Driving Euro 2012 -Poland and Ukraine

Euro 2012 Football in Poland and Ukraine

The tournament was played in June 2012 across sites in Ukraine and Poland and ended on 1 July. I’ll leave the info below on the site for a period after the tournament as this page plus the Ukraine and Poland pages in the ‘countries’ section, still seem popular with site users.

Teams will generally be based across two sites in one country, though the locations of quarter finals and semi finals may mean that supporters have to travel between countries.However, supporters planning on a one way car rental to travel between sites may be disappointed. Of the big rental companies, only Budget allow cars to be taken out of Ukraine (for 12 Euros per day) but don’t allow one way rentals to Poland.When renting a car in Poland, most of the big companies include Ukraine in their list of countries which cars can’t be driven in at all. Only Hertz don’t include Ukraine in their forbidden list but they also don’t allow one way rentals between Poland and Ukraine. Europcar and Avis don’t make it clear whether they allow their cars to be driven into Ukraine.

All the big companies seem to have outlets in all the main tournament towns though and one way rentals should be possible within each country. Some local rental companies are also included in the main country sections above.Another factor which needs to be taken into account for supporters planning to drive their own cars to the tournament and use it to travel between games is the large distances between some locations and the fact that dual lane motorways are rare (especially in Ukraine) so your speed will generally be no more than 80 KMH. See below for driving distances and approximate travel times.

Knock-Out Stages

As the Group stages of the tournament are planned months in advance, supporters have ample time to arrange travel plans. Once we get to the knock-out stage though, thats when people are left rushing around to try and pick up low cost flights, most of which are booked up.

Many fans are therefore left to contemplate their options for driving to the games. Germany reached the semi final which took place in Warsaw on 28 June, and that was a pretty easy journey for German supporters to make by car, with the obvious routes being via the A12/A2 which runs South of Berlin and is a motorway all the way to Warsaw, or the A4 from Dresden to Wroclaw and North to Warsaw on the E261 and E67, though this route isn’t motorway and has a speed limit of 50 MPH between Wroclaw and Warsaw.

There should be no restrictions on taking your own car from Germany to Poland but make sure you take all relevant documentation (registration certificate, insurance, MOT, drivers license, passport). Also check with your insurer if your policy covers you to drive in Europe. If not you should be able to take out short term cover with most brokers.

If renting a car, the big international companies have different rules on where vehicles can be driven and surcharges that apply. Poland doesn’t seem to be included on the list of most companies but Sixt definitely say that vehicles can be driven into Poland on their terms and conditions.

Distances from Warsaw –

Berlin 590KM, Dortmund 1049KM, Munich 1069KM,  Hannover 840KM.

General driving and road conditions are okay in both Poland and Ukraine as detailed above but another point to note relates to drinking and driving. Poland has a drink drive blood alcohol limit of 0.02%, which is about a quarter of that in the UK, and half that of Germany, Spain, France and Holland ,and Ukraine has  a zero tolerance approach to drink driving. i.e its illegal to have any alcohol in your bloodstream when driving, and the local police will be targeting football supporters during Euro 2012. Also its worth bearing in mind that having any alcohol in your bloodstream will invalidate the insurance of most car rental companies.

When driving in Ukraine, you’ll find that signs and maps generally have 3 different wording for major towns – one in Roman script, one in Ukrainian and one in Russian. Its well worth investing in a map with wordings in all languages if you can as this helps a lot with navigating away from main roads where there may be little or no roman lettering. For ease I’ve included all language versions of main Cities below -

Driving in Poland-

You may need an International driving permit if you’re not from an EU Country.  Roads are generally in a satisfactory state though there are few dual carriageways and even main roads between major towns and cities can be narrow and have the odd pot hole. Streetlighting even in major cities can be poor. You must drive with your headlights on at all times.. Local driving standards are often poor: speed limits, traffic lights and road signs are sometimes ignored and drivers rarely indicate before manoeuvring. Slow moving vehicles are common in rural areas, even on main roads. Railway crossings may not be marked and can appear in unexpected places. Try and work out if your route will cross a rail line before you set off so you have an idea when to expect a crossing.

