Ukraine Driving Guide 2021

Ukraine is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.

Atnaujinta Balandžio mėn 9, 2021·9 min. Perskaityta
Driving Guide

Overview

As a country in Eastern Europe, Ukraine is often overlooked in tourism but is home to rich art, culture, architecture, and history. Here you will find numerous cathedrals and castles dating as far back as the 11th century that has stood the test of time and are still standing strong, serving as tourist destinations. Present as well are marvelous, lush green landscapes and natural lakes that are nothing short of breathtaking.

Olden times and modern days convene in Ukraine as it is also home to some cultural centers where busking is still pretty much alive to operas and ballets that give you a glimpse of Ukrainian talent. Gastronomically adventurous types will surely enjoy market squares where there are abundances of cafés and restaurants catering to your Eastern European cuisine craving. Though bypassed by many, Ukraine is truly a hidden gem that one cannot afford to miss.

How Will This Guide Help You?

This informative guide will tell you all driving-related things about Ukraine. From the most basic information about the country to its current border status, its history, and culture. Included are driving tips in Ukraine should you explore this country on your own. Get acquainted with the wonders of Ukraine and read for yourself what you could expect in this country.

Introduction

Ukraine is the second-largest Eastern European country next to Russia. Its capital is Kiev (or Kyiv), which can be found in north-central Ukraine. Its independence came later in the 20th century after having been part of the U.S.S.R. To the north of Ukraine is Belarus and Russia on the east, with the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea on the southern portion. Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary are the countries located in the west of Ukraine.

Current Border Status and Updates in Ukraine

For foreigners to gain entry into Ukraine, health insurance covering COVID-19 must be purchased from a reputable Ukrainian company. Ukraine has Red and Green Zone countries. Red zone countries show high incidences of COVID-19 and are required to undergo 14 days quarantine, which will be verified by the government's Ddi-Vdoma app.

Countries coming from the green zone are no longer required to undergo quarantine or observation upon arrival in Ukraine. Passengers who have negative PCR tests are also not necessary to self-quarantine. The Ddi-Vdoma app allows you to choose your desired quarantine facility and, at the same time, be monitored by the authorities. Travelers from red zones claiming to come from green zones have to prove the claim’s legitimacy before skipping 14-day isolation.

If you want to learn more about its current travel restrictions, please visit the Travel Restrictions Page of the International Drivers’ Association through this link.

Entry Requirements in Ukraine

Before entering Ukraine, you must first present a valid passport. No visa is needed for tourists staying less than 90 days within a 180-day time frame. A currency of greater than 10,000 euros needs to be declared via writing. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens from red zone countries must present negative PCR test results.

Safety Protocols in Ukraine

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, specific measures have been taken by the Ukrainian government to ensure the safety of both the residents and tourists entering Ukraine to avoid the spread of the virus. An adaptive quarantine has been imposed in Ukraine until the 31st of December 2020 with the corresponding restrictions that limit movement. Various health checkpoints will also be present at airports.

Strictly implemented protocols are the wearing of masks and frequent sanitation. The operation of nightclubs, tourist spots, and any place where people could gather into a crowd is prohibited. Restaurants are open up until 10:00 pm, and gatherings with more than twenty people are also prohibited. Public transportation is available only for those who comply with the proper mask-wearing protocol.

If you're planning on driving in Ukraine, head on over to https://internationaldriversassociation.com/travel-restrictions/ for more information regarding the travel restrictions in the country.

General Knowledge About Ukraine

What Is the History of Ukraine?

Scythians were the first residents in Ukraine, settling in the 7th century BC. The Greeks founded the states close to the Black Sea, with the Slavs following close by. The Vikings conquered Kyiv in 882, and in 998, Vladimir I converted Ukraine into a Christian State. The Mongols came in 1240 and conquered southern and eastern Ukraine, with its remaining parts staying independent throughout the 14th century until the Poles’ arrival.

Ukraine's 20th-century history was spent under the hold of Russia, with a civil war breaking out between the two nations in 1918, and in 1921, Ukraine was made to be part of the Soviet Union. The purges that occurred from 1937-1939 resulted in the murder of many Ukrainians. Another significant aspect of Ukrainian history is the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. 1991 saw the liberation of Ukraine from the U.S.S.R.

What is the Land Area of Ukraine?

Ukraine has an overall land area of 603, 549 sq m. It is primarily made of plains and plateaus with a 574 feet elevation. It is also known for its mountainous regions such as the Ukrainian Carpathians and Crimean Mountains that serve as Ukraine borders. 57% of Ukrainian land is considered to be fertile.

What Are the Official Languages of Ukraine?

Ruthenian was the former name of Ukraine's language, which meant "Little Russian." Nowadays, the most common languages spoken are East Slavic language and Ukrainian. The writing system in Ukraine is Cyrillic, much like other parts of Russia. The nearby areas of Poland, Kazakhstan, and Romania also use the East Slavic language.

There have been government efforts dedicated to preserving the Ukrainian language since its usage declined when Ukraine was under Soviet rulership. Upon liberation, Ukrainian was implemented as the primary language to be used. It is taught in schools and subtitled in popular media.

Moreover, other minority languages are also spoken in Ukraine, such as Eastern Yiddish, Rusyn, Belarusian, Crimean Tatar, Romanian, Hungarian, and Polish.

What Is the Religion in Ukraine?

Eastern Orthodoxy is the most common religion in Ukraine, with most of its tourist spots consisting of orthodox churches. The western part of Ukraine follows the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Other religions also prevail in Ukraine such as Protestantism (2.0%), Latin Catholic (2.0%), Islam (1.0%), Judaism (0.5%) and others (42.5%).

What Is the Government of Ukraine?

For many years Ukraine was considered part of the Soviet Union before adopting a new constitution in 1996 after they were declared independent back in 1991. Its government is a constitutional republic. To this day, since May 20, 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky is the president of Ukraine. The presidents of Ukraine stay in the Mariinsky Palace, which is located in the capital Kyiv.

What Are Some Tourism Facts About Ukraine?

Ukraine is frequently overlooked, meaning it doesn't gather that many tourists. However, this doesn't mean that this country is lacking in tourist spots that some flock to. According to statistics in 2018, 14 million tourists visited Ukraine, and the tourism sector is seeking to increase this number in the coming years.

If you're planning to visit Ukraine, take note that the best times to visit are during the summer months of May-June for fair, sunny weather that is ideal for walking and strolling. Since Ukraine is also known for its beaches, visiting during the summer is suitable for those looking to bask in the sun by the sea. The least favorable times to visit are between July and August when thunderstorms occur, keeping all the people inside their homes.

Why Do Tourists Love Ukraine?

Some of the most frequently visited attractions in Ukraine include St. Sophia's Cathedral, Kyiv Perschk Lavra, amongst others. Ukraine is known for its stunning orthodox churches that boast intricate, old-world Gothic architecture, so it isn't a wonder why tourists enjoy visiting these sites as they are just too picturesque to miss. Apart from this, Ukraine is also home to museums and opera houses that showcase its rich history and culture.

International Driver's Permit in Ukraine

Ukraine might be a country that isn't flocked frequently by tourists, but that doesn't mean that their tourist drivers’ protocols are lenient. Indeed, the best way to explore Ukraine is through driving but know that one of the main driving requirements in Ukraine is an International Driver's Permit. Here is essential information regarding the International Driver's Permit (IDP) for Ukraine, so you can start driving in Ukraine now.

Is a Local Driver's License Valid in Ukraine?

Although foreigners can rent cars and drive, it is still mandatory to have an IDP when driving in Ukraine. Foreigners who wish to stay longer must register and acquire a driving license in Ukraine, which is simultaneously valid with your local driver's license. Applying for a local Ukrainian license would require you to attend a driver's school in Ukraine and take driving lessons. After passing said driving lessons in Ukraine, you must take a test and pass.

However, if you will be staying for a short time, it is recommended to get an IDP. For instance, if you are an Indian national and wondering if your Indian driving license is valid in Ukraine, then you would need an IDP since India hasn't signed and ratified the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, so they can't drive in Ukraine using their native license.

Does an International Driver's Permit Replace a Native Driver's License?

No, an IDP does not replace your native driver's license. It is a translation of your driver’s license, an additional document that is one of the driving requirements in Ukraine. An IDP can serve as a means of identifying for border inspection purposes, accidents, and other legal transactions. Car rental companies are rigorous regarding having an IDP before they allow you to rent, so this is another reason why an IDP is essential.

Who Can Apply for an International Driver's Permit for Ukraine?

Individuals who are aged 18 and above can apply for an IDP. Unlike a driver's license, you don't have to take a driving test in Ukraine to get your IDP. You can do so conveniently online on the IDA website. Depending on your stay in the country, you can even choose your package with varying validity.

When Can I Apply for an International Driver's Permit?

There isn't a particular date on which you can apply for an IDP, but it is recommended that you get one before you start traveling or rent a car since most car rental companies require an IDP. Getting one on the IDA website is smooth and hassle-free and can be translated into 12 languages, plus recognized in 150 +countries. The process only takes twenty minutes, and instant verification gives you an IDP in no time.

Do I Need an IDP to Drive in Ukraine?

An IDP is a significant driving requirement in Ukraine. Foreigners are often not required to have an IDP. Depending on the rules of your country, some can drive with their native licenses in recognized nations.

Regarding Indian nationals, they can use their native license to drive in 10 countries, including France, Norway, Germany, the U.S., amongst others. So if you are wondering if an Indian driving license is valid in Ukraine, Ukraine isn't on the list, so they must obtain an IDP.

Who Needs an IDP?

Tourists who are yearning to visit and drive in Ukraine are required to have an IDP as it is a translation for your native driving license in Ukraine and is one of the essential documents you must have, as it is one of the driving rules in Ukraine. Those who want to rent cars need an IDP since it is a requirement by car rental companies. An IDP is convenient for business people staying for extended periods and needs to rent vehicles for convenience.

When Will I Use an IDP?

Besides being a driver's license translation used for driving, you can also use an IDP to rent cars. It is also a means of identification and a legal document you can use to present to authorities during inspections at borders. You can also use your IDP for legal transactions such as purchases. If you're looking to begin your journey by driving, get your IDP now on the IDA website, so you can start driving in Ukraine now.

How Long Is an IDP Valid?

For tourists staying for shorter periods, a license with a one-year validity is highly recommended. Business people staying for longer durations are advised to purchase the IDP with longer validity dates around 2-3 years. Always check your IDP's validity as driving with an expired IDP would warrant is invalid.

Renting a Car in Ukraine

The best way to explore the wonders of Ukraine is by driving. Driving in Ukraine gives you more control over your time and independence with your destinations. Renting a car is the most popular option for tourists to get around, but before you can think about driving, you must first know what factors to consider before renting your car. Here is some information about car renting in Ukraine.

What are the Advantages of Renting a Car?

There are many benefits to renting a car to drive in Ukraine, one of them being more flexibility and control over your itinerary. While it can be fun to explore via public transportation, the waiting, the adherence to the schedule, and the congestion can be quite tiresome and boring, not giving you the privacy and freedom to experience Ukraine's tourist spots and countryside on your own time.

Car renting saves a lot of money along with booking cheap flights and hotels. The convenience of not having to carry your luggage with you at all times and squeezing it into public vehicles is another benefit of renting a car. You can take them with you at all times and not even have to worry about accidentally leaving it behind.

Another convenience of most rent-a-cars online is you get to set your pick up points and the time you need to be picked up so when you arrive, you have your rental car waiting. Most rental car companies are situated near airports where tourists are most likely to be.

Where to Rent a Car in Ukraine?

Many rental companies cater to your needs. Car rental companies such as Budget Ukraine are located at Boryspil Airport, and Sixt Rent A Car at Lviv International Airport, making it convenient for tourists to rent a vehicle for their trip immediately. Other companies that offer their services include Europcar, Kayak, VIP Cars, among others.

There are two sorts of rental agencies when in Ukraine, namely international and local. International car rental agencies include Sixt, Budget, Hertz, Europcar, and Avis, charge higher prices. Local companies charge far cheaper for their cars.

To make booking more comfortable for you, these companies have online options to book ahead of time. Payment, however, would still be done in person upon picking up.

What Documents Do You Need to Rent a Car?

If you're thinking about renting a car for driving in Ukraine, be sure that you have the requirements as car rentals are very strict regarding compliance. You would need a license for driving in Ukraine and essential documents such as passports and valid IDs. Tourists must have an International Driver's Permit for Ukraine that you must carry with you at all times along with your native driver's license.

What Vehicles Can You Rent?

There is a wide array of vehicles car rental companies offer for you to rent. You can choose from Economy cars, Compact, Intermediate, Standard, SUVs for multiple passengers and big luggage, Passenger vans, Luxury vehicles, and Convertibles. The prices of these vary depending on the make of the car but going by the most popular according to Kayak.com, the Economy prices at about $20/day.

If you wish to know the different prices of the prevalent vehicles being rented in Ukraine, here are their rates per day:

  • Economy-$20/day
  • Compact-$21/day
  • Intermediate-$31/day
  • Standard-$28/day
  • Mini-$25/day
  • Passenger Van-$50/day
  • Premium SUV-$108/day

How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent?

The minimum age for one to be able to rent a car in Ukraine is twenty years old. Said individual must be a holder of a valid driver's license for at least a year. A young driver surcharge is implemented by some agencies whose drivers are 21-24. Young driver surcharges amount to around 590 UAH. Young tourists are also advised to have an International Driver's Permit, which is attainable since the minimum age for getting an IDP is 18.

Senior citizen drivers above the age of 70 are subject to fees when renting a car.

What Fees Are Covered?

Some car rental companies come with insurance, while others prefer to get insurance before renting your car. Since one of the driving rules in Ukraine requires drivers to have emergency kits in their vehicles, some rental companies do not come with these, so you would need to invest in these.

Other tools that may or may not come with your car include a GPS navigation system, child seats, first aid kits. You may also need to shoulder the parking and toll fees, which vary from place to place as well as the gas prices.

Do You Need Insurance?

Driving in Ukraine needs insurance since it is one of the basic requirements that tourists driving rental cars need to have apart from their native driver's license, passport, an International Driver's Permit. Insurance is essential when renting a car since it will save you costs in repair in the event of an accident. Buying insurance before you start renting your vehicle can save you costs on even the littlest things such as scratches.

Driving in Ukraine with insurance is a way for you to protect yourself and cut costs on damages that could be inflicted on you or your vehicle. It makes sure that you don't get charged high amounts should you get into accidents, which is why it is vital to have it with you, especially as a tourist driving in a foreign country.

What Does Insurance Cover?

According to RentalCover.com, car rental insurance in Ukraine has a collision damage waiver for damaged parts of the car such as windscreens and tires amounting to UAH141,926.56. Super collision damage waiver costs about UAH851.56 and brings your balance to UAH0.00 in the event of a more significant collision with more damages. For incidents of towing and lockout, you can purchase Roadside Assistance insurance for UAH283.85.

Road Rules in Ukraine

Now that you're aware of some of the tips you need for driving in Ukraine via a rental car, it is essential to get acquainted with its road rules. These driving tips in Ukraine will keep you safe and ensure that you aren't getting into a conflict with the law. Here are some of the driving rules in Ukraine, ranging from basic to particular, that you need to be aware of.

Who Is Not Allowed to Drive in Ukraine?

The driving age in Ukraine is eighteen years old, and anyone below this age cannot drive. You must also have a valid driver's license that has been in possession for at least a year or an International Driver's Permit. The minimum age to rent a car is twenty years old. Prohibited from driving and renting a car are those without valid documents. To obtain a license, you would need to attend a driving school in Ukraine and pass the driving test.

Ukraine has a strict policy for drunk driving, and authorities will not hesitate to apprehend drunk drivers. A 2020 law states that a higher DUI fine will be placed on those who go above the legal limit.

What Are the General Standards for Driving in Ukraine?

There are specific driving rules in Ukraine that citizens and tourists need to abide by to maintain order and safety. The following rules hold in most other countries, but if you're going to be driving in Ukraine as a tourist, you would need to note these rules to avoid any legal troubles on what could've been a relaxing vacation.

  • Always carry your essential documents, as driving without them is illegal in Ukraine. A valid native driver's license, passport, car insurance are the most critical documents one must carry. An IDP is obtainable online, and you don't even need to take a driving test in Ukraine to get yours
  • The usage of mobile phones is also strictly prohibited while driving for your safety and other drivers
  • Seatbelts must be worn at all times, and for children below 12, a child seat is required
  • It is a driving rule in Ukraine to have compulsory equipment such as warning triangles, first aid kits, winter tires, and fire extinguishers
  • Speed limits must be strictly followed as well as the policies on drunk driving

To ensure safety when driving in Ukraine, do not make a right turn on a red light. Before going driving in the snow, make sure to have winter tires and snow chains with you.

What Are the Speed Limits in Ukraine?

The speed limit in Ukraine varies on where you will be driving. Dense and congested areas would require you to drive at a speed of 60kph. Residential areas have a speed limit of 20 kph, while 90-110 kph is the range you can drive on highways. Fines will be implemented for those who drive past the speeding limit. The amount of penalties range from UAH20. Cameras are also installed to monitor those who will be speeding.

What Are the Seatbelt Laws in Ukraine?

Seatbelt laws are strictly implemented in Ukraine and must be abided by at all times. A child seat is required for children below the ages of twelve, and these children must sit in the backseat. A fine of 51 hryvnias will be placed on anyone caught driving without a seatbelt.

What Are the Driving Directions in Ukraine?

Since Ukraine is bordered by countries such as Russia, it is possible to drive to its nearby countries. Going from Ukraine to Russia would take approximately 11 hours and 48 minutes with 850 km. Dobzhansky Border is the name of the border crossing between Ukraine and Russia situated on E50 located in the Oblast area.

Poland is also possible to reach from Ukraine via car. The journey takes approximately 13 hours and 50 minutes with a distance of 1203.5 km. Recently Poland has closed down its borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic but has recently allowed entry from countries belonging to the EU, Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.

If you ever want to drive to another country from Ukraine, know that there are border checkpoints that would ask for your important documents, so have them ready with you at all times. Native driver's license, passport, an International Driver's Permit for Ukraine are the documents that are required, and a negative COVID-19 test result. Comply with health protocols at all times to avoid unpleasant encounters at the border.

What Are the Traffic Road Signs in Ukraine?

Different traffic road signs in Ukraine are quite universally known. These traffic road signs are categorized into warning signs, priority signs, prohibitory signs, mandatory signs, and information signs. All these signs are present to ensure your driving in Ukraine safety conditions.

Priority Signs

From the name itself, priority signs are designed to give "priority" and inform the driver of who has the priority. Some of them include:

  • Warning for uncontrolled crossroads
  • Give way to all drivers.
  • Roundabout
  • Crossroads on left
  • Crossroads on right
  • Crossroads on both sides
  • Crossroads on opposite sides
  • Stop
  • Narrowing to give way
  • Direction of the roundabout
  • Priority road and end of the priority road
  • Curve of the main road

Warning Signs

Warning signs are put up to warn drivers about potentially hazardous driving conditions.

  • Danger sign
  • Low flying aircraft
  • Wildlife crossing
  • Movable bridge
  • Speed bump
  • Children crossing
  • Roundabout warnings
  • Cyclists and pedestrians
  • Quarries
  • Road narrowing
  • Roadworks
  • Tunnels
  • Two-way traffic

Prohibitory Signs

These signs are made for limiting or prohibiting specific actions. Some of them include:

  • No Entry
  • No Cars allowed
  • Cyclists are prohibited
  • Horsecarts prohibited
  • Handcarts prohibited
  • Pedestrians prohibited
  • No blowing of horn
  • Overtaking for trucks are not allowed.
  • Speed limit reminders
  • No U-turn

Mandatory Signs

Mandatory signs are signs that drivers have to comply with urgently. Examples of them are:

  • Turn left
  • Turn right
  • Passing left or right
  • Mandatory roundabout
  • Path for cyclists
  • Lane for cars
  • Pedestrian crossing
  • Shared lanes

Information Signs

Information signs inform about the beginning and end of a road situation.

  • Beginning and end of the built-up area
  • Pedestrian crossing
  • Directions
  • Beginning and end of expressway
  • Beginning and end of a motorway

What Are the Parking Policies in Ukraine?

When driving in Kyiv, Ukraine, take note of the necessary parking rules as they are quite particular. Parking is permissible on pavements unless otherwise stated by traffic signs. Make sure that you park in an area that doesn't block the traffic flow.

The duration of parking in some areas is only 30 minutes. Any longer, and you can find your car being towed, so be mindful of the time your vehicle has been parked.

What Is the Right of Way in Ukraine?

There is no right of way in Ukraine, which can pose a significant danger for pedestrians as most drivers don't slow down even as someone is crossing. Most drivers only honk their horns to signify to pedestrians that they are in the way. Still, it is best to be a defensive driver than an aggressive one, drive slowly, follow the traffic rules and regulations, be aware of the speed limit, and be mindful of pedestrians in populated areas.

What Is the Legal Driving Age in Ukraine?

