A Long Weekend in Kiev, Ukraine

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Three days in February in cold Ukraine

Author: Evi Touantzoglou

So Kiev, Ukraine, a long weekend at the end of February, -2 to 5 degrees pure refreshing cold. Flight from Thessaloniki with Wizz air 70€/person with a cabin trolley bag. You do not need a visa to enter the country, Ukraine’s currency is the Hryvnia (1UAH=0.036EUR) and they do not accept the Euro. You can pay by card almost everywhere and the prices are really low. Wifi is free in most places even in some squares, the only issue we faced was the fact that Ukrainians barely speak English. They are polite though and body language is international!

How to get to Kiev?

Zhuliany Airport is about a 25 minutes driving distance from the center of Kiev and with Uber, you’re there for roughly 6€. We stayed in a very nice central apartment for 45€/night, and we spent about 200€ for the rest. The most central square of Kiev is called Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti). During some weekends the main road that surrounds the square becomes a walking street only, where different street artists are until late at night. A note here, drivers in Kiev are fast and furious but they respect the pedestrians. In some places, you have to cross underground, where there are several shops and places to eat.

A Long Weekend in Kiev

Itinerary – Free walking tour in Kiev

The first morning, we went on a free walking tour for 2 hours with about 20 people. It was really helpful to get an idea of the center and the history of Kiev. We were also really surprised to hear that there are days, where only 1 or 2 people show up on the tours. This is not a tourist city for sure!

If you are an orthodox and religious, Kiev will excite you! There are too many churches from different times. If you are not religious, it is still worth visiting at least one of them. Some churches charge a small fee, we recommend Lavra hills which will cost you only 40 UAH (1,45€) to enter and you should pay additional fees inside to see e.g. cave monasteries and museums. Lavra is a monastery complex inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The entry fee gives you access to the inside area and the main tower. From there, you have a great view of the city. A lot of steps, but the view is worth it!

Plus tip: there is a museum of miniatures inside Lavra hills, which I think you should go for, it costs only 60 UAH (2.08€). It is small but impressive.

What else can you see in Kiev?

After the walking tour and some research, we decided to visit the Chernobyl museum. Also really cheap, 24 UAH (0.83€) to enter and you can pay extra to take photos or to have a personal tour with an audio guide. It is more like a memorial than a museum and it is set up in a creative/artistic way. 100% recommended!

Remember! The museum is closed on Sundays (again they are not used to receive tourists).

You can reach the museum by tram, metro or bus. We decided to walk there, so we could pass through the flea market at Andrews Descent (Andriyivsky Uzviz), offering antiques, military items, souvenirs, food and lots of art. 

Overall, we prefer walking but we decided to take the metro once, just to see it. It is old or vintage and there is one station named Arsenalna, which is the deepest station in the world!

A Long Weekend in Kiev

Last but not least_ Food and Drink!

Ukraine has local dishes but to be honest we did not like their cuisine. Some of their dishes are similar to the Greek Pontian cuisine but less tasty. There are a lot of restaurants with really good prices serving food all day until late and also there are some 24hours/7days bar-restaurants.

Locals drink, there are a lot of them! We tasted some local beer, wine and brandy, it was all fine and cheap. Nothing special for us. We loved a pub that some nice rock music, called the beer point .

Kiev’s coffee culture

Coffee. This was a surprise! Coffee is served everywhere and it is real coffee! There are spots like kiosks selling coffee every 100 meters for less than 1 euro. There are a lot of artistic nice cafés, e.g. we liked Kaffa , with African décor, offering coffee flavors from all around the world accompanied by great deserts.

One last tip. We attended the Swan Lake in the National opera house of Kiev . We booked the tickets online almost 1 month earlier for less than 10 euro/person. It was an experience!

A Long Weekend in Kiev

Kiev – good choice for a budget weekend

Kiev is a good choice for a low budget weekend. And a really good choice for photography lovers because of its vintage and a lit bit creepy atmosphere (note Park Landscape Alley and you will understand what I mean). I would go again in spring or summer for the parks inside and outside the town.

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