An easy and cheap way to travel to and from L'viv from other major cities is to travel by train. Train tickets can be bought on the day (if available) from the train station or can be booked in advance through websites. (I use http://www.e-kvytok.com.ua/wps/portal - please see other tip for guidance with booking tickets through this way) Ukrainian trains usually offer 3 different types of accommodation.
1st Class - 2 beds with a table, storage facility above.
2nd Class- 4 beds (bunk beds)
3rd Class- Dormitory style beds leading down the wagon.
I travelled from L'viv to Kyiv, We boarded the night train at approx 10:00 in the evening and departed around 45 minutes after that. There will be a steward who shows you to your cabin and roughly half an hour into your travel she will offer you tea, coffee and juice (which you will pay for before you arrive at your destination the following morning). There may also be some biscuits, crisps and other snacks waiting for you in your cabin but these must also be paid for before you arrive at your destination.
During my trip from L'viv to Kyiv I stayed in the 1st class cabin and found it to be very comfortable, of course I was woken a little during the night when we passed other trains or we went over a bumpy track but all in all I really enjoyed the trip and it is a very easy way to travel from one city to the other without cutting into your vacation time.
The steward on our train wagon was very friendly and polite, she could not speak English which didn't really matter because we didn't need her for anything other than ordering tea or coffee. The cabins were well presented, clean and tidy. I would highly recommend this form of travel.
I would highly recommend buying drinks and snacks for your journey before you arrive at the train station as the kiosks on the platforms are quite expensive.
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Trip with KievTaxi
We were looking for a Boryspil to Kiev transfer during the EURO 2012 games and conducted a lot of research on taxi business in Ukraine. However, majority of taxis in Ukraine either touts or overcharging "official" companies. Regardless of their "official" status, the latter often use unmarked vehicles, though to be fair it is probably something wrong with the taxi regulators and not taxi companies. Some of the companies do accept credit card, but we were concerned to give our credit card details away. In the end, we decided to use kievtaxi.net as they accept paypal and kievtaxi were not asking us for credit card details. All transaction went through paypal website and instantly we received confirmation of booking. Until the last moment we were expecting that something would go wrong, however the driver was waiting for us the arrival lounge. Must say that the driver was not a great English speaker, though you do not expect scholars driving taxis in Ukraine)) Definitely, will use them again.
The underground Metro system is very easy to use, the only downside being is that the trains are hundreds of feet underground requiring long escalator rides. The signs now have stops "numbered" which helps in getting from place to place. The fare is only about $.25 per ride. You can buy the tokens at the stations. Apaprently one is not supposed to take photos in the metro.
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To get from the airport, its possible to use public transport but if you dont fancy this then you can organise a company to pick you up - www.airporttransfers.kiev.ua
they also can arrange to book train tickets etc for a very small fee
They are very helpful and friendly
It costs more but takes out the hassle
It was $40 for a ride from the aipor the city centre but between 3 of us wasnt so bad.
On my second visit, i got the local bus to Borispol airport, which was 25 Hr, which is £2, and takes about 30mins but can be more depending on traffic.
Train from Chisinau takes 17 hours costing £28 for a 1st class.
- Budget Travel
Skybus to Kiev central station
We arrived from England / Germany into Borispol Airport, and found the easiest & cheapest way of geeting to town was by taking the skybus (no 322) for outside the arrivals lounge, the bus fare was (April 2012) 25hrn, journey time approx 50mins. The bus terminates outside Pidvenny (the back entrance of Vokzana station), we walked through the overbridge to the front of the station, took a left turn to the metro station, bought a jeton (plastic token) which allows a traveller to take the metro, to anywhere in central Kiev, we went three stops to Khreshchatyk.
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Zhulyany airport, Kiev
Zhulyany Airport is the smaller of Kiev's two airports (the larger airport being at Boryspil), but is also the closest airport to the city centre. It is located around 15km south of the centre.
Until WizzAir commenced its international flights from the airport in 2011, Zhulyany was largely a domestic airport. With all due respect, this inexperience in dealing with international flights is evident from the moment you arrive at the airport.
Having alighted our WizzAir flight from Luton in April 2012, we were herded onto buses and driven the short distance to the terminal building. There we found six passport control desks. Desk 1 was for airline crew members, desk 2 was for diplomats, desks 3 and 4 were for foreign visitors and desks 5 and 6 were for Ukrainian citizens. Queues formed at the respective desks, but only desks 2 and 5 were manned. No further staff appeared and so two queues converged on the only two open desks. It was a chaotic and long winded process that would have been made significantly quicker and less painful with the additional of a couple more staff.
At least this meant that there was no waiting around for luggage. By the time we had passed through passport control our luggage was waiting for us. There was no luggage conveyor belt, so all the luggage had been stacked up in a room that resembled a large portakabin. There was no arrivals hall to speak of, so we grabbed our luggage and found ourselves immediately outside the airport with the waiting taxi drivers.
Having been unable to acquire any Ukrainian Hryvnia in the UK, we needed to find somewhere to obtain some. We made our way into another building (which housed the airport's check-in desks), where I was able to withdraw Hryvnia from an ATM and Emma was able to change her British Pounds at an exchange desk. Luckily, we were the first people to arrive at the exchange desk. The process of changing money took close to 10 minutes as the various paperwork was sorted out and certificates and receipts were produced and signed. By the time Emma had completed her transaction, a lengthy queue was beginning to form.
We had no problem finding a taxi outside the airport to transport us into the city centre. There were plenty of willing drivers sitting in their cars outside the terminal building. We negotiated down from an initial quote of 380 Hryvnia to 200 Hryvnia...and still suspected we'd paid more than the going rate! In light traffic, the journey into the city centre would probably have taken little more than 10 minutes. However, with heavy traffic on the Friday afternoon that we arrived, our journey to Khreshchatyk Street took around 30 minutes.
Our journey back to Zhulyany airport at the end of our stay took even longer; around 45 minutes after we'd crawled through the gridlocked city centre. Ensure you account for heavy traffic when planning your return to the airport. Also, be sure to state that you are going to Zhulyany airport and not Boryspil airport; that might seem obvious, but our taxi driver (quite understandably) assumed that we'd be going to Boryspil for an international flight.
The check-in area for our return flight was small, but we managed to find ourselves at the front of the queue. Having checked in our luggage (and had our carry on luggage weighed and approved), we followed signs to "Sector 1" which was located in another building.
We passed through security smoothly and quickly and then equally quickly through passport control (where 3 of the 6 desks were now open and there was no queue).
The departure lounge was small with inadequte seating even for the passengers of just our flight. It certainly couldn't handle two international flights at a time. It contained a small Duty Free shop (prices in Euros, but Hryvnia accepted at an unfavourable exchange rate) and a cafe/bar.
If you've paid for priority boarding for your flight (we hadn't, and never would do!) the benefit is partly restricted at Zhulyany airport. It entitles you to board the bus to the plane first. There is no separate bus for those who have paid for priority boarding, but there is a devoted part of the bus for those with priority. For our flight, the two packed buses pulled up at either end of the plane (one by the front steps and one by the rear steps), those with priority were released first and then shortly afterwards both buses opened their remaining doors simultaneously causing a free-for-all as people scrambled to board the plane.
Overall, Zhulyany airport seems to just about cope at the moment with its domestic flights and infrequent international flights operated by WizzAir. The facilities would need to be upgraded to deal with more frequent international flights. It is however conveniently located close to Kiev city centre, which is an advantage that it has over Boryspil airport.
The Kiev Funicular connects the city centre with the historic area of Podil and the Dnepr river. It is a quicker way of travelling between the two areas than walking up or down "Andrew's Descent". This was particularly true at the time of our visit in April 2012 as Andrew's Descent was undergoing serious and extensive repair work and resembled a building site!
The upper station of the funicular is located just behind St Michael's Gold Domed Monastery about a 10 minute walk from Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in the heart of Kiev city centre.
The lower station is located in Podil, close to the banks of the Dnepr river, and is connected to the Poshtova Ploscha Metro station.
Tickets can be purchased at either station at a cost of 1.5 Hryvnia (£0.12) for a one way journey (prices correct as at April 2012). You simply purchase a token from a manned booth and place the token in a slot to access the turnstile which leads to the funicular's boarding platform.
We caught the funicular in an uphill direction. There was a large queue when we arrived, but the service was frequent (there are two carriages which pass each other mid-journey in opposite directions) so we didn't have to wait too long. The ascent to the upper station took a little over 2 minutes.
To and from Zhulyany airport
We landed at Zhulyany Airport on a WizzAir flight from Luton when we visited Kiev in April 2012.
Zhulyany is the smaller of Kiev's two airports (the larger airport being at Boryspil), but is also the closest airport to the city centre. It is located around 15km south of the centre.
We looked into the possibility of reaching our accommodation by public transport and, while this would have been possible through a combination of buses and the metro, we decided that taking a taxi would be much easier given that there were four of us, we had heavy luggage with us and we weren't familiar with the city.
As is often the case, we'd read horror stories of newly arrived tourists being ripped off by unscrupulous Kiev taxi drivers. Such stories seem to be commonplace for most of the world's airports and, despite our research, we've come to accept that we'll probably end up paying more than the going rate for locals.
