Euro 2012

Keep your problems to a min

26.03.2012 | By Semen Zaporozhets

Many travel guides describe Ukraine as one of the most mysterious countries in Europe. The majority of foreign football fans that will attend the EURO 2012 championships will discover Ukraine for the first time.KW offers them some useful advice to avoid painless acquaintance with Ukraine and taking home the most pleasant memories


Do not pay for questionable accommodation in advance. It is no secret that the overwhelming majority of foreigners planning to visit Ukraine for EURO 2012 seek low-cost accommodation in host cities during the championship. For this reason, some enterprising Ukrainians will try to persuade foreigners to not stay in expensive local hotels with low quality of services and instead offer them to stay in apartments for let that will be cheaper, cleaner and much more comfortable. As a result, foreigners pay for the first day of accommodation (approximately US $30 150 in Kyiv) and upon arrival it turns out the landlord does not show up at the place rented and are long gone with the money.

For this reason, it will be better to book a room in a hotel or a hostel.

Come to Ukraine with cash. E-money is not used in our country as widely as it is in Europe, so not all stores, cafes and taxis are equipped with terminals for withdrawing money from credit cards. For this reason, EURO 2012 guests should have cash to be able to pay for services and goods. Foreigners can exchange currency to a maximum of UAH 50,000 (approximately EUR 4,700) showing any ID. Cashiers and tellers will give you a certificate confirming the currency sale operations that will allow tourists leaving Ukraine exchange the remaining hryvnia for practically any foreign currency they wish.

Buy adaptors for chargers and electronic gadgets before coming to Ukraine. Wall outlets in Ukrainian apartments and hotel rooms are different from those used in Europe and the U.S., which can be a problem for EURO 2012 guests and especially tourists arriving from the UK and Ireland. For this reason, to be able to charge phones or laptops in Ukraine, foreigners should buy special adaptors.

When possible we advise using public transport in the company of a Ukrainian friend that knows the city well. Using public transport on your own, especially marshrutkas (route buses), could be a problem in EURO 2012 host cities. Their drivers do not announce stops and some stops can have names different from those on city maps. For this reason, to know where to get off and not get lost you are better off riding on these route buses together with Ukrainian acquaintances.

Do not drink alcoholic beverages on the streets and do not even venture to try and drink Ukrainians under the table over a bottle of vodka. Despite the fact that drinking beer on the streets is prohibited, many Ukrainians and even police officers ignore the law and foreigners may be tempted to drink beer while walking through parks or around the city. But during EURO 2012 the law will be strictly enforced as it will be a great opportunity to fill the citys coffers thanks to fines charged to football fans. Moreover, some foreigners believe that Slavic peoples drink a lot and it is rude to refuse to drink if Ukrainians treat you with vodka. Even some travel guides advise to drink vodka bottoms up. Its a misapprehension. Foreigners will simply be unable to drink Ukrainian people under the table. I warned my friends who will be attending EURO 2012 not to engage in any drinking competitions with Ukrainians, says former Kyivan Anna Uspenska, who has been living in Hannover for several years now.

Those football tourists that plan to travel to Ukraine in their own vehicles should beware the provocations of highway police imposters. On Ukrainian highways, especially in the summer, motorists often chance upon some swindlers who pretend to be environmental police officers and foist paid services on drivers. In most cases imposter highway patrol cops stop vehicles and charge drivers for measuring the level of their vehicles carbon monoxide emissions and tinting of their windows. In such cases fines can be as high as EUR 150. The most frequent victims are foreigners who are unable to discern real highway police from imposters. So, remember that there is no such practice as measuring gas emissions along Ukrainian highways. We wish your trip to Ukraine brings only the best and the most pleasant memories.

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