Getting off the beaten path in a capital city such as Kiev may be a little challenging, but there things to do away from the visitors and famous sites:
  • Visit St. Cyrill’s Monastery, dating from the 12th century. The good this is its location: completely off the beaten track!
  • Visit the Ghost town of Pripyat, located close to Cernobyl nuclear plant.
  • Go cycling or go for a walk in Golosiyivsky Forest
  • Pick up some fresh food from a babushka in a farmer’s market and go for a picnic in a park.
  • Visit the underground caves of Kievo-Pecherska Lavra, a complex dating from the 11th century . The caves are lined up with mummified bodies of monks.

Why you should add Kiev to your RTW travel list

Of course, visiting Kiev wouldn’t be complete without seeing some of the sights which makes it famous. Here are some ideas on what to do if you’ve never been there or plan on staying for a while.
  • Visit St. Sophia Cathedral, the city’s landmark. A UNESCO World Heritage Site , the church is beautiful and serene. It is the oldest church in Kiev.
  • Take some time to relax in one of the city’s parks. Mariyinsky and Khreshchatyj Parks are among the favorite among tourists and locals.
  • Take a walk on the famous street: Andriyivsky Descent. It is packed with historical landmarks and is also home to a famous bazaar. Stop for a coffee at one of the cafes.
  • Learn more about the tragedy that shook Europe at National Chernobyl Museum.
  • Take photos of the Sculpture’s Alley.
  • Stop for a coffee at one of the cafes in Independence Square. Or maybe for a tea.
  • Visit the National Museum of Pirogovo, a superb outdoor museum highlighting the Folk Architecture and traditional village life of Ukraine.
  • Spend a night at the Opera.
  • Walk the city at night.

Why you shouldn’t add Kiev to your RTW travel list

  • The language barrier may be a problem. People speak Russian and if you are lucky, you might just find someone speaking some English, too. But don’t worry , if you get lost, many people offer to help, regardless of the language barrier.
  • Try to visit the city in spring (April, May) or fall (September, October). It’s not too cold , nor too crowded.

Overview

Kiev (Kyiv to the locals) is the capital and largest city in Ukraine, and dates back to the 5th Century. This city of over 3 million residents is modernizing quickly, but Soviet rule left it somewhat gray and broken down so it has a long way to go yet. English isn’t widely spoken so visiting can be a bit of a challenge if you don’t speak Russian or a related language, but the locals tend to be as helpful as they can be.

What To Do

St. Sophia’s Cathedral is Kiev’s oldest church, dating back to the 11th Century. The interior in particular is fascinating and something not to be missed. Pecherska Lavra is a famous cave monastery set on a nearby hill that also dates back to the 11th Century. It is still used for worship, but also available for touring by visitors. There is a museum and other displays, but you’ll only get in if you dress modestly.

The Chernyoble Museum may not sound like a barrel of laughs, but it’s an interesting visit to see in depth really what went on during and after the infamous meltdown. There are no signs in English, but if you arrange in advance you can get an English-speaking guide.

Getting There

If you are already in the neighborhood it’s possible to reach Kiev by train, but Ukraine is not known for super-efficient train service and the journeys getting here tend to be very long. Most will be best off booking a flight into Boryspil International Airport (code: KBP). There are buses that go from the airport into the center, but it takes about an hour. Taxis aren’t terribly expensive, but you might have to negotiate if they ask for a high price at first.

Where To Stay

There are several hostels and other affordable places in Kiev. There is also the normal array of hotels in Kiev, but prices aren’t as affordable as you might think so it pays to shop around a bit and book a place in advance once your plans are confirmed.