Kharkiv (Ukrainian: Харків = Kharkiv, Russian: Харьков =Kharkov) is a major city in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine and is the second largest city in Ukraine with a population of over 1.5 million inhabitants.
The city is located in the northeast of the country. Kharkiv can seem very foreign for western travelers because of Cyrillic letters. It would be very useful to learn to read the Cyrillic alphabet before coming to Ukraine, although many street signs on the buildings are now also written in Western-Latin letters.
Kharkivians generally speak both Ukrainian and Russian as it is situated only 30km from the Russian border, but in most cases the people mix the two languages together. English is spoken poorly, most often by young Ukrainians.
Kharkiv International Airport (IATA: HRK), located 12.5km south-east of city centre. The airport is served by a number of airlines:
Getting into the city from the airport
- By bus: Buses 115 and 119 to metro (subway) station "Prospekt Haharina", costs 10 UAH
- By minibus (marshrutka): Marshrutkas 255 and 152 to metro station "Akademika Barabashova", costs 10 UAH
- By trolleybus Trolleybus 3 to "Zirka" cinema, costs 5 UAH
Kharkiv's central railway station, Kharkiv-Pasazhyrskyi, is located close to city centre. The metro station "Pivdennyi Vokzal" (метро "Пiвденний вокзал") links to the railway station. It has daily trains to all major cities and towns in Ukraine.
It makes sense to buy railway tickets in advance at Ukrainian railways' site  since trains are few and usually getting fully sold out. Usually if you are travelling to or from Kyiv on one of the Intercity+ trains you may download the PDF file with QR code to show the ticket on your phone screen either print it at home. But in some cases you will need to fetch tickets from any Ukrainian Railways ticket office first providing them the booking number.
The Metro is the fastest and easiest way of getting around. Every day it carries nearly one million people; it 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 at automats you'll see at the entrance (now token looks like paper receipt). One token is valid for one trip, no matter how far you go and how long it takes. A token costs 8 UAH. You need to put the token into the turnstile to enter and pass it. Make sure that you walk through the correct side of the turnstile otherwise there is the possibility that you will be hit by the internal metal gate!
Once you enter the platform you will notice that there are usually two directions the train goes.
- Children's railway (Детская железная дорога), Park Gorkogo (Trams 13 and 22, trolleybuses 2 and 40 to stop Detskaya zheleznaya doroga), . Works from May, 1 till October, 31. Length of the road - 3km. edit
- Dolphinarium Nemo, Sumskaya street, 35, casual days hours 10:00-19:00, Saturday hours 10:00-21:00 
- Kharkiv Art Museum, Sovnarkomovskaya street, 9, kv. 11 -- excellent collection, attentive staff, antiquated ticketing system means you may need multiple tickets to gain access to all the rooms but the overall prices are still very low.
- Kharkiv History Museum, Universytets'ka St, 5 (new main entrance on Konstitutskii Square not yet open as of March 2018). Excellent collection of artifacts from pre-history to present, upper floors' exhibits on World War II and current war in the Donbas have some English. Antiquated ticketing system means you may need multiple tickets to gain access to all the rooms but the overall prices are still very low.
- Kharkiv Zoo (Зоопарк), Sums'ka 35 (Metro station Universytet), ☎ +380 57 705-4490, . 08:00-20:00. Kharkiv Zoo is one of the biggest and most famous in Ukraine. It’s located in the very centre of the city in Shevchenko Park. This zoo occupies a large area of 22 hectares. UAH30, child 5-13y UAH10, 0-4y free. (50.002221,36.230099) edit The zoo and parts of Shevchenko Park are currently being renovated as of 2017.
- Tsentralnyi Rynok (Central Market) Pysunkivska St, near Metro station of same name, wander around the stalls of the historical structure of the market hall for fresh fruits and vegetables and marvel at the variety of raw meats available, and explore the outdoor markets for deals on import/export goods.
- Kharkiv Opera and Ballet Theatre, 24 Sumskaya St. (metro Universitet), ☎ +380 572 473043, . edit
- Ploshcha Svobody (Independence Square) is one of the biggest in the world. Situated in the city centre.