The maximum age to be driving in Ukraine is 18 years old for cars and 16 years for motorbikes, motorcycles, and scooters. Before one can get a driving license in Ukraine, one must first pass two driving tests in Ukraine: one theory and one practical. You can choose among any of the driving schools in Ukraine to take lessons and examinations lasting up to three months. There are 14 categories of driving licenses in Ukraine, with the most significant being:

  • A1-for two-wheeled vehicles with an engine up to 50 sm3
  • A2-for two-wheeled vehicles with an engine 50 sm3 and above
  • B-for motor cars

Is There a Law About Overtaking?

The traffic in Ukraine moves on the right side, so overtaking happens on the left side. There are particular traffic signs erected for drivers to know if overtaking is possible on this road, so it's best to obey them for your safety. One must be cautious when driving in Kyiv, Ukrainea since it has a reputation for being chaotic. Many have experienced traffic laws not being obeyed, so it's best as a tourist to abide by the rules to avoid getting into trouble in a foreign country.

On What Side Will You Be Driving in Ukraine?

The driving side in Ukraine is on the right, with the steering wheel on the left side, much like 162 other countries in the world. Traffic flows on the right side, so when overtaking, be sure to do it on the left. This can be quite confusing for tourists who are more used to driving on the right-hand side.

Are Foreign Vehicles Allowed in Ukraine?

Driving foreign cars in Ukraine is allowed but only for a year. The vehicle would need to be registered in a local motor administrative branch to receive a Ukrainian plate. After two months, you need to register foreign motor plates, and you will be required a local car insurance policy for you to drive a foreign car in Ukraine legally.

Driving Etiquette in Ukraine

Once you've already gotten familiar with the driving rules in Ukraine, it is now time to become acquainted with the customs, culture, and communication in Ukraine. Knowing these can help you better navigate your way around in ways that a map cannot. Some practices are being done worldwide, but these are just some specifics that you can keep in mind should you be in these scenarios when driving in Ukraine.

What If a Car Breaks Down?

If your car breaks down while driving in Kyiv, Ukraine, pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and call for professional assistance, unless you are a car expert and know what to do in the event of which. It is compulsory in Ukraine to carry emergency equipment such as warning triangles. You can put 30 km away from your vehicle to signal to other vehicles that your car has broken down.

This is the reason why it is crucial to have insurance when driving in Ukraine. Car insurance packages can cover car breakdowns and can help you save in terms of costs.

What if Police Stop You?

Police apprehension is quite common in Ukraine, given the traffic situations. If police stop you and see that you are a tourist, it is usually to check if you are speeding, driving under the influence, or have your complete documents with you. Some police pull foreigners over under the guise of 'speeding' but are hinting at a bribe. Do not give in as bribery is illegal.

If pulled over, do not leave your vehicle. Stay inside and let the police approach you. Ask for the name and ID number of the police officer, as well as the reason why you are being pulled over. Remember that the only reasons police can pull you over are accidents, indications of DUI, breakdown, need for witnesses to a crime, vehicle theft suspicion. Anything other than this should raise suspicion.

If you are being fined, do not pay the office directly. Options such as bank, online payment, and I-box are more acceptable. You have 15 days to pay for your fine before the amount starts to grow. Keep the receipt as proof of your payment.

How to Ask for Directions in Ukrainian?

Getting lost in a foreign country is inevitable for tourists. Unfortunately, GPS and maps can only do so much, and some roads are just quite confusing. If you find yourself lost in a particular area in Ukraine, know these basic phrases that can help you get around and find your way.

  • Dobry den - hello
  • Vybachte - excuse me.
  • De - where is…?
  • Vy hovoryte anhlijs koju? - Do you speak English?
  • Shilky - how much/how many?
  • Na…? - Does this go to…?
  • Jaka je stantsija?- what station is this?
  • Jaka je zupynka - what stop is this?

Remember to approach locals in a friendly and polite manner. Most Ukrainians are welcoming and considerate to tourists, so asking for directions in a friendly way shouldn't be a hassle.

What To Do at Checkpoints?

Border checkpoints in Ukraine exist between bordering countries for the sole purpose of inspecting tourists who are driving in the country. Border security check tourists for their documents such as native driver's license, IDP, and car insurance. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, expect that some borders are much stricter regarding health protocols, meaning some might require you a negative test result before letting you through.

What If I Get Into an Accident?

If you should get into an accident, remain calm and don't panic. Switch on your emergency blinkers and make use of the warning triangle. Place it at 50 m away from your vehicle to signal that you are in an emergency to warn other cars. Do not move your vehicle and keep track of all damages. Have your car insurance company ready to contact and ask for assistance from police and, if possible, some locals who speak English.

When the police arrive at the scene of the accident, they are to hand you the following documents:

  • Report of the accident
  • On-site accident scheme with assistance
  • Certificate of vehicular damage

Be wary of anything you don't understand, and don't sign anything you are in disagreement with. This is why driving in Ukraine with insurance is vital so that a company can cover you in the event of an accident and lessen your financial worries.

Driving Situations and Conditions in Ukraine

Aside from knowing how to communicate with locals, deal with the police, and manage an accident situation, another essential thing to take note of is the driving situation in Ukraine. Driving conditions vary from country to country, but since your destination is in Ukraine, it's vital to get familiar with the weather, the wildlife, and the traffic statistics that tell what driving in Ukraine might be like.

This guide will not only tell you about the driving conditions in Ukraine but some insight on popular vehicles, measurements of speed, and the driving behaviors of locals that will boost your road smarts in Ukraine.

How Frequent Are Road Accidents in Ukraine?

