Things you may want to know…

Roads

Question: What are the roads like in Ukraine?

Answer: A short answer is that roads in Ukraine are poorly maintained, with a few exceptions. However, in recent years  the government of Ukraine has increased funding for road construction. As a result, most of the major highways in Western Ukraine have been significantly improved. At the same time, the condition of many secondary roads in Ukraine ranges from bad to very, very bad. All Ukrainian highways are paved although potholes are frequent, especially after the winter season.  Major highways, such as the road from Lviv to Kyiv, or from Lviv to Ukraine’s western border are smooth. But even those roads are one lane each way, with farm animals that can be crossing at random. A positive thing is that there is generally very little traffic on Ukraine’s roads outside urban areas. We know the local conditions and try to drive accordingly.

Here is a video of an especially bad road in Ukraine near Lviv. It was taken by our customer in the summer of 2013.  Mind you, not all roads in Ukraine are as bad as the road in this video. But when planning your trip to Ukraine that involves driving, be prepared for some narrow, poorly marked and bumpy road conditions.

… and below is a video sample of driving on one of the best stretches of a good road south of Lviv in Ukraine. This road from Lviv across the Carpathian Mountains to Hungary and Slovakia was rebuilt a few years ago.

Travel time

Question: How long does it take to drive from Lviv to a town of *** if I choose your Car with Driver service?

Answer: In Ukraine, it usually takes longer to drive from point A to point B than you could assume from looking at the map. A rule of thumb average safe driving speed outside of urban areas in Ukraine is about 60 km per hour, or about 40 mph. I have seen many people going much faster than that, but this is not safe. To estimate driving time from Lviv to, for example, Chernivtsi, you can use the following rule: divide the distance from Lviv to Chernivtsi (about 270 km) by an average speed (about 60 km/h) equals about four hours and thirty minutes of driving.

 

Rest stops

Question: Where can I use a washroom on a trip with Lviv Ecotour’s Rented Car with Driver?

Answer: Restroom stops can be made at gas stations. Almost all gas stations in Ukraine have clean washrooms with flush toilets, toilet paper and a sink to wash hands. If a washroom is locked, the gas station operator behind the counter will give you the key. In rural areas away from the main roads and gas stations, a call of nature can be answered in a rural outhouse, or behind a tree as a last resort.

 

Meals

Question: Where do I stop for lunch when I use your Car with English speaking driver service?

Answer: There are always restaurants and cafes along the way. Meals can be from $3 to $10 per person outside of Lviv. In Lviv itself, prices are higher and can be comparable to rates at average Western eating places. Most restaurants outside of Lviv only accept cash. Some gas stations along main highways in Ukraine have buffet style restaurants serving good food at reasonable prices. A bowl of soup, pancakes or rice, and a cup of tea takes only minutes to serve, and then you can be on the road again without wasting time while waiting for food and trying to understand a menu. In rural areas away from the main roads, lunch choices are limited. But almost anywhere local stores sell quick snacks, such as potato chips, cookies, coke or water. Or pack your own lunch and choose a nice spot along the way to sit in a tree shade to enjoy your snack while viewing the surrounding countryside.

 

Hotels

Question: Are there hotels outside big cities like Lviv should I decide to stay overnight?

Answer: There are hotels in some small towns. They charge anywhere between $40 and $75 per person per night. I will be able to check availability of hotels along the way based on your itinerary. Hotels in small towns usually accept cash only. Although you will find ATMs in all towns in Ukraine, it is always a good idea to have some cash with you as some ATMs do not accept certain cards.

 

Attractions

Question: Can we stop to see tourist attractions along the way when driving with Lviv Ecotour’s hired Driver with Car?

Answer: Yes, I am happy to suggest tourist sites along the way and also make reasonable detours to visit places of interest. These can be old churches or synagogues, cemeteries, castles, museums, towns with interesting architecture. We can also stop at any time, or when road condition allow, to let you to take photos when you choose.

 

Identification

Question: Do I need to carry any kind of an identity document when traveling within Ukraine with Lviv Ecotour’s driver?

Answer: Most of the time when you drive in Ukraine as a passenger in a car, no ID is required. If stopped by road police, a car registration and driver’s license is asked from the car driver. The only time when a document verifying personal identity, such as a passport, is needed is when you drive in very close proximity to Ukraine’s border. I have experience this on Road H-13 near the Polish border at a boundary checkpoint between Lviv and Trans-Carpathian counties of Ukraine. Or at the boundary between Ivano-Frankivska and Trans-Carpathian counties on Road H-09 near the Romanian border. After a quick look at IDs of the car driver and passengers, and a question about your destination, you are good to go. Border guards explained that this was needed to stop illegal migrants from crossing the border to enter the European Union.