It was difficult to find a consensus on how much we should expect to pay. A fellow passenger on our flight (who had visited Kiev a number of times) suggested that we should pay no more than 200 Hryvnia, but that the drivers would probably quote us somewhere in the region of 400 Hryvnia.
Sure enough, the first driver to approach us outside the arrivals terminal quoted us 380 Hryvnia for the journey to Khreshchatyk Street in the city centre. We declined his offer and walked towards the queue of taxis on the main road outside the airport. He soon reduced his quote to 300 Hryvnia, then 250 and finally 200 Hryvnia before we accepted.
It seems that taxis in Kiev aren't regulated. We were told that anybody can pick up passengers in their vehicle and charge them a fare. I don't know if this is true or not. Either way, our taxi driver took the taxi sign off the top of his car and hid it in the boot before we commenced our journey into the city.
The journey was split into two distinct parts. The first part of the journey, from the airport to the fringes of the city centre, was undertaken at break-neck speed in about 10 minutes, running red lights and switching lanes with wild abandon. Then we hit traffic and spent a further 15-20 minutes crawling through the gridlocked city centre streets as our driver, who was becoming increasingly impatient with the traffic, continuously flicked between radio stations and sounded his horn every few minutes.
At the end of our stay, we were a little restricted in our options for getting back to the airport. We had to check out of our apartment at midday but were not flying until early evening. There was nowhere to store our luggage at the apartment, but the owner offered to store our luggage as part of an airport transfer package. This was the most convenient option for us, so we accepted the quoted price of 280 Hryvnia. We would undoubtedly have found a taxi to take us to the airport for less than that, but then we'd have been stuck with our luggage for the day.
A driver turned up in a minibus at the apartment at midday to collect our keys and to take our luggage. We then arranged for him to pick us up outside the apartment later in the afternoon. We were offered a tour of the city centre in the minibus, but we had already made plans for the day, so we just left our luggage with him and went our separate ways.
Everything went smoothly; the driver picked us up a few minutes later than the agreed time (traffic was very heavy, so this was forgivable) and we battled through the traffic to arrive at Zhulyany airport in around 45 minutes.
The most important thing to note about our transfer to the airport is that the driver had assumed that we were wanting to go to Boryspil airport rather than Zhulyany airport. This is understandable as Boryspil is the city's international airport whereas Zhulyany airport was largely a domestic airport until WizzAir commenced flights from there in 2011. When I told the driver we wanted to go to Zhulyany airport he seemed surprised and I had to confirm to him several times that we did indeed want to go to Zhulyany and not to Boryspil. It might seem obvious, but it is very important to tell the driver which airport you wish to go to; especially if you want to go to the less commonly used Zhulyany airport.
In light of the above, I suspect that our quoted price was for a journey to the significantly further away Boryspil airport and that we'd probably have paid less if we'd made it clear from the outset that we wanted to go to Zhulyany.
Kiev's Metro system had three lines at the time of our visit in April 2012; the red line (M1), the blue line (M2) and the green line (M3).
We made use of the M1 and M2 lines during our 4 days in the city.
In comparison to most other Metro systems that I've used in the past, the fare system on Kiev's Metro is remarkably simple. Every journey costs 2 Hryvnia (£0.16) regardless of the length of journey. This is true even if your journey involves a change of train at one of the interchange stations.
There are 3 interchange stations on the network; the red and green lines connect near the Golden Gate (Zoloti Vorota / Teatralna), the blue and green lines connect at Ploscha Lva Tolstoho / Palats Sportu and the red and blue lines connect at the incredibly central Maidan Nezalezhnosti / Khreshchatyk interchange.
Our first journey on the metro began at this latter hub. We were heading to the Pechersk region of the city to visit the Kievo Pecherska Lavra cave monastery and had ascertained that we could walk there from the Arsenalna metro station on the M1 line.
We entered the station at Maidan Nezalezhnosti and found a row of orange ticket machines. Some of these machines took 10 Hryvnia notes (and gave out 5 tokens), while other machines only accepted 2 Hryvnia notes (and dispensed a single token). The token (a light blue plastic coin) is posted into a slot at the turnstiles that lead to the platforms. The token is retained by the turnstile and at the end of your journey you can pass through the exit turnstiles without the need to enter a token.
As Kiev's Metro system is one of the deepest in the world, our descent to the platform at Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) took several minutes via the longest escalators I have ever seen! Once there, we followed the signs to connect on foot from M2 line to Khreshchatyk station on the M1 line. The signs were mainly in Cyrillic, but some were translated into English and we were able to find our way relatively easily. On the platforms themselves, all stations were shown in both Cyrillic and Roman script and it was clear which side of the platform to stand on to catch a train heading where we wanted to go.
