Traveling to Ukraine: answers to the most common questions of foreign tourists from the project manager of Visit Ukraine
The Visit Ukraine team has helped over 1000 foreign tourists organize a trip to Ukraine during martial law. Find answers to the most popular questions that will help you plan a comfortable, safe and interesting trip to Ukraine
Ukrainian nature, history, and culture attract foreigners from all over the world, even though the armed conflict is ongoing in the country. They not only actively explore Ukraine online, but also dare to see the uniqueness of the Ukrainian land and people with their own eyes.
Together with Visit Ukraine, more than 1000 foreign tourists have already gotten to know the country in person. However, in reality, there are many more people who want to visit Ukraine, but the decisive factor in planning a trip is the large number of questions, and some of them are almost impossible to find answers to online.
So, we decided to talk to our project manager of the Tours project, Hanna Khmelnytska, to highlight all the important points that concern foreign tourists who want to visit Ukraine and give useful tips to help make the trip safe, comfortable, and interesting.
Why can you trust us?
VisitUkraine is a non-governmental organization that has been promoting and popularizing Ukrainian tourism on the domestic and foreign markets since 2018, but the war has made its own adjustments. Now we are working on the information front.
On our website, every Ukrainian and foreign citizen can get the necessary information about traveling to or from Ukraine, as well as get expert advice from lawyers on the current rules and necessary documents.
Since February 24, 2022, we have provided consultations to more than 300 thousand people, and more than 14.7 million users, including almost 5 million foreigners, have used the information on the portal.
Are foreigners really traveling to Ukraine during the war: commentary by project PM Hanna Khmelnytska
I have been working in the tourism sector for over 8 years, namely with foreign tourists who want to come to Ukraine during the war - almost since the beginning of the Visit Ukraine "Tours" project (since July 2022). During this time, we have helped organize the travel of more than 1000 foreigners. Among them were those who expressed a desire not only to visit Ukraine but also to help the state, in particular by covering current events in their blogs and volunteering.
Every foreign tourist who travels to Ukraine is unique, and I have many interesting stories, but they all have in common that foreigners are very supportive of the country.
I collaborated with an American blogger who came to Ukraine to shoot a whole blog about our country. Also, I have a tourist from the UK who first came to Kyiv as a tourist, but over time he became a volunteer and now comes not only on tours (he was in Odesa and Lviv), but also delivers aid (clothes, food, ammunition) to our military. He has been to Kherson, Donetsk region and Chernihiv.
Also, a girl from Latvia came to us, who is engaged in donations for Ukrainians, and her husband, a writer, is writing a book about Ukraine and the history that is happening now. During her trips, she helps him collect the necessary material. She visited Lviv, Kyiv, and the Kyiv region with us, and then went to Kharkiv on her own to see everything with her own eyes and tell the world what is really happening in Ukraine.
I also have a tourist who took the trip very seriously and is now actively preparing for the trip by learning Ukrainian. He has already learned more than 25 phrases for communication (ed: - we will share his experience later).
So, the war does not stop foreigners, on the contrary, they come and fall in love with Ukraine, and, as a rule, come back to us more than once.
We invite you to familiarize yourself with the most popular questions that foreign tourists have asked us to finally dispel your fears, doubts or fears about traveling to Ukraine.
What is special about Ukraine and why do people travel there?
Ukraine is a courageous and indomitable country located in the heart of Europe. The country has it all: high mountains, warm sea, vast steppes, cozy villages, bustling metropolitan areas, luxurious palaces, golden-domed cathedrals, and numerous monuments. Ukrainian cuisine falls in love with you from the very first dish, and Ukrainian hospitality is amazing. Perhaps a few years would not be enough to see and explore every corner of Ukraine.
Together with Visit Ukraine, you can discover Ukraine from the side that interests you. The site contains all kinds of tours and excursions for every taste: press tours, city tours, outdoor activities, excursions for history lovers, relaxation and much more.
What are the prices in Ukraine, how much money do I need to travel?
As a result of the war, the local Ukrainian currency, the hryvnia, has lost quite a bit of value. Although this is bad for the local population, it has become much cheaper for tourists to travel to Ukraine. On average, a week-long vacation in Ukraine will cost $450. Read more about the cost of accommodation, food, travel, and visits to tourist destinations here.
Do I need a PCR test and vaccination to enter Ukraine?
Since July 1, 2023, the state of emergency due to Covid-19 has been canceled in Ukraine, so no longer is a confirmation of vaccination or a PCR test required to enter the country.
What restrictions are in place in Ukraine due to martial law?
- Curfew (different in each region, you can find the current restrictions in the city of your stay here);
- Prohibition of alcohol sales from the beginning of the curfew;
- It is forbidden to take pictures of the military, military facilities and equipment, checkpoints, etc.
Is it safe to travel to Ukraine, and if so, where is the best place to go?
We offer only safe routes for our tourists. It is also mandatory to install the Air Alert app and follow all necessary security measures. In addition, tourists can purchase an insurance policy on our website that covers military risks. But the choice to go to Ukraine or not is up to the tourist!
Most often, foreigners visit big cities and book sightseeing tours (Kyiv, Lviv, Zakarpattia). The main goal is to see our country from the inside and help develop our economy.
How do I get to and from Ukraine?
