What to See in Kyiv? Top Things To Do in Kiev Ukraine.

Kiev things to do
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What to see Kiev? Things to Do Kiev Ukraine

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Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine, is definitely worth visiting. Most of the guides and articles about the top things to see in Kiev will show you the most popular tourist destinations downtown (Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, Khreshchatyk Street, etc.). However, if you want to really explore all of the numerous options that the city has, then finding a really comprehensive itinerary is a must. In this article, we’ll give you the list of all must-see sights in the Ukrainian capital to make your experience unforgettable.

Kiev is a hidden gem of Europe. Due to a comparably low number of tourist information in English containing only advice on the top places, the city is often overlooked; for example, only 1.5 million people visited Kiev in 2017, versus 83 million visitors in Paris.

If your time in the city is limited, consider taking Kiev bus tour, you will be able to see everything is less than 24 hours. Arguably the best way to explore the city is to join Kiev walking tour.

Top Things to do Kiev

Want to join one of the best tours in Kiev? Book your day trip to Chernobyl!

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Kyiv is known as the city of churches. From the golden domes of the orthodox St. Andrew’s church to St. Alexander Roman Catholic Cathedral built in Gothic style, the Ukrainian capital has an unbelievable architecture that you won’t see anywhere else in the world.

However, there’s much more to Kyiv than churches. Home to more than 5 million people, the capital boasts numerous parks, amazing mansions, unique restaurants, historical relics, and other places that you should definitely consider visiting. Here are the best things to do in Kiev:

The House with Chimeras (Gorodetsky House)

Gorodetsky House outside kiev
Photo credit: Дядя Саша

Get ready to see one of the most interesting mansions in the world, the House with Chimeras. Located in the heart of the city nearby the main street, Khreshchatyk, this unusual building was home to a well-known local architect Vladislav Gorodetsky.

Horodetsky was a hunter, that’s why you’ll see numerous sculptures of animals in the design, including some pretty exotic ones such as crocodiles and elephants. He trusted an Italian sculptor to create the creatures, both real and mystical; for example, the walls and the roof of the house are uniquely decorated with mermaids and, of course, gargoyles (chimeras).

The house looks like a three-story building from the side facing the President Palace (which is completely obscured by the uniqueness of its neighbor, by the way) but it’s actually a six-story building if you look from the opposite side which faces the Ivan Franko Drama Theater (also an interesting building in terms of architecture).

The interior of the house is just as spectacular and also features lots of animal sculptures and other rather unusual and unique architectural elements. So, if you’re a fan of medieval motifs including mystical creatures, pay a visit to 10, Bankova Str.

How to get there?

Get off at Khreshchatyk subway station and head to the Bankova street. The House with Chimeras is located just behind the National Franko Drama Theater.

Google Maps coordinates: CGWH+2C Kyiv, Kyiv city, Ukraine

How much time do you need?

About 1.5 – 2 hours to see everything. Make sure to check for private tours to see the interior.

What’s the cost?

The House of Chimeras is usually a part of Kiev sightseeing tours due to numerous other attractions Kiev nearby, the cost of the average tour is about $40. A guided tour inside the building should cost no more than $20.

Tips

Since the building is located right next to the Presidential Palace, the access to some parts might be restricted for Kiev walking tours. Be sure to check for private tours to get a chance to see everything.

Kiev Museum of The History of Ukraine

Kiev History Museum
Photo credit: Star61

Located 30 seconds away from the entrance into the Teatralna subway station, Kyiv History Museum covers a wide range of different aspects of the city’s rich history, art, social and political life, and literature. It’s one of the Kiev things to see that you simply cannot miss.

The complete collection of valuable artifacts from the city’s history consists of more than 250,000 items, including clothing, letters, paintings, musical instruments, sculptures, religious artifacts, and many more. These artifacts will help you to learn the history of the city as well as its most prominent residents from the times of Kievan Rus to modern times.

The various branches of the museum – including Michail Bulgakov museum and Sholem Aleichem museum – are scattered throughout the city and host permanent exhibitions featuring artifacts of the respective individuals, the main building of the museum also holds other events on the city’s history organized by modern urban artists.

How to get there?

Get off at Teatralna subway station and you’ll find the building of the museum with big statutes of kings with swords on the roof. It’s located about 50 meters from the subway entrance.

Google coordinates: CGW9+24 Kyiv, Kyiv city, Ukraine

How much time do you need?

Up to two hours to see the entire exhibition

What’s the cost?

