Buses Russia, Ukraine and the CIS
Guide to travel by bus in Russia, Ukraine and the CIS
- International bus routes to and from the European Union
- Intercity bus routes on state-owned buses
Russia and Ukraine
- Most Russian and Ukrainian cities have bus links to cities as far as 5-6 hours away or further.
- Though less comfortable than trains,
there are a few reasons you may want to take
1st, you may find the bus a better option if the train's timetable is unsuitable for your schedule.
2nd, some cities are simply not served by trains.
3rd, buses do not require documentation to purchase a bus ticket (trains do). If you find yourself without a passport, or if you have to leave your passport at an embassy for a few days, the bus may be your only option.
- The Russian word for bus station is avtovokzal. Most cities have one or more avtovakzal, depending on which direction you will be traveling in.
- Intercity bus travel with private bus companies
Traveling to and from Russia and Ukraine by bus is certainly the most affordable means of international transportation. Unfortunately, it is also the most uncomfortable. Trips to Western Europe can take as long as 40 hours, so if you are rather tall, have a bad back or bad knees, you may want to think about alternatives to bus travel.
Buses Russia <-> Baltic States
Saint Petersburg <-> Tallinn, Estonia: 6 hrs
Saint Petersburg <-> Tartu, Estonia: 9 hrs
Saint Petersburg <-> Riga, Latvia: 14 hrs
See Eurolines for schedules and prices.
Eurolines Russia (Lux Express)
Ecolines (also has buses from Ukraine to the Baltics)
Nordeka Bus Line (also serving Belarus)
Buses Russia <-> Scandinavia
Saint Petersburg <-> Helsinki, Finland: 8 hrs
See Sovavto-St. Petersburg for bus schedules.
Buses Russia / Ukraine <-> Western Europe
Saint Petersburg <-> Berlin, Germany: 37 hrs (via Riga, Latvia)
Kiev <-> Berlin, Germany: 24 hrs
(We've chosen Berlin as an example. It's just one of many choices for Western Europe).
Becker-Reisen Bus Line
Another alternative for buses Russia <-> Western Europe, is Intercars bus line. Problem is their route goes through Belarus, which means you would have to prepare a Belarus transit visa for this option.
- In larger cities throughout Russia, Ukraine and the CIS, commercial buses are often available.
- In some cases, these buses do not depart from state-owned bus stations. They are, nevertheless, often located near public bus stations and train stations.
- Many private buses run on schedules, but for the most popular routes (Moscow-Vladimir, Moscow-Yaroslavl, etc.), the buses simply wait to fill up. For these buses, payment is usually to the driver.
- Reputable private bus companies in Ukraine include
AutoLux - see AutoLux schedule and Ukraine routes
GUNSEL - visit GUNSEL bus schedule
Sheriff-Tour - routes to and from Donetsk
- Mini-buses or marshrutki, are a popular form of transportation in Russia, Ukraine and the CIS. Widely used for public transportation within cities, they are also gaining popularity for intercity travel, particularly from larger cities to nearby provincial towns and villages.
- Payment is often made directly to the driver, while certain companies require that you purchase a ticket beforehand. A popular form of transportation for university students who travel home for the weekend, it is wise to purchase tickets early if traveling Fridays or Sundays.