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Kiev

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The center of Kiev as seen from the Saint Sophia Belltower.
The Kiev Pechersk Lavra, built in 1051.
National Opera House

Kiev [1] (Ukrainian: Київ - Kyiv, Russian: Киев - Kiev) is the capital and largest city of Ukraine with - officially - over 2.7 million inhabitants (unofficially up to 4.0 million inhabitants). The city is in north central Ukraine on the Dnieper River (Ukrainian: Днiпро, Russian: Днепр). The common English name for the city ("Kiev") is historical. The transliteration of the city's name from Ukrainian is "Kyiv", and this variation is used in official English language materials in Ukraine.

Understand

Ukrainians are understandably very proud of their capital's role in establishing European civilisation in Eastern Europe.

Kiev is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, dating back to the 5th century, although settlements at this location existed much earlier. By the late 9th century, Kiev had become the de facto capital of an emerging Eastern Slavic state. Between the 10th and early 13th centuries, the city reached its golden age as the capital of the first Ukrainian state known today as Kievan Rus, (Kyivan Ruthenia, or Rus-Ukