Is it safe for foreign tourists to travel to Ukraine now?
The whole world is talking about Ukraine at the moment, because the state has been heroically defending itself against a full-scale invasion by Russia for the 8th month. Interest in the country is growing every day, and therefore tourist interest is also increasing. More than 40 embassies of different countries of the world have already returned to Kyiv, so you can hear the question more and more often - is it safe to visit Ukraine at the moment?
Fighting is concentrated in the east and south of Ukraine, in the regions bordering the Russian Federation and the temporarily occupied Crimea. However, there is currently no completely safe region in Ukraine, because the threat of rocket attacks remains in every region. The degree of threat is different, in certain areas it "arrives" quite often, in other regions no explosions have been heard for several months.
There is no direct ban on trips to Ukraine for foreigners, because each person is responsible for his own life and safety. However, if a tourist decides to visit Ukraine, two main safety rules must be strictly followed:
• Find out the duration of the curfew in the region you plan to visit. A curfew is a time imposed to maintain law and order. Usually, the curfew lasts from 11:00 p.m. until 05:00 a.m. the next day, during which time you cannot be outside or in public places.
• Aerial alarm - we recommend installing the app of the same name on your smartphone and upon receiving a signal - immediately go to the nearest shelter. It is also necessary to act if you heard the corresponding signal on the street.
Preparation for the trip and a list of documents for crossing the border
Before the trip, we advise you to take several important actions:
• Check whether the Embassy of your country is working, write down its contacts and address and keep them in quick access.
• Make electronic copies of documents.
• When choosing a hotel, pay attention to the availability of bomb shelters.
• Inform family and friends about your route and keep in touch with them.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs informs that in order to cross the border of Ukraine, it is necessary to provide:
• valid passport;
• visa (for citizens of countries with which the visa regime is established);
• confirmation of the purpose of the trip - it is necessary to have documents that indicate the reason for your trip to Ukraine - documents about studies, job invitations, family ties, tourist reservations and a return ticket, etc.;
• there is no entry ban.
How to get there?
Currently, airports in Ukraine are not working. You can get there only by ground transport:
• Railway - trains depart from border towns. Ukraine currently has the most extensive system of passenger communication with Poland. However, it is worth noting that Russia can attack the railway infrastructure, so expect delays during the trip.
• Bus services depart from many European cities. The number of routes is large enough, so a tourist can easily find the optimal one for himself. However, it is worth considering that crossing the border can take several hours due to long queues.
• Own car.
Border crossing points with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova are open.
Checkpoints with Russia, Belarus and Transnistria are closed.
Rules and restrictions of martial law
Foreigners staying in Ukraine have the same rights and obligations as citizens of the state. Martial law conditions force guests and citizens to follow a number of rules and be prepared for restrictions:
• Always carry documents with you.
• It is strictly forbidden to touch suspicious objects.
• Officials have the right to check documents, conduct a superficial inspection of a person and a car if necessary.
• Taking photos and videos at checkpoints, near military units, medical facilities, administrative buildings and other strategic objects is strictly prohibited.
• Checkpoints – mobile checkpoints are installed at the entrance and exit from regions, districts, cities and villages. Documents will be checked at checkpoints and cars will be inspected. The military or police may ask you several questions about your route and the purpose of your trip.
Safety in tourism
Traveling is not prohibited, but the security of each region is the responsibility of the Military Administration, local authorities, the State Emergency Service and the police. It is with them that you should clarify information about which areas in the region are safe to visit and which tourist locations are working.
We also recommend that when developing a travel route, take into account the availability of nearby shelters in case of the threat of missile fire and the "Air Alarm" signal.
Before going to tourist facilities, we advise you to find out the work schedule in advance.
Prohibitions during travel:
• Excursions, walks, rafting and other types of recreation near military and strategic facilities, as well as critical infrastructure.
• Mass events - concerts, festivals, etc.
• Visit tourist sites on the border with Russia and Belarus, as well as along the front line.
• In certain regions, there are restrictions on visiting forests, water bodies and mountain routes. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with this information in advance.
• You should refrain from traveling to areas that were under occupation.
Quarantine restrictions in Ukraine have been relaxed so far. However, with the arrival of autumn, the incidence of Covid-19 began to gradually increase. Therefore, for your own safety, we advise you to take a course of vaccinations before your trip, as well as use antiseptics and wear a mask.
If you are in a difficult situation, we advise you to remember these contact numbers:
• 101 – State Emergency Service of Ukraine
• 102 – National Police of Ukraine
• 103 – Ambulance
• 112 – Emergency operational services.
To get more detailed information about tourism in the conditions of war and to have quick access to it, download the Note on the safety of foreigners in Ukraine at the link.
We talked earlier about how many foreigners came to Ukraine during the war.
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.