Kyiv has been chosen to host the Eurovision Song Contest. While we’ll be waiting on smaller details (such as the date, the EuroClub and EuroCafe locations) it’s possible to start making the big steps to plan your visit to Kyiv
Getting Into The Audience
No matter the side events the host city runs, the biggest question for many will be how to get tickets to be in the audience for the Eurovision Song Contest. There are two ways to do this, through the OGAE fan club network, and through the open sales.
In previous years the OGAE network has been supported by the host broadcaster with a generous package of tickets. These are allocated to each national OGAE branch, who each have their own process in distributing tickets, ranging from simple raffles to complicated qualifying conditions built around club activities, but in general there will be a ‘you need to have been a member for some time’ before you can purchase an OGAE ticket package.
Check with your local OGAE branch for more details (and if you love the Song Contest, OGAE offers far more than tickets, you should check them out)
Public Ticket Sales
Tickets go on public sale in a similar manner to other concerts and events. Generally this happens six months or so before the Contest, so if Ukrainian broadcaster NTU follows a similar pattern, pay attention in December.
While many sites and ticketing agencies will promise to get tickets for you, we at ESC Insight would strongly recommend you only follow links from the official website (www.eurovision.tv) and do not purchase tickets on the secondary market. The latter leaves you open to fraud, overpriced tickets, and no guarantee that you won’t be turned away at the door in May.
Flying To Kyiv
Kyiv’s main airport (Boryspil International) is located about 20 miles to the east of the capital. With no rail connections you’ll need to get a bus or taxi into Kyiv (but we’ll have more on how to do that nearer the time in a detailed travel guide).
There are numerous connections to major international airports (including London Heathrow on BA, London Gatwick on Ukraine International, Paris Charles de Gaulle on Air France, Frankfurt and Munich on Lufthansa, Amsterdam on KLM, and Vienna on Austrian). That offers you a wide choice of ‘two leg’ journeys into and out of the country.
International travellers from outside Europe should be able to make it to these connecting airports, but of course it’s not going to be a budget trip. Watch for special offers from airlines, or consider using those frequent flyer miles you have been saving up.
Regarding the visa situation, remember that Ukraine is not a member state of the EU and is not part of the Schengen area so check with your own government the requirements for travelling to Ukraine. For most EU and EEA residents there are bilateral treaties in place allowing for visa-free travel, but you must check before you travel.
Be aware that most of the cheaper flights and routes will be non-refundable. If you have to cancel you’re not going to get that money back again. The date is still to be confirmed by NTU and the European Broadcasting Union (provisionally it remains May 13th, but we expect this will change, probably later in the month). You can safely leave purchasing European flights until later in the year – when you get confirmation of tickets for the Contest is usually a good time!
Hotel and Accommodation
Part of the consideration in hosting the Eurovision Song Contest is having enough available hotel beds in the city not just for the delegations but also for the expected influx of fans. Kyiv will certainly have the numerical capacity, but as many have found out already all the relevant dates have been blocked out by management so may not be available on the open market.
For those how are accredited to attend the Contest there will be a pool of rooms available through the official website, but for others it will be a matter of watching the travel sites, agencies, and the chain hotels’ own websites for the dates to open up – no doubt with a markup to reflect the demand expected.
Kyiv, like many popular destinations, has a thriving community of short-term apartment rentals through sites such as AirBNB and HomeAway. Having used these services during our time covering Junior Eurovision in Kyiv, this should be seen as a potential option, although caveat emptor applies.
It’s also worth noting the cancellation policies of your booking, but also when the money is taken from your account. Some bookings will be ‘pay when you arrive’, while others may demand all the money up front when you book.
It’s Not That Difficult
Having attended countless National Finals and Eurovision, the ESC Insight team knows that it can look daunting to plan a trip like this, but when you break it down there are only three big steps… tickets, flights, and accommodation. Once you decide you are going, get those three covered and you’ll be set for a trip of a lifetime!