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If you are looking for a city with impressive old architectural sites, then Kiev is your place to go. This capital city of Ukraine has a long, fascinating history that can be seen in every corner of the town.
You will find a lot of impressive tourist attractions in Kiev. There is no way you can feel bored because there are a lot of exciting things to do in Kiev.
Located in the north-central area of Ukraine, Kiev is the largest city in Ukraine. Not only is the city relevant to Ukraine, but Kiev is also holding an essential role in Eastern Europe.
It is the center of education, science, industry, and culture in the eastern region of Europe. The city has excellent infrastructures and facilities, making it an exceptional destination for tourists.
The best time to visit Kiev is during spring and summer. You should note though that July and August are the peak season for Kiev tourism, so if you want to avoid the excessive crowd, you should not go to Kiev during these months.
It can be useful to learn several Ukrainian or Russian basic expressions and words before your trip to Kiev. Although there are quite a lot of people in Kiev who know English, they can be quite shy in using the language.
So, is Kiev worth visiting? Definitely! It is the best city to learn some Eastern Europe culture and history. There are plenty of appealing Kiev points of interest that you can go to when you visit Kiev.
This Kiev travel guide article will tell you the highlights of Kiev tourism so that you can make an excellent plan for your Kiev trip.
Why should you visit Kiev?
Kiev is the capital of Ukraine and a must-visit historical city of Eastern Europe. The largest city Kiev offers a lot more to visit and explore for all. Many beautiful historical and religious landmarks and monuments are must-see during your trip. By all means, this city carries the cultural values of Eastern Europe. The topmost tourist attractions are Kiev Pechersk Lavra, St. Sophia’s Cathedral, National Museum of Chernobyl, Motherland Monument or Rodina, and St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Practical information and Kiev travel tips
- 2 Experiences and top things to do in Kiev
- 2.1 Meet The Patriots
- 2.2 Spend An Afternoon in The Center of The City
- 2.3 Admire The Majestic Cathedral
- 2.4 Treat Your Eyes with Some Classic Beauty
- 2.5 Brighten Your Day in This Vibrant Church
- 2.6 Ease Your Mind in The Park
- 2.7 Learn More About One of The Worst Incident in The History
- 2.8 Witness The Dark Side of Technology Failure
- 2.9 Go into Deep
- 2.10 Feel The Spirit of The City
Practical information and Kiev travel tips
When is the best time to visit Kiev?
- Summer (May to August)
- Summer is the highest season, and you can expect big tourist crowds around this time of the year
- May to June is the best time to visit
- The weather is too hot in July and August
- The average temperature is 23°C
- Autumn (September to November)
- The mid-September is the good time to visit
- The weather is starting to get colder
- Expect lesser crowds
- You can witness the International Film Festival in October
- Winter (December to February)
- The weather is cold and frosty
- You can expect heavy snowfall
- The average temperature is below 0°C
- There are lesser crowds as this is the low season for this city
- Spring (March to April)
- This is also the best time to visit Kiev as the weather starts to be warmer but not overly hot
- Trees are starting to bloom
- You can witness the International Short Film Festival in April
Do you need a visa for Kiev?
Ukraine is not part of the Schengen area. The citizens of EU group of countries, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Norway, Japan, Republic of Korea, Vatican, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco, Iceland, and Liechtenstein can enter the country without a visa and stay for 90 days.
You can check our complete guide on how to get a Schengen visa and as well to see if you’re eligible to enter the country with just your passports or if you’ll need to apply for a visa prior entry.
Where to book your flights to Kiev?
Check our handy-dandy guide on how to find the cheapest flights around the world – read it here.
Do you need an insurance?
Remember this: anything can happen! Read our take on why you need a travel insurance and how it can save you money when things go unplanned – read it here.
Experiences and top things to do in Kiev
Meet The Patriots
In 1981, The National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War was established. It was built as a memorial of World War II. At first, the museum was named Museum of the Great Patriotic War, but in 2015 the government changed its name.
The museum consists of 18 galleries. Those galleries showcase more than 300,000 items. The main point of The National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War is the gigantic statue of a woman holding a sword and a shield.
The titanium statue is 62 meters tall. Created by the artist Yevgeny Vuchetich, this colossal statue is called The Motherland Monument.
You should not visit the museum on Mondays because on that day the museum is closed. It opens on Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon.
Spend An Afternoon in The Center of The City
If you want to go people-watching in Kiev, then you should head to Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or internationally known as Independence Square, is one of the most important historical sites in Kiev. Often commonly called Maidan, Independence Square regularly becomes the venue of political rallies and protests.
Aside from its political importance, Maidan Nezalezhnosti is a great place to sit and watch the world go by. There are six fountains decorating the square.
In one of the fountains, you can find statues of Kie, Schek, Horiv, and their sister Libed, who are believed to be the founders of Kiev. The most iconic figure in Maidan Nezalezhnosti would be the Archangel Mikhail statue that stands on the Independence Monument Column. The height of this landmark is 61 meters.
There are some other decorative statues and busts that you can find in the square. It is one of the best spots to go sightseeing in Kiev.
Not only is the Maidan used for political use or people watching, but Independence Square is also a favorite spot for concerts, festivals, and parades.
Admire The Majestic Cathedral
One of the most popular and beautiful places to go in Kiev is St. Sophia’s Cathedral. This impressive Orthodox cathedral is so beautiful and intricate that it took two decades for the construction to finish. The foundation of the building was first laid in 1011.
Built under the Byzantine and Ukrainian Baroque architectural styles, St. Sophia’s Cathedral stunningly has five apses, five naves, and thirteen cupolas.
