Travel Kyiv, Ukraine - Getting There And Around - Short Trip Tips
Have you ever planned to travel to Kyiv or Ukraine? Well, at least it hasn’t been on my bucket list. After I have been invited by the Women’s Energy Club to Kyiv, I wondered why Kyiv never occurred to me as a travel location. When it comes to Ukraine Crimea-Crisis, Euromaidan, Orange Revolution, Tschernobyl and the Klitschko Brothers pop into my mind. I didn’t spare a thought about the city that dates backs at least 1,400 years. Ukraine alone has seven World Heritage Sites and in Kyiv, you find one (at two sites): Kiev Pechersk Lavra and Saint Sophia’s Cathedral. So, as soon as I saw the invitation to Kyiv I knew: take the chance - go there - it must be an amazing city.
Everyone I met was very welcoming and gave me a lot of tips what to do in Kyiv. So besides my official reason for visiting I had time to explore the city.
Since I neither speak Ukrainian nor Russian or read Cyrillic the following review is based on my absence of knowledge.
Here you find some tips for your trip Getting to Kyiv and around:
How to get there?
Ukraine International Airlines flies directly from almost every airport hub in Europe as well from e.g. Bangkok, Dubai or New York. Travel time from Berlin to Kyiv takes about 2 hours.
There are a few European bus lines that offer trips from and to Kyiv. They depart from most capital cities in Eastern Europe. I also found offers from a few German cities as well as from Paris, France. A bus ride from Berlin to Kyiv takes about 21 hours.
I couldn’t find a direct connection from a western European city to Kyiv, nevertheless the Eurocity takes you to e.g. Warszawa, Poland and from there the journey can continue. A train ride from Berlin to Kyiv takes minimum 22 hours.
Most of the city center and the old town can be reached by foot, therefore, I rarely used transportation. I recommend downloading the “CityMaps 2Go” - App by Ulmon GmbH. Mostly walking the city by myself no one noticed I am a tourist. Of course, if you speak a foreign language you are identified by merchants. They e.g. offer you making a picture with a pigeon or a monkey on a leash - just don’t.
Luckily, I have only experienced these touristy things on the main shopping street: Kreschatyk St. where you find the second boardwalk closer to the street with no one trying to sell random objects.
To cross some of the main streets you have to go underground. Once submerged you find unexpected underground markets. Charming, but quite confusing because there are no obvious (readable) signs to the exits. But no worries: the Worst thing that can happen is that you find yourself emerging where you started.
Kyiv has 3 metro lines. You can buy the tickets at the entrance (ticket kiosk or automat), Price will be 4 UAH (15 Eurocents) wherever you go. The station and metros are very busy so be aware of pickpocketing.
Go to the deepest metro station in the world: Arsenalna Metro Station - it’s 105.5m deep.
My favorite transport. The cable cars are from 1905 and connect the lower district Podol with the upper part of Kyiv. Price ist 3 UAH (10 Eurocents) per ride.
You will find bus station all over the place. The ticket Price is 3 UAH (10 Eurocents) for one ride. You buy them at little shops near the bus stops, from the bus driver or salesperson on the bus. You have to buy it immediately and stamp your ticket. Hold on to your belongings - again - it can get very crowded.
Uklon Taxi Service is the Ukrainian version of a well known private taxi company. You can order a taxi beforehand online or just via the App (available for iOS and android). As a feature, the app tells you in advance how much the trip will cost.
Note that drivers use their private cars so it won’t always be the newest model.
Of course, there’s also a Public Taxi Service with private and company run taxis.
Other Options (I didn’t use)
Tram (from 1892), Elektritshka, regular Taxis
Have you ever been to Kyiv? Let me know about your experiences!