Ukraine has garnered a reputation for being bad drivers and frequently breaking the rules, not to mention that Ukrainian roads are littered with potholes with low lighting, making the area ripe for accidents. Driving in Kyiv, Ukraine, a congested urban area is also accident-prone due to the narrow roads.

According to a 2019 report, a staggering 3,454 people died due to road-related incidents, with the overall accident number reaching 160,600. Four thousand six hundred fifty-six of those victims involved were children, 160 of which were killed.

What Are the Common Vehicles Used in Ukraine?

The most commonly used vehicles in Ukraine, according to a 2018 study, are family cars. European brands are more widely used than any other brand. Other famous cars are economy cars that are small and savvy enough for city tours and SUVs, which are also popular with tourists who are keen to explore the countryside, due to their sturdiness and spacious luggage room.

Some cars are ideal for traveling and for a good reason. The common reasons stated include spacious luggage compartment, comfortable seats with good noise insulation, price and quality, and ability to drive on any road surface, rugged or smooth.

Are They Using MpH or KpH?

Miles per Hour (MPH) and Kilometers per Hour (KpH) are the measurements used to tell speed. It varies depending on the country, as some use MpH while others adhere to KpH. In the 19th century, imperial units were used until the introduction of SI Units in 1960. Ukraine is one of the countries that use kilometers/hour, so if you're more used to miles per hour, you might need to learn a bit of conversion.

Note that 1 mile=1.609km and 1 km=0.62 miles. However, fret not, since some cars come with an analog speedometer that place kilometers as the bigger number. It is important to know the speed you drive and see if you are still in compliance with the speed limit.

What Is the Road Situation in Ukraine?

The Ukraine roads have a terrible reputation for being poorly constructed, jagged, and ridden with potholes. Exercise caution and always remember to have your emergency kit ready in case of car breakdowns. The traffic lights sometimes do not function well, which contributes to a lot of confusion and accidents. Bear in mind to always read and follow the traffic signs to ensure your driving in Ukraine safety conditions.

There is no right of way in Ukraine, meaning it's usually an anything-goes situation. Still, this isn't an excuse for you to disregard all forms of safety and consideration. Be mindful of pedestrians and drive slowly in populated areas. Note that the driving side in Ukraine is on the right, so overtake from the left. Some signs in Ukraine indicate crossing wildlife, so if you find yourself on the wild side or the countryside, anticipate crossing cattle or deer.

How Is Winter Driving in Ukraine?

Winter occurs in Ukraine, and should you be visiting Ukraine in the snowy season, heed the essential safety tips. Firstly, you must keep your headlights on and keep them clean to ensure visibility. Your car should have at least half of its gas tank full. Make sure your brakes are working since roads can get slippery in the winter. As much as possible, avoid accident-prone areas such as steep hills.

Are Ukrainians Safe Drivers?

Driving in Ukraine can pose a challenge since many reports have shown that Ukrainians aren't exactly the most obedient when driving. Still, most are quite tolerant and always remember to flash their lights at you at a police post. Most are also quite willing to help tourists who might have a problem with directions.

What Else Do I Need to Know Before Driving in Ukraine?

Since you've become quite acquainted with most of the driving rules in Ukraine, other information you might need to be aware of includes the crime rate and the country’s sociopolitical unrest that could affect your visit. Governments warn against any travel in Crimea and some parts of Eastern Ukraine due to social unrest. Petty crimes such as theft are continually rising in numbers, so remember to keep your valuables close by as a tourist.

Things to Do in Ukraine

Maybe you enjoyed your stay in Ukraine and saw it as a country you might enjoy residing and earning a living through driving. It is possible to apply for residency and get jobs that involve driving in Ukraine. A host of jobs such as truck driving jobs in Ukraine await you, but first, here are some answers to your questions regarding employment and residency in Ukraine.

Can I Drive as a Tourist in Ukraine?

Tourists can drive in Ukraine. As long as the tourist has their corresponding documents such as an IDP for Ukraine and is of the right age, they can rent a car and drive in Ukraine. Certain countries are not required by law to have an IDP and can drive in Ukraine with their native drivers’ licenses. The said countries are the following:

  • Austria
  • Belarus
  • Armenia
  • Congo
  • Iraq
  • Qatar
  • Ecuador
  • Iran
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Azerbaijan,
  • Guyana
  • Albania,
  • Bosnia,
  • Estonia,
  • Spain,
  • Macedonia,
  • Zimbabwe,
  • Italy,
  • Costa Rica,
  • Israel
  • Bahamas
  • Brazil,
  • Bahrain,
  • Venezuela,
  • Greece
  • Ghana
  • Belgium
  • Vietnam,
  • Denmark,
  • Kuwait,
  • Mexico,
  • Norway,
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Portugal,
  • San Marino
  • Tajikstan
  • Latvia
  • Monaco
  • UAE
  • Lithuania
  • Mongolia
  • Pakistan
  • Liberia
  • Nigeria
  • Peru
  • Luxemburg
  • Netherlands
  • South Africa
  • Morocco
  • Germany
  • Cape Verde
  • Senegal
  • Thailand
  • Hungary
  • Croatia
  • Sweden
  • Uzbekistan
  • Central Africa
  • Uruguay
  • Czech Republic
  • Philippines
  • Chile
  • Finland
  • Montenegro
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • South Korea
  • Serbia
  • Tunisia
  • Moldova
  • Slovakia
  • Turkey
  • Russia
  • Slovenia
  • Turkmenistan

Note that tourists from these countries can only drive using their native driver's license for no more than 60 days. Countries who aren't signatories to the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic must get an IDP as their native licenses aren't valid in Ukraine.

