How Safe Is Ukraine for Travel?

Ukraine
Safety Index:
30

Ukraine FlagUkraine : Safety by City

Ukraine is a country located in Eastern Europe, situated at the northwest end of the Black Sea, sharing its borders with Russia to the east, Belarus to the north, Poland to the northwest, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, and Romania to the south west and south, with Moldova in between. Unfortunately, Ukraine is partly occupied by Russia and trouble by political turmoil, so visiting it is not entirely safe.

There are many sights Ukraine offers to its visitors, like UNESCO listed Lviv centre, Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans in Chernivtsi, Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Pechersk Lavra in Kyiv. If you’re more of a nature lover, you can visit the Carpathian Mountains which are one of the most visited attractions in this country. They are considered to be the Green Pearl of Ukraine, with popular tourist resorts, offering a mix of natural areas, forests, meadows, and sights like shepherds and locals enjoying being surrounded by pure nature.

Warnings & Dangers in Ukraine

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : HIGH

Generally speaking, Ukraine is not too safe for visitors. It is a country where travelers aren't too common, but if you do visit, there are areas that should be avoided at all costs.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

Public transportation is one of the most common places where you'll find pickpockets operating. Transport is generally safe, though you should keep in mind that most of the signs are written in Cyrillic letters.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

Pickpockets are a serious issue in Ukraine, and it occurs everywhere so you should be careful particularly in crowded places, in tourist areas, in bars and nightclubs and on public transportation.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

As for natural disasters, what still represents the biggest issue in Ukraine is the legacy of the Chernobyl disaster. It is also susceptible to frequent flooding, freezing winters, storms and mine disasters.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : HIGH

As for violent crime, it has been on the rise in Central Kyiv, especially after dark. This includes muggings, and armed robbery particularly in the larger cities.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : HIGH

Terrorists are likely to try and carry out attacks in Ukraine, and the authorities in Ukraine have announced that they have already disrupted numerous planned attacks, including in the capital, Kyiv.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : HIGH

Scamming is also an issue in Ukraine. There are the famous scams over dating sites where the victims are asked to send money to their prospective date in order for the date to be able to leave Ukraine, and then after the money is sent, the relationship ends. Apart from onlin scams, be careful on the streets, keep an eye on your drink and check your change twice.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : HIGH

Ukraine is not a safe place for solo female travelers. Crime is widespread throughout the country and there is political turmoil as well as terrorism threats disrupting peace in the country. Do not go anywhere alone and avoid dark and deserted areas.

So... How Safe Is Ukraine Really?

Ukraine is not safe for travelers, and there’s a huge threat if you plan on traveling near parts occupied by Russia. These parts are Luhansk, Donetsk and Crimean regions and Ukrainian government currently has no jurisdiction there. And even though bad blood between Russia and Ukraine is unlikely to affect tourists, you should know that there are no government services like police, hospitals, firefighters, ambulance services etc. Crossing from Russia into this part of Ukraine is illegal, while crossing into Russia is also strongly recommended against.

Avoid traveling to Chornobyl and the whole radiation zone, including the ghost city of Prypiyat, but if you still want to visit it, go accompanied by a tour, as traveling alone to these parts of the country is forbidden. Do not leave your tour group or separate from them, as it can result in fines and radiation that may cause serious illnesses and health issues.

As for crime, you should try and lay low and refrain from showing the fact that you’re a tourist or your belongings. Try to fit in as foreigners are still rare in this country. Petty theft is an issue here, so be very careful and guard your stuff. Kyiv, Odesa and other major cities are more accustomed to tourists, which is why pickpockets here are more common, especially in crowded places like metro, bus and train stations.

