Getting around Ukraine
Domestic flights in Kyiv depart from both Borispol Airport (KBP) and from Zhulany Airport (IEV). Aerosvit (tel: (44) 490 3490; www.aerosvit.ua/eng) and Ukraine International Airlines (tel: (44) 581 5050; www.flyuia.com/eng/uk) are the two main domestic carriers. Low cost airline Wizzair (tel: 0904 475 9500, in the UK; http://wizzair.com) also has a useful network of internal flights.
Ukraine is a large country, so flying between major cities such as Kyiv, Lviv and Odessa (which require lengthy overnight train journeys) can save valuable travelling time. Advance booking is advisable in summer and during holiday periods.
Getting around by road can be difficult outside the main cities: roads are often pot-holed and driving standards can be poor.
Outside urban areas, Ukrainian roads can be badly lit and in poor condition.
Border points are at Chop, Mostiska and Uzhgorod.
A road tax is payable at the border.
Petrol stations and repair garages are becoming more common, but it is recommended to carry spare parts.
Diesel, leaded and unleaded petrol are available.
Cash is usually required at petrol stations.
Self-drive hire cars are gradually becoming more available, with both local and international car hire operators renting cars in major towns, especially Kyiv. Several international companies, including Europcar (www.europcar.com), Hertz (www.hertz.ua) and Avis (www.avis.com.ua) offer car pick-up at airports. The minimum age for hiring a car is 21 years.
The minimum driving age is 18. Seatbelts must be worn. Children under 12 cannot travel in the front seat. There is a zero tolerance policy on drink driving. Speed limits are 60kph (37mph) in built-up areas, 90kph (55mph) in outside areas and 130kph (80mph) on the motorways. Police may stop foreign cars and issue on the spot fines for minor infringements. Right-hand drive cars are prohibited.
European breakdown cover valid for Ukraine should be arranged at home in advance for drivers with their own cars. Car hire companies should have their own breakdown assistance but it is important to check.
All towns and cities have a comprehensive network of buses and trolleybuses that tend to be slow, crowded but very cheap. These are supplemented by fleets of battered minibuses (marshrutky) that will stop or put down anywhere along fixed routes. Official taxis, found in cities and larger towns, are metered and can be identified by a yellow and black sign on the roof. Fares should be negotiated in advance for private taxis.
Kharkiv, Kyiv and Dnipropetrovsk have clean, efficient and cheap metro systems where tickets can be purchased at vending machines inside the stations. Hitchhiking is very common, although not recommended. Passengers are expected to pay for the ride and the price, usually about the same as the bus fare, should be agreed upon before boarding. There are no public transport services from 0100-0500.
Trains are more reliable than air travel in winter, when aircraft are sometimes grounded. Timetables for trains in CIS states, including trains within Ukraine, are available in English online (www.poezda.net). Ukrainian Railways (tel: (44) 503 7005; www.uz.gov.ua) also publishes information online, but not in English. There are no domestic rail passes.