Planning on visiting Kyiv? Here's what you need to know
January 10, 2020
Ukraine is a peaceful, tranquil and serene destination in the heart of Eastern Europe. Bordered by Moldova, Poland and even Russia, it’s a sizeable country that offers incredible views with a rich and varied culture.
Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, might not be the first choice of destination for many travellers, but for those who do plan to visit, it will undoubtedly be a worthwhile experience. With some magical sights, architectural wonders and a pleasant population, Kyiv truly is an ideal spot for any traveller interested in history and culture.
Ukraine will not disappoint even those travellers that seek more unique and morbid thrills. Just over 2 hours away from Kiev is a city that goes by the name of Pripyat - it used to be a flourishing city that turned into a ghost town in the aftermath of the nuclear reactor explosion in the nearby Chernobyl. Pripyat is still radioactive above normal levels. Due to the radiation, the city is within a protected exclusion zone. However, it is possible to visit it if you are accompanied by an official tour guide. The relatively short exposure to the radiation during the tour of the city supposedly does not pose a health risk, but be sure to follow the instructions of your guide!
While there are some political tensions in certain parts of Ukraine – for instance, in and around the Crimean Peninsula – you shouldn’t need to worry if you are only visiting Kyiv. It is recognised as being just as safe as other Western European cities and a great place to be - you’ll find good food, good accommodation and even better company.
There is a lot to do to keep you occupied in Kyiv, from amazing visuals to sight-seeing on an open-top bus. Just like anywhere, though, there are some things that you do need to know.
Let’s take a look at some helpful tips and tricks to help you make the most of your visit to Kyiv.
Visas and Travel Documents
Before you visit anywhere outside of your own country, you should look into what Visas or other travel documents are required; it would be a shame to arrive at your dream destination and not be let in!
It should go without saying that wherever you’re travelling from, unless you’re a Ukraine resident, you WILL need a valid international passport. Make sure it’s up to date with an accurate representation of yourself, and you’ll be absolutely fine.
Anyone travelling into Kyiv from another country in the European Union will be able to stay for a total of 90 days without a Visa. If you do intend on staying for a longer amount of time, you should apply for whichever Visa is relevant to your travels; do you need a working Visa, a travel Visa or something else? If you’re confused, why not speak to your government’s travel department?
If you’re travelling from outside of the European Union, you may need to obtain a Visa. It’s recommended that you seek advice before you head out, just to confirm whether there is anything else you need to enter the country.
Driving and transport
If you plan to drive whilst you’re in Ukraine, you need to make sure you have an international driving license, as well as your recognised official driving license.
There are a few ways that you can obtain an international driving license. In the UK, for example, all you need to do is head to your local post office and fill out the required forms! This might vary from country to country, though, so it may be worth double-checking.
Kyiv has a good infrastructural network, however - you might find that you don’t actually need to drive!
The city makes use of an underground metro system as well as buses, trams and even a funicular. Some areas may even allow you to hitch a ride on a traditional horse-drawn carriage - great for photos!
The official language is Ukrainian, but don’t worry too much if you’re not quite up-to-speed; Kyiv is an educated and friendly place, so most people will be eager to help you out.
Public places, such as restaurants, will display menus/signage in Ukrainian as well as in English, and the staff will do their best to talk to you in English if you’re not familiar with Ukrainian.
Similarly, many of the signs around the city are written in both languages to lessen any potential confusion.
Churches and Religion
The many beautiful Eastern-Orthodox (Christian) churches dotted around Kyiv are definitely worth visiting; they make up a large part of the tourist attraction!
Whilst these beautiful examples of architecture can be marvelled at from outside, most visitors will want to head on inside. There are some requirements before you enter, however.
Women looking to visit these churches will need to make sure that they cover their hair. Men, on the other hand, must ensure that their hair is entirely visible.
Kyiv can be a magical place, and we hope you’re looking forward to your visit - you won’t regret it!