The Foreigner’s Guide to the Kiev Airports
Arriving at the Kiev airport? Here is everything you need to know!
How Many Airports?
There are two passenger airports in Ukraine’s capital. The major one (and where you’ll probably be landing) is the Kiev Boryspil Airport. Look towards the end for a quick guide to the Kyiv International Airport (Zhuliany).
Zhuliany receives most private jets to Kiev as well as some budget airline flights. Unlike most “budget-friendly” airports, Zhuliany is actually more convenient than the major Kiev airport. It’s closer to the centre and has all the amenities you need. Skip ahead to learn more about Zhuliany.
The Kiev Airport In Boryspil
In theory, Boryspil airport is located between the cities of Kiev and Boryspil. Actually, it’s pretty much in Boryspil and 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) from the Kiev city centre. To get to the airport, you have to come out of the capital and take motorway M03.
Fun fact, M03 is the longest highway in Ukraine.
Anyway, the Kiev Boryspil Airport is also the busiest airport in Ukraine. It handles over 10 million passengers every year (or around 67% of the overall air traffic).
The airport’s code is KBP (useful if you’re booking a flight or checking arrivals and departures).
How Many Terminals?
All the international flights to Boryspil go to Terminal D. So really, it doesn’t matter how many terminals there are, if you’re flying in from abroad.
Terminal D is the largest and most recently renovated one. The other ones – B, F, and VIP, are used only occasionally. Terminal F opened in 2010 and the idea was to have it as an alternative to terminal D. This was short-lived. Now it’s just a cargo terminal. VIP is self-explanatory. Terminal B is used for some domestic flights (but not a lot of them).
Kiev Airport Amenities
You will be arriving at/flying in from terminal D. Here is everything you need to know about the place.
Don’t worry. This is one of the few places in Ukraine where there are enough signs in English and orientation is fairly easy.
When it comes to airport employees, however, it might be a different story. Not all of them speak good English and the whole place seems a bit understaffed. If you need to ask somebody for directions, head straight to the information desk.
There are three levels on the terminal D. To even enter the building, you would have to pass through security. Coming out of the airport, you’d have to go through the scanners once again. This is a large and busy airport, notorious for its security measures. Budget in some extra time for peace of mind.
Level 1: Arrivals
At the first floor you’ll find:
- The currency exchange – they are reliable but their rates are not the best; avoid exchanging money here if you want to save some cash.
- The official taxi desk – make sure that if you order a taxi, you do it from here.
- The coach ticket office
- A left-luggage office
There are obviously also restrooms, a food corner, and some kiosks. If you want a Ukrainian SIM card (I highly recommend that you get it), this is where you can buy it.
Level 2: Domestic Departures
There are just gates here (plus bathrooms, the occasional kiosk for water and coffee, and one of the airport lounges)
Level 3: International Departures
The check-in desks, luggage wrapping, and airline offices are here. There are a few coffee and food options. Unless you want to eat with your local friends that came to say bye, though, wait until you pass security. On the airside, you have much better restaurant options:
- Spirito di Italiano
- Gourmet Kitchen & Bar
It’s airport food, so it will not be haute cuisine. If you’re eating here, go for the Italian. Supposedly, they have some great pasta options, as well as some nice steaks. Prepare to pay higher prices than usual in Ukraine. It’s the airport. Did you expect any less?
As far as service goes, there are mixed reviews for both restaurants. Depending on how busy they are, the staff may be super nice or outrageously rude. It’s the airport.
Quick tip, though. If you notice that there aren’t a lot of customers at the moment, restaurant staff might be the perfect people to ask for help/directions/advice. They are locals, they speak English, and 9 out of 10 times they are very friendly.
Aside from the restaurants, there are also a couple of cafés, a children’s play area, and a few smoking rooms. Actually, more than a few smoking rooms. You’d be surprised at how many people in Ukraine are not afraid of lung cancer.