Useful Information

  • Visas - Many countries do not need a visa in order to enter Ukraine. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the planned date of your travel and you need to apply for your visa well in advance as they cannot be acquired on Ukranian airports. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - Ukrainian hryvnia is the official currency in Ukraine. ATMs are widespread throughout the country and you can expect them even in smaller towns. Credit cards are also accepted in most establishments.
  • Weather - Ukraine has temperate continental climate, with the exception of the southern coast of Crimea, where the climate is subtropical of the Mediterranean type. Winters here are warm without much snow while summers are rainy which is typical of the mild climate of the Zakarpatye region.
  • Airports - Boryspil International Airport is the country's main international airport. It is located in Boryspil, 29 km east of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Ukraine, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Ukraine Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -5° C
Feb -3° C
Mar 2° C
Apr 10° C
May 16° C
Jun 19° C
Jul 20° C
Aug 20° C
Sep 15° C
Oct 8° C
Nov 3° C
Dec -3° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
-2051421242525191250
Low
°C
-7-6-25101415141040-5
High
°F
283241577075777766544132
Low
°F
192128415057595750393223

Where to Next?

9 Reviews on Ukraine

  1. Much safer than this article lets on

    This review is completely off target. I’ve lived in Kyiv as well as other cities for years and I don’t live in the posh districts either. Sure if you leave something out it will probably get stolen, but people aren’t going to run up and mug you on the street. It’s very safe for women, even at night. In my residential block, not the nicest part of town, women freely walk the streets without much worry even when it’s dark.

    Homeless people can be very determined to get money off of you, but just ignore them and keep walking. Sure you should be cautious.. i.e. if you see a group of drunk ghetto looking people on a dark street corner, it’s probably better to avoid them.

    Sure pickpocketing is high, but it’s not rampant. I also reject the notion that a mail-order bride scam is indicative of a countries safety since the victims are scammed from the comfort of their home countries. Typical scams are involved in the real estate practice i.e. if you rent an apartment make sure the person renting it to you can present the document proving ownership, along with their passport. Or the stranger who drops money in front of you and wants to split it with you etc. etc.

    I am also really curious how the “terrorism risk” is assessed and how Zimbabwe is rated safer than Ukraine according to this site.

    Overall, I’d rate Ukraine a medium risk. Be aware of your surroundings, be careful if you leave your belongings out, and stay away from obvious trouble areas such as bazaars at night and you’ll be perfectly fine.

    1. It's safe. Enjoy your trip.

      i would have to agree with Keith. I am (a woman) from ukraine but live in between Houston in the US and France right now (so haven’t lived in ukraine for a long time). When I visit every year I never feel threatened or in danger. Pick pocketers are a definite risk everywhere, although ive never been pick pocketed in my life.

      There’s nothing more dangerous about Ukraine as there is about Houston or Paris. Obvious rules apply everywhere: dont go into dark alleys at night, dont get into unmarked cars, dont take out wads of money … etc. and Id think it’s common sense that you don’t travel to the area affected by war. No one on the streets of other cities walks around with guns, so you’ll be totally fine.

      Also major cities have UBER for transport so you don’t have to be in crowded public transport.

      Overall, Id say its significantly safer to visit than this article rates it. If this is what 30 looks like then we are basically good to go almost anywhere.

  2. Real Review of 2019 Kiev

    As an American and ethnic minority who has spent substantial time in Kyiv, I feel that the above review is highly inaccurate. Overall, I feel that Kyiv downtown is about as safe as any major Western city.

    PETTY CRIME: I have heard stories about pickpockets and scammers. I’ve run into a couple of scammers and professional ladies at bars. They definitely exist, but overall are pretty obvious and if you don’t pay them any mind, they generally make a quick pass and then leave you be.

    ROBBERY/MUGGING: I am sure that it happens as it does in all cities, but I’ve never really run into it. I ran into one guy who was belligerently drunk, but it was the Podil bar district on a Saturday night. My Ukrainian friend told him to get lost and after a brief stare down he did. Exercise basic caution (dont follow strangers into poorly lit areas, dont antagonize people, be aware of people following you, etc.). Dont flash large amounts of cash.

    DEMONSTRATIONS: Due to the elections, there are a lot of demonstrations going on, some by far right parties. I generally avoid these. However, I have run into a few members of National Corps and other groups deemed dar right and had no issues. I also dont engage or antagonize them. Use common sense and avoid demonstrations, which are pretty easy to notice due to smoke, flares and flags.

