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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

The rugby World Cup is fast approaching but it’s a little late now to start planning a trip to New Zealand to catch the action. So let’s talk about football instead! Euro 2012 is but a year away and Poland and Ukraine are gearing up to be the hosts.

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All eyes will be on these two Eastern European countries next year as they host for the first time Euro 2012. You didn’t know? The European Football Championships will take place next summer from June 8th to July 1st, 2012 and it’s the Poland-Ukraine duo that has won the honour of hosting it. Is there any better occasion to explore this pocket of Europe? It’s not the edge of the world, and we can prove it!

Poland: how to get there

Warsaw

Host cities: Warsaw, Poznan, Wroclaw and Gdansk

There is little easier and cheaper than getting to Poland. These four Polish cities will host matches throughout the championships and are for the most part served by low cost airlines from London. Wizz Air flies to Warsaw and Wroclaw, Ryanair flies to Poznan and SAS flies to Gdansk.

[see]Flights to Poland[/see]

Ukraine: how to get there

Kiev

Host cities: Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lviv

It’s a little more complicated to get to Ukraine direct because the country on a whole isn’t that well served by airlines, particularly low cost ones from the UK. You can get as far as Kiev with a low cost flight onboard Wizz Air. Apart from that British Airways, Ukrainian Airlines and AeroSvit can get you to Kiev as well as to Donetsk from London, although you’ll have to stopover in Kiev and the journey can take as much as 6.5 hours.

[see]Flights to Ukraine[/see]

In true Backpacking style

Finally if you have the time, the best solution to see and experience both of these incredible countries is to head to Poland on a low cost flight and then continue along your way by either train or bus, whichever you like. For example, start off in Warsaw then take a train to Krakow and then catch a bus to Lviv in Ukraine. Once you’re there, Kiev is just a stone’s throw away. Why not go the whole mile?!

Good to know: If you cross the Poland-Ukraine border by train, you will need to wait around 4 hours to change the wheel and axle gauge. As soon as you enter Ukraine, you’re time-warped back to the old USSR… a trip that’s fit for folklore.

To know more about Euro 2012, check out the UEFA official site.

Football fan or not, both Poland and Ukraine deserve another look! If however you do live and breathe football, then this is one trip you can’t miss!

Img: Flickr cc. and UEFA.com

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