- Shop for original paintings at the outdoor art market in the park south of Sobornyi Descent/Uzviz on the weekends and enjoy the views of several churches at the same time.
- Barabashova --huge market where you can find pretty everything. A lot of goods from Asia, with Asian sellers as well.
- Karavan Megastore, УЛ. ГЕРОЕВ ТРУДА, 7 (metro Geroev Truda), ☎ +38 57 760-2163, . 10:00-22:00. edit
- Dafi Megastore, Geroev Truda street, 9 (not far from metro Geroev Truda); hours 8:00 - 24:00
- Ave Plaza Megastore, 10 Sumskaya Street (Metro Historical Museum). 10:00 - 21:00. edit
- French Boulevard Megastore, 44-B Akademika Pavlova Street (you can get here by free buses from metro Kievskaya, Prospect Gagarina). 10:00 - 22:00. edit
- Boutique Cherie (Шери), 7 Lenina Ave., ☎ +38(057) 714 1326, +38(099) 030 2214, +38(096) 577 7962, +38(063) 655 2245, . Luxury boutique of premium brand clothing, lingerie, swimwear. We present the world's leading fashion brand in Europe. Exquisite lingerie, swimwear and clothing of exclusive leading brands. edit
- Familia (Familia), 14-A Skrypnika (metro Architektora Beketova), ☎ +38 057 760 15 06 +38 095 455 93 96, . 11am to 11pm. Conveniently located in the heart of old Kharkiv. Menu is a unique take on French, Italian and Ukrainian cuisine complemented by the restaurant’s wine list. Fresh and high quality ingredients, top-notch service, serene and classy atmosphere of dining rooms will turn each visit into an unforgettable experience. Expensive. (49.997617,36.237850) edit
- Puzata Khata (Пузата хата), Sums'ka st. 2, ☎ +380 44 3914699, . 8:00-23:00. It is very popular with locals for low prices and quick service. The food here is usually great and cheap, mostly traditional Ukrainian dishes. Being a huge place it is almost always quite busy. You will be completely full for $3-4 per person there. (49.993324,36.232384) edit
- Adriano (Адриано), Petrovskogo st., 35-А (metro Pushkinskaya), ☎ +380 57 7004892. 11:00-23:00. Not a bad pizza chain, the cozy atmosphere is guaranteed, but there are 2 more cafes on prospekt Traktorostroiteley, 59/56 and on Pushkinskaya st. 79/1. Budget. edit
- Buhara, г. Харьков, ул. Пушкинская, 32 (metro Architektora Beketova), ☎ +38 57 716-2045. 12:00-24:00. USD30-100. edit
- Fortuna, Kultury str. 6 (actually located on Trinklera str http://maps.yandex.ua/-/CNxZjDP9), ☎ 702-17-72. You will be surprised by the interior (very Soviet "Stolovka" style!) But the food is really really great and cheap. Traditional Ukrainian cuisine. You should try soups: Borsch, Solyanka, Okroshka (cold soup), pelmeni, fried eggs with salo. edit
- Paris, Petrovskogo st. 30/32, . A great place for people who like desserts, to go on a date or just want to relax in a cozy atmosphere to enjoy fondue. It is amazingly popular; sometimes it is not easy to find a seat there. They have just opened their own theatre where French films or performances takes place every evening. edit
- cafe Imbirnyj Pryanik, Sumskaya street, 36/38. Very nice desserts and tea card you will find here. Nice interior, but little expensive prices.
- Tanuki, Sumskaya street, 36. Great sushi place with Japanese atmosphere. Great soups and various teas are also served.
- IT cafe, Prospect Pravdy 10A (university Subway). Good place for casual dining with fast internet.
- Sova Bar, Kyltyry street, 26. Nice place for outing with friends, cool atmosphere, acceptable prices.
- One20ne, Petrovskogo street, 7. Here you can speak English with the waiters and even they have English menu.
- Abazhur, Sumskaya street, 19. One more nice place for romantic date in Kharkiv.
