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Driving to Russia via Poland Info on Ukraine Border


johnuk_ 1 | 9  
5 Jun 2009 /  #1
Hi All,

I am driving to Russia via Poland and Ukraine (27/06/09) (I must be mad). I am the only driver, my wife, Russian, is the passenger. Question Which is the best border to go to Ukraine (least que and quickest)? Also on the way back. Anyone wants a lift?

John
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
5 Jun 2009 /  #2
I too have driven to Russia from the UK , and yes , you must be mad...I drove into Russia via Belarus a few times , but i have ridden into the Ukraine from my home which is now in Poland...

I crossed at the border on the road to Ternopil , the ques were not too long , the border guards were friendly enough , no real problems.... I suppose your Russian wife will have warned you that the roads over the border from Poland can be bloody awfull , deep ruts and deeper potholes , better make sure your suspension is in good condition before you go , and expect it not to be when you get back....

Apart from this i enjoyed my time in Ukraine , nice people , and even the Police which i had been warned were very dodgy gave me no trouble at all.. enjoy your trip...
OP johnuk_ 1 | 9  
5 Jun 2009 /  #3
Thanks for the reply WildRover. No she did not warn me :). It is going to be an adventure for both of us (good I hope). Sounds like my car is going to be shot at the end of the trip :(

You made me feel better about Ukraine, I really was dreading going through there (still do about the pot holes though). Which the best border to go through? Chelm (Dorohusk) M-07, Hrebenne E372 or Medyka E40. Now the question seems to be which one would least destroy my suspension :)?

Thanks a lot for the info people.

John
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
5 Jun 2009 /  #4
I went through the border at Medyka , and as i say , i didn.t have any real problems , i cant say if any of the other borders are better to get across , and i suspect the roads will be much the same on the other routes....If you can find a road thats maybe too narrow for the trucks to use then you might find it a little less rutted , but don,t count on it...

I did the trip on a Harley motorcycle , and found the roads to be dangerous to say the least , but it will be a lot better in a car , and a lot safer , just take it easy , and try to avoid driving at night as the holes are a lot harder to see...

Make sure your spare tyre is good , as its possible to puncture a tyre if you hit a big hole at speed , and check all your exhaust fittings are secure...

It all adds to the adventure , i am sure you will have a great time....
OP johnuk_ 1 | 9  
7 Jun 2009 /  #5
Thanks a lot for the info WR. Anyone looking for a lift to Poland? or a car train :)? Would like the company and security.
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
7 Jun 2009 /  #6
I think that possibly you will be passing through Poland quite a way south of me , but should you pass through my bit you are welcome to drop in , have a coffee , make any repairs needed or whatever....

I am on the 173 route between the towns of Drawsko pomorskie and Polczyn zdroj , so if its on your route call and say hello....
OP johnuk_ 1 | 9  
10 Jun 2009 /  #7
WR thanks a lot for the invite. May take you up on it..... It is really nice to know there are so many nice people out there. HAve got the keys to a flat in Ukraine as well just in case of emergency. Thanks a lot......
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
11 Jun 2009 /  #8
Come to think of it , i have a few friends in Ukraine who could help out if you got stuck , mostly over the western side though in Ternopil , and Poltava....

While i remember it might be worth while looking up some people on hospitality club its an organisation that people join offering a free or cheap place to stay for travellers in every country of the world....I am actually a member , and have hosted Germans French , and Israeli people at my farm....check it out , even if its only in case of emergency , could be usefull.....You can also check out what my guests say about me....
nicemanuk  
16 Jun 2009 /  #9
I wish i had known earlier, i would have joined you in my car as i am planning to go early July, i would appreciate car share or simply join me on the road to poland and Ukraine. I am travelling alone, e-mail me please akshaykumar99@hotmail
OP johnuk_ 1 | 9  
17 Jun 2009 /  #10
Wildrover,

Could I please have the contact details of your friends in Ukraine? Would really appreciate it. Thanks a lot for all your help and info.

John

PS joined the hospitality club looks great to meet people etc.
TempDrNick  
19 Jun 2009 /  #11
Hello,

I am setting off tomorrow on a road trip from London to Lugansk in Ukraine to visit my in-laws tomorrow. We plan to cross the border from Poland to Ukraine on the E40. We will then proceed to Lviv to pick up my father in law who will help with the driving, then Kiev and on to Lugansk. E40 all the way if possible.

