Arriving in Odesa


By Bus
The Central Bus Station is located at Kolontayevskoi 58. The station is currently undergoing repairs scheduled to be completed…well, no one knows for sure, but not soon. Despite the mess, it continues to function and the bus you need will most likely arrive to or depart from the central station. Bus schedules, ticketing booths (каса) and an information bureau are available. All information is in Russian only, but don’t be afraid to express yourself in English. Odesians, especially those who speak English, enjoy coming to the aid of disoriented travellers. For information on existing routes and routing status visit the bus system’s website www.bus.com.ua (in Russian only). You can also order tickets to routes designated with a red tick. If you choose to order online, don’t forget to specify desired destination.

By Car
When 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 state 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.

By Plane
Odesa International Airport is located approximately 10 km from the city centre.

For domestic arrivals, the shuttle bus picks you up from the plane and dumps you by a steel gate next to the main terminal where a gauntlet of underhanded taxi drivers awaits. For international arrivals and departures and domestic departures proceed to the main terminal. There are two currency exchange booths, an ATM, airline representatives, a café and an information booth (deserted both times we were there) in the terminal’s main hall. Toilets are located in the basement. Customs staff and many of the taxi drivers speak English.

A taxi to centre is unreasonably expensive. Even for experienced hagglers, the best rate a foreigner can expect is 100Hr. Car rental might be a better option and is available in the main hall. Your cheapest option is bus or minibus. Fares to centre are less than 2Hr. As you exit the main terminal, look to the right. The bus stop is across the parking lot. Two buses and a couple of minibuses depart at regular intervals. Bus 129 goes to the rail station, and 101 stops at Hrets’ka pl. Minibus 113 heads to Paustovs’koho and 117 to Pastera.

Also to the right, as you exit the main terminal is a VIP lounge.

The airport is small and unassuming, but if you happen to get confused or lost don’t hesitate to ask airport staff or one of the locals for assistance. Odesians have a tradition of service and are more open and jolly than citizens of other major ex-Soviet cities.

By Train
Odesa’s railway station is the end of the line.

Fortunately for you, you’re already in the city centre. As you proceed to the main hall you’ll find the departure and arrival schedules. In the halls to the right you’ll find ticketing windows, a service centre and a bank with currency exchange and ATM. There’s a waiting room with comfortable, plush seating in the service centre. The entrance fee is 5Hr and additional charges vary depending on what you want to do. If you would like to use your mobile phone, for example, the charge is an additional 1.25Hr. An international information desk is also located in the service centre.

To the left of the main hall you’ll find waiting rooms, a café, toilets, a news stand, a currency exchange and a flat rental service.

Upstairs is another waiting room, telephones and a post office.

The first aid post, police office, station administration and a secured luggage locker are all located on platform No. 1. If you need to stash your bags for a while the price for this service per day is 8Hr for small bags, 15 for large and 30 for extra large.

Directions are clearly marked in English in the main hall, so if at any time you get lost proceed to the main hall for reorientation.

A taxi to any centre location shouldn’t cost more than 20Hr, but as you are a foreigner you face an uphill battle getting a just fare. If you walk a short distance from the train station (a prime location valued higher by cabbies) and flag down a car you’re sure to get better treatment.

Minibuses, busses and trams headed to centre and other points depart from the train station and adjacent bazaar. Keep in mind that you’re just a short walk from numerous hotels, restaurants, shops and cafés.

By Sea
If you’re arriving or wish to depart by sea you’ll inevitably end up at Odesa’s sea port station. It’s possible to book passage to a number of destinations including Constanta, Varna, Istanbul and Crimea from the ticket office on the ground floor (ticketing agents speak English). There are limited routes to Crimea that allow for the transportation of a motor vehicle. An ATM, currency exchange, café, telephones, Internet service including Wi-Fi and an information desk are also located on the ground floor. Customs is in the basement, but it will probably find you before you find it.

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