Thanks for answering my Poland travel questions of last week. We are thinking of adding Kiev, Ukraine to our Poland trip in July. Any advice on independent travel to Kiev? Should we fly from either Gdansk or Warsaw? I want to avoid 15hr train w/change due to track gauge difference. Suggestions for English-speaking guides?
How many days for sightseeing? Any notable side-trips close to Kiev?

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
1512 posts

Warsaw is closer and I'm guessing cheaper to fly from - so, if price is a factor, then see which city makes more sense. As far as sightseeing, have you looked into another travel book like Lonely Planet to get ideas (or Tripadvisor)? You may be able to wing it on your own easily - young people can help you, if you need it, as they're most likely to speak English. The last Euro Cup soccer tournament was in Poland and Eukraine, so I'm sure locals are used to seeing people of all nationalities in Kiev. I wish I could help more, but I haven't been to Ukraine (yet) - hopefully the below link will be of some help:

Posted by James E.
4500 posts

We have been trying to get to the Ukraine over the past 3 years or so and something gets in the way every time. Not a place I would do without a guide on the first trip so I did a lot of research and reference checks and came up with: Now, I have never used the guide so this is not a recommendation but its who I am going with when I do finally make it there. If you find yourself in Hungary, Bulgaria or Romania I can recommend some guides I have used and know to be good.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1759 posts

We were in Ukraine last Sept.-Oct. on our own, not a guide any time. Kyiv is just another huge city and unless you are going to visit the churches or university there probably isn't too much to draw you to it. Independence Square is interesting. Remember, the city was nearly totally destroyed during WWII. A much more interesting city is Lviv. We would go back. I think you can fly there on Aerosvit airlines. We flew from Kyiv to Lviv having arrived at Kyiv from Paris. Lviv is a warm, vibrant, welcoming city. We had good help getting from the airport to our downtown hotel. If you do not know the Cyrillic alphabet and a few words of Ukranian you will need help. Get the Lonely Planet Ukranian phrase book. Use the Lonely Planet guide to Ukraine. If you are going to visit one city I would strongly recommend Lviv. You will find English speakers at the tourist desk at the airport and at the front dest of the few main hotels. Let me know if I can help.

Posted by Robin Alan
Symferopol, Crimea, Ukraine
1 posts

May I ask, how did your trip go? I only just joined here, but I am from Ukraine, ( an American native) So many people go to Ukraine only to stay in the few large cities. Try the train ride from Kyiv to Odessa, via Kharkiv,(or to Symferopol, where i live in the Crimea, Krim to locals). These cities retain the old-world values and ways. Symferopol, and Sevastopol barely changed from Roman days, and hardly touched by the war OR the Soviet period. Any one born since 1991 is likely to have been taught English in school also. Watch out carefully for taxis, they do NOT use meters, and they can often tell you a price then change it AFTER arrival, and be sure not to flash cash ;-). There is much to see and do in a climate much like the rest of the Med, or Southern California. From Poland you can fly easily to these cities, but the trains offer an unmatched view and feel, and are very safe. So fly to Kyiv, Lviv, even Dnepropetrovsk from Warsaw etc, and get OUT of the big city.

Posted by James E.
4500 posts

Robin, For the last few years I have been trying to plan a trip to Ukraine. What has held it up is fishing. I understand that there is some pretty decent fly fishing opportunities so I have been putting off the entire trip until I can make the right contacts to spend a few days in the hills fishing while on the trip. If you run across anything let me know. Thanks.