In the correspondence with our future guests, a few questions and doubts repeat frequently. Let me answer to some of them today:
“Do you travel to Ukraine?”
“Do you do tours in Vilnius?”
“My grandfather emigrated from Silesia, will you travel there with me?”
We are based in Kraków, so I understand your doubts. But: We will take you ANYWHERE in Central Europe on the tailor-made genealogy tours. By Central Europe I mean: the whole territory of today’s Poland and our neighboring countries: Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania. Those are the most popular destinations, where we organize trips regularly.
We have a team of experienced genealogists living all over Poland, and we always try to match the regional experts to your ancestral area. All our guides speak fluent English and can read and interpret old records in Polish, Latin, Russian and German (of course, this is dependent on your ancestral area and guide’s specialization).
What is more, for specific projects’ purposes, we are collaborating on a regular basis with more than a dozen carefully selected, most knowledgeable and personable genealogists and tourist guides spread throughout Poland, Lithuania, and Ukraine.
Of course, there are a few limitations and below I will try to clarify them briefly:
Travel to Ukraine
The territory of the old Poland included part of today’s Western Ukraine and that is why we often travel there with our guests. You have to be aware that Ukraine is not a member of the European Union and Schengen zone, so crossing the border might take some time.
If you are from the USA, you do not need any visa. Just a passport valid for six months beyond the planned date of travel and there will be a few simple formalities at the border.
The situation of Australians is more complicated, as they need to apply for visas before arriving in the Ukrainian Consulate or Embassy. There is the exception if you arrive by flight to the international airport in Kiev, so it is still an option to consider.
To avoid some waiting at the Polish-Ukrainian border, it is good idea to fly to Lviv. There are very good LOT airlines connections from Warsaw.
What is more, this year the new flight connections appeared: from Kraków to Lviv, which is a very convenient and recommended solution in many cases!
If you need our help with visa formalities, hotel voucher or just want our advice concerning the best travel options, feel free to contact us at [email protected]
Visiting Belarus is more complicated, due to the time-consuming and expensive visa procedure. However, a few years ago some exceptions were made – very helpful for us to arrange the genealogy tours!
Citizens of Poland, U.S., Canada, Australia (and many more countries) can take advantage of the 30-day visa-free travel to Belarus, However, they must arrive and leave the country only through Minsk National Airport.
What is even better, there is the ten-day visa-free regime to visit two tourist zones:
Tourism and Recreation Zone Brest (it includes the city of Brest, Brest District, Zhabinka District, Kamenets District and Pruzhany District of Brest Oblast and Svisloch District of Grodno Oblast); The Augustow Canal Park with the city of Grodno and Grodno District.
To visit those zones without a visa, you can enter the country through two regional airports and through crossing points on the land border (with Lithuania and Poland):
- automobile checkpoints Brest (Terespol), Domachevo (Slawatycze), Peschatka (Polowce);
- small border traffic checkpoint Pererov (Bialowieza);
- railway border checkpoint Brest (Terespol);
- Brest Airport border checkpoint.
- automobile checkpoints Bruzgi (Kuznica Bialostocka), Privalka (Raigardas);
- small border traffic checkpoints Lesnaya (Rudawka), Privalka (Svendubre);
- railway border checkpoint Grodno (Kuznica Bialostocka);
- Grodno Airport border checkpoint.
If you are not sure if you need a visa to Belarus – feel free to contact us at [email protected] and we will help you to plan the itinerary.
Travel to Slovakia, Lithuania, Germany, the Czech Republic is a piece of cake: those countries (along with Poland, of course) are members of Schengen zone, so you can travel between them freely. Just do not forget to have the passport valid for several months beyond your travel (minimum is 3 months and recommended is 6 months)!