Adult – 45 UAH

Children – 30 UAH

Family ticket for a group from 4 persons and larger families – 100 UAH.

Tips

Every first Monday of the month – free entry!

Also, take note that most of the artifacts’ description is offered in Ukrainian only, so consider hiring a local guide. And have some Ukrainian cash on you because you’ll have to pay to take pictures.

Skip the lines and book a tour to the Museum of the History of Ukraine here.

Zamkova Hora

zamkova hora kiev ukraine outside autumn fall
Photo credit: Сергій Криниця (Haidamac)

It’s one of the best places to visit in Kiev. Located just 5 minutes from the famous Andrew’s Descent, Zamkova Hora (translated as “Castle Hill” because a Lithuanian king Vytautas the Great had his castle here) is a hill that many locals call “an abnormal zone.”

To get to the top of the hill, you need to take long stairs hidden at a point at the middle of the Descent, but it’ll be totally worth it if you like to explore mystical sites. For starters, you’ll discover the pagan stellar as well as that the site is where magicians, Satanists, and pagan sects still reportedly gather for meetings; in fact, there’s a big stone describing when and where pagan gatherings take place.

Next, you’ll find a cemetery where many residents of the city from various time periods were buried. There are no plates to identify those who lie there but the locals say that it’s an abandoned monastery cemetery. As you go further into the cemetery, you’ll also see abandoned grave monuments.

While Zamkova Hora is not exactly a priority for some tourists visiting Kyiv, it will definitely give you that unique experience you need to understand this important piece of the city’s history. A hidden gem and one of the most interesting places in Kiev, indeed.

How to get there?

Take stairs from Andrew’s descent

Google coordinates: FG56+GM Kyiv, Kyiv city, Ukraine

How much time do you need?

About an hour to see everything.

What’s the cost?

Free.

Tips

Take a look at the landscape and you’ll see a lot of other well-known local landmarks such St. Andrew’s church, the panorama of the historical district (the Podil”), as well as the view on at least two major modern districts of the city.

One-Street Museum

One-Street Museum kiev
Photo credit: Kamelot

Most of the tourists walk the well-known Andrew’s Descent without actually visiting the museum of this unique street. It’s a big mistake because it has more than 7,000 artifacts that explain the history of the Descent as well as the people who lived there (by the way, the list of famous individuals who lived on the Descent includes Mikhail Bulgakov, whose museum is also located nearby).

How to get there?

Get off at Kontraktova Ploshcha subway station and head for Andrew’s Descent 2B.

Google coordinates: FG87+8W Kyiv, Kyiv city, Ukraine

What’s the cost?

Entrance: 50 UAH.

Guided tour in English: 200 UAH

Tips

Hours: noon-7pm

Ivan Honchar Museum

Ivan Honchar Museum kiev
Photo credit: U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine

Another lesser-known Kyiv museum that is one of the best to visit if you want to really understand Ukrainian culture and ethnography. Ivan Honchar was a researcher who was also an enthusiast who studied and popularized the artistic heritage of the Ukrainian people; for example, according to the official website of the Museum, he created 18 volumes of paintings of “typical” Ukrainians of his era (the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century) in regional costumes, mostly on the beautiful countryside background.

How to get there?

Get off at Arsenalna subway station and take bus #24 or trolleybus #38 to the final stop at Museum of World War II (direction: Pechers’ka Lavra) or head for Pechersk Lavra. If you decide to walk ask directions for Lavrska 19 when you reach the buildings of the Lavra (it’s just a 20 minute walk from the subway).

Google coordinates: CHJ5+V3 Kyiv, Kyiv city, Ukraine

How much time do you need?

Up to two hours to see everything.

What’s the cost?

Adult ticket: 30 UAH

Tips

The museum is located quite far from the metro, so make sure you understand how to get there before you arrive at Arsenalna station. Business hours: 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. every day except Monday and the last day of a month.

You can also call to book a tour: + 38 (044) 280-52-10.

Where to Stay in Kiev?

Kyiv is quite a large city, so it has an endless supply of accommodation options for every traveler. In this section, we’ll explore some of the best hotel options for different budgets.

Hotel in Kiev for everyone

Hotel ibis Kyiv Railway Station ($$)

Ibis is a well-known European network of hotels that has two options for you in the city. I’ve selected the one located closer to the Central Railway Station because it provides easy access to the railway and a direct train to the International Boryspil Airport.

