When traveling in Ukraine and its capital Kiev, in most cases you need to use local currency Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH). Bringing foreign currency and exchanging it there is usually the best option as you can get really good currency exchange rates in Kiev City Center.
Money Changers in Kiev
Be warned that money changers at Kyiv Boryspil Airport (KBP) offer some of the worst currency exchange rates we could see anywhere in the world. Whenever possible, don’t exchange your money there! How bad are the rates at Kiev Airport? Check here: Currency Exchange Rates at Kiev Boryspil Airport (KBP).
Luckily, completely different situation awaits you in Kiev City Center. You will find money changer booths with a sign “CURRENCY EXCHANGE” or “ОБМІН ВАЛЮТ” almost on every street corner in the central part of Ukraine’s capital. The rates might slightly vary between different branches but normally the difference is in 0.2-0.5% range so shopping around intensively is hardly worth it, unless you are planning to exchange a significant amount of foreign currency.
Banks in Kiev normally offer lower exchange rates than small money changers but the rates are still much better than you can expect to get at Kiev Airport.
Foreign Exchange Rates in Kiev
The best exchange rates are offered for the most popular foreign currencies – US Dollars and Euros. Russian Rubles and Polish Zloty can also be exchanged with no problem but expect to get a bit lower rate. For other currencies you might need to shop around a bit more.
How good foreign exchange rates can be expected in Kiev City Center?
USD to UAH exchange rate in Kiev
The official USD exchange rate at the time of our visit was about 25.55 UAH for 1 US Dollar, so the rate offered by money changers in Kiev City Center (25.45 UAH/USD) was only by 0.10 UAH lower than the market rate. For every dollar exchanged here you’re losing only about 0.004 USD or 0.4 USD per 100 USD. In most cases it’s a much better exchange rate than your home bank would charge you when paying by credit card.
Bank in the center of Kiev was offering 25.30 UAH/USD at the same time. Reasonable rate as well.
EUR to UAH exchange rate in Kiev
The official EUR exchange rate at the time was about 28.50 UAH for 1 Euro, so the rate offered by money changers in Kiev City Center (28.40 UAH/EUR) was by 0.10 UAH lower than the market rate. For every Euro exchanged here you’re losing about 0.004 EUR or about 0.4 EUR per 100 EUR. Euro exchange rate was as good as US Dollar.
At the same time, bank in the center of Kiev was offering 28.00 UAH/EUR. If you wish to exchange your money at the bank, bringing US Dollars instead of Euros would be a better choice.
RUB to UAH exchange rate in Kiev
The official RUB exchange rate at the time was about 0.40 UAH for 1 Russian Ruble, so the rate offered by money changers in Kiev City Center (0.394 UAH/RUB) was by 0.006 UAH lower than the market rate. For every Russian Ruble exchanged here you’re losing about 0.015 RUB or about 15 RUB per 1000 RUB.
However, the bank that we’ve visited in Kiev was offering only 0.25 UAH/RUB. The rate was even worse than you could get at the airport!
PLN to UAH exchange rate in Kiev
The official PLN exchange rate at the time was about 6.61 UAH for 1 Polish Zloty, so the rate offered by money changers in Kiev City Center (6.50 UAH/PLN) was by 0.11 UAH lower than the market rate. For every Polish Zloty exchanged here you’re losing about 0.017 PLN or about 1.7 PLN per 100 PLN.
Exchange rates of other currencies in Kiev
The less popular currency is, the worse currency exchange rate can be expected in Kiev. You should compare the gap between “We buy” and “We sell” rates for getting an idea how good or bad the rate offered is.
The gap between USD rates was only 0.20 UAH or 0.8%, between EUR rates – 0.25 UAH or 0.9%. At the same time less popular currencies such as Sterling Pound (GBP) and Swiss Franc (CHF) had 0.65 UAH or 2.1-2.6% gap between the buying and selling rates.
If you want to sell your Ukrainian Hryvnia leftovers at the end of your trip to Ukraine, exchange rates offered by money changers in the center of Kiev will also be significantly better than you could expect to get at the airport.
Even if you can use local currency for purchases at Kiev Airport, most of the stores there display prices and charge in Euro.
We’ve noticed that exchange rates in Kiev City Center were lowered by about 1 UAH on weekend, so exchanging money on weekday might be a good idea.
If you like to use Hop-On Hop-Off buses for sightseeing, you can book your bus ticket online just for 15 EUR here: Kiev Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour.