A Visitor’s Guide To Kyiv: What To Do And Where To Eat
22 May, 2018

Today’s Kyiv is a city in a constant flux of change – vibrant with young energy and vigour, but also with the appeal of its traditional and deep historical roots.

Being the ground zero of East Slavic civilization and historically dear to millions of people, Kyiv offers all of the elements of an old and ancient capital while also appealing to those seeking contemporary entertainment. Its vibrant cafes, active nightlife and contemporary architecture bear this modern side of the capital out.

To help the tens of thousands football fans flocking to Kyiv for the UEFA Champions League next weekend, Hromadske has come up with this entertaining guide for visitors.

What To See

Kyiv is saturated with history, landmarks and wonders of every kind. From the top of Kyiv’s historic St. Andrew’s Descent, one can appreciate the beauty of the St. Andrew’s Church, as well as contemplate spectacular city views.

While descending the steps of Kyiv’s ‘Montmartre’ (as some Kyivans brand the street), one will find a wide array of shops and restaurants that showcase the mix of traditional Ukrainian culture and modern European influence on the city. Those wishing to take up this route from above could do so by taking the Kyiv Funicular, a landmark transport which takes one from the lower levels of the city towards the top of St. Andrew’s.

The roots of Kyiv’s religious history can be found all across the city. Some of the most notable examples are St. Sophia Cathedral, the landmark of Ukrainian Christianity origins, which offers a fascinating historical sight, as well as the Kyiv Pecherska Lavra, the birthplace of Kyivan monasticism. Meanwhile, St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, which overlooks the Podil district, is historically known as the commercial and trade quarter.

A walk along Khreschatyk Street will take you to the heart of the city as well as the birthplace of the Euromaidan Revolution – Independence Square.

The natural beauty of Kyiv is encapsulated in its many parks and sights. Explore Maryinski Park and the palace located therein, then take a walk through the National Botanical Garden near the grandiose Motherland Monument for scenic excursion.

Historians will relish the opportunity to visit the Lach Gates, the old entryway into the city located within the Maidan square, alongside the Golden Gate, the testament to the medieval Kyivan architecture partly destroyed by the Mongol invasions. The mythic origins of the city are illustrated by the monument to Horyv, Kyi, Shchek, and Lybed’.

Where To Eat

Kyiv has developed a vibrant food culture, boasting a fusion of Western and traditional Ukrainian cuisine. Those looking for cheap Ukrainian dishes can head over to one of the Puzata Hata restaurants found across the capital.

One cannot leave Kyiv without queueing for Kyivska Perepichka, a kiosk doling out sausages in deep-fried dough for pennies. Also scattered around the city are affordable cafes, such as the Lviv Handmade Chocolate chain.

Kyiv’s restaurant and bar scene boasts a flourishing beer culture, with craft beer stores and pubs located around the center. A variety of local and international cuisines can be found around the city, from regional Ukrainian to Eastern, Western, and anything in between.

What To Do

There is no shortage of entertainment in Kyiv, with day-to-day activities, tours, and a vibrant nightlife. Those seeking to immerse themselves in Kyiv’s performance and arts culture must  visit the National Opera House as well as the Museum of Ukrainian History. Art museums such as the Khanenko Museum of Art and Pinchuk Art Centre are also gratifying sites of culture.

Kyiv’s nightlife can keep you entertained till dawn. Many cafes and restaurants stay open late and renowned clubs like Closer will keep you out until the early hours of the morning.

Where To Shop

Like any modern city, Kyiv has no shortage of shopping. High end stores line the Khreshchatyk, but outlet stores and various markets scattered around the city offer just about anything at an affordable price. For those with a sweet tooth, Roshen chocolate store is a must visit.

/By Vladislav Yakovlyev and Iryna Yamborska