those travelling by air, otherwise, be ready to pay extra. Also, the sum of the height, width and depth dimensions of the suitcase should not exceed 158 cm. Consult your air line company for the detailes.
 
MONEY

 
The best way to obtain money is through ATMs (called bankomaty in Ukrainian). The money you will receive will be in Hryvnias (UAH), which is the official currancy of Ukraine. You can do it right at the aiport. Banks and ATMs are widely available, accept for small villages. You won't have problems with Visa, MasterCard/EuroCard, Cirrus, Plus as they are recognized. Still, it's highly recommended to consult your bank before the trip.
Credit cards are being widely accepted in many hotels and restaurants too. Avoid taking travellers cheques because it is sometimes difficult to find banks cashing them. The process would also take a lot of time.
 
ELECTRICITY

 
Some travellers will have to take voltage converters as the electricity is 220-260 Volts/50Hz. Also, mind that appliance plug tips are of the smaller round European type C
 
UKRAINE TIME

 
Ukraine is in the Eastern European Time Zone. Eastern European Standard Time (EET) is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2). The daylight saving time start/end dates are the last Sunday of March (the time is changed to 4 a.m. at 3 a.m. ) and the last Sunday of October (at 4am to 3am), like in most states of Europe.
You can see the Ukraine local time (Kyiv time) on the clock on this webpage. Also, use it as a link to the converter of a specific time in your country to the time in Ukraine. Note that Kyiv can also be spelt Kiev, which is the Russian way of pronunciation.
 
CLOTHING AND WEATHER

 
The country is situated in two climatic zones — moderate and Mediterranean subtropics. Average temperature in Ukraine is +10C in April, +15-21C in May, +23C in June and +27C in July and August. Autumn has mostly got the same conditions as spring. It rains often, so remember to bring along an umbrella, raincoat. Winter average temperature is about 3C nagative but there are periods when it gets bitingly cold, even 25C below zero. The climate has considerable fluctuation in weather conditions from year to year. It's getting more and more difficult to predict. Check ukraine weather Actually, we do not beleive long term forecasts, the weather is really changable here. Also, I think women travellers could take a head cloth and some below knee skirt if they intend to visit Orthodox churches. It is not really a must for a tourist, just good manners. In some monastery complexes you can rent them at the antrance.
 
UKRAINE CUSTOMS RULES
are described in details on the official website of the State Customs Service
 

 
REGISTRATION
 
All travellers who enter the country for a stay of less than 6 months don't need any registration when having got to their destination at the territory of the country as they have already been registered by the Frontier Service officers upon crossing the border.
 

 
UKRAINE HOTELS

 
They don't look like those old-fashioned Soviet style ones any more. Still, you can find some and get your experience of lifetime:) The smaller the town the higher your chances. My favourite directory of hotels is Hotel Maps. Key features include an advanced search facility to compare accomodation prices and detailed interactive maps which give the exact locations of all properies. Hope you find it useful too.
 
FLIGHTS TO WESTERN UKRAINE

 
1. Lviv International Airport is the main air gateway to Western Ukraine. There are flights available from Vienna, Rome, Munich, Dortmund, Timisoara, Warsaw, Istanbul and Moscow.
List of companies providing the flights: Austrian Airlines, Lot Polish Airlines, WizzAir, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, UTair, Carpatair.
2. If the previous option does not suit you, another way is flying to Kyiv (Boryspil Airport, which shares 62% of the total volume of air passengers of Ukraine, 72 international routes) first. There are 4 daily flights connecting Kyiv and Lviv.
 
TRAINS

 
Ukrainian Railway System is quite convenient, inexpensive and safe way to get around the country, except for being slow. So, taking a night train from Kyiv to Lviv would be a good idea. First class sleeping cars (generally called SV - "Sleeping Vagon", double compartments) are recommended for tourists. If you want to have the compartment to yourself, buy 2 tickets. SV is not available on all the trains, so you can also take so called CUPE car (a sleeping car with 4 people compartments). CUPE tickets are cheaper, so you can easily buy 4 and have the compartment to yourself too. In case you encounter any difficulties while on the train, the car steward is the person to help you.
Crossing the border by train would not be so convenient because going through customs and changing the position of the car wheels (Ukraine railway has got broad gage line different from the European one) would take a lot of time.
Here is Ukraine Train Schedule and correct spelling of Ukrainian cities
 
BUSES

 
Ukraine has got a really good bus connection between all the cities, towns and most villages, as well as many international routs. Modern convenient buses run abroad and between the cities. You can also spot a shabby Soviet bus going to some village. There are many "Marshrutkas" - minibuses mostly used for travelling short distance inside cities and towns, to villages.
Do not expect buses to arrive dead on time. Try to buy tickets in a ticket-office. Paying money to the driver is rather common but illegal.
Ukraine Bus Schedule