"Kiev" Kiev by smirnofforiginal

Kiev Travel Guide: 1,687 reviews and 4,135 photos

Getting one's bearings

From the UK, BA had some very expensive direct, return flights but otherwise it is indirectly got to, via Germany which can start to bounce the travel hours up... Perhaps this can take a little of the credit as to why Kiev remains refreshingly and stubbornly off the usual haunt-list for city breaks.

Kiev can, for the tourist, be almost split in two. At one end you have the centre, with Independence Square, St. Sophia's cathedral and St.Michael's monastery... and the other end you have the Lavra, Rodina Mat and the Museum of the Great Patriotich War. Of course there is plenty more in and around but, these are the main attractions or bearings, if you prefer.

Kiev is very easy to get around. I, true to my usual form of city exploration, did it mostly on foot (ouch!) but the metro system is easy to use (IF you have the name of your station in cyrallic!) and cabs are relatively cheap (and often cheaper if your hotel arranges them for you!).

I decided to hotel out by Rodina Mat because the hotel (Salute) looked interesting. Having done that I would say it makes a lot more sense to stay more towards the centre and, should I return, that is exactly what I would do.

Churches, Cathedrals and urban decay

Past all the high rise tower blocks that are synonymous with Eastern Europe and countriesthat were formerly sucked up into the Soviet Union, Kiev has some archetectural beauties (which is not surprising considering it is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe!).
Whether you are looking for the colourful, richly decorated domed churches and cathedrals, the large, organised, military-style of the Russians or elegant buildings of a past grandeur lost, crumbling sadly in on themselves, neglected and long since cared about - Kiev has it all.

I felt perfectly safe, day and night, wandering Kiev.
There are a lot of young people and there is a good atmosphere.
People seemed mostly to mind their own business but, in all my dealings I found them to be nothing short of friendly and helpful.
Knowing a little Russian will help as there are not too many English speakers but this was not a problem and, despite most tourist "attractions" lacking any information in English or non-cyrallic script, most restaurants seemed to have English in the menus as standard.

I spent 4 days in Kiev. There are, of course, places I was not able to visit in this amount of time but, my overall feeling was that 4 days was long enough.

  • Last visit to Kiev: Oct 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (29)

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Comments (6)

  • Askla's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    A good page on an interesting city. I visited in September and the fellow playing his bandura was sitting at the same sofa as when you were there...Good to know what company to avoid if one is going to Chernobyl. My visit to the Chernobyl Museum was, I believe, the most impressive memory of the trip. Regards Lars.

    • smirnofforiginal's Profile Photo
      Nov 28, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      ...well, every aspect of my trip to Chernobyl was,,, 'interesting' :-D
      pleased you had a good time in Kiev... very interesting city.

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Nov 26, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Very interesting, a good read, thanks for sharing. Cheers, Ian

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Mar 24, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Emma, fascinating page about Kiev and your day trip to Chornobyl. The night view from your balcony was indeed fabulous.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Dec 7, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    Nice page! It would have been interesting visiting here, I never realized you could!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 16, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    Emma, thanks for creating a splendid page here! It was great to read your onservations...

    • smirnofforiginal's Profile Photo
      Nov 28, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      I am ashamed of my later replies... something must have gone askew with my notifications... but (a very late) thank you! :-)

  • paolodecastro's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    hello there..........and congratulations for being the tip of the day.....:) greetings from the sunny Philippines..:)

    • smirnofforiginal's Profile Photo
      Nov 28, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      Hi Paolodcastro... I am onl now seeing notices on my Kiev page.... thank you very much for your lovely comment. Sorry I am thanking you a year late!!! o_O


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