Free Lions Guide to Kyiv (Ukraine)

England face Ukraine on Tuesday 10th September for a vital World Cup qualifier. If you're an England fan and are planning a trip to Ukraine, read on for the Free Lions Guide to Kyiv.

GETTING THERE

BY AIR

Airlines that fly to Kyiv (note that not all companies fly direct):

Boryspil International airport is approximately 34km east of Kyiv and is where most international flights will land unless you’re travelling with Wizzair in which case you will land at the smaller Kyiv Zhulyani Airport which is approximately 8km from the centre.

At Boryspil, international flights arrive and depart in terminal D. The terminal also has currency exchange facilities, information desks, car rental offices, public telephones, cafes and facilities for disabled travellers.

GETTING INTO TOWN

From Boryspil - On leaving the terminal, you will be bombarded by taxi drivers; ensure that you use a cab that has a licence plate and a company name displayed. A taxi from Boryspil to the city centre will cost roughly 200-250 Hr (£16-£20 approx). The journey should take around 25 minutes depending on traffic.

Alternatively, Sky Buses depart from terminals B and F every 10-15 minutes during the day and 35-45 minutes at night – the journey takes around 45 minutes to an hour. The single fare is 27 Hr and it stops at south terminal of Central Train Station. Tickets can be purchased online at www.skybus.kiev.ua (translation button is in the top right-hand corner of the website).

From Zhulyani - A taxi from Zhulyani Airport to the city centre will cost on average 70 Hr (around £6). Several trolleybuses also leave from the airport for the city centre: Trolley #9 will drop you at Tereschenkivska Street near Ploscha Lva Tolstoho metro station (blue line) for a single fare of 1.50 Hr (about 12p); Trolley #22 goes to Dorohozhychi metro station (green line), single fare as before. Marshrutkas also go to the city centre but they don’t take luggage and they also get extremely crowded and uncomfortable so aren’t recommended.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

To enter Ukraine your passport must be valid for a month beyond your intended departure date from the country. Visas are not required by EU citizens.

Ukraine is bordered by Russia, Belarus, Poland, Romania and Moldova. There are usually no major hold ups with border officials at airports, but if you are crossing borders by train or road they can be more thorough – expect lots of questions as well as possible vehicle searches (these are particularly found at the Poland – Ukraine and Romania – Ukraine borders, which are popular cigarette-smuggling routes).

To enter Ukraine you will require travel insurance. If you haven’t got any insurance you will be expected to obtain it at your point of entry.

GETTING AROUND

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

There are plenty of options available to get around Kyiv although it’s worth noting that all public transport gets extremely overcrowded.

The metro is the most punctual and reliable way to get around. Purchase your blue token before travelling (2 Hr) from token booths on the concourse of stations. The Metro has three lines – M1 (red line), M2 (blue line) and M3 (green line). Since Euro 2012 each station now has maps, notices and directions in English.

Trolleybuses, trams and buses are the preferred transport for locals. Single-journey tickets are 1.50 Hr from street kiosks and you validate the ticket once you board the vehicle.

Drivers on marshrutkas and minibuses are unlikely to speak any English and therefore, unless you speak fluent Ukraine, they won’t understand where you want to go. They also get rather overcrowded and uncomfortable and so best to be avoided.

Central Rail Station, which was refurbished for Euro 2012, is joined with Southern Rail Station with the platforms between the two. The central main hall boasts a waiting room (with comfy sofas for a small admission fee of 10 Hr), ATMs, currency exchange points and coin-operated telephones. Card-operated telephones are located outside the main entrance.

It’s a short walk to the city centre or, if you have luggage and don’t fancy the walk, you have the option of the metro or a taxi. The metro station Vokzal’na (red line) is to the left as you exit central station - look for the green letter M. Khreschatyk is three stops east on the red line. Taxis are lined up outside the main entrance but make sure you agree the fare before you travel - it shouldn’t be more than 50Hr - 70 Hr depending on traffic. It is worth noting that the station is open 24/7 but facilities/outlets may not always be available.

