Is Kyiv worth visiting? Our answer is “Yes, of course”.
Ukraine’s capital is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe with an ancient and proud history. It is located on the picturesque banks of the Dnieper River, and is home to almost 3 million people. From stunning parks to historical buildings, from museums to churches, there is always something to see and do in Kyiv.
Here are the top must-see places in Kyiv from a local’s perspective! Let’s discover the best of Kyiv!
Khreshchatyk is the main street of Kyiv and the heart of its business life. With the length of 1.2km, it is considered to be the shortest main street in the world. The “old’’ Khreshchatyk was completely destroyed during World War II by the retreating Soviet Army, and completely rebuilt after the war, in the neo-classical style of post-war Stalinist architecture. Today, you can find numerous boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and the city’s council there.
Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or the Independence Square, is the central square of Kyiv and the most beautiful one. During its long history the square was the witness of many important events, including revolutions. Filled with dining and entertainment opportunities, the square is also the most popular meeting point among Kyievans and guests.
Saint Sophia’s Cathedral
Saint Sophia’s Cathedral is one of the most amazing landmarks of Kyiv. This masterpiece of architecture was built as the main cathedral of Kievan Rus in 1037 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise. It’s famous for its original frescoes and mosaics remained from the 11th century. In 1990, Saint Sophia’s Cathedral with the associated buildings was included in UNESCO World Heritage list.
St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery
St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery is a famous historical site and also a functioning monastery. It is located opposite St. Sophia’s Cathedral. This incredible gold-domed blue church was named after Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of the city. The original cathedral was ruined by the Soviet authorities in the 1930s, and rebuilt only in 1999.
Andriyivsky Uzviz, or Andrew’s Descent, is one of the most ancient and popular streets in Kyiv. It is also called the Ukrainian Montmartre. Here you can find art galleries, museums, theatres, cafes, and buy handmade souvenirs from one of the local craftsmen. However, the street's highlight is the stunning gold and blue St Andrew's Church. Built in the late 18th century, this wonderful Baroque style church is one of the best known landmarks of Kyiv.
Golden Gate is one of the most important architectural and historical monuments. Built in the eleventh century by 'Yaroslav the Wise', the Golden Gate was the main gate of the ancient Kyiv. This beautiful creation was part of the fortification and served as the main entrance to the city. Here you can find a tourist information center and a small museum.
The Motherland Monument is one of the most iconic landmarks of Kyiv. It is a part of the Museum of the History of Ukraine in World War II. This unique structure is made of stainless steel. With the height of 62 meters itself and 102 meters together with the base, the statue can be observed from different corners of the city. In spring and summer, visitors may get inside the statue and enjoy a breathtaking view of the city.
St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral
St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks of Kyiv and the mother cathedral of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The cathedral was built in the 19th century to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the baptism of Kyivan Rus. It was decorated by famous artists such as Vasnetsov, Nesterov, Vrubel and others. The design of this beautiful church with yellow exterior and seven blue domes was executed in the neo-Byzantine style.
Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, also known as the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves, was founded as the cave monastery in 1051, when the monk Anthony settled in a nearby cave on the Dnieper hill. In 1990, it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kyiv Pechersk Lavra has Far and Near Caves on its territory, where the relics of saints are kept. There are three underground churches in the tunnels.
Taras Shevchenko National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Ukraine
Taras Shevchenko National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Ukraine is one of the most popular theatres in Ukraine. It was founded in 1867. In 1896, the original building of the theatre was completely burnt, and on this place the new one was opened in 1901. The repertoire of the Theatre includes masterpieces of Lysenko, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Borodino, Verdi, Puccini, Rimsky-Korsakov and many other world known composers.
Kyiv State Aviation Museum
Kyiv State Aviation Museum is one of the largest and best aviation museums in the world. It was opened in 2003 with 33 aircraft and helicopters. Today, the museum owns the exposition of more than 90 aircraft and helicopters. It is the youngest and at the same time the largest historical and technical museum of the country. The museum is located near Kyiv Zhulyany Airport, covering the area of 20 hectares.
Mariyinsky Park is one of the most beautiful and popular city parks in Kyiv, planned in a landscape style. It received its name from the nearby Mariyinsky Palace. The park was erected in 1854. It is located on the territory of 10.7 hectares, next to the Parliament's building. The park’s observation platform offers wonderful views of the Dnipro slopes, the island of Trukhaniv and almost all the left bank.
Mezhyhirya Residense is a residential complex where the former president of Ukraine V. Yanukovych lived. Here you can find a stunning palace surrounded by gorgeous parks and lakes, a zoo with exotic animals, a restaurant in a form of a Spanish galleon, and many other impressive things. The complex, also known as the Museum of Corruption, impresses the visitors with its excessive luxury. It is located about 30 km north from Kyiv, in the Novi Petrivtsi village.
Museum of Folk Architecture and Life of Ukraine “Pyrohiv”
The Museum of Folk Architecture and Life of Ukraine “Pyrohiv”, or “Pirohovo”, is an open-air museum located on the outskirts of Kyiv. It has a rich collection of 300 unique architectural exhibits from various parts of Ukraine, dating back to the 16-20th century. The museum is s a perfect place for those who want to escape the city's chaos, relax, read a book, play with kids, have a picnic, or dine in one of the restaurants that offer traditional Ukrainian cuisine.
The exclusion zone near Chernobyl is the choice of people who are looking for extreme and unforgettable impressions. Here everyone can feel the tragedy of the Chernobyl disaster that occurred on 26 April 1986 at Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, see the destroyed 4th reactor, and visit a dead city Prypiat with its abandoned houses and a deserted amusement park.
P.S. Is it safe to travel to Ukraine?
Yes, Ukraine is safe to visit. Unfortunately, the situation in the East is still unstable that has an effect on tourism in the whole country. It's highly recommended not to visit Lugansk and Donetsk regions or Crimea. But despite this fact, Ukraine is a safe destination, as it is the second largest country in Europe, and you can easily explore its most hidden corners, discovering the best places to see and visit in Ukraine!