|<map lat='49.99' lng='36.23' zoom='13' view='3'/>|
|Population:||1.452.609 (second largest)|
|Licence plate:||AX (new system)|
|Major roads:||E40, E105|
|Meet fellow hitchhikers on Trustroots|
Kharkiv is the second largest city in Ukraine. It is also spelled Харкiв in Ukranian and Харьков in Russian. Note that if you search Google maps you will only get the right location upon entering ‘Kharkov’.
East towards Russia
Find the metro and make it to Derzhprom/Держпром (Gosprom/Госпром in Russian) station, which is a trasfer station between the Saltivska and Olexiyivska lines and 3 stops away from the Train Station (Пiвденний Вокзал). Ask around for a minibus to Piatikhatka (Пятихатка) — it normally stops just in the same place. Attention, the minibus no longers leaves from the Radianska station! The minibus will take you to the remote rural area near the ringroad; exit the vehicle right after it turnes left from the main road. Walk back to the road and walk on some 500 meters to the junction and then a little more up the hill for a good spot or hitch right away — the Russian-Ukranian border is 15 km in front of you.
Keep in mind that in the morning and daytime you can also take the buses and the cheap (7 UAH, less than $1) trains over the border going to Russian city Belgorod, to avoid all the extra questions and possible troubles with pedestrian border-crossing. Both leave from the Train Station mentioned above.
The price of one metro ride is 1,5 UAH at the time of writing; the minibus should cost you 2,5. The total is less than $0.5. The bus over the border should be something close to $5 and you can try to bargain the price down up to 30%. The bus driver should accept Russian roubles and even dollars/euros if you give money directly to him bypassing ticket office; but to pay for everything else you will have to have hrivnas (UAH).
West towards Kyiv
There is a huge agglomeration west of Kharkiv which goes for at least 15 km on end; if you are already behind the ringroad it may be good idea to take some minibus till it goes off the main road; if the inhabitant area is not over just take another one and repeat the trick. I didn't have UAH when I happened to be there, and I had no intention to go back to the city to change some money so I asked some truck driver who stopped nearby to give me a lift. But it was pure luck to have a truck right there so you better have some local cash in your pocket and take the minibus.
If you are in the city, you might want to take the local train to get outside. Take the metro to the Zavod imeni Malysheva (Завод iм. Малишева) station and find a railway 200 m west of it. Follow the rails south for another 300m and you will find a train station; from there take a train to Korotych (Коротыч) or even to Ogultsy (Огульцы), the road will be 1 km north of the former and 1 km east of the latter. I have not yet tried this way of getting out of the city myself, and the advice is given according to the map only; but I am almost sure it will work fine.
There is a metro in Kharkiv, it is a fairly good and easy-to-navigate one; the price of one ride is 4 UAH and there is no limitation of how long this one ride will take. Single ride tickets can only be purchased in automatic ticket vending machines and they accept only 1, 2 and 5 UAH banknotes, 50 kopiykas (0.5 UAH) and 1 UAH coins. Alternatively you can buy electronic card and load it with money (max. 500 UAH). Mind that the metro is closed at night time.
Places to Visit
Places to Avoid
Accommodation and Sleep
Other Useful Info
Check official Kharkiv site for a good, though scary, map of Kharkiv metro.