CAR RENTAL

Offices are available at the airport and in the city centre. Agents include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt. The official speed limits are 60km/h in cities, 90 on secondary roads (there is 110km/h speed limit on the Kyiv/Odesa road) and 130 on motorways. A zero tolerance drink driving policy applies in Ukraine.

TAXIS

It’s rare to find a taxi with a meter so agree a price before you travel. Make sure the cab has a registration plate/form displayed and they usually have a company name emblazoned on the side. Reputable companies:

  • Express (+380) 44 239 1515
  • Etalon (+380) 44 501 5501 
  • Sky Taxi (+380) 44 281 7558

STADIUM

THE OLYMPIYSKIY NATIONAL SPORTS COMPLEX

The Olympiyskiy National Sports Complex is the biggest sports stadium in Ukraine and the second largest in Eastern Europe after Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. It is also known as the Olympic Stadium and underwent extensive reconstruction prior to the UEFA 2012 Poland/Ukraine European Championship tournament. The Final was held at the Olimpiyskiy where Spain beat Italy 4-0.

The stadium uses a card system to purchase food, drinks and merchandise. This means no money is passed to kiosk staff. Instead you purchase a pre-paid card from sellers around the stadium concourse – they’re the ones dressed in green uniforms – and this is swiped when you make a purchase and the sale is deducted from the card total. 

You can get a refund on any money not used on the card so long as you keep the original receipt from when you made the card purchase. Smoking is strictly forbidden at the stadium.

MATCH DAY INFORMATION

GETTING TO THE GROUND

The ground is within walking distance from the Independent Square – 15 minutes if you want a brisk walk or 30 if you take a more leisurely stroll. If you are travelling to the stadium by metro the nearest stations are Arsenal’na (red line) or Maidan Nezalezhnosti (blue line).

FLAGS

Arrangements still have to be confirmed regarding access for fans to put up flags prior to kick-off. We will update on here and on our social network accounts if details are confirmed prior to departure for the game. Alternatively, if it is a last-minute decision we can be contacted on the 24hr helpline number – +44 7956 121314.

FANS’ EMBASSY LOCATION

The Fans’ Embassy team will be in Kyiv distributing Free Lions 130 but we have still to receive confirmation of where we are going to be based. As before, we will update our social network accounts as soon as possible with the information.

ENGLANDFANS REPRESENTATIVES

englandfans representatives have still to confirm where they will be based. As soon as we have details we will add the information to this section.

IN THE CITY

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

As you would expect, there are plenty of gold-domed churches and cathedrals to look at as well as numerous galleries and museums. Independence Square is famous for the ‘Orange Revolution’ in 2004, a series of political protests and demonstrations in the Square in support of a rigged presidential election.

Kyiv-Pecherska Lavra (the Caves Monastery) is the most popular tourist attraction in Kyiv. The upper lavra has churches and museums for which there is an entrance fee, and the lower lavra has the caves which are free.

Tours to Chernobyl Reactor 4 site at Pripyat just outside of Kyiv - all visits to the site must be booked a number of days in advance for security reasons.

ACCOMMODATION

There’s a wide range of accommodation available – from top of the range hotels to budget hostels but please ensure that any accommodation booked on the internet is reputable. A number of places were advertised on accommodation websites for the Euro 2012 and when fans arrived at the address the accommodation didn’t exist. Check how many reviews the place has had on the website and how far back they go. If unsure, go with recommendations of places friends and family have used before.

EATING AND DRINKING

There’s an abundance of restaurants on all the main streets in the centre of Kyiv to suit all budgets. For those who can’t do without a fast-food fix there are a few familiar outlets: Kentucky Fried Chicken (Ocean Plaza, Gorkoho 176) and McDonald's (Khreschatyk 19a, Sofivs’ka 1/2, Borychiv Uzviz 10, Chervonoarmiys’ka 22).

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW 

ID - You are required to carry some form of photographic ID with you at all times. A photocopy of your passport information page should be sufficient. 

