We were lucky that we had a friend in Kiev who recommended a whole host of restaurants and sites to us. Ukraine’s capital is well worth a visit and it’s sure to get you out of your comfort zone…
Kiev was the last place we opted to visit on our 17 day trip as we both desperately wanted to visit Chernobyl so we altered our itinerary to make sure we could fit this in. We flew from Bratislava to Kiev directly and the flight only cost around £25 per person.
We weren’t sure what to expect when booking as we had previously been to Lviv which was very ‘old fashioned’ and set back in the times from an outsiders perspective. Kiev on the other hand, was a lot more modern with plenty of the usual high street shops scattered around the main street.
We didn’t have a lot of time to explore Kiev as we had Chernobyl booked for our second day and we knew this would take up the whole day. We did, however, squeeze in as much as we possibly could during our brief visit. Keep reading to find out more about what we did.
A Recommended AirBnB in Kiev
We opted to stay in an Airbnb for this trip due to this working out the cheapest option for us at the time. We booked to stay here. It was perfect for what we needed. The apartment is spacious and just set back from one of the main streets making it super quiet. It cost us around £100 between us for 2 nights which is amazing for a capital city! We highly recommend this apartment for anyone looking to visit.
Things to do in Kiev
St Michaels Monastery
Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery is a functioning monastery in Kiev. St. Michael’s is located opposite St. Sophia’s Cathedral. The original was built by Prince Sviatopolk in 1108, and was destroyed by the Soviet regime in the 1930s for having “no historical value.” The reconstructed cathedral was then completed back in May 2000.
It’s a stunning sky blue colour topped with gold. It is honestly one of the most amazing monasteries we’ve ever seen and spent a good amount of time wandering inside and outside taking plenty of photos.
Open 08:00 – 19:00.
Services held daily at 08:00 and 17:00, and on Sundays at 08:00, 10:00, 17:00.
We definitely recommend visiting St Michaels Cathedral when you’re in Kiev. It definitely won’t disappoint.
St Sophia Cathedral
Saint-Sophia Cathedral, located in the historic centre of Kyiv, is one of the major monuments representing the architectural and the monumental art of the early 11th century.
This Cathedral is another stunning piece of architecture in the city centre and is a must see when visiting Kiev.
Maidan Nezalezhnosti is the central square of Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine. One of the city’s main squares, it is located on Khreshchatyk Street in the Shevchenko Raion. The square has been known under many different names, but often it is called simply Maidan. The monument there is great to see and there are many street vendors selling art.
The Motherland Monument
The Motherland Monument is a monumental statue in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. The sculpture is a part of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War.
Friendship of Nations Arch
The Friendship Arch is a monument which was opened together with the All-Union Lenin Museum on November 7, 1982 to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the USSR and the celebration of the 1,500th Anniversary of the Kyiv city. It stands tall and is so eye catching when you approach it. There are also some smaller monuments underneath it too. We didn’t get too much time here due to our brief trip to Kiev but it was definitely worth a visit.
Dynamo Kiev v Shakhtar Donestk
Kiev was always going to be the last city on our European tour. Michael was glued to the Ukrainian Fixture announcement at the start of the season (I did tell you that he is obsessed). His luck was in! Dynamo Kiev would host Shakhtar Donestk in the biggest game in the Ukrainian footballing calendar. Due to the significance of this game it was played at the 70,500 capacity Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex.
Michael met a huge Dynamo Kiev fan whilst on a work trip in China. Michael kept in touch with Yuriy and the football was a perfect excuse to meet up. Yuriy is so hospitable, we met up for a few beers pre-game and Yuriy took us on a walking tour around Kiev, his knowledge of the city is second to none. Incredibly he can speak six languages fluently.
Footballing wise the game wasn’t filled with magical moments but the crowd made this a memorable occasion. The atmosphere was amazing, pyrotechnics and flares were all over. It was a rather drab affair but Dynamo ran out the worthy 1-0 winners. If you’re ever in Kiev then you should check out a Dynamo game.
Yuriy was inadvertently such a good tour guide. Over the last few years I have been telling him to offer tours to football tourists in Kiev. He has taken this on board and is now offering tours. You will see the city beforehand and then he will take you for a few drinks and then to the game.
Thanks to Yuriy’s recommendation we found the best nightlife based around Petra Sahaidachnoho St. This area is very popular with the younger generation and is filled with restaurants and bars. We tried a few bars around this area but the one that we remember the most is Punkraft.
Punkraft is craft beer heaven! They have a multitude of beers both on tap and in bottles, there is literally something for everyone. Michael tried a lot of the IPAs and I opted for the sour beer. The staff in here were so friendly and assisted us to get us our perfect beers. The music in here is different to most places in Kiev, it plays a selection of American rock music, such as Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Guns and Roses.
They also have games consoles in here, it’s a great place and the hours will just fly by!
Best Restaurants in Kiev
We normally check Google and Trip Advisor for restaurants but since we were in contact with Yuriy we took all of his recommendations on where to eat. Malenʹka Odesa was his top recommendation and my god it didn’t disappoint. The food was incredible and the view even better. The back of the restaurant overlooks one of Kiev’s city centre forests, the view is stunning. Our only gripe with this restaurant was that the bar options were not great.
Is Kiev Worth Visiting?
Ukraine’s capital is well worth a visit. It is full to the brim with history and features some of Europe’s most stunning monasteries. We visited Kiev before the HBO Chernobyl programme aired. Due to Kiev’s close proximity to Chernobyl it is now a tourist hotspot. We hope that our tips in this guide help you when visiting Kiev. We would definitely recommend going to the football if Dynamo Kiev are at home.