Can I Get Employed in Ukraine?

Employment in Ukraine for foreigners is possible. One must follow the conditions for getting employed, such as applying at locally registered companies. It is the employer's responsibility to secure a work permit for their employees. The foreign employee must confirm a temporary residence permit before working.

There are a whole host of jobs one can apply for as a foreigner in Ukraine. Suppose you have mastered the traffic situation in Ukraine and would like to put your driving skills to the test. In that case, you can apply for several driving jobs in Ukraine that cater to a wide variety of clients, from taxi drivers to transport tourists around to truck drivers for companies. Truck driving jobs in Ukraine are also in demand, especially in bigger, more industrialized cities.

Given the convenience of the Internet, one can find jobs in Ukraine easily. Websites such as Linkedin, OverseasJobs, GoAbroad are expatriate friendly job hunting sites that cater to the employment needs and queries of foreigners living in Ukraine. Specific websites for particular jobs, such as ESL Employment for aspiring English teachers, are also available for foreigners seeking job opportunities in Ukraine.

Can I Get a Ukrainian License?

If you've already considered residence in Ukraine, one of the things you could be wondering is "how to get a driving license in Ukraine?" Like anywhere else in the world, applying for a local driver's license has a procedure. Foreigners in Ukraine are expected to apply for a residence permit and register before moving onto a driving school to take driving lessons in Ukraine. If you find these first few steps intimidating, don't worry. There are plenty of driving schools to choose from.

Getting a driver's license in Ukraine would require you to enroll in a driving school in Ukraine. The driving lessons in Ukraine take two months and have two forms of tests: one theory and one actual. Depending on the vehicle you choose to drive, there are varying licenses as the licenses for motorcycles are different from those you use when driving a car. After passing the test, you would need to present the required documents at the corresponding transport office to get your license.

Among the popular driving schools include Driving DrivePro, a driving school in Kyiv, Ukraine, and MVR Motorcycle School, a driving school in Odesa, Ukraine. One would choose a driving school that is within the area of your residence. If you live in Odesa, Oblast, Ukraine, you would want to find a driving school in Odesa, Ukraine, such as Avtoshkola Proftekh, making it more convenient for you.

Can I Apply as a Driver in Ukraine?

One can undoubtedly apply for driving jobs in Ukraine, provided that they meet the formal requirements for gaining employment. Online job search engines such as JobAndSalaryAbroad state that the most common places for truck driving jobs in Ukraine are Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and Lviv. The average salary for truck drivers is USD 408, slightly higher than the average USD 321 salary in Ukraine.

Taxi driving jobs are also reasonably common in the city where busy working people and tourists need a ride. According to the same website, the average salary for a taxi driver in Ukraine is USD263, a bit lower than the average wage of USD321.

Can I Apply for Residency in Ukraine?

Foreigners can apply for residency in Ukraine, be it temporary or permanent. The only difference is that permanent residents have natural-born Ukrainian citizen’s rights, such as voting. Applying for permanent residency can enter and leave the country without visa requirements and get jobs in Ukraine without acquiring permits.

Specific individuals can claim permanent residencies, such as those working in science and culture, professionals in a particular occupation, direct relatives of Ukrainian citizens, investors, and refugees residing in Ukraine for at least three years.

Top Destinations in Ukraine

Now that you've learned all the essential information in Ukraine, from getting an IDP in Ukraine to driving in Ukraine, to all the road rules and regulations along with requirements for employment and residency, it's time to get to know the destinations tourists love visiting in Ukraine. While it's truly an understatement to say that Ukraine is a stunning East European country, it is overlooked. This guide is here to shine the spotlight on the best spots that make Ukraine a gem.

Sophia's Cathedral

St. Sophia's Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts marvelous Baroque architecture that Ukraine is known for. This cathedral is more than just a holy landmark; the interior serves as a historic attraction for tourists with its mosaics, murals, and frescoes that have been preserved and stood the test of time.

If your kind of trip is more than just admiring the frescoes and mosaics, there are a host of other activities you can do near St. Sophia Cathedral. One can visit the quirky and cute Hedgehog Monument and have some pictures taken at the Cat Sculptures. If art galleries are your cup of tea, then head on straight to the Art 14 Gallery or the Culture and Arts Complex.

Driving Directions

  • It will only take you 19 minutes to drive to St. Sophia's Cathedral from Kyiv International Airport.
  • Continue to Blvd. Medova and take People's Militia street, Povitroflotsky Ave., Vasyl Lypkivsky street, and Leo Tolstoy street to Vladimirskaya street.

Kamenets-Podolsky Castle

A tour in Kamenets-Poldosky Castle would be akin to a fairy tale book coming to life. Located in Kamiantes Podilsky, this castle has stood the test of time, having been around since the 14th century. Tourists can walk around the area and get a glimpse of what the olden world looked like. Modern amenities exist in the area for those looking for a place to eat, such as restaurants and cafes for hanging out and taking in the beautiful atmosphere of Kamanets-Podolsky.

Museums and castles aren't the only things one can experience in Kamianets Podilsky. You can stroll in the old town and maybe visit the Old Bell Tower of St. Stepanos. Those looking for a bit of a rush can try the exhilarating zip line or bungee jump at Novoplanyvski Bridge. Cafés, restaurants and pubs are abundant in the area so relaxation shouldn't be a problem. The site is tourist-friendly and safe to walk around in at night.

