Kiev – the capital city of Ukraine and a wonderful place. If you are planning a trip to Europe, you should definitely take Kiev into consideration as one of your destinations. We were very satisfied with our trip: great food, many things to see and low prices. Can you expect anything more from the perfect trip? :) Read our story and inspire yourself with your new itinerary.
Kiev What To See – 4 Days
We got to Kiev by plane in the morning and went straight to restaurant Varenichna Katyusha to eat some breakfast. The décor of the restaurant was very cosy with its yellow walls, old-fashioned furniture and plenty of shelves with books. It looked a bit like a living room and the waitresses were wearing pretty uniforms. We ordered some pancakes and they were very sweet and delicious. When it comes to prices in the restaurant we can say that it was very cheap there but Ukraine is general cheap for foreigners.
Then we took a walk to Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square). We spend there a few hours because it’s a very important place in Ukraine and we wanted to take our time there. The area is big and has following monuments there: Lach Gates, Independence Monument, Globe Monument, fountain and flower clock. What we liked about Maidan was a kind of observation point that enables seeing the whole square from aloft.
There is also a shopping mall under the surface so we went there after some time to eat. We ordered food at Puzata Hata. It seems to be a popular place – it was very crowded during lunch time but we can recommend it – it’s tasty there, there are typical Ukrainian dishes and it is a cheap place to eat. When it comes to the shopping mall, we found it a little bit problematic that we had to pay for using the toilet – it cost only 3 UAH but you need to put the exact amount to the machine.
The Memory Candle monument
Our last destination on the first day was The Memory Candle monument, Memorial to Holodomor victims and a statue of starving young girl.
In this area there is a large park with beautiful views of the Dnieper River and greenery surrounding it and the city. Maybe the information that there is a free toilet in the park will be useful for someone :) We spent some time in the park before going to the museum.
We went inside the memorial – we lighted a candle in memory of the victims of Holodomor. The memorial is fully dedicated to the famine in Ukraine in 1930’s. In the museum there was an exhibition with huge piles of grains and the amount of grains equalled the exact number of people who died during the Holodomor. The aim of the project was to symbolize one man with one grain. The place was very moving but we were glad that we visited it because earlier we hadn’t realized the scale of the tragedy of Holodomor.
Later we were set up with our host from couchsurfing and we spent the whole evening at her place :)
The Mezhyhirya Residence Museum
*Separate post with all the details about this attraction and plenty of photos will be added soon on our website!
The Mezhyhirya Residence Museum was our destination for the second day. It used to be a private luxury residence of former President of Ukranie – Victor Yanukovych. After the revolution in the country he escaped to Russia and left his house with full of unbelievable wealth that he got by huge kickbacks. Now it’s a probably the only Museum of Corruption in the world and presents how looked like the fabulous life of vicious leader.
Next to the metro station Heroiv Dnipra we found a private driver who agreed to take us there for 50 UAH/per person. The ride wasn’t so long – after 15 minutes we arrived in front of the entrance gate. What we observed on our way (and also on our way back) is that the drivers like to break traffic rules. We don’t know if it is really so common in Kiev but we have never seen so many traffic violations in just one quarter :)
When we got there, we couldn’t get the map and we still don’t know how to get it there. Luckily, some lady let us make a picture of hers. It’s sooo useful! We didn’t realize that this area is so huge. We wanted to see everything by walking but it’s not possible – especially not in one day.
Generally it is divided into two parts and at first we thought that the whole area involves only the first part we saw. But no – it’s so huge that it’s hard to cover it on foot.
The house of Yanukovych
Ok, so we took some walk and waited till 2p.m. to get inside the house of Yanukovych. He got really everything in this house!
The tour starts not in front of the house of Yanukovych actually, but in front of the building with sign “FOK” – it was his wellness centre. We paid there for the tour and got shoe covers. As first we saw some devastated paintings and the bowling area.
And the guy that took us around the house was cool – we could touch a lot of things but we didn’t understand him because he spoke Ukrainian. Normally we understand some Russian, but it wasn’t helpful at that time for us.
The house is huge, very wealthy so it obviously makes impression. We liked the style of the house. The whole “tour” took us almost two hours and we think that it was worth to go inside. We like such unique places ;)
Gardens of the residence
After we left his house, we were so exhausted that we decided to see only his cars. It came to our mind that we can take a walk there, but it was a huge mistake. Now we can advise everyone to hire a golf cart with a driver or split sightseeing into two days.
We were walking, walking and walking and …..
couldn’t get there!
We should have checked how big the whole area is! But we didn’t and we were too exhausted to sightsee more, so we decided to come back to the centre and eat something and finally get rest.
In front of the Mezhyhirya Residence Museum there are some minibuses waiting to take people back. We had to wait 45 minutes for our minibus to set off.
We got to Khreshchatyk street (main street of Kiev, next to Maidan square) and went straight to the shopping mall to eat in the restaurant that we visited the day before. And then we got back to our host and to get rested because it was a very weary day.
On the third day we went to see Pechersk Lavra. We had to go there as we have actually always associated Kiev with this place :) We spent there about an hour but we didn’t go at the top of the bell. So if you’re planning to go there, you probably need an extra hour.
This monastery complex is included in a UNESCO World Heritage Site and we can say that we really enjoyed the uniqueness and beauty of it.
Our next stop was Motherland Monument (it is very close to the Lavra, so we just took a walk there). The monument is visible from a distance but made a biggest impression when we were standing right in front of it. It is very spectacular and so is also the surrounding – there are a lot of military vehicles because underneath there is also an army museum. The whole area took us back in time to the Soviet Union. It was an amazing experience and definitely worth seeing (probably even more if you are interested in history).
Then we visited our favourite restaurant Puzata Hata again :) and after some time we went sightseeing further.
St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery & St. Andrew’s Church
We started from St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, then went to St Andrew’s Church (which is placed in a very nice surrounding – beautiful atmospheric streets, great views to make amazing pictures), then passed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (the building is great and impressive), then to Saint Sophia’s Cathedral and to the last stop Golden Gate.
So on that day we focused our attention on Kiev’s orthodox churches. We saw only the most popular of them but they are making a special atmosphere in this city. They are all stunning and of splendid architecture.
On our last day we went to Marinsky Park first. We wouldn’t guess that we will like the park so much. There is a nice fountain in the park, lots of benches to sit on and the beautiful palace. It’s a shame but at the time we were there, we couldn’t go inside (because of the renovation)
And there is also a beautiful view to the Dnieper river and the city. When the weather is nice, the park is worth a visit and walk around – maybe it’s not a must-see in Kiev but it’s nice to go there especially that the park is pretty close to the arch of friendship. And that was our next stop – we took a walk there (it took about 20 minutes). This place is very nice but the best attraction there is actually the view and during summer months – zip-line over the Dnieper river that takes you to the other side of the river.
We wanted to go on the zip-line together but finally only Pawel decided to go (it was too scary for Agata). The views are great and then it is nice to take a walk through the bridge because the views from there are also amazing and it’s a good place to take pictures from there :)
Then we took a walk to Maidan square because it is quite close and visited Puzata Hata for the fourth time :) because we really liked that place and if we could, we would come back there again and it was the end of our trip. We can say that there are a lot of things to do and see in Kiev and we wouldn’t expect that this city is so attractive. It is an underestimated place in Europe and we had a great fun there! 4 days in Kiev is definitely not too long although it would be possible to visit it in shorter time by missing some places. Summing up, don’t miss Kiev in your Eurotrip plans. Simply you can’t be disappointed there :)
IMPORTANT: To motivate us to write new posts about budget traveling around the world please CLICK “LIKE PAGE” BUTTON BELOW. For you it’s just a few seconds, for us – a kickass push to work more and more for you, guys ;)