A complete guide to crossing the border between Russia and Ukraine at Belgorod and Kharkiv. Includes information on transport, cost, customs, and other useful tidbits to make this crossing as easy as possible.
Getting from Belgorod (Russia) to Kharkiv (Ukraine) or the other way around is straightforward provided you already have your visas in order. Below, you will find all the information you need for the overland border crossing between Russia and Ukraine. This guide is based on personal experience crossing from Belgorod to Kharkiv.
The process will be slightly different if you are coming with your own car or crossing the border by foot, but the formalities are the same.
Transport to the Russian and Ukrainian border
From Belgorod (Russia) to Kharkiv (Ukraine)
There are hourly buses leaving from Belgorod train station to Kharkiv. They go from the small bus station on the right-hand side of the train station. It’s hard to miss.
A bus to Kharkiv costs 350 rubles per person. Don’t forget to buy a ticket for your luggage, too! A luggage ticket costs 35 rubles. You don’t need a ticket for your carry-on luggage, just for your large backpack or suitcase.
This is a popular route and many Ukrainians visit Belgorod to visit family or to go shopping for appliances. If you arrive about an hour before your desired bus you should be able to get a ticket. You have to show your passport to buy a bus ticket.
There are several men changing rubles to hryvnia skulking around the bus station if you need to exchange currency. Since you don’t need cash to cross this —and can exchange money in Kharkiv—there’s no real need to change money here.
You will spend around 4 to 5 hours on the bus (possibly longer if it’s really busy at the border) so make sure to bring enough snacks and drinks. You won’t be able to buy any along the way.
From Kharkiv to Belgorod
Buses from the Ukrainian side go from the bus station next to Kharkiv train station, on the right-hand side of said station. Buses depart regularly, and cost 155 hryvnias plus a 19 hryvnia luggage fee for your backpack or suitcase.
Try to be at the station about an hour before your bus goes to ensure you get a ticket. You have to show your passport to buy a ticket for this bus.
If you need to change hryvnia to rubles there are several money exchange bureaus in the streets around the train station. It’s also possible to change in Russia, but you will probably get a better rate for your hryvnia in Kharkiv than in Belgorod.
You will spend around 4 to 5 hours on the bus (maybe longer if it’s busy at the border) so make sure to bring enough snacks and drinks, as you won’t be able to buy any along the way.
Crossing the Russian and Ukrainian border from Belgorod and Kharkiv
From Russia to Ukraine
The ride to the border takes about an hour in either direction. Once you arrive, the bus will likely have to wait for another half an hour to an hour before it can proceed to the immigration checkpoint.
Once at the checkpoint you must get out and put your bags through a bag scanner. After this you can proceed to passport control.
The line is a bit chaotic but the process doesn’t take too long. Make sure to have both your passport and immigration card ready. There were no questions asked. The whole process of everyone getting out of the bus, going through immigration, and getting back on the bus takes about 45 minutes.
After you get back on the bus it drives to the Ukrainian side. Here, you’ll have to wait significantly longer. We had to wait for about 2 hours before it was our turn to be inspected.
This time, you won’t have to leave the bus. A Ukrainian border guard will come on the bus to collect everyone’s passport. If necessary (which it wasn’t in my case), you’ll be called to the border post for questioning. The whole process took about 45 minutes.
After this, you’ll get your stamped passport back and the border guard will wish you a good time in Ukraine. From here, it will take another hour or so to reach Kharkiv.
From Ukraine to Russia
The process from Kharkiv to Belgorod is the same as described above but in the reverse order.
What to do and where to stay Belgorod
Belgorod doesn’t have any must-see sights, but it’s a pleasant city to spend a day or two. For people interested in history, one of the largest tank battles of WW2 was close to Belgorod. There is a diorama in Belgorod dedicated to the battle, and you can visit the site of the battle at Prokhorovka, which is about 30 km outside of Belgorod.
There are several decent hostels in Belgorod, with Kvartira 31 being the best of the lot. They have two locations, but the one close to the university is probably your best option. Book a room at Kvartira 31 here.
What to do and where to stay in Kharkiv
Kharkiv is the former capital of Ukraine, and a big university city. It has plenty to do, and you can easily stay here for a few days. If you want to know what there is to do in Kharkiv, check out this great article.
Kharkiv has a few decent hostels, of which Station Hostel and Ride Hostel are the best. Station Hostel is close to the train station (duh), and is spacious and quite new. Book a room at Station Hostel here.
Ride Hostel is halfway between the center and the train station. It’s a bit less spacious, but cheaper and definitely comfortable. I stayed at both Station and Ride, and would recommend them equally. Book a room at Ride Hostel here.
There you have it, a complete guide on crossing the border between Belgorod and Kharkiv in Russia and Ukraine. Have questions or information to add? Do share in the comments!
Yay transparency! There are affiliate links in this post. If you book a stay using one of the links, I’ll make a bit of money at no extra cost to you. Never fear, I’d never steer you wrong.