By TrainBoth international and local trains arrive at Kyiv-Pasazhyrskyi train station. The refurbished Central Railway Station (центральний вокзал) has now been joined by a futuristic-looking Southern Railway Station (південний вокзал), with the platforms located between the two. A new waiting lounge up the stairs to the left from the central main hall boasts comfy couches for a 10Hr admission fee. Currency exchange (обмін валют) points and ATMs (банкомат) are in the main halls of each station. Coin-operated pay telephones are scattered throughout the building, while card-operated ones are mostly outside the central entrance. A metro station is located to the left from the Central Terminal. To the right from the Southern Terminal there is a stop of Sky Buses to/from Boryspil International Airport.
Getting to town
You’re basically in it already, but short taxi rides to Khreschatyk Street (Хрещатик) area cost 40Hr and up. The entrance to metro station Vokzal’na (Вокзальна) is to your left as you exit the central station - look for the green letter M. Khreschatyk is only three stops east on the red line. Various trolleybuses, buses and minivans also depart from the central station. Those with light bags and fresh legs can head down the main road and turn right at Shevchenko Boulevard (бульв. Т.Шевченка), which runs into Khreschatyk.
Buying Train TicketsFor the full Ukrainian experience, line up to buy a train ticket at one of ticket offices (kasy) at the Central (or Southern) terminal of the Kyiv train station. The staff does not speak English, so try to practice you Ukrainian/Russian. It is a good idea to get know the train number in advance and write in on a piece of paper, together with the departure date and time. Don’t bother to learn the Ukrainian alphabet, write down the destination city name in English as well as your name. You might be asked to provide a passport when boarding. Aside from the train station, you can buy your tickets at the Central Ticket Office on Tarasa Shevchenka bulv., which accepts credit cards.
Thanks to EURO2012 we finally have English signs almost everywhere. Visit booking.uz.gov.ua/en/ for train schedule and ticket booking.
Public TransportA plethora of mass transit options are available to get you around Kyiv. But despite the trolley buses (electric buses), trams (streetcars), buses, the metro, microbuses and minivans, it’s still not enough to prevent frequent overcrowding. Don’t take the jostling personally, don’t inhale too deeply but do give up your seat to the elderly and mothers with children. Public transport starts running around 05:45 and closes down a bit after midnight.
MetroThe metro is the jewel of the Kyiv transport system. While traffic snarls vehicles above ground, trains underground deliver passengers in a more timely and reliable fashion. Thought-provoking Soviet designs inside stations help pass the time while waiting for the next train. Life isn’t perfect, though, and neither is the metro. Personal space can become alarmingly tight, especially during rush hour and at night when trains run less frequently. Kyivites like to grumble about the recent fare hikes, but fees are, in fact, dirt cheap relative to those in other European cities. Purchase your one way blue token for 2Hr from the expressionless booth attendant or from the automatic dispensers. Proceed to the row of gates, insert your token and wait a second for the red light to turn green so the jaws of death don’t maim you. Monthly passes can be purchased from all token booths and are good from the first of the month. There are three lines in Kyiv - M1 (red line), M2 (blue line) and M3 (green line). Thanks to EURO2012 we finally got English schemes and directions on each station as well as notices in English inside the carriages.
FunicularSince 1905, Kyiv’s funicular has carried passengers between Podil, on the bank of the Dnipro, and the heights of Mykhailivs’ka ploscha. It offers not only a means of getting from A to B, but also a rising panoramic view of the Dnipro River and the forested left bank. After perusing the art and souvenirs of Andrew’s Descent (Andriivs’kyi uzviz), you may forego “Andrew’s Ascent” and catch the funicular at Poshtova ploscha metro. You will be delivered just behind the spectacular St. Michael’s Cathedral. Fares are 1.50Hr for adults, and children under seven ride free.
Microbuses and minivansThe privately-owned marshrutkas (маршрутки) or route taxis (usually yellow) stop at bus stops along specified routes. Many run the same routes as trolleys or buses and use the same numbers. Otherwise, try to read the main stops posted on the vehicle’s windshield or side window before it speeds by. Marshrutkas will definitely get you from A to B faster than other forms of municipal transport, as they are smaller and more manoeuvrable; an important feature on Kyiv’s jammed roads. Just flag it down as you would a taxi, then tell the driver “na zupyntsi, budlaska” (“on the stop, please”) when you’ve had enough. Fares are paid as you board and currently range from 2 to 3Hr, but are likely to increase. You don’t have to punch your ticket and there are no monthly passes available.
Trolleybuses, trams and busesThese are favoured by schoolchildren, the working class and babushkas and dedushkas. They won’t get you anywhere in a hurry, but they do provide an intriguing look into everyday Ukrainian life. Single tickets for trolleys, trams and buses can be purchased for 1.50Hr from street kiosks or from conductors and the driver on board. You should immediately validate your ticket using one of the many punching gadgets around you. If not, you risk being intimidated into paying a 40Hr fine by not one but two roaming inspectors. All tickets are good for one journey only. 30 day pass for trolleys, trams and buses cost 160Hr. 30 day combo-pass for all types of surface transport can also be bought at kiosks and go for 230Hr.
TaxiIn Ukraine every car is a potential taxi - just hold your arm out on any street if you don’t believe us. Metered taxis are rare, so you’ll have to haggle over the price with your driver. Foreigners are fighting an uphill battle in getting a fair price, but be sure to settle on the amount before getting in to avoid giving the impression of having bottomless pockets. Ordering a taxi by phone can help you avoid surprises, as prices are usually fixed.
By CarWhen entering the country by car, foreigners are required to sign a document at the border swearing that they will bring the car out of the country before a certain date. Foreign cars are allowed on Ukrainian soil for a maximum of two months. This document should be carried along with your driver’s license and your car’s registration papers at all times. Automobile insurance is obligatory in Ukraine. It may be possible to buy green card insurance valid for Ukraine in your home country to avoid problems - if not you must purchase it from the Ukrainian company at the border. The latter might cost less than the former, however if you don’t speak Ukrainian or Russian it is easy to get deceived by border officials and buy something which is totally useless. The minimum term of insurance is two weeks, with prices depending on the size of the engine.
Car RentalCarry your license and registration at all times to fully enjoy the Ukrainian driving experience. The official speed limits are 60 km/h in cities, 90 on secondary roads (there is 110 km/h speed limit at Kyiv-Odesa road) and 130 on highways. A zero tolerance drink driving policy applies in Ukraine.
Check our advises on how to drive a car in Ukraine.