- Montana restaurant-mix, Lenin prospect, 39. Lovely place with nice atmosphere, located near metro 23 Serpnya (23 Avgusta) It's a bit pricey.
Buy beer from a kiosk and sit and drink it in Schevchenko Park. It's what everybody does, even though you might now be fined by local police.
- Coffee life, Pushkinska 43, ☎ +380 67 483-5948. 08:00-23:00. Named as the first Starbucks in Kharkiv, this place opens unusually open for Ukraine and offers free Wi-Fi. It's extremely popular with Kharkiv expats, a nice place to visit, have a drink and browse the net. edit
- AN-2 restaurant, Plekhanivska str. 8, ☎ +380 57 732-4954, . 10:00-22:00. UAH100. edit
- Stargorod, Lermonotvskaya street. Very nice place for couple of beers, good music and tasty pizza.
- Shokoladka, Pushkinskaya street, 54. Place with very nice coffee!
There are plenty of hotels in Kharkiv, but the quality of them is very often far from what westerners expect. Most of hotels are not in the online reservation systems which makes it difficult to find them.
- AN-2 Hotel*** (Отель АН-2), Plekhaninivska Street 8, ☎ +380 57 732 49 54 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Perfect location (10-15 min by car to city center, boutiques, night clubs, football stadium "Metallist") good prices, new rooms and stuf edit
- Aurora Hotel**** (Аврора), Artema Street 10/12, ☎ +380 57 7524040 ([email protected]), . is situated in the center of the city and offers 28 modern rooms, free Wi-Fi and a nice-looking restaurant. The transportation options are metro or car. edit
- Chichikov Hotel**** (Чичиков), Gogolya Street 6/8, ☎ +380 57 7522300 ([email protected]), . Just a year older than Aurora hotel and also located in the centre. The rooms correspond to western standards though they are quite small. edit
- City Club Hotel**** (Сити Клуб), Gagarina Ave. 145, ☎ +380 57 7301700 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Only 10 minutes from downtown and within a walking distance of the Metalist Stadium. edit
- Gostinniy Dom*** (мини отель Гостиный Дом), Moskovsky Prospekt 56, ☎ +38 050 012 3855, +38 093 290 0232, +38 057 756 1855, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Nice private hotel, low prices from $15 edit
- Hotel 19, Sumskaya street, 19. Nice, low-cost (by European standards) place to stay with home-like atmosphere, but high-quality (nice staff, very clean and new, not shabby), breakfast in the restaurant in the same building, quiet because of its location in a back courtyard. edit
- International Hostel Old Kharkiv **, Poltavskyi Schlyakh, 41. Basic place, but clean and with wi-fi. edit
- Iris Art Hotel ****, Proletarskaya street, 6a. edit
- Kharkiv Hotel***. Located in downtown right by the University (Университет) metro station. The hotel is quite old so it is best to be sure that you will get a nice room. Prices of the rooms are too high for the look and service you get. edit
- Kharkiv Palace Hotel *****, Prospect Pravdy, 2, . First hotel in the cite of luxury+ class edit
- Mirax Boutique Hotel**** (Миракс), Moskovskiy prospekt 86a, ☎ +380 93 3600979 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. is situated not far from the center of the city and offers 10 exclusive rooms, free Wi-Fi and a nice-looking restaurant. The transportation options are metro or car. edit
- Mirax Sapphire Boutique Hotel, Danilevskogo str. 30, 61058,Kharkiv, Ukraine, ☎ +380730205101. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. edit
- Guest House Nasha Dacha *****, Batumskaya street, 4a. edit
- Slavianka* (Rent company), Sumskaya, 13 (metro Sovietskaya), ☎ 0678429675, . checkin: 13; checkout: 12. a lot of apartment from budget to luxurious in the very centre. $35-80. edit
- Superior Golf & Spa Resort *****, Kurchatova street, 1a. Luxury place to stay. edit
- Viktoria Hotel****. 10 minutes drive from downtown and offers nicely done, modern, well-equipped hotel rooms, free Wi-Fi and a spa-center. Travel options are train and car. edit