Sep 6, 2011
There are some useful tips we would like to share with tourists planning to visit Odessa Ukraine.
Inform your bank of the dates of your traveling to Ukraine, otherwise your debit/credit card will be blocked once it is used abroad. Do not forget the pin number for the card and be aware of its daily limit for withdrawal and purchases. Most of the restaurants and supermarkets accept credit cards but sometimes due to some technical issues the cards are not accepted and you need cash only. American Dollars and Euros are very much in use in Ukraine and you can always have them exchanged at currency exchange that are everywhere in Odessa.
There are some souvenir markets in Odessa that most of the tourists visit. The biggest one is located at Sobornaya Square. That is an open air market where local vendors sell thousands of traditional souvenirs made of leather and wood. Just next to the market there is a paintings exhibition where local artists show and sell their art works. If you want to buy some stuff there, be aware that you can always negotiate the price as local vendors tend to overcharge foreign buyers. Most of the times you can negotiate the declared price for 20 – 40 percent .
Odessa downtown is a safe place, but there are some simple things you need to know. Do not talk to strangers telling you pitiful stories, and avoid staying out alone at a late hour. Make a photocopy of your passport with your photo on it and visa page in case you are stopped by the local police.
Some tourists order the rouming service from their local cell phone operators. Most of the time they still experience problems with that service in Ukraine. Even if it works, you pay a lot of money to make and receive calls, plus local Ukrainians will be reluctant to call you as it will be expensive. The most reliable and cheapest way to stay in touch is to buy a simple brand new cell phone for about $ 30 - $ 40 and put something like $10 on your cell phone account. Calls within the same network are almost always free, while average cost for calling numbers of other operators will be in the area of 10 cents.
For different reasons we do not recommend you to rent a car here. First, taxi is very cheap in Odessa, for example a cab ride from Odessa city center to Arkadia beach would be about 50 hrivnas that equals 6 American Dollars. Some roads in Ukraine and in Odessa are in a bad shape that requires you to be extra careful and many local crazy drivers make the driving process much less enjoyable. Bad, disorganized traffic that looks chatotic in rush hours. Just cach or call a cab and make your getting around stressless.