Even though it doesn’t seem like that, but Kiev has been there for a long time; before we all knew what Ukraine and Russia were. Considered as one of the oldest settlements in Europe, it’s one of the first in the Slavic world too. Wandering through its historic streets is on top of your things to do in Kiev list.
Ukraine’s capital isn’t spoiled by many tourists. Therefore you get an authentic experience in the relatively budget-friendly country. It’s never been easier to get to Kiev as it is now. All the leading airline companies have a couple of flights performed each week.
Free Things to Do in Kiev
Kiev boasts with many exciting things to do, including museums, gorgeous churches, and landmarks scattered across the city.
1The Independence Square
Maidan Nezalezhnosti is the most popular location in Kiev. This is where different concerts, festivals, protests and significant events take place. Monument of Independence situated right in the center of the square makes it easy to recognize. You can’t miss it!
2The Monastery of the Caves
Pecherska Lavra is a famous complex of golden-domed churches and an underground tunnel leading to a graveyard of monks buried as mummies in caskets. You can also climb the bell tower to overlook the surrounding area.
Often called the “Montmartre” of Kiev, gorgeous and historical descent features lots of authentic Ukrainian souvenirs. And the most important site of the area is beautiful St. Andrew’s Church.
4Cute Couple Statue
Located near the Andriyvskyy Descent, this lovely statue of a couple is a favorite spot for many visitors. Dedicated to Pronya Sirkova and Svirid Golokhvastov, characters of play ‘After Two Hares,’ the statue is a famous spot for many tourists wanting to take a picture.
The plot is straightforward. One man promises two women to marry them – one for her wealth and another for love. During the play, all the characters end up in funny situations. And in the end, as the saying goes ‘if you run after two hares, you won’t catch either!’.
It’s believed that the statue brings luck if you rub it, so make sure to touch those places once there.
5St. Sophia Cathedral
Probably one of my favorite ones in Kiev. A UNESCO World Heritage site has 13 beautiful golden domes and is known for its ancient frescos and mosaics. Stroll through the gardens to relax, enjoy the peace and carefully observe the only cathedral standing during the WWII.
You can even go up the bell tower for scenic views of the city. However, you will need to buy tickets.
6St. Michaels Church
Another magnificent church right down the street from the cathedral. The original one was destroyed during the Soviet-era in the 1930s, but it was reconstructed in 1999 after Ukraine declared independence in 1991.
It’s the main street of the capital, full of governmental buildings, stores, restaurants and artistic display. During the WWII the entire street was destroyed by retreating Red Army troops. In a post-war Soviet era, the road was rebuilt in neoclassical style. However, since Ukraine declared independence, the street was significantly renovated even more.
Well, this is not free, but it’s worth a visit! I didn’t have time to go to the actual city of Chernobyl, so I decided to visit the museum instead. I am not a big museum fan, but I like this type of institutions where you learn more about the historic disaster.
Price: 10 UAH = ~ $4. To Take Pictures: 30 UAH Audio Guide: 50 UAH
What and Where to Eat
The best traditional food you can try once in Ukraine is its world-famous Borsch, a soup made from grated beet stir-fried with tomatoes and other vegetables served with sour cream. It’s heavenly delicious!
Besides Borsch, you have to try another Ukrainian staple – Varenyky – the dumplings. The stuffing of the dumpling can be anything: mashed potatoes, mushrooms, minced meat, pickled cabbage and even cherries.
The most affordable place to eat while in Kiev and rest of the Ukraine is Puzata Hata. During my whole trip across the country, this was the only places I ate.