“The prices for one-bedroom room start begin from $50,” says Brian Radowski, a freelance translator from The Word Point. However, you can get a cheaper price by registering as a member of the Accord Hotels family or paying in advance (check if available). This particular location also offers quick access to the center of the city; for example, for a $7 Uber ride, you can reach the main street in 20 minutes.”

Check out the latest prices for Hotel ibis Kyiv Railway Station—> click here.

Hotel in Kiev for luxury travelers

Radisson Blu Hotel Kyiv Podil ($$$)

Located in the Old Town (“Podil”), this luxury hotel is right in the heart of the Ukrainian capital. Andrew’s Descent is just 5 minutes away, with numerous other Kiev attractions of the oldest and the most picturesque districts. If you’re planning on visiting the One-Street Museum and Zamkova Hora, this option is definitely the best.

The hotel has a variety of rooms and accommodations for the most demanding customer, as well as a cozy café, secure car parking, 24-hour room service, and many other perks.

The prices for a one-bedroom room start at $150.

And this particular Radisson is also 10 minutes away from the bank of the Dnipro River, which is also something that you should definitely see.

Address: Bratska Street, 17-19, Kyiv, Ukraine.

Check out the latest prices for Radisson Blu Hotel Kyiv Podil–> click here.

Hotel in Kiev for budget travelers

Mini Hotel Non-Stop ($)

Now, let’s move on to cheaper options. If you’re a traveler on a budget, then you should definitely check out the deals at Non-Stop because the average cost of a room is $13 for one night. The hotel as good reviews on Booking and other well-known websites, plus the center of the city is just 20 minutes away on foot.

Non-Stop offers quick access to the Central Railway Station, a large supermarket, a transfer to the Boryspil International Airport, and a shopping mall. It would be a great option for you to visit most of the places we’ve described above due to a great location (for example, you can take a tram and arrive at the historical area, Podil, in under 30 minutes).

The full hotel’s address is Saksahanskoho St, 147/5, Kyiv, Ukraine.

Check out the latest prices for Mini Hotel Non-Stop–> click here.

Where to eat in Kiev?

In the last five years, the city has seen an incredible growth in unique cafes and restaurants where you can try Ukrainian, Italian, Turkish, Chinese, Vietnamese, American, and many other cuisines from around the world, at affordable prices.

Here are some options for your trip, from traditional local dishes to classic American burgers. If you want to learn how to prepare traditional Ukrainian food, consider joining Kiev cooking class.

Puzata Hata ($)

“Oh my God, if you had a place like this in Maine, you would be so rich. The food is amazing!” This was the reaction of my American-born friend who came to Kyiv to rediscover her Ukrainian roots when she tasted the food at a Puzata House for the first time.

I wasn’t surprised to hear this reaction because Puzata Hata is a chain of restaurants offering super delicious traditional Ukrainian dishes at an affordable price (there are at least six locations in Kyiv), and the selection is pretty amazing. For example, you’ve got Borsh, varenyky (dumplings), mashed potatoes-Ukrainian style, various salads and chicken dishes, and much more. On top of that, you can also taste beer from local producers as well as some wine from local and foreign vineyards.

I personally recommend visiting the location at Kontraktova Ploscha subway station because it’s so close to Andrew’s Descent. However, feel free to Google for one in your area: as I’ve mentioned above, there are a number of locations throughout the city.

Address of the location near Kontraktova: 24 Sahaidachnoho St, Kyiv, Ukraine (there are actually two locations in that specific located about 7 minutes away from each other, so feel free explore).

Salateira ($$)

A healthy fast food? Sure, Kyiv has this as well. An incredibly successful Ukrainian venture Salateira offers a good range of healthy, vegan salad options as well as a unique opportunity to choose ingredients to make your own dish.

Hummus bowl chicken, sandwiches, at least two versions of Caesar salad, and many more healthy dishes that will help you to stay well-energized during your trip. Remember that Salateira also has a number of locations throughout Kyiv, and most of them are in the city’s center.

The full list of locations in Kyiv and other cities (and countries!) can be found on this page at Salateira’s official website.

Espressamente illy ($$)

While Kyiv is not widely known for a coffee culture (the city of Lviv rightfully holds the first place in Ukraine), there are lots of great locations to have a break with a cup of the tasty drink. Without a doubt, one of the best ones is Espressamente Illy on Petra Sahaidachnoho St. (Podil), which offers a great selection of coffee drinks from a well-known Italian producer Illy.

