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 southwest 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 center, 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 online 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 the 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 Pripyat’, 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 a 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?

27 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!

  9. What a lot of rubbish

    Who wrote this?

    Go and have a great trip to Kyiv.

  10. Totally safe, Lviv is safest

    Totally inaccurate. I’m living in Lviv and it is totally safe to walk everywhere, even out of the city center, even if you’re alone female, even at night.

    Idiot wrote this article, as Lviv, Kyiv, Odesa (biggest cities) are totally safe to visit

  11. Quite safe!

    Ukraine is quite safe to visit, except for the Donetsk & Lugansk regions (where the war is). The major tourist destinations like Kyiv, Lviv, Odessa, Chernivtsi, Carpathians are generally safe except for the pickpocketers. Well, there are some places where it is not advisable to walk at night, but they are usually far from the tourist centers.

  12. A paradise.

    Ukraine is one of the only countries where you can pay your bus tickets from hand to hand, starting from the very back of a fully crowded vehicle up to the driver without moving from your seat… and then getting your change back untouched!
    You can watch videos about that on YouTube, if you don’t believe me.

    Once, I did see a pickpocket in a bus. He ran away, but the bus stopped so EVERYONE could run after the criminal (including a pregnant young lady).
    That says it all, really.

  13. Safe place - rubbish site

    Who on earth writes for this site? So exaggerated and alarmistic. Do not not believe the conclusions presented, rubbish.

  14. What a load of rubbish,I have been traveling to Ukraine to different city’s for the last ten years
    and traveling from London to Odessa every three month’s form the last seven years and i have found it safer than traveling in the UK

  15. Ukraine is safe

    I’ve been to Ukraine several times, traveling with U.S. college students. We stay a few weeks in L’viv. It’s safe. Precautions one takes in ANY large city should be taken here: avoid dark, desolate places at night; don’t argue with drunks; don’t leave your bag/purse/wallet unattended; remember that there *are* pickpockets, so don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket. I have a rule that my students must travel in twos and threes, but that isn’t because of danger; it’s because they generally don’t speak or read Ukrainian.

    I’ve always found Ukrainians to be a generally friendly lot. I struggle to speak understandable Ukrainian and most people I meet struggle to speak understandable English; we often end up laughing together. I have never had a shopkeeper or waiter or any service personnel get impatient with me as I try to figure out how to ask for what I want. L’viv has found the tourist industry to be a good one and people go out of their way to be friendly.

    I have only been to Kyiv once; from that single experience, I echo what others have said about the city’s safety.

    Go to Ukraine! As its popularity increases, you’ll be able to say you went there before it was cooler than Prague!

  16. T
    Thomas Blum says:

    Ukraine is safe

    I have been to Ukraine 4 times in the past 4 years. I always felt safe. The article is 95% inaccurate. Simple use any precautions you would use in any big city or unfamiliar area.

    All of the other replies support how inaccurate the article is. It should be taken down and the author ashamed.

  17. I’ve to been to Kiev and Odessa on several occasions for vacation. Very safe and I would recommend to come and visit. Both cities are beautiful and very rich in traditional history. The cafes serve excellent food and in most cases, service is excellent. The Ukrainian people are very nice and treated me with respect. Just like any other large, when walking at night stay vigilant and watch your money. The hotels are very clean and staff very professional.

  18. Safe, Fun, and Amazing Country!

    This article is extremely false. Travel to Ukraine, you won’t regret it!

  19. A
    Article author is a liar says:

    Article author is a liar

    This website, article author, webmasters, and website owners are full of shit. I’m American living in Kiev for 9 months and this country is safer than most large metro cities in US.

  20. C
    Capt. Alaa Shawkat says:

    Ukraine is safer than many other EU cities, BUT...

    I have visited odessa for more than twenty times. Odessa is more safe than most cities in Italy, more safe than central London, more safe than any city in Romania. People very friendly, they feels happy to talk to foreigners specially of European visitors.. odessa is more safe than many states in USA. Yes the taxi drivers in the airport are greedy as any airport in the world. Ukraine must be among the best countries in the world, but unfortunately the corruption of all previous governments made bad reputation for the country & also made their people has no any trust in their government.

  21. R
    Rune Rivenes says:

    I am a man from Norway who wanted to go the other way than mostly norwegians do in summertime .
    Most norwegians go south such as grand canary , tenerife , greak whatever ,
    I went east too ukrain for some reason .
    IDO NOT REGRET , by now i have been in spesifically Odesa 27 times , made a lot of friends ( ukrainian) i van strongly recommend this country as a vacation destiny .
    It’s no more chrime there than it is anywhere else !!

  22. M
    Michelle says:

    Wanna go back so bad

    I went to Kyiv last year to have my teeth done. I’m a 48 yr old woman who’s never been out of the states. I went to Ukraine for 3 weeks in Jan, and another 3 wks in June. LOVED IT!! Always felt safe, never got scammed, never been robbed. Lived in an apt the I rented out (not a hotel) In June, went swimming everyday, took metro, saw the American band Disturbed while there (June 18 2019), took metro home, at night, by myself, only someone talked to me to tell me my phone was falling out of my pocket. This article is bogus. Well, at least I can say Kyiv is totally cool and comfortable. Although I wasn’t with a group, and didnt really look like a tourist, maybe that helped. Teeth look GREAT btw and a tiny fraction of the cost it would’ve cost in the US…INCLUDING flight (×2) and apt!! Actually, I want to go back there sooooo bad!! The experiences I had and just living there for 3 wks. I miss it so much it almost hurts

  23. Don't trust this article.

    This is insane. If Ukraine is as unsafe as the author suggests, you should probably never go abroad anywhere ever. Keep your common sense, apply it, be respectful, enjoy the ride. Simple as that. The country is extremely affordable, has many places worth visiting, and most people genuinely are hospitable, sincere, kind and non-violent. What did the author smoke while writing this, i wonder?

  24. E
    Elizabeth says:

    Love Kiev

    I went to Kiev last year alone. I felt safe and people were helpful. Many spoke some degree of English. I enjoyed it very much and want to go back – this time to Odessa.

  25. Rubbish

    This review is nothing but nonsense. I’ve spent 3 weeks in Ukraine last year and I can assure you it was one of the nicest and safest countries I’ve ever visited. I’ve seen women walk around by themselves at 3am, people using the subway without caring much about their personal belongings, used night trains and shared buses. I felt safer than in most cities in western Europe (Paris and Brussels to name a couple). The worst thing that can happen is to eat too much.

  26. Is this real?

    I have no idea where the author of this article has been, definitely not Ukraine and definitely not in the 2000s. I’ve been to Odessa, Lwow, Ivano Frankivsk, the Carpathians and finally Kiev. I’ve always been treated with enormous kindness and respect by everyone, Ukrainians love foreign tourists and are genuinely happy to have them around. Kiev is possibly the nicest major city in Eastern Europe together with St.Petersburg, it’s cheap and ultra safe. Zero scams, zero pickpockets (women and children are walking around until late night by themselves) and for sure absolutely no terrorism.

Rated 4.48 / 5 based on 27 user reviews.

Share Your Experience