Ukraine is a very much overlooked destination for travellers, which is a pity as it’s a great place to travel. I personally was just coming to Kiev for a few days to see the city and visit Chernobyl, but fell in love with the vibe and ended up staying 10 or so weeks.
In fact I came back again and am currently writing this in one off the best chocolate cafes in the city. Chocolate? Ukraine? Yeah bet you didn’t know that there is some amazing chocolate from the historic city of Lviv. This country takes you by surprise.
Ukraine is a cool place.
But between these 2 visits I spent a few months roaming around Central Europe, and when the usual travellers questions were asked, so many were puzzled when I mentioned that I was heading back to Ukraine.
Unfortunately Ukraine has a bit of an image problem at the moment with the conflict that’s going on in the east. But I want you to do something. I want you to get a map and look at the size of Ukraine. It’s a big country! And the conflict area is in the far east and only around probably 1/10th of the country.
Everywhere else you have what many other parts of Europe offer. Historic cities, mountains in the Carpathians, fun nightlife in the vibrant capital Kiev, and more.
In fact there’s not really any excuse for travellers who are in Krakow or Budapest not to at least cross over to see Lviv and the Carpathian Mountains as they’re so close by.
One of the things about Kiev is that it does kind of stand alone in the middle of the country, but then you can visit the ghost city of Pripyat at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site, which is something unique to see.
There is also a modern high speed train connecting Lviv in the west to Kiev that takes only 6 hours and costs only around 10 euros. Easy.
Ukraine is Very Cheap to Travel Right Now
Anyway to the title of the article:
Why travellers should visit.
Sadly for the people of Ukraine they are suffering at the minute due to bad devaluation of their currency, the UAH. This is a love/hate thing with me as I feel very bad for the locals, but also love the fact that my money goes a long way.
For travellers on a budget this is an amazing time to go to the country. Seriously, it’s one of the cheapest places I’ve ever been to and I’ve visited around 80+ countries.
Although my blog is aimed at backpackers looking for good deals of places to visit, anyone looking for somewhere interesting to go should consider Ukraine, even if it wasn’t such great value for money as it is now.
Initially it was the people that I met in Kiev that made me start to stay longer, but the absolute cost of having a decent lifestyle here, in a European country, blew me away.
Costs of Travel in Ukraine
I could go on and on but the best way to show you is by running through some costs. These costs come from what you would spend in Kiev, which is where I am based, but get out of the capital and things get even cheaper.
The thing that initially shocked me on arrival was when paying for a metro ticket. It cost 4 UAH. That’s 15 US cents. Yes you read that right. 15 cents for a metro ride anywhere in the city. I thought it was a mistake.
Taxi ride using the smartphone app Uklontaxi (if you do visit Ukraine install this, you will get the cheapest taxi deals) costs around $2 for around 15 minutes of driving.
Again you read right. This is a European country were talking about remember.
Average price for a local beer $1 (the important stuff right)!
1 hour of bowling in modern mall – $1 per person.
2 glasses of good quality coffee and delicious carrot cake in cool cafe where I regularly go to work online, as in the photo below – around $3.
A juicy rib-eye steak in American grill restaurant – $3.
16 Californian sushi rolls during happy hours at cheap eatery – $2 (fuck yeah)!
6 bed dorm average $5-6.
There is some really good Georgian food in Kiev (future article coming up) and you can get a huge meal for around $6 like in this photo (what I had for dinner before writing this).
There are coffee vans all over the place where you can get a quick coffee fix for 50 cents.
I could go on and on…
There are cheap enough flights from the rest of Europe and it’s very cheap to get into the country overland from it’s neighbours.
This should give you a decent idea of how great value things are in Ukraine. And don’t forget this is in the capital. It’s cheaper everywhere else.
Naturally all this would be meaningless if the country didn’t have things to offer the traveller, but like I said at the start of the post it has many historic places to see, mountains, great nightlife in Kiev etc.
But best of all many of the people you will meet in Ukraine are awesome! I have made loads of new friends in the 5 months that I have spent in Kiev.
For my friends in Ukraine and all the other Ukrainians I hope in the future their situation will get better and more money will come there way. By visiting the country you will be spending money into their economy which will help.
Take advantage of the great value and visit Ukraine.
Heading to the capital of Ukraine, Kiev? Check out my post on the best bars to go drinking in Kiev.
Here’s some recommended guidebooks for Ukraine:
Insane Ukraine: Your Guide to Hassle-Free Travel written by a local Ukrainian.
Lonely Planet Ukraine (Travel Guide) the standard guide.
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