Driving Directions

  • To get to Kamanets Podolsky, Take Povitroflotsky ave. and street New to Great District Road / Ring Road / T1027 / E40 / M06 / M07.
  • Then continue on Е40 / М06. Take E583 / М21, P31, Т0610, Т2308 and Н03 to Хмельницьке ш. in Kamianets-Podilskyi.
  • Turn right onto Khmelnytske sh. (signs for LLC "AGRO-SPARE PARTS" / HOTEL 7 DAYS)

Uman

Central Ukraine houses the city of Uman, which once served as a pilgrimage for Breslov Hasidic Jews. This idyllic area is filled with green landscapes that are just so pleasant to look at and too picturesque to pass. Perhaps a distinct feature of Uman is their Great Waterfall, where a challenge to pass through without getting soaked is sure to grant your wish along with the Grotto of Calypso, which is also said to fulfill hopes and desires.

A genuinely dreamy and peaceful area, Uman also has wonders such as the Uman Fountain, which displays a stunning light and water show; the Sofiyevka Park, intricately landscaped by a river which was Nikolai I's tribute to his wife Alexandra Federovna; and maybe visit the Rabbi Nachman's Tomb. There is always a beautiful sight waiting to be discovered in Uman.

Driving Directions:

  • To get to Uman from Kyiv International Airport would take two hours.
  • First Take Povitroflotsky ave. and street New to Great District Road / Ring Road / T1027 / E40 / M06 / M07. Follow E95 / М05 to вул. Liberators in Uman.
  • Take the exit toward УМАНЬ / UMAN / ПІКІВЕЦЬ from E95 / М05.
  • Continue on Str. Liberators.
  • Take Str. Heavenly Hundred to st. Lenin.

Odessa

Odessa, the third-largest city in Ukraine, is situated on a port of the Black Sea is frequented by tourists mainly for its beaches but its architectural wonders. The tourist spot that put Odesa on travelers’ maps and minds is the Odesa Opera House, where you can still watch operas and ballet performances that boast the vibrant and robust culture of Ukraine. In terms of culture, its streets are filled with shops, buskers, and street performers, a blend of old and new.

Like many, if you've come to Odessa for the beaches, then you've got plenty to choose from. From Langeron beach with a Dolphinarium you can visit; to resort area Arkadia that also has musical fountains at night and a booming nightlife scene; to Sauvignon Beach, known for its pristine waters and shores and its high-end cottage settlements.

Driving Directions:

  • To get to Odesa from Kyiv International Airport, take Nova street, Vyacheslav Chornovil street, Vasyl Stus, Balukova Street, and Zvenigorod to E95/M05 in Kyiv.
  • Follow E95/M05 to Rozkydailivska Street in Odessa.

The drive takes five hours approximately. If you want to soak up the sand and sea for your whole stay, it is advisable to look up some resorts near the beach to heighten the summery experience.

Carpathian Mountains

If you're more of a natural person and would like to see the earthly wonders of Ukraine, then the Carpathian Mountains is for you. Its highest point is Mt. Horvela, which stands at 6761.8 feet and is the ideal site for campers and nature buffs with an atmosphere and ecosystem akin to the Swiss Alps. You can also witness the "Pearl of the Carpathians" or Synevyr Lake that is glowing and tranquil, the product of an earthquake.

Aside from basking in the wonder of these mysterious mountains that were the stuff of folklore, you can go for a hike to heighten your appreciation of the Carpathians; go wildlife watching and see for yourself the wildlife that dwells in it, and ultimately get a taste of the culture that made it famous. You can see the UNESCO World Heritage traditional village that seems unfazed by modernity as its classical, old-world feel is retained.

Driving Directions:

  • From Kyiv International Airport, to get to the Carpathians, you would have to take Povitroflotsky ave. and street New to Great District Road / Ring Road / T1027 / E40 / M06 / M07. Continue on Е40 / М06.
  • Drive from Т0614 and E583 / М21 to Zhytomyr Oblast.
  • Continue to the Vinnytsia region and make a U-Turn.
  • Follow Т0610 and Т2308 to вул. Dunayhorodska / H03 in Dunaivtsi.
  • Follow Н03, E85 and DN17/E58 to Strada Ober/DJ177A in Frasin, România. Continue until you reach the Carpathians.

Kiev

What tours in Ukraine would be complete without visiting the capital? Kiev or Kyiv is home to the best architectural wonders that are best suited for the tastes of history and art buffs. Orthodox churches and cathedrals are all over Kyiv and have been standing for centuries. Kievo-Pecherska Lavra, built-in 1051 and St. Sophia's Cathedral built in the 11th century are just some examples of the cathedrals Kyiv proudly showcases.

If you're looking for other activities to do while in Kyiv, you can visit the Pirogovo-Kyiv Museum of Folk Architecture that showcases Ukrainian folk living. The Khreshchatyk is the place to be if you're looking for a shopping mecca in Kyiv. During weekends, the streets are being closed to make way for public gatherings with street performances. Culture and history come together and come alive in Kyiv.

Suppose you're seeking to tour Kyiv first after having come from the Kyiv International Airport. In that case, it is best if you're to find a budget-friendly hotel nearby, so you can take in the urban and cultural experience. Since Kyiv is modern, food and shopping establishments are everywhere, and you won't find a shortage of places to get your needs and wants.

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