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From Bucharest, Romania to Odesa, Ukraine

Need to get from Bucharest to Odessa in two days. Any ideas? Thanks.

Posted by
16771 posts

This is the sort of question for which the Rome2Rio website is useful. You can't trust anything it says about fares, schedules or frequencies, but it's usually accurate about the basic routes it suggests and the availability of the various types of transportation. You just have to keep clicking through the website until you find the name of the airline/train company/bus company. Usually you'll find a link to the company's website where you can obtain reliable schedule and fare information.

I use skyscanner.com to search for intra-European flights, then I buy from the appropriate airline website. It's possible you'll have to connect somewhere, but flying will definitely be the fastest way.

The alternatives to flying are so horribly slow (18 hours per Rome2Rio, not verified by me) that I don't imagine you wish to entertain them. Driving--even if you could find a company allowing you to take a car across that border--would no doubt incur a very painful international drop charge.

I'd recommend flying and using the extra time in Romania, which has a lot of fascinating cities. Or perhaps one of the places already on your itinerary could use another day?

Posted by
5019 posts

Agree with all the above. Start with rome2rio but don't rely on it for airline prices. I'd fly (unless I had lots of time to burn). Follow up and book the flight(s) on the website(s) for the actual airline(s), not some sketchy 3rd party booking service.

Posted by
16771 posts

Don't count on that. Those trains are not like western European trains. I don't think the schedules are totally reliable. Rome2Rio thinks buses might be faster (not verified!), but you should expect squat toilets at some (if not all) of the bus comfort stops. For that matter, I can't vouch for the toilets on the trains and in the train stations. A visit to the Seat61 website is recommended for train research.

The thing about buses in that area is that it's hard to find accurate schedules online. I don't count on the existence of a bus until I find a schedule for it at the outbound bus station. Makes it just a bit difficult to plan ahead. Even the train situation can change unexpectedly. I met a Canadian tour group on the train from Bucharest to Veliko Trnovo, Bulgaria, in 2015. They were on a rail tour. Two of their overnight trains had turned into overnight buses, and the tour operator was an experienced, respected company.

In sum, traveling by bus and train in the Balkans and Ukraine is quite the challenge. There will not always be an English-speaker at hand, though often there's a young person to help. This is my form of adventure travel. It can be done; I'm 68 (and female). But I travel in such areas with a loose itinerary, and I'm comfortable struggling to make myself understood by someone with whom I don't have a common language. For many others, the stress level would probably approach intolerable.

Posted by
16771 posts

What about Bucharest? Is it the only place you're going in Romania? It's a great country, but Ceausescu really wiped out most of the historic architecture in the capital to build monstrosities. I'm sure there are at least a few museums there, but aesthetically it's pretty dull. If only Bucharest is on the docket in Romania, maybe postpone that country till another trip? Kyiv and L'viv are great stops in Ukraine in addition to Odesa. Are they already planned? If so, maybe insert Krakow (if not already seen) after L'viv?

Where are you planning to be before Bucharest?

It probably doesn't matter, but just in case someone has a date-related idea: When will this be happening?

I know how frustrating the logistical details can be, but better now than when you're halfway through the trip.

Posted by
1289 posts

Fly or train from Bucharest to Chisinau, Moldova. Then take the fast train between Moldova and Odessa (takes about 3.5 hours). I took this train in the opposite direction a year and a half ago - nice modern train that was v comfortable (unknowingly I bought 3rd class seats which allowed one to spread out as opposed to the 2nd class seats which were bucket type seats). Fare was quite cheap - probably <$15 for 3rd class

Posted by
575 posts

Turkish Airlines has flights from Bucharest to Odessa, connecting through Istanbul. www.turkishairlines.com not sure what your departure date is, hope this helps.
I’ve used this airline on other routes and found them good.

Posted by
4134 posts

We visited Odessa on a cruise and had two days there. One of our cruise friends had Grandparents from Ukraine. He hired a car to take him into the interior to the village. His family was Jewish and no-one from his family lived there anymore. In fact, he was told that no Jews lived there anymore. He said the highways were poor.
I would not advise driving through the countryside of Ukraine.

Posted by
16771 posts

There are some very, very rough highways in Ukraine, but some of them are fine. There's some rail service, but the trains are shockingly infrequent. I can't figure it out: Do they not have the money to buy rail cars? It's not a wealthy country; I'd think there would be considerable demand for train service. The fares are reasonable, but it can be hard to find a train that doesn't depart at 4 AM or arrive at 2 AM.

Posted by
5019 posts

Like a lot of the former Soviet states, corruption in Ukraine has been a deep and widespread problem (perhaps you've heard something in the news related to this...). There are some hopeful signs more recently but they still have a deep hole they must climb out of, and lots of remaining challenges (eg an ongoing, active but low-level war with Russia). I'm sure that improving their rail system and highways is on their list. I wish them luck and hope for a better future.

Posted by
10923 posts

Odesa is a great town. One of my favorites. I love Ukraine in general.

From Bucharest you can do Turkish Air through Istanbul in under 5 hours and under $300
or
If arriving in Odesa on a Tuesday or a Saturday works with your plans you can take Tarom to Budapest for about $100, nonstop, everyday; and then Tuesday and Saturday there is a non-stop flight to Odesa on either Ryan or Wizz (my choice) for under $100. And you get to see Budapest to boot.

Posted by
10923 posts

I'm not sure when you are going or why, but if its warm weather it is a beautiful place. And if you are a bit younger than I am there are few places better in the evening.....

And Ralph, you do realize that Bucharest and Odesa are in "Europe", right???

So you will get a day and night in Budapest?

The first flight out of Bucharest is at 07:55, lands at 08:20. Get a room on the river (the Marriott or the Intercontinental). You can see a lot in a day if you plan it well; and enjoy it at the same time.

Then the flight to Odesa on Ryan is at 12:15 the next afternoon. So you can take it easy getting packed and off to the airport (about 10:00 should work).

Round trip taxi about 50 euro (cheaper in forints ... but for one night ... )
Room at the intercontinental or the Marriott will set you back a bit I am afraid; $250 to $300 but the D8 and the Zeint are a bit cheaper at something less than $175 most nights (really depend on when you are traveling). And they are both close to the river.

Sounds like you know what you are doing in Odesa, but I like the Duke Hotel. Good location, good restaurant / bar, pretty amazing staff and very clean.

Posted by
18 posts

We're staying at the Londonskaya in Odessa from 14 June until 21 June. We're there to sing and perform in Odessa. Yes we know they're in Europe. Having a bit of difficulty getting from Bucharest to Odessa but you have been helpful.

Posted by
10923 posts

Freeking Beautiful Hotel and under $50 a night. Ya gotta love the prices in Ukraine.

And its a very short walk to Deribasovskaya Street.