I’ll post back with my experiences!

It is good to know that the border crossing is a bit better nowadays. I had heard some scary stories about how long it takes to cross.

On the subject of pot holes in Ukraine.... folks also steal the man hole covers. More considerate folks then usually stick a tyre or a tree branch in it so its easier to see. I have seen at least two examples of a tree branch that has been there so long it has taken root!

Cheers
TempDrNick2  
23 Jun 2009 /  #12
Hi Again,

I said I'd report back, well we have arrived in one piece in Lugansk. I was surprised there were no questions waiting in this thread.

Anyway....

Followed E40 from Dunkerque (France) to Lugansk (Ukraine) as much as possible. Got round Brussels no problem as it was Saturday morning. Stopped at an Axxe Motel (Dresden Tor Sud) near Dresden Saturday evening. Many roadworks on Authbhans but only one shrot queue (for lane drop) the whole way. Authbhan quite twisty in places easy to do 170kmh in others (my car is built for comfort not speed).

The checkpoint at the Polish border on the E40 is no longer manned and grass has started growing through the deserted pavements. So you dont have to stop but there is a very slow speed limit here for quite a few km.

On the other side, as mentioned the motorway has not been finished yet. It looks almost complete though. Maybe just a few weeks more (perhaps someone can comment if you know when it will open. Its a single lane road for quite a while with one poorly signed roundabout where we went the wrong way briefly. Quite twisty so could take a long time if you wre stuck behind something slow. Lots of speed cameras, mostly one per village.

Then dual carriageway most of the way to Krakow. BUT many many sets of roadwoks some going on for miles. No problem on this particular Sunday though. Then not good roads from Krakow to Ukrainian border. It took a long time to do this stretch. Arrived at Ukrainin border mid afternoon to find virtually no queue!! A miracle? Took about an hour to cross as we wanted to buy insurance which the did not sell. In a bizarre twist the customs people said we could buy it from the petrol station just over the border. It was a dirty shed with a broke floor. It cost us about 10 UK pounds and is probably not worth the paper it is written on but we bought it anyway.

The roads are suddenly a lot more bumpy with chickens and cows in the road. The roads in Lviv are the worst I have ever seen. Imagine a combination of unmaintained cobbled streets with pot holes and tram tracks - terrible even by Ukrainian standards. Not good for regular cars. Don't go there without a Landrover.

Found the station and waited for Father in law's train to arrive. Set off to drive overnight to Kiev. Many many sets of roadworks on E40, just like Poland. Arrived in Kiev about 6am Monday morning. Starting to see a lot mor trucks from about 3am onwards. Terrible sineage in Kieve resulted in our losing the E40 and heading out on the wrong motorway adding 200 miles to our Journey. It wasnt a bad road though and we rejoined the E40 at Poltava. Bumpy single lane roads most of the way but usually straight so overtaking is possible with care. Lots of police check points but they showed no interest in out car with UK plates.

In some towns the E40 may turn left or right at Junctions and often there are trees growing that block visibility of the road signs so you can miss the turn.

Arrived in Lugansk about 8pm local time. Total distance Reigate (near London) to Lugansk Ukraine about 2250 miles

Ask if you have any questions, I'll be back in a day or so .... now to that beer I promised myself!

Cheers
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
23 Jun 2009 /  #13
I read your report with interest , and have to agree with you on the condition of the roads , and the lack of proper road signs , the few that there are of course are in cyrilic writing , so not easy to figure out if you don,t understand the language....

As i said , i visited the Ukraine on a Harley motorcycle , not something i would do again due to the state of the roads , but i did enjoy my stay there , and met some nice people....

I would definatly go again , but i think next time , in a 4 x 4 with sat nav.....
OP johnuk_ 1 | 9  
23 Jun 2009 /  #14
Hi DrNick,

Digested every single detail. Thanks for the report I will be leaving this Sat. to go to Russia. Via Kharkiv. Will report back here when I return (or inbetween if I get a chance).

Thanks all
John
TempDrNick2  
24 Jun 2009 /  #15
Hi Everybody,

Wildrover: don't get me started on sat nav. I bought one specially for the trip with Ukrainian maps built in and the Bit**h was trying to kill us or send us down farm tracks from the moment we got off the ferry in Dunkerque. Also the so called maps of Ukraine contain only one road and it doesnt go through Liviv or Lugansk so it was useless. I'll be taking it back to the shop as not fit for purpose when we get back.

Johnuk: Assuming you will be going via Kiev and Kharkiv don't make the same mistake I did. Igonore any road signs as you approach Kiev. If you don't mind mixing it with the traffic in Kiev head straignt for the centre. When you can see the Monastery or the Independence statue (looks a bit like the statue of liberty) you are close. Only then follow signs for the Borispol Airport. Until you get near the airport the road that goes to the airport is the E40. You should turn rigth over a big bridge nea the centre of Kieve to get onto it. Its about 30 km to the airport from Kiev centre at which point you go straignt on for Kharkiv.

Important signs in Kiev are also in English alphabet which should help.

If you are getting tired near Kiev head for the airport and stay at the Borispol Airport Hotel. The reception staff are surley, even by Ukrainian standards, but the rooms are not too expensive and clean.

Have a good trop!
OP johnuk_ 1 | 9  
25 Jun 2009 /  #16
Thanks Temp. Will keep an eye out for it. My Sat Nav seems to have a lot of road in ukraine and also roads in the town centre, will report on the acuracy (or inaccuracy) of it afterwards. Will also take pictures and post them up on a website for all to see.

Thanks a lot guys.

John
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454  
25 Jun 2009 /  #17
The general consensus seems to be to avoid Medyka and take one of the smaller border crossings - though they might involve a bit of a detour, they'll be much, much quicker in actually getting you through the border.
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
25 Jun 2009 /  #18
general consensus seems to be to avoid Medyka

I crossed into Ukraine at Medyka , no major delays or problems for me.....
TempDrNick2  
30 Jun 2009 /  #19
We crossed at the next border point to the north of Medyka (sorry forgot the name already). Its a shorter route to Lviv.
UK_UA_UK_DRiver  
6 Jul 2009 /  #20
Krakavets (Crack-a-vee-ats) is the next border up from Medyka (Medooka). Dont go to Rava-Ruska, further up....always long delays there.....and Polish locals work the queues (ie: park their car in the front of the queue, with no intention of crossing the border and earn there money by letting folk go in front of them :) )

I drive to UA (Khmelnitsky......South East of Ternopil) from England (Cornwall) approx 3 or 4 times every year.....non-stop, no sleep ;-) ... hard core driving
OP johnuk_ 1 | 9  
15 Jul 2009 /  #21
Well done the trip,

First let me say thanks to all that posted on this site, in a way I would not have had the confidence to do the trip otherwise. Just want to say My wife and I made the trip. Used my BMW 523i with ultra low profile tyres (18 inch Alloys). I bought AA breakdown cover for £86 to cover upto Ukraine for 2.5 weeks. My phone has windows mobile with TomTom 7.910 and Western and Central Europe 8.20 (I think).

Sat:

Left my house to go to Dover at 3.30 am. Got to dover at 4.45 for 6am ferry (way too early as I just hung around). about 9am arrived in Dunkirke (local Time). The drive through France, Belgium, NL and Germany was mainly uneventful, the only thing of interest is the price of petrol: france being euro 1.30 ish, Germany and NL being the most expensive E1.40. I don't know if this is because it is the Motorway Prices and it is cheaper elsewhere or not. The motorways were completely clear and struggled to keep inside the speed limit (120KPH), did manage to hit the 170 Kph, but mostly cruised at 140 kph as I did not want the car to give problems at this early stage, the German Autobahns were brilliant (but a bit bouncy). As TempDrNick pointed out the border is abondoned (pretty Much).

The Motowrway was not finished on the Polish side. The speed limits were very slow. Couple of Police radar traps along this slow bit, so take care. Drivers coming the opposite way will flash their lights to warn of police ahead. Please warn the opposite side after you pass the police. The roads are generally in good condition, it is like our country roads with half a extra lane on either side. The idea I think is that if some one is overtaking it leaves a complete lane in the middle free, if both sides use the half lane. Watch out for pedestrians, broken down cars and dead animals in this half lane though, for some reason especially in the pitch dark night.Put in petrol (Unleaded 95) about a £1 per litre, and the engine has a slight judder (really irritating as there had been no problems so far. For some bizzare reason there is a hell of a lot of 'nighclubs' at the start of Poland/Germany these are all brothels (I assume). Stopped at a hotel, family run clean, cost Euro 30 and euro 10 for dinner. Total milage about 680 miles, 35.8 Mpg and 55.8 Mph in 14 Hours.

Sunday:

Woke up at 8 am left (after breakfast) about 9.30 am. Lot's of Police and lots of flashing :). The finished motorway was a pleasure to drive on, really smooth and pretty much put cruise control and let it roll. The toll booth charge 11Z make sure that you have Zolety or the exchange rate for euro and dollars are Crap. There are 3 toll booths. The speed limit is 120 KpH hadn't seen any police enforcing limit. At the end of motorway my sat nav got lost as all of this was new, near Lodz. Headed toward Warsaw. Usually the closer you get to a capital city the better the road. Not so in Warsaw. Road a little bit rough.Turned off the main road before getting into Warsaw towards Chelm. There was a police diversion at the main lights and had to drive around till Nav picked up new route Wasted around 45 mins. Decided to stop for night in Ukraine side so pressed ahead. The border sign suddenly stop outside of chelm. Got a little lost but my wife asked direction in russian. There were only 4 cars in front at the polish border. The polish customs decided to really check the car out. They took the Vin number of the car from all different locations (including from the console display panel ???) and checked and rechecked everything, I pretty much felt like I had stolen the car. Got through after 1 Hour.

Ukraine:

Border guard took $30 fine for no insurance (ripp off), should not have paid, but did not want the hassle of having to take everything out of the car and back in and get delayed for too long, if ever I go back will not pay. Basically ask them for the tel number for the Border complaints, that should immediately cut the thoughts of any bribe. The insurance 'hut' is a short distance away and the insurance for 15 days cost about $30. We drove in the night to Rivne to Hotel Mir.I would not recommend driving in the night as in Poland there are people, bycles and animals on the road, your visibility is maybe 4m and you are driving at 50 MPH not for the faint hearted especially overtaking slow moving vechiles pretty much blindly. When you get into Rivne you have to turn left at the lights (there is a shopping mall on the right) and the road ahead goes up hill. The Hotel was luxurious and cheap $75 for a double. The view from the top floors are quite nice. We got there at 11pm (don't have the figures for the day so will continue tomorrow). Feel free to add comments.......
TempDrNick3  
23 Jul 2009 /  #22
Johnuk,

Had to laugh (sorry) at the fine for not having insurance. As far as I know you can't buy it until after you cross the border. Therefore a 100% safe "gotcha" for them. I guess they couldnt find anything else to get you for.

I'd be interested to know how the rest of your trip is going. Especially where you stayed in Ukraine. We will be heading back in a week or so and I need some stopping places in Ukraine.

Cheers

Dr Nick
Dr Nick 4  
17 Aug 2009 /  #23
Just to let folks know, if you are travelling between Germany and Ukraine through Poland and using the E40....

The stretch of motorway that was missing from the German/Polish border for about 60 km East is now finished!

Hurrah

We used it in our way back to UK last Saturday.

Cheers
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454  
18 Aug 2009 /  #24
Border guard took $30 fine for no insurance (ripp off), should not have paid, but did not want the hassle of having to take everything out of the car and back in and get delayed for too long,

Officially, you need insurance to cross the border. If you don't have it, you can't cross in a car - unless you buy the ridiculously overpriced insurance from the agent at the actual border. You could've probably got away with a smaller bribe than $30US, or just bought the insurance at the border.

I'm not sure if the border crossing you used can be crossed on foot - if it could be, then the sensible thing to do is to cross on foot, pick up the insurance, cross back and then drive across. Tedious, but it's what people do at Medyka. The other trick is to purchase the shortest insurance possible at the border, then to buy longer insurance from the insurance offices just over the border.
Sasha 2 | 1,083  
18 Aug 2009 /  #25
Border guard took $30 fine for no insurance (ripp off), should not have paid

Did you finally buy the insurance? I can't say you for sure about Ukraine but in Russia you'll have to buy it. Again... the fine for not having the insurance - 800 rubles (in case you never bought it), 100 rubles (in case you've got it but forgot at home).

Please post here about your adventures in Russia... :) I'll do my best to help you with an advice.

