There is no doubt that traveling is one of the most educational, eye-opening and enjoyable things a human being can do. Tasting new dishes, seeing new sights and experiencing different cultures and religions helps to shape us into openminded individuals that are not scared to live their lives side-by-side with those who might differ from them in one way or another. And traveling to places like Kiev, shows just how much you can learn, as a country that’s perceived by western media as “poor” and “war-torn” is, in fact, a beautiful destination full off culture, incredible architecture and the most breathtaking nature…
Having said that, of course there is no denying that the political situation in Ukraine is far from ideal, but for a tourist this suggest only one thing – getting more for your money. And when I say more, I mean MUCH MORE. For £10 you can get a delicious dinner with a bottle of wine in a great restaurant! Not to mention taxi prices – absolute pennies. You can easily book a great hotel for £50 per night in the centre of the city. Taking into account that you will be most likely sharing with someone, thats £25 per night per person. So here is your first reason to travel to Kiev – it will probably be one of the cheapest city breaks you have ever been on. But of course, this is not the only reason to see this magnificent city…
Churches And Monasteries
Starting with my favourite – churches. Orthodox churches and monasteries are really something else! With most of them being incredibly old, there is plenty of history to discover within each and one of them, and must I add, there are around 15 churches in Kiev alone. Of course, the external architecture is pretty breathtaking, but it is nothing in comparison to what you see inside! Since photography inside is not permitted, I will let your imagination go wild until you see it for yourself in real life.
There are two of my favourites right in the centre of the city, which is Saint Sophia Cathedral and Saint Michael Golden-Domed Monastery . You can go inside both churches for free or for as little as 5p!! If you like to be a little bit of a glamour puss, B-Hush rooftop bar at Intercontinental Hotel offers an incredible view of both of these buildings from above.
Places To Eat
Of course, this section of the guide could go on forever, but to avoid a longwinded post, I will talk you through just some of my favourite places in Kiev…
Have Breakfast/Brunch at the Milkbar
This place has the most chilled out vibe ever, to the point where waiters are wearing pyjamas to work. And the best thing about this place is that breakfast and brunch menu is available all throughout the day, so if you feel like pancakes or poached egg for dinner – this is the place to visit.
Have Lunch at the Prague
If you are looking for something ridiculously beautiful, seriously instagramable and insanely delicious, this place is for you. A huge white mansion set on the lake is only something you would ever see in movies. My advice is to book in advance and only book a table outside in order to be able to appreciate the beauty of this place.
Have Dinner at Oliva
It’s a cosy place with the most reasonable prices and incredibly delicious food. You can find it in several locations in Kiev, which is perfect for when you are discovering the city. Since the prices are so low, you will have an enormous budget for after-dinner cocktails …
Have Cocktail at Dogs and Tails
Dogs and Tails – HotDOGS and CockTAILS … I mean c’mon, the name says it all! The same owner as Milkbar, this place is buzzing with trendy, cool and life-loving people. The cocktails are absolutely to die for, and signature chicken hotdogs are a perfect midnight snack. As always, prices are laughable comparing to London, but the experience is very enjoyable! An absolute must from me.
Andriyivsky (Andrew) Descent
This is one of my favourite places in the city. I had to travel to Kiev on my own a few times in the past, and there is nothing I loved more than simply walking down this descent on my own, looking around and taking in all the beauty of an “old city”. That’s the part of Kiev that you really wanna see. There is no overpriced restaurants or glamorous boutiques, there is nothing here that you will see that can remind you of London or Paris or New York. Here you will be able to see the real piece of culture and tradition…
The architecture is absolutely incredible, and as you walk down you will discover another beautiful church – St. Andrew’s Church (hence the name of the descent). If you go up the stairs, to the entrance of the church, you will discover the most incredible view of the city – and trust me it is definitely worth the stair-climbing.
On your way you will discover hundreds of stalls selling vintage and tradition items, everything from Zenit cameras to handwoven scarves. My favourite stalls are the ones with countless oil paintings, which capture the descent and other landmarks of Kiev. As always, you can purchase things here for very cheap and be ready to witness a wedding or two happening at the church!
Short and last, but certainly not least is the Kiev Metro. If you follow me on snapchat (oliaxshamray), you probably would have seen how incredible it is. It is literally a palace with incredibly high ceilings, marble floors and oversized chandeliers. I do wish I could show you how beautiful it is, but unfortunately photography is not allowed inside the stations (sob!) and all I have is one single photograph. But this is exactly why you must book a ticket and get there right away so you can see all the beauty for yourself! One ride on the metro will cost you around 15p – safe to say you have nothing to lose!
With Kiev being enormously large (Eight times the size of Paris), it is natural that I have only been able to touch on the smallest part of what city has to offer. Having left Ukraine very long time ago and considering London my home, I see this city from an eye of a tourist and I can say without being biased that Kiev is definitely the place to visit and I recommend you guys to put it at the top of your list immediately.