Ever gotten stuck on vacation with a suitcase full of clothes that are totally unsuitable for the weather? International travel can be miserable if you don’t pack the right things. You’ll find that you’re sweating, freezing, or miserable and soaking wet! Knowing in advance what to expect from the weather in Ukraine will help you make the right choices when you pack your bags to go and visit.
Ukraine’s climate, in most parts, is considered temperate. The US state that the climate could be most closely compared to is Iowa – warm summers, cold winters. But, that changes a bit if you are in the coastal areas like Odessa or up in the cold and damp Carpathian Mountains. Be sure to pack appropriately for the regions you will be visiting.
Once in Ukraine, it may be tough to find appropriate clothes in your size if you forget something, particularly outside the city centers. Our handy guide can keep you prepared for the Ukrainian weather at any time of year. And, if you live in one of the handful of countries that uses the Fahrenheit scale for temperature, you may wish to install a conversion app on your phone before you go; local weather reports will be in Celsius. (Find one that does currency, too, for ultimate utility.)
Spring weather can be unpredictable, so, bring a range of clothing. In Kiev, high temperatures will be 50 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit, lows in the 40s. On the coasts, it’s warmer, but also more likely to rain. Bring an umbrella and a good rain-resistant jacket along with you. Dressing styles in Ukraine are more formal than in some other parts of the world, so, make sure that you have some clothing that is dressy enough for city wear. Pack active wear for the days that you will be out and about. Use a camper’s trick and pack active wear made from synthetic materials; these dry faster than cotton or wool, which means that you’ll feel comfortable much more quickly if you get caught in a surprise downpour. Our suggested spring packing list:
- One suit, dark.
- Dress shirts.
- Nice slacks.
- A couple of t-shirts.
- A lightweight coat.
- Shorts for surprise warm days while traveling. (Avoid shorts when downtown; you will look under-dressed.)
Readers in southern hemisphere countries like Australia and South Africa take note: Ukraine’s seasons are the opposite of yours, so, pull those bathing suits out of storage for July visits! Temperatures in Kiev get into the mid-70s. On the coast in Odessa, they get to 80 or higher.
Special Tip: Men in Ukraine tend to wear Speedo-style swim briefs when they head to the beach. But, if this style leaves you feeling over-exposed, bring the trunks you wear when you swim at home. There will be enough guys on the beach in surf-style trunks that you won’t stick out as a tourist.
Not all hotels and buildings have air conditioning; make sure that you dress appropriately and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated on hot days. Our suggested summer packing list:
- Summer-weight suit.
- Polo shirts or short-sleeve button up shirts.
- Nice slacks.
- Swim suit.
- A light jacket for surprise cold days.
Fall in Ukraine can be chilly. In the Kiev area, October lows can be in the 40s. On the coasts, it can stay quite warm far into fall. Dressing in layers gives you the ability to take off clothes when you get too warm but add them back when you encounter cooler weather. Our suggested fall items:
- Winter coat with removable liner (choose darker colors to blend in with locals.)
- Fall-weight suit.
- Polo shirts.
- Long-sleeve dress shirts.
- Nice slacks.
- A light jacket.
Winters in Ukraine are generally mild, but, the exceptions to the rule can be dramatic. For instance, cold spells this past winter sent temperatures plunging below 0, leading cities to set up hundreds of emergency heating spots where people could get a hot drink and warm up for a bit.
Indoor temperatures in Ukrainian cities tend to be very warm in the winter to compensate for the cold outdoors. If you will be going in and out of buildings, you’ll need to plan what you wear to compensate.
Special tip: If you plan a Chernobyl/Pripyat tour for the winter months, make sure that you do not wear your only warm jacket and boots. Visitors are frequently tested for radiation after these tours, and, if your things have too high a reading, they can wind up confiscated.
Our suggested packing list for winter:
- Winter coat with removable lining.
- A nice sweater.
- Long sleeve dress shirts.
- Winter-weight suit.
- Nice slacks.
- Heavy socks.
- Gloves and glove liners.