Due to the current political situation between Russia and Ukraine, it is not possible to travel in certain areas of Ukraine at the moment. Also, as flights are not operating between Russia and Ukraine at the moment, we are not currently able to combine these two countries in a trip.
With direct flights linking London and Kiev, and visa-free entry for EU citizens, travel to the Ukraine is now simplicity itself.
Once on the ground we recommend the use of the reliable train network and domestic flights to cover the bigger distances.
Ukraine now offers a range of hotels and tourist facilities, allowing tours of the highest standard that Audley travellers have come to expect.
The official language is Ukrainian. Ukrainian is closely related to Russian. Russian is spoken as a second language by the vast majority of people. In the east of the country, and in some cities (notably Odessa), as well as the Crimean peninsula, Russian is the dominant language.
Food & Drink
Ukrainian food is hearty, if a little on the bland side. Staples include borshch (beetroot soup), varenyky (small filled crescent shaped dumplings with a variety of fillings) and salo (pig fat, flavoured with garlic and salt). Restaurants are getting better, and some of the 'traditional' Ukrainian restaurants in the major cities are very good. Ukrainian beer is not bad at all - Obolon is a decent brand. Vodka is widely drunk and is very cheap. A variety Ukraine specialises in is vodka flavoured with honey and/or chilli - though it has quite a kick. Wines tend to be sweet, though there are one or two good local sparkling wines.
Ukrainians are slowly awakening to the idea of tipping, though it is still not widely expected except in western style hotels and more upmarket restaurants. 10% should suffice.
The currency of Ukraine is the Hryvnia (uah). Most towns and cities now have cash machines which can be used to withdraw money from. Currency exchanges are also common place, where you will need your passport to exchange money. Travellers Cheques are not widely accepted in Ukraine, and can be difficult to exchange.
Photography is not allowed in airports, or on the metro in Kiev. Do not take photos of military installations either. You should ask permission before taking photos of people - older people in particular retain a suspicion of having their photograph taken. Museums often charge extra if you want to take photographs. In working orthodox churches and religious places, men should take off their hats, women may be expected to cover their heads.
Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website.
When to go to Ukraine
You’ll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to Ukraine.