We didn't have to wait long for a train – they run every 2-3 minutes. A digital clock on the platform shows the time since the last train departed (I thought a clock showing the time until the next train would be more useful, but I'm sure there's some logic to this!) and a train arrived within a minute of us arriving.
Despite the frequency of the trains, we boarded a train that was already practically full and just managed to squeeze in and grab hold of a hand rail. This was a common theme for all of the journeys that we took on the Metro.
Arsenalna was only one stop along the line from Khreshchatyk and so we arrived in a couple of minutes. A quirky fact is that Arsenalna is the world's deepest underground Metro station and so the journey to the surface (up two huge escalators) took longer (around 5 minutes) than the journey on the train had taken!
Having spent several hours exploring the Pechersk region we returned to Arsenalna Metro station and decided to continue our journey along the line to Hidropark. Hidropark is an area of beaches and leisure activities on an island in the Dnepr River and it lies just two stations further along the line from Arsenalna. We arrived in less than 5 minutes (via the riverside Dnipro station). Unlike the subterranean stations that we had used so far, the station at Hidropark is above ground level. The beaches are less than 5 minutes walk from the station. We ended our day of sightseeing by taking the Metro back from Hidropark to Khreshchatyk.
The following day, we decided to use the Metro to visit the Olympiyski Stadium where the Euro 2012 football final will take place. This was a straightforward journey on the M2 line; just two stations (5 minutes) from Maidan Nezalezhnosti to Olimpiiska station. It is important to note that Olimpiiska station was until recently known as "Respublikansky Stadion" station and old maps will refer to this latter name. The Metro maps at the stations have been updated to reflect this name change; in some cases this involves a sticker bearing the new name being stuck over the old name.
Screens on board the trains display the name of the upcoming stop and maps on board the trains display station names in both Cyrillic and Roman script, so you shouldn't have any difficulty in alighting at the correct place.
Kiev's Metro system is a remarkably good value means of getting around the city!
Kiev Taxi from the airport Borispol
Airport transfer from international airport Borispol to Kiev downtown price varies depending on English speaking driver, or Russian speaking.
Airport Pick-Up Guide
The city center of Kiev is its central street Kreschatik (which is 1,2 kilometer lenth only) and Independence square (which is on the middle of the street).
There are few hostels and many appartments for rent in this area.
Usually hostel price is 15-20$ per person, 2-rooms appartment rent will be more expencive (100-140$). Just google "kiev apartments rent" to see photos and choices.
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By City Buses Around the City
Going by city buses from one metro station to another and all about the city is not expensive at all: 2 UAH.
You only have to know the direction and the name of the street you are going to.
Of course, the affable drivers and Kievites will help you find the way.
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The city transport is not expensive: about 2 UAH (30C) a ticket in buses, trolley buses, streetcars and in the funicular that functions between the river terminal in Sahaydachnyi Street (Post Square Metro station) and St.Michael's Square.
The city route buses can cost you 1 UAH a ride. They run along all the main avenues and streets and are reliable means of transportation.
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Kiev Metro - Fast and Reliable
The fastest and the most reliable means of getting around in Kiev is, of course, the underground called the Metro there.
Kiev has an efficient subway (Metro) consisting of about 40 stations.
You only have to be able to read the signs in Ukrainian. No English signs for the present.
There are lots of bus, trolley bus and streetcar routes in the Ukrainian capital.
The metro fare is usually 2 UAH (20C) - you have to buy a plastic token at the booking-office located at the entrance to the metro station.
There are minibuses run by private companies that charge a bit more.
It’s always better to order a taxi by dialing 058 (or several other numbers) in Kiev.
You can travel in all directions by three lines containing more than 40 stations, forever expanding.
Personally I prefer traveling by the metro wherever I need to go in Kiev.
You only have to know the location and have the metro map about you...
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Local transport is pretty good although confusing without Ukrainian! Did manage to work out a few of the simpler routes and tram #18 (saw it close to our hotel the previous evening) was a welcome sight when we were hopelessy lost looking for the Chernobyl museum - a cheap ride home!
Tickets cost UAH 1.50 from the conductor or driver, don't forget to validate them!
Underground railway, crowded but very cheap, just 2UAH for any ride, buy a token at the booth to enter.
All signs are in Cyrillic but it's really not too difficult to negotiate.
Stations are very deep underground, escalator down takes around five minutes and it's moving quickly!
An experience not too miss.
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