Kiev Airport Hotel
Early departure? Booking a hotel near Boryspil Airport might be a smart decision. Since you’re a good 30-40 minutes away from the city, staying the night near the airport means a few more precious hours of sleep.
The Boryspil Hotel 3* is located between terminals B and D. It’s a convenient location and a decent place to stay the night. Amenities include:
- A balcony in all rooms
- Cable TV
- Lightproof curtains
- Tea and coffee set
- Free high-speed Wi-Fi
There isn’t an AC in all rooms. If you’re booking for July or August, that’s something you might want to double check.
If you have a long layover and want to squeeze in a nap and shower, there is also the option of a 6 hour stay in the interval between 6AM and 6PM. It depends on room availability so call beforehand to make sure. This is a nice alternative to the airport lounges, which are not exactly adapted to napping.
How To Get To Kiev
You have several options to get to the city centre. By car, the distance takes at least 30 minutes. This is the fastest you can get to and from the airport. Plan your time accordingly.
Buses To/From Kiev Airport
The Sky Bus (line 322) runs between the Kiev Boryspil Airport and the main railway station – Kyiv-Pasazhyrskyi. It’s a 24-hour line. As you walk out of Terminal D, you will see the bus stop to your left. You can’t mistake the bright purple buses.
They run every 15 minutes to and from Kiev by day, and every 30-45 minutes by night. It will take around 50 minutes to get to the city (a bit more if you’re travelling during rush hour).
The bus stop in Kiev is on the back of the railway station. You have the metro line 1 station Vokzalna right in front of the Sky Bus stop.
Your other metro connection is the Kharkivska metro station. The Sky Bus makes a stop there on the way to the city – it’s in the suburbs, southeast to the centre. Check the metro map beforehand and see if it’s not more convenient to connect to the metro here.
Buy Bus Tickets
You can get bus tickets online, from the ticket office at the airport, or even from the driver. The price doesn’t change but it might be a bit more fuss-free to do it beforehand.
The single price is 80 UAH for both adults and children. Return tickets are 160 UAH. Not much sense in buying a return ticket, really.
Taxi From Kiev Airport
The taxi fare is usually around 450 UAH.
Uber is a reliable app service you could use. Bolt is also new to Ukraine and reasonably priced.
The other option is the taxi desk at level 1. Either of them is safe and fairly priced. Don’t trust random taxis around the airport or people offering to take you in their own car. The price always winds up to be higher than anticipated and you don’t know who is it that you’re trusting with your life. Dramatic…but true.
Kyiv International Airport (Zhuliany)
The Zhuliany Kiev Airport is just 7 kilometres away from the city centre. Unlike Boryspil, it is within Kiev itself. Zhuliany is a smaller airport, with mostly private and budget flights.
You can get to the centre by trolleybus or a minibus (“marshrutka”). The stop is at terminal D but that’s a couple of minutes by foot from terminal A. Ask an airport staff member for directions. Since this is a smaller airport, it’s rarely ever busy.
The one-way minibus ticket ranges between 4 and 6 UAH. There are several routes to choose from, the most popular being those that take you to the centre:
– Minibus route 302: Vishneve – Kontraktova Square
– Minibus route 482: Glushkova Ave. – Subway Station of Dorogozhichi
– Minibus route 496: Subway Stations of Lukyanivska and Teremki
– Minibus route 499: Subway Stations of Lukyanivska, Vasylkivska, Teremki.
– Minibus route 565: Subway Stations of Shuliavska, Dorohozhychi, Petrivka
The trolleybus routes 9 and 22 are also convenient. Get trolleybus 22 to Shuliavksa metro station and get the metro 1 from there. Get off at Khreshchatyk station and you’re five minutes away from the main square!
Kiev: Time To Enjoy
There you have it. All the info you need on the Kiev airport (well, the two Kiev airports).
Now all that’s left is to enjoy your time in Ukraine.
Need some inspiration?