BRITISH EMBASSY

  • 9 Desyatynna Street, Kyiv, 01901
  • Tel: +38 (044) 490 3662
  • Email: ukembinf@gmail.com 
  • Office hours: Mon – Fri 09:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 17:00 (Local time)

TOURIST OFFICE

  • Kyiv Tourist Information, 19a Khreshchatyk Street. Ground floor of the Khreshchatyk Plaza. 
  • Tel: +38 (066) 851 8558 or +38 (044) 278 8004

HOSPITAL

  • Kyiv Oblast Clinic Hospital, Baggovutivska Street, 1. 04007 Kyiv. Tel: +38 (044) 483-1761
  • To receive emergency treatment you will be required to have sufficient medical insurance. See notes below under ‘Health’

24 Hr PHARMACIES

  • 03 Apteka, Shevchenka bul’v 58. Also at Dorohozhytska 17 
  • Vitalux, Shota Rustavell 15b. Also at Dmytrivska 2

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

  • Fire 101
  • Police 102 
  • Ambulance 103 
  • All emergancies from a mobile phone 112

HEALTH

The EHIC Health Card is not valid in Ukraine and therefore you must ensure you have sufficient travel insurance. If you require medical assistance and your insurance doesn’t cover the cost you will need to have sufficient funds on you to make up the difference. Make sure you obtain receipts and keep them safe so you can claim the costs back on your return home.

SECURITY AND SAFETY

There have been reports of visitors being victims of violent crime in major cities in Ukraine including Kyiv; in some cases these attacks have been racially motivated. If you are the victim of an attack you should report it to the police.

Be alert to the possibility of street crime and petty theft. You should take the usual precautions regarding your safety as you would anywhere else - don’t wander into unknown areas alone, stay in well-lit areas, keep your belongings close to you and whenever possible use your hotel safety deposit facilities to keep your travel documents and valuables safe.

If you are travelling on overnight trains, make sure your belongings are secure.

Don’t lose sight of your credit/debit cards during transactions and only withdraw cash from ATMs in well-lit, highly-populated areas.

During EURO 2012 there were a number of reported incidents of drinks being spiked and it is possible that this is a regular occurrence in the bars and clubs. Don’t leave drinks unattended and be wary of accepting drinks from strangers.

POST OFFICE

Kyiv’s central post office is located on Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Opening times are 08:00 - 20:00 Mon - Sat, 08:00 - 19:00 Sun.

WEATHER

Kiev has a humid, continental climate therefore in September you should experience highs of between 17° to 22 and lows of between 12° to 10°.

TIME

Ukraine is +2 GMT.

ELECTRICITY

AC is 220 volts, and the frequency is 50 hertz. The European round two-pin plug is used. You will need an adaptor which is best purchased before you arrive.

MONEY

The currency in the Ukraine is the hryvnia (UAH). The hryvnia is subdivided into 100 kopiyok. Notes are colour coded and come in denominations of 1 (yellow/blue), 2 (peach), 5 (blue), 10 (crimson), 20 (green), 50 (violet), 100 (olive), 200 (pink), 500 (brown). Coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 50 kopiyok and there’s also a 1 hryvnia coin. 

Credit Cards - VISA, Mastercard/Eurocard are are all accepted in major hotels, restaurants, stores and ATM’s. If you have an American Express card you may experience problems when using the card. 

BANKS

Banking hours - Most banks open 09:00hrs – 17:00 hrs. Smaller branches may close for an hour for lunch.

  • OTP Bank, Chervonoarmiyska 9/2. Open Mon-Fri 09:30 – 17:00. Closed Sat & Sun. 
  • Raiffeisen Bank Aval, Khreschatyk 16. Open Mon – Fri 09:00 18:00. Closed Sat & Sun and 1 hr for lunch daily between 13:00 – 14:00 
  • UniCredit Bank, Yaroslavin Val 14a. Open 09:00 – 17:00. Closed Sat & Sun.

Exchanging money - You may not need your passport to exchange money but it’s bet to take it just in case. There are a number of exchange kiosks and banks around Independent Square.

Thanks to shlomp for the image reproduced under CC license.