Start your day with espresso illy ristretto, come for a lunch with a cappuccino made with almond milk, or try something unique like an espresso mixed with an orange drink. The place offers the entire Illy range, so you’ll certainly find something to your liking. There are good options for eating available, too.

Full address: 33, Petra Sahaidachnoho St, Kyiv, Ukraine, 04070.

Il Molino ($$)

If you’re a fan of Italian, then you should check out Il Molino, a network of pizzerias where you can taste traditional Italian dishes prepared according to the highest quality standards. In addition to an impressive range of pizzas, Il Molino also offers salads (vegan-friendly options are also available), pastas, soups, desserts, and drinks for every taste.

Il Molino network has quite a few locations in Kyiv, so check the pizzeria locator on their site to find one that’s close to you.

Mama Manana ($$)

There’s a lot of quality Georgian restaurants throughout Kyiv due to a sizable Georgian community, but Mama Manana definitely is the one worth a look. The place has great reviews on both Trip Advisor and local review websites and is apparently loved by locals and tourists.

If you’ve never had Georgian cuisine, I would recommend you start with the classics: Adjarian Khachapuri (open-faced cheese bread topped with a raw egg) or Tbilisian khinkali, the dumplings made of dough and stuffed with spices and meat.

Also, don’t forget to try homemade lemonades and maybe even some famous Georgian wines.

Full address: Velyka Vasylkivska St, 44, Kyiv, Ukraine, 01004 (the closest metro station is Lva Tolstoho)

 Lviv plyacky ($$)

Want to taste more of Ukrainian cuisine? No problem. Lviv Plyacky offers you an amazing opportunity to try the traditional dish of the Western part of the country: plyacky. This is a cake with meat or another filling of your choice that can enjoy with homemade lemonades, authentic beer from Lviv, or get to taste that amazing Lviv coffee with delicious desserts.

Besides, you get a chance to see how chefs prepare plyacky right before your eyes because the kitchen is open (feel free to ask them questions, too, they’ve been pretty chatty in my experience).

There are two locations in Kyiv: near Kontraktova subway station and Teatralna station, so getting there is pretty easy. Besides, you can sign up for a plyacky preparation training session, too, ask for the details when you’re there.

Kiev Travel Blog Tips + Bonus!

CountryUkraine
Kiev currencyUkrainian hryvnia (UHA)
Best time to visit KievApril-October
Best Kiev taxi appKiev Uber (click to get the first ride for free) or Taxify (click for the first free ride)
Kiev taxi number+380 50 977 7030
+380 44 239 1515
+380 93 295 9898
Car rent KievFind the best deals here
VPN UkraineBuy online here
Best Kiev toursFind the best Kiev tour on Get Your Guide (our favorite tour website).
Kiev airport shuttleBook it here
Kiev public transportCheck out this website to plan your journey

In my opinion, spring is the best season to visit Kiev because that’s when chestnut trees, magnolias, apricots bloom and give the city a special look. Summer is the most popular tourist season and is also often very hot, so check the weather forecast when planning your trip. Fall and winter are also nice because that’s when the city hosts a lot of New Year, Christmas, and other seasonal events.

There’s another reason to visit the city around Ukraine’s Independence Day, which is celebrated on August 24: a pedestrian bridge connecting the Druzhby Narodiv Arch platform (seen on the right top corner in the below image) with the nearby St. Volodymyr’s Hill.

According to Business Ukraine Magazine, this ambitious project will offer a spectacular panorama of the city and become a popular way to enjoy Kyiv. Besides, you’ll have an opportunity to visit several Kiev sights during the walk: the Druzhby Narodiv Arch, St. Volodymyr’s Hill, and the Pedestrian Bridge).

Wrapping Up

As you can see, there are many reasons to visit the Ukrainian capital, and you’ll definitely enjoy three or many more days in the city. Kiev is a hidden gem that doesn’t get a lot of attention from travelers, so it’s still a great destination for budget travelers looking for awesome experience without thousands of other tourists wandering around. There plenty of other Kiev things to do, including some unique experiences like Kiev cruise, Kiev craft beer tour, restaurant or pub crawl Kiev tour, Kiev at night tour, and more.

If you’re looking to learn more about the part of Europe where Kyiv is located and maybe plan a trip, take a look at this compilation of top travel destinations in Eastern Europe.

 

The post is written by Pauline Farris. Pauline speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish, and Italian. She traveled the world to immerse herself in the new cultures and learn languages. Today she is proud to be a voting member of the American Translators Association and an active participant of the Leadership Council of its Portuguese Language Division.

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