Ukrainian Railway Journey
from all Major Russian and European Cities
The joy of riding trains through Ukraine as a tourist is a treat you should not hesitate to treat yourself to. The wide open space that composes Ukraine boasting of various mountain ranges, rivers, lakes and historic cities and villages scattered in between with a history too deep to comprehend at first glance is all connected by their extensive rail network.
The 22,000 km of total rail lines cutting through the country is one of its bloodlines. Grain handling increased in January alone by 20%, plans for renovations of 20 stations and 43 platforms for 2014 and extra lines installed for holiday seasons is testament to the industry's exceptional awareness, resiliency and flexibility.
Compared to other forms of travel, riding trains on these lines is, first and foremost, the most affordable option, and is on par with the best in comfort and convenience. Getting between Ukraine and Russia for further exploration cutting through the countryside in the afternoon or sipping vodka and sharing stories from home with your cabin mates on a night train are just a taste of what's to come. Explore Ukraine exclusively, or take advantage of the ultra convenient links in and out of the country to the rest of Europe and Russia and make the Ukraine one of the unforgettable stops on your tour.
Links across the Eastern region past the Black Sea and into the southern corner of Russia are the most frequented. Here are the most popular departures from southern Russia to Ukraine:
Trains from Sochi
If you are getting to this beautiful seaside resort this summer and plan to continue on to the Ukraine, trains from Sochi are at your service. The most consistent line leaves Sochi at 11:18 am (Sochi time) and arrives in Kiev at 3:30 pm (15:30; Kiev time) the following day. The 30 hour journey is long but the sights crossing this Southern corner of Russia past the Black Sea into the heart of the country and the relaxation and friendships made along the way make it well worth it. The cost is around $100 (USD).
Trains from Krasnodar
The most consistent line from Krasnodar is on the same Sochi – Kiev line (above). From Krasnodar the train leaves at 5:23 pm (17:23; Krasnodar time), in Kiev at 3:30 pm (17:30; Kiev time) the next day. The same train, a shorter journey, but all the pleasures of cruising this unique corner of the world.
Trains from Rostov-on-Don
Again, the same line. Leaving at 10:34 pm (22:34; Rostov time) and arriving in Kiev at 2:46 pm (14:46; Kiev time) the following day. This a much shorter line. Set out under moonlight, promptly get a good nights rest and wake to the hills of the Azov Uplands rolling past your window arriving in Kiev with time enough for hotel check-in and an evening out strolling past Cathedrals and exploring the nightlife.
All three are on the same line so information is consolidated for each and easily manageable. Likewise, getting to Ukraine from Europe is also a breeze and equally pleasurable. Let's have a look:
Trains from Krakow
The beautiful and historic Krakow has excellent connections to Lviv or Kiev. The budget option is to take a train from Krakow to Przemysl, the closest station to the border, then catch a taxi or minibus ride to the border station, walk through the border checkpoint, get a taxi or minibus to Cherkasy and catch the next train on to Lviv or Kiev. It's much simpler than it sounds at first and the whole trip costs less than €20. For slightly more, about €50 in economy class, catch the direct night train in a cabin with three bunkmates. Pay more for a single cabin but if it's a weeknight you may get lucky and have the cabin all to yourself in economy class. You leave at around 10:00 pm (22:00: Krakow time) and arrive in Lviv at 5 am, Kiev 7 am.
Other direct night trains from Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Belgrade, Bratislava, Budapest, Bucharest and Sofia to Lviv or Kiev also exist. The services and level of quality on each are very similar, though prices will differ greatly depending on the country of departure and distance. On all trains, however, expect a 2 to 3 hour wait at the border crossing. Such time is accounted for in the schedule for arriving at your destination. So, for example, on the Krakow - Lviv line if you are a light sleeper you may struggle to get good rest with the long interruption at 2am that lasts for a few hours.
In any case, the pleasure of viewing the passing villages out your window by the moonlight or under the bright afternoon sun as you share stories and break language barriers destined for one of Ukraine's historic cities is an unmatched experience. Ukraine is a vast country so getting across or in and out of it usually entails a long ride. Located directly between Europe and Russia, a tour through either place is easily extended with a train trip to Ukraine. The villages, countryside and mountains, a pleasing language, and diverse cultural history make it a holiday destination in and of itself and its rail network ties the whole experience together in a comfortable and affordable fashion.
Want to experience a railway journey to Ukraine? Browse train timetable at Russian Trains and book your tickets online.