    GENERAL HOSPITALITY: Ukrainians are not as boisterously outgoing to foreigners as some westerners. However, once I’ve spoken to them I have found many to be quite friendly and often curious about you, your country and why you are visiting theirs. Ukrainian service in restaurants is a bit different and waiters are not as on top of you as in the west. This can be a pain when you are trying to order or pay, but is also nice because you never feel rushed. If you mention an interest in Ukrainian culture or history, many people open up to you very quickly and are eager to share about their country.

    Overall, I find Kiev to be as safe as any western city and safer than many in the USA and UK. Of note, I do not go out and drink and party a lot, so maybe it is a bit different when you are stumbling around drunk at a late hour. However, even the areas that Ukrainians have warned me are “dangerous” I have never had any problems in.

    As in any city, you can always be a victim.of crime. Just stay alert. Also, I’d warn against being a sex tourist. It is still common, but my impression is that many Ukrainians (Male and female) take a dim view of this and prostitution is technically illegal. This is also how you will open yourself up to being scammed or sometimes lured to a spot for a robbery.

  3. Safe enough

    I was in Kiev three years ago , we stopped for three nights, I felt very safe, no problem, Hotel was good as was the food and the people were generally friendly enough.
    There is a lot of interesting places to visit there and its all very cheap.
    With the exception of some countries in Africa and The Middle East , this site is rubbish for travel tips. Do as you would in any other city your not familiar with and you’ll be fine.

  4. Safer than US cities

    I visited Kiev for several days and thoroughly enjoyed it. I found more crime and problems in Portland Oregon than anywhere in Ukraine or Belarus. Sure, the metro is packed and there are pickpockets but use common sense and you’ll be fine. I walked around Kiev at night with no problem.

    There are more violent demonstrations in Portland OR than I found in Ukraine. As for Chernobyl, there is more radiation in your airplane than you’ll find there. I find Eastern European countries to be safer and less pickpockets than cities in Western Europe. Visit Ukraine, the people are friendly and desperate for tourists. America is 4 times more dangerous than Ukraine!

  5. Travel in Odessa

    This review is so untrue its almost a fairytale, I travel to Odessa every 3 weeks from London connecting through Kiev, I travel on public transport and have found all the people very helpful and have never felt any threat whatsoever.
    Don’t flash your money around, I don’t at home either, have respect for the people, laws and the country and you will be fine. Watch out for the taxis at the airport, they will try to rip you off but they will at any airport anywhere in the world

  6. Very Safe

    This site is way off. I spent a week in Ukraine, between L’viv and Kyiv. I didn’t see any serious scams and nothing like I saw in Italy. I was even in Kyiv during their Independence Day from communism on August 24th. I was hesitant to go to the capital for the 24th because of things I had heard, but once I saw the precautions taken by the police and military, I felt very safe. Unless you go to the Donbass or Crimea, you’re fine. The only thing is that the street vendors will try to overcharge you or may shortchange you, but I’d hardly call that a serious crime. Uber is common (and very cheap) in major cities, you can always get a receipt to check your change at any restaurant, and vendors never asked to take my credit card out of my sight when paying. I was naive and walked a few blocks to my Airbnb one night and I wasn’t even approached by anyone.

    TL;DR: L’viv and Kyiv are incredibly safe. Don’t go to Eastern Ukraine. Read travel advisories from your government.

  7. All the comments are true, my grandparents are living in Kiev, I’ve been there many times for months. I’m livin in London for years, have been all around and apart from central it’s a lot more dangerous. If you get mugged in Ukraine and I’ve never been worst case scenario is a couple of punches compare to get stabbed, hammered or splashed with acid to the face for a mobile phone. Pick pocketers scammers yes, avoid drunk people, drunk Slavic people fight you just for lookin at. Taxis will rip you off all around the world either but in Ukraine that thing still exists when you just wave down a very old car with a pensioner he’ll takes you to the and of the edge of the city cheaper than end taxi. Overall it’s not worse than any eastern – western European large capital.

  8. Rubbish! Safe as House

    Bull Sh#t!

    Safer here than in most UK cities! Been to Kyiv few months after the riots – no problem. Dont piss off the locals, respect their custom and enjoy the country!

Rated 4.33 / 5 based on 9 user reviews.

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