A bell tower was built in 1752. The height of this tower is 76 meters. There is a museum in the Cathedral complex that depicts life in Ukraine before the Mongol invasion in 1240.
St. Sophia’s Cathedral opens every day except every Thursday. It opens its door at 10 AM, and it closes at 6 PM.
Treat Your Eyes with Some Classic Beauty
Filled with beautiful buildings, Kiev also has some charming streets to explore. One of those captivating streets is Andriyivsky Uzviz.
The sides of this ascending street are lined with beautiful antique buildings that are well preserved. There is also a marketplace found on this street. Almost anything can be found here. You can buy some Kiev souvenirs and artwork in this marketplace.
The best month to visit Andriyivsky Uzviz will be in May. During this month, the city will celebrate “Days of Kiev,” and it is a big celebration that makes the town festive.
Andriyivsky Uzviz will be packed with various artists, acrobats and street entertainers doing exceptional performances to entertain the visitors.
Don’t forget to give some coins as some tokens of appreciation to these performers if you feel amused by their efforts.
Brighten Your Day in This Vibrant Church
At the top of Andriyivsky Uzviz, you will find a brightly colored church called St. Andrew’s Church. The name Andriyivsky Uzviz means Andrew ascent. The street was named that because the ascending road leads people to this beautiful St. Andrew’s Church.
The construction of St. Andrew’s Church began in 1747 and finished in 1754, but the church was first opened in 1767 after the interior of the church had been fully installed.
Designed by the famous Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, this Ukrainian Orthodox church adopted Baroque architecture style into the building.
Not only the marvelous Baroque style that makes this church become one of the best Kiev points of interest, but the vibrant color of the exterior also captivates many visitors’ eyes.
Ease Your Mind in The Park
One of the tourists’ most favorite things to do in Kiev is taking some time out and relaxing in M.M. Gryshko Central Botanical Garden. This beautifully landscaped garden is so big that it covers an area of 1.3 km² or about 120 hectares.
There are more than ten thousands kinds of plants, trees, shrubs, and flowers that can be found here. All of these plants are planted in such beautiful arrangements that will stun your mind.
Inside Gryshko Central Botanical Garden, you can find hothouses, conservatories, greenhouses, and rosaries that are built to give some specific plants the suitable habitat needed for their growth.
If you want to see the garden become colorful because of the blooming flowers, then it will be best for you to go here during the spring.
Learn More About One of The Worst Incident in The History
One of the darkest histories of Ukraine is the Chornobyl nuclear reactor disaster that happened in 1986. As a dedication to the victims of this devastating event, The Ukrainian National Chornobyl Museum was established in 1992. The museum was first opened on April 25, 1992.
Located in Khoryva Lane, The Ukrainian National Chornobyl Museum displays some artifacts, pictures, and many other items related to the disaster. The purpose of this exhibition is to educate people about the effect of this nuclear disaster, so in the future, this kind of accident can be avoided.
The Ukrainian National Chornobyl Museum closes every Sunday. On Mondays to Saturdays, this Kiev museum opens from 10 AM to 6 PM.
Witness The Dark Side of Technology Failure
If you are still curious about the nuclear power plant failure that happened in Chernobyl in 1986 and the Chornobyl Museum in Kiev cannot satisfy your thirst of information about what had happened and the effect afterward, why don’t you join a tour to the ruin of power plant then?
One of the most popular tours in Kiev is a tour of Chernobyl. This full day tour will take you from Kiev to Chernobyl to see the devastating outputs of the Chernobyl nuclear incident.
Is it safe? You will be firmly asked not to touch anything while you are on the site. You will also have to go through a radioactive check before you leave this gloomy place to make sure that there are no dangerous radioactive elements in you.
Go into Deep
Going to an underground train station is probably an ordinary thing for you, something that you do every day to commute. But what about going to an underground station that is located 105.5 meters under the ground? Can you imagine yourself going that deep? Well, one of the highlights of Kiev tourism makes it possible for you to experience it.
Arsenalna Metro Station is a subway station in Kiev that is located that deep in the ground. It was built to bypass Dnieper River.
In order to make the subway train be able to do that, an underground railway needed to be put beneath the bottom of the river. That is why this train station is also built in that impressive depth.
To get to the bottom of the train station, you need to go through multiple platforms and escalators. It takes about 5 minutes to get down using them. The next time you visit Kiev, you should try to catch a train ride from this station.
Feel The Spirit of The City
In your Kiev trip plan, don’t forget to put Khreshchatyk Street in your places to visit in Kiev list. Strolling casually on this main street of Kiev is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Kiev.
This prominent street stretches from European Square in the northeast to Bessarabska Square in the southwest. At this end of the road, you can find the famous Besarabsky Market.
As you go strolling on Khreshchatyk Street, you will pass the Maidan. And during this walk, you can see a lot of famous buildings, such as the City Council Building.
The street is also lined up by high-end boutiques, shops, cafes, and restaurants. In 2010, Khreshchatyk Street was listed in the Top 20 of the most expensive shopping streets in Europe.
On Sundays, Khreshchatyk Street is closed for vehicles, giving a chance for tourists and locals to take a relaxing walk on the street, enjoying the sceneries. It makes Khreshchatyk Street one of the best spots to go sightseeing in Kiev.
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Evan Kristine has been mentioned in big publications such as The Huffington Post and the Thought Catalog has been sharing her useful travel tips and hacks to the world for more than five years now.
Nowadays, she is a full-time traveler exploring and documenting her journey around the world providing you the next best travel idea for your great next adventure.