Kharkiv is the largest city in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine and the second largest city in the country, with a population of over 1.5 million people. In this article, we will try to analyze whether the city is interesting for a Western tourist and what you should look at while planning your trip. In the past few years, the city has opened up to foreign tourist flows thanks to the emergence of Western low-cost airlines that allow you to travel at a very reasonable price.
The city is located in the northeast of Ukraine. Kharkiv may seem very alien to Western travelers because of the Cyrillic alphabet. It would be very helpful to learn how to read the Cyrillic alphabet before coming to Ukraine, although many road signs on buildings are now also written in Western Latin letters. Generally, Kharkiv residents speak both Ukrainian and Russian, as the city is located only 30 km from the Russian border, but in most cases, people mix the two languages together. English is spoken poorly, and most often by young Ukrainians.
Kharkiv International Airport (IATA: HRK) is located 12.5 km southeast of the city center and is served by a number of airlines:
- sky up
- Turkish Airlines
- UIA (UIA)
- Wizz Air
How to get to the city from the airport
By bus: Buses 115 and 119 to Prospekt Gagarina metro station, cost 10 UAH. By minibus (minibus): Minibuses 255 and 152 to the metro station “Akademika Barabashova”, cost 10 UAH. By trolleybus Trolleybus 3 to the cinema “Zirka”, cost 5 UAH.
Renting an apartment in Kharkov
The most profitable option for living is renting an apartment. You can rent an apartment in Kharkov for a day using the daily rental service. Prices for apartments are on average 50% lower compared to hotels, which will significantly reduce the burden on the budget during travel.
What is the best way to get around the city
The metro is the fastest and easiest way to get around. About a million people use it every day — this is the most convenient public transport in Kharkiv. There are three metro lines (red, blue and green). To enter the Metro, you need to buy a token from the vending machines you will see at the entrance. One token is valid for one trip, no matter how far you travel or how long it takes. You need to put a token in the turnstile to get inside. Make sure you go through the correct side of the turnstile otherwise you might get hit by the inner metal gates.
Interesting sights of the city
- Children’s railway, Gorky Park. Operates from May 1st to October 31st. The length of the road is 3 km
- Dolphinarium Nemo, Sumskaya street, 35, weekdays, hours 10:00–19:00, Saturday, 10:00–21:00
- Kharkov Art Museum, st. Sovnarkomovskaya, 9, apt. 11 — great collection, helpful staff, outdated ticketing system means you may need multiple tickets to gain access to all rooms, but prices are still very low.
- Kharkiv Historical Museum, st. Universitetskaya, 5 (the new main entrance on Constitution Square is not yet open as of March 2018). An excellent collection of artifacts from prehistory to the present day, the exhibits on the upper floors are dedicated to World War II and the current war in Donbass.
- Kharkiv Zoo (Zoo), Sumy 35 (st. M. University), 08:00–20:00. Kharkiv Zoo is one of the largest and most famous in Ukraine. It is located in the very center of the city in Shevchenko Park. This zoo covers a large area of 22 hectares.
- Central Market Pisunkovskaya street, near the metro station of the same name. Here you can wander through the stalls of the historic market hall selling a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, marvel at the variety of meat products available, and explore the outdoor markets.
- Kharkov Opera and Ballet Theatre, st. Sumy, 24
- Freedom Square (Independence Square) is one of the largest squares in the world. Located in the city center. Thanks to the convenient location in the center, you will be more comfortable to explore all the city’s attractions.