One of Europe’s biggest cities, the bustling Ukrainian capital Kiev is arguably one of its most scenic destinations as well, and certainly one of the more exotic. Situated on the picturesque Dnieper River, home to over 4 million souls, and bursting with energy as one would expect from a nations’ cultural, scientific and educational center, Kiev is a city of outstanding events and invaluable historical monuments, with hundreds of charming hotels, dozens of great places to eat and incredible attractions scattered throughout.
The world’s love affair with Kiev began with its wonderful architecture, portrayed as a treasure by countless famous poets, artists and writers who have had the good fortune to spend some time here. Top landmarks in the capital include the outstanding mosaics and frescoes of the St. Sophia Cathedral, the monasteries of Percherskaya Lavra, the Golden Gate of Kiev and the unforgettable Baroque Church of St. Andrew, where the spirit of the past remains unmistakable.
Kiev’s Lesser Known Treasures
In addition to her historical sites, Kiev’s cultural highlights are just as resplendent. The newly renovated Kiev Opera House is the most famous of the bunch, but the city is actually home to numerous highly regarded theatres presenting classical opera and delightful ballet shows for which the Ukrainians are so renowned.
Kiev is also, perhaps surprisingly, known as one of the world’s greenest cities, containing hundreds of public parks, two of the largest botanical gardens in Europe and streets lined with chestnut blooms and lindens as far as the eye can see. Those looking for somewhere to sit and relax will never have far to go; along the shores of the Dnieper sits the enormous Central Amusement Park, the biggest in the city, while in Truhanovsky the Dneprovsky Park is probably the most beautiful of them all.
Nighttime Is the Right Time
The nightlife in Kiev is another major attraction, rife with entertainment and events from late afternoon until the early hours of the morning and beyond. The city has venues to cater for every possible kind of taste, be it chic nightclubs, euro-pop disco halls, lavish casinos, posh wine bars, cheap student dives or even the more discreet “gentlemen’s clubs”. Many of Kiev’s pubs and clubs are open 24/7 too, as the licensing laws are practically non-existent in Ukraine, meaning there’s always entertainment to be had.
Visiting the capital of Ukraine for the first time, will certainly be a memorable “life moment” for any traveler.
Main attractions: St. Sophia Cathedral, Independence Square, St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral, Kiev National Opera House, Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Saint Andrew's Church, Mikeshin's statue of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, and literally scores more.
Currency: Hryvnia (UAH)
Official language: Ukrainian, Russian, Crimean Tatar
Area: 839 km2 (323.9 sq mi)
- Voltage: 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts)
- Primary Socket Types: Schuko, Europlug
- Multi-voltage appliances (laptops, etc.)
- 110-120V electronics: Plug adapter + step-down transformer
- Hair dryers, curling irons, etc.: Plug adapter + voltage converter
Other places to see & things to do: the Dnieper River, Kiev Railway Station, Moskovskyi Bridge, Olympic Stadium, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, and dozens more.