Kiev is the capital and the largest city in Ukraine. With a unique mixture of pre-soviet and Soviet architecture, the city has wide streets and sidewalks with impressive structures including many churches and open areas. A large park flanks the northern part of the city near the river and features great views, relaxing walks and in my opinion the best part of Kiev.
Is language an issue?
Not really, Kiev is a large international city and as such you’ll find many people speak English well enough to order food, buy things in a store or do basic things.
Getting around Kiev
Kiev is reasonably compact for many areas you’ll want to visit, but for those spots a bit further away you can take the train. The train system is pretty easy to navigate, and you can pay with a credit card at the gates, no need to worry about getting a special card or a ticket. A one-way trip is about $0.30.
Arriving in Kiev
Unless you’re doing a tour of Ukraine and are within reasonable train distance to Kiev, you’ll likely arrive via plane. The Kiev airport is 20-30 minutes drive from the city centre, but you can easily and affordably take an Uber to your hotel in the city. Sign up for Uber here and receive $5 towards your first ride.
Seeing in Kiev
Kiev is home to a great number of great things to see and do, most notably Chernobyl the site of the 1986 nuclear accident that Ukraine is still cleaning up today which I highly recommend taking the time to visit.
- Chernobyl – do not miss this chance to visit the nuclear disaster site of Chernobyl. See my post on the day-long trip.
- Churches – if churches are your thing you’ll have a lot to see in Kiev, if not, then they make pretty backdrops to your other sights, like statues, parks and attractive Ukrainians.
- Всі Свої Магазин – this store contains a number of Ukranian designers and you can find some unique items here that you’d struggle to find most places.
Shopping in Kiev
If you’re from Western Europe, Canada or the USA you’ll find your currency goes a lot further in Ukraine – take advantage. While luxury brands tend to do a good job of normalizing pricing across currencies you can still take advantage in local shops and brands.
Eating in Kiev
Food is generally really great in Kiev, and the grocery store I visited had the biggest selection of baked goodies I’ve ever seen in one place – it was magical if not a bit deadly. Two places stood out on my visit:
- Varenychna “Katyusha” – traditional Ukrainian food in a traditional setting. Enjoy all things potato and a huge menu of delicious food to choose from. Great service and menus are in English.
- Chiken Kyiv – taking its name from the traditional food of Kiev, the Chicken Kiev. A delicious combination of chicken and butter in an eggy, breaded exterior. Do not miss this!
Staying in Kiev
- Aloft Kiev – well-located next to a shopping mall which includes a large grocery store, you’ll find comfortable rooms, great service and an easy to get to location with a train station just behind the hotel.
- Hyatt Regency Kiev – closer to that park I raved bout than Aloft, but also a bit more expensive, it is a Regency after all.
- InterContinental Kiev – not far from the Hyatt, so both in a good location and a few more amenities than the Aloft like a pool.
- 11 Mirrors Design Hotel – a selection from Design Hotels. I didn’t go here, but it’s in a nice area from what I gathered in my wandering.