Used my BMW 523i with ultra low profile tyres (18 inch Alloys)

This spring I drove to Helsinki through St. Petersburg on 15 inches disks. I was like "God damn this road I'll never drive there again". Now I've got summer 17 inches OZ racing disk and I don't even think of driving there. What I want to say is that 18 inches are good for Europe or for big cities in Russia but they're hardly acceptable for highways far away from cities, unless you're a sluggish driver. You take risks... My friend recently drove his bmw with oval tires didn't notice the dimple on the road tore the tire and crushed the disk. Thankfully there was a repair-shop not so far...
OP johnuk_ 1 | 9  
19 Aug 2009 /  #26
Sorry guys,

Thought no one was interested so did not continue the story. Will continue it (this weekend). Strange thing is that the European Insurance companies their green card covers Ukraine but UK does not (apparently). The insurance people in the 'huts' said that the border guards are not allowed to check insurance. Did buy the insurance there for $30 fopr 15 days to cover the drive back as well.

Dr Nick, stayed at the Ukraine hotel in Kiev and also Hotel Kus in Rivne (very nice) other than that just bombed it all the way, not being funny but the people are too miserable in Ukraine :).

Sasha:

I know what you are saying. Didn't expect the roads that bad. I would suggest a steel rims and 15 inch alloys, I must say that everyone kept staring at the alloys, frankly I was worried that I would find the car on bricks somedays.

John
dnz 17 | 710  
19 Aug 2009 /  #27
I drive to UA (Khmelnitsky......South East of Ternopil) from England (Cornwall) approx 3 or 4 times every year.....non-stop, no sleep ;-) ... hard core driving

I do the trip from Bude to Poznan twice a month in one hit, thats a killer,

This spring I drove to Helsinki through St. Petersburg on 15 inches disks. I was like "God damn this road I'll never drive there again". Now I've got summer 17 inches OZ racing disk and I don't even think of driving there. What I want to say is that 18 inches are good for Europe or for big cities in Russia but they're hardly acceptable for highways far away from cities, unless you're a sluggish driver. You take risks... My friend recently drove his bmw with oval tires didn't notice the dimple on the road tore the tire and crushed the disk. Thankfully there was a repair-shop not so far...

I used 255 45 18 tyres on my Bmw with standard bmw rims, and my god they are strong, I've driven over allsorts with no problems,

35 mpg from a straight 6 BMW is a great result, my 728i averages 26 mpg if i drive like a saint and is strangely more economical at higher speeds, As a way 0f crossing continents you simply can't fault a big BMW though :)

Looking forward to the update, i've always fancied driving to the ukraine, How is the BMW coping with the poor quality low octane fuel there? Mine was always quite fussy and ran badly if i put poor quality fuel in although I assume the knock sensor will rectify any differences in the octane?
Sasha 2 | 1,083  
19 Aug 2009 /  #28
frankly I was worried that I would find the car on bricks somedays.

Everybody uses rim locks here. Unless you have them I strongly recommend you to keep an eye on your car.

Looking forward to the update, i've always fancied driving to the ukraine, How is the BMW coping with the poor quality low octane fuel there? Mine was always quite fussy and ran badly if i put poor quality fuel in although I assume the knock sensor will rectify any differences in the octane?

In Russia it mostly concerns quality of diesel. That's the main reason why I still don't have a car with a diesel engine.
dnz 17 | 710  
19 Aug 2009 /  #29
In Russia it mostly concerns quality of diesel. That's the main reason why I still don't have a car with a diesel engine.

Thats probably the best way, do they dilute it with kerosene or something? Add to the fact that diesels make a horrific noise when you start them in the morning and fill pedestrians lungs up with carcinogenic soot and are shocking to drive give me a straight 6 bmw anyday :)

Everybody uses rim locks here. Unless you have them I strongly recommend you to keep an eye on your car.

I just kept my wheels in a shocking state thus putting people off stealing them...
Sasha 2 | 1,083  
19 Aug 2009 /  #30
do they dilute it with kerosene or something?

I believe it's caused by breaching of prescribed refining technics or outdated refine technology.

that diesels make a horrific noise

That's true. I recently drove through south Germany, rented VW golf diesel there... Noisy!! :)

when you start them in the morning and fill pedestrians lungs up with carcinogenic soot

I heard diesel engines were more eco-friendly.

I just kept my wheels in a shocking state thus putting people off stealing them...

I'm afraid that won't help you in Russia. :) Rim locks don't always help.

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