Currently, there are several ways to get to Ukraine:
1. By train (there are several destinations from Poland, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, and Moldova)
2. Bus (on our website you can find many routes to get to Ukraine from many other countries)
3. Individual transfer (we offer several options for individual transfers from Poland and Moldova to Ukraine, and if necessary, we can organize a transfer from Ukraine to other countries).
Our travel manager will be able to help you with any of the above options, namely, he will help you to create or choose the best route based on your wishes.
Can I travel to Ukraine on my own, as a tourist, and not as part of a group?
Yes, of course! Our website offers a large number of not only group tours, but also individual tours that will be organized just for you. We will be happy to select the best tour based on your preferences.
Or we can create an individual and exclusive turnkey program just for you, based on your wishes and budget.
Are cafes/restaurants open in Ukraine and how much should I tip?
Yes, cafes and restaurants are open and there are a huge number of them to suit every taste and budget.
In Ukraine, tips are not included in the bill, but they are welcome. So, the client leaves them at will. Usually, the tip amount is 10% of the check amount.
Can I speak English in Ukraine, or will I face a language barrier?
Most Ukrainians know English at a conversational level. As for excursions for foreign guests, we always offer excursions only with English-speaking guides who know English at the proper level. Staff in restaurants and hotels also speak English.
If circumstances arise when the person next to you does not speak English, you can always contact your Visit Ukraine manager, who will help you understand the situation.
What Ukrainian words do I need to know to travel to Ukraine?
Traveling to Ukraine does not require learning the Ukrainian language, but you can memorize a few phrases to feel more comfortable during your trip. In addition, these phrases will definitely come in handy when communicating with Ukrainians.
We invite you to read the experience and opinion of our foreign tourist, who kindly sent us a letter with a comment at our request:
"I usually don't try to teach questions because they can be answered in different ways using words you hardly know. For example: "How are you?" - [ed: Yak spravy] You are unlikely to understand most of your listener's answers.
But there are two questions that I consider vital for a traveler:
- Where is the restroom? - [De vbyralʹnya?]
- Do you speak (English)? - [Vy hovoryte (anhliysʹkoyu)?]
To be honest, when there is a war, the question "Where is the bomb shelter?" - [De bomboskhovyshche?] is also important.
Because of the war, there are also patriotic phrases like "Glory to Ukraine" - [Slava Ukrayini] and "Glory to the Heroes" - [Heroyam slava].
Other phrases that I think are important:
- I don't speak Ukrainian - [Ya ne rozmovlyayu ukrayinsʹkoyu].
- Good afternoon/morning/evening - [Dobroho dnya/ranku/vechora]
- The menu is in English - [Menyu anhliysʹkoyu movoyu] (technically a question, but just asked as a statement)
- Please - [Budʹ laska]
- Excuse me - [Pereproshuyu] (when you bump into someone)
- Excuse me - [Vybachte] (when you want to interrupt a stranger to ask them a question like "Where is the restroom?")
- Thank you - [Dyakuyu].
- Hello/Good morning - [Pryvit/Zdrastuyte]
- Goodbye - [Do pobachennya]
- Yes/No - [Tak/Ni]
- Coffee - [kava] (absolutely vital for me!)
I also think there are some words that a traveler should know how to pronounce
- Basic place names
- In the case of Kyiv, the Dnipro River - [Richka Dnipro]"
If I have any additional questions before/during the tour, where do I go?
After each booking, you will be assigned an English-speaking guide from Visit Ukraine, who will contact you before your trip and stay in touch with you until the end of the trip. And if you have any questions, you can always contact him at any time for help or advice.
Also, after booking, you will have a contact of the guide who will accompany you, with whom you can also discuss all the nuances and details.
There was a force majeure, but the tour is already booked. What to do?
First of all, each situation is considered individually. If the tour is canceled by the partners, or in case of force majeure, you are offered to reschedule the tour dates or a refund.
Visit Ukraine is a team of specialists who are always ready to help and find a way out of any situation, no matter how difficult it is for a tourist. Therefore, traveling to Ukraine with us, you can put aside all doubts and fears, because we will never leave our tourists alone and will keep in touch with them at every stage of the trip.
Ukraine is indeed going through a difficult time, but its borders are open to anyone who wants to meet or help. And we can organize your trip so that it leaves only positive memories and impressions!
We recommend purchasing it for a safe and comfortable trip to Ukraine:
Visit Ukraine Insurance - safe travel in Ukraine (insurance covering military risks);
Visit Ukraine Tickets - book bus and train tickets to/from Ukraine;
Visit Ukraine Tours - the largest online database of tours to Ukraine for every taste;
Visit Ukraine Hotels - book hotels for a comfortable stay in Ukraine;
Visit Ukraine Merch - choose patriotic clothing and accessories with worldwide delivery.
Cooperation - cooperation and advertising integrations with Visit Ukraine and Visit World projects.
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The simultaneous stay of visitors in the hotel lobby not more than one person per 10 square meters of serviceable area is allowed.
Persons can visit hotels and stay there (outside hotel room) only if they wear respirator or face mask (including homemade mask), so that the nose and mouth are covered.
Hotel guests are obliged to keep the 1.5 meters distance.
Online check-in making in advance is recommended to avoid queues at check-in to hotel.
Meals in hotels are provided through meals delivery service to rooms upon prior order or at hotel restaurants situated inside or in open areas, provided the distance of at least 1.5 meters between seats at adjacent tables.
Not more than 4 clients are allowed to stay at the table (excluding children under 14 years old). Unless these tables are separated by a special partition;
Self-serve is not allowed.