 

Driving distances within Poland-

Wroclaw to Warsaw 350KM, 5hrs 30 ,

Gdansk to Poznan, 300KM, 4hrs 30 , there is a section of toll road which should be about 5 Euros

Gdansk to Warsaw, 345km, 5 hrs,

Poznan to Wroclaw, 180km, 3hrs,

Poznan to Warsaw,320km, 4hrs

Krakow to Warsaw,300km, 4 hours 30

Distances within Ukraine-

Kiev (Kyïv/ Київ) to Donetsk (Donec’k/ Донецьк)– 830km, 12 hours,

Kiev to Kharkiv (Charkiv/ Харків) -480KM, 7 hrs

Lviv (L’viv/ Львів) to Kharkiv– 1030KM, 15 hrs,

Lviv to Kiev – 540km, 8 hrs

Kiev to (Dnipropetrovs’k/ Дніпропетровськ)– 535km 8 hrs

Dnipropetrovs’k – Odessa (Odesa/Одеса), 581km ,8 hrs 30.

 

Distances between Poland and Ukraine -

Warsaw to Donetsk ,1655 km, 23 hours

Donetsk to Gdansk,2000 km, 28 hours

Kiev to Warsaw ,820km, 12 hours

Kiev to Gdansk, 1160km, 16 hrs

Poznan to Donetsk,1970km, 27 hrs

Kharkiv to Warsaw ,1300 km, 19 hours

Kharkiv to Gdansk,1650 km, 23 hours

 

There are a number of mileage and direction websites covering Poland and Ukraine – the one below is reliable-

http://www.viamichelin.com/

 

Driving in Poland-

You may need an International driving permit if you’re not from an EU Country.  Roads are generally in a satisfactory state though there are few dual carriageways and even main roads between major towns and cities can be narrow and have the odd pot hole. Streetlighting even in major cities can be poor. You must drive with your headlights on at all times.. Local driving standards are often poor: speed limits, traffic lights and road signs are sometimes ignored and drivers rarely indicate before manoeuvring. Slow moving vehicles are common in rural areas, even on main roads. Railway crossings may not be marked and can appear in unexpected places. Try and work out if your route will cross a rail line before you set off so you have an idea when to expect a crossing.

 

Poland Car rental

Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget,Europcar, National,  Alamo, Thrifty, Dollar,have outlets here.Also usually features on Car rental broker sites and Web discount sites such as LastMinute.com

These are brokers specialising in Poland-
http://www.gopoland.co.uk/cms/website.php?id=/index/selfdrive.htm
http://www.autopoland.com.pl/

 

Poland Self Drive Rules –

Most of the big companies allow cars to be driven to mainland Western European countries and UK. There may be restrictions on taking cars to Eastern Europe. Budget mention that cars cannot be taken to the following –Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Macedonia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania & Albania. One way international rentals will be possible to certain countries for an additional fee. You should check this with the rental company.

 

Driving in Ukraine
Ukraine drives on the left and you should take an International Driving Permit if you want to rent a car. Roads are in fairly good condition in and around Cities but are less well maintained in the countryside and will deteriorate in bad weather. If driving in Winter tell the rental company where you intend to go and they’ll advise if you need winter tyres. Signs away from Cities are generally in Cyrillic only- if you can get a combined Cyrillic/Roman alphabet roadmap you’ll find this useful. Major cities can be confusing to drive in, especially Kiev. Avoid driving in the Centre if you can and ask the rental company if they’ll drive you to/from the outskirts. Once away from towns traffic is lighter. Driving standards are generally poor by Northern Europe/ USA standards and you should expect drivers to flout traffic rules- expect the unexpected. Avoid driving at night in rural areas where you will encounter poorly lit/ unlit vehicles on unlit roads. Drink driving can also be a problem though the drink drive limit is zero. You may be stopped by the police and its unlikely they’ll speak English. They are able to impose a fine on the spot but you shouldn’t have to hand over cash to an officer, it generally has to be paid to a bank within 14 days.

Ukraine Car Rental -
Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget,Europcar, Alamo, National,  have outlets here . Also usually features on Car rental broker sites and Web discount sites such as LastMinute.com

These are some local companies-
http://www.kievrent.net/a_car.php
http://www.arocars.com/eng/avto.html

Ukraine Self Drive Rules
None of the big companies seem to allow cars to be taken out of Ukraine. Most should allow one way rentals within Ukraine and most have branches in major cities eg Hertz covers Donetsk, Dniepo, Kiev, lviv, Kharkov,Odessa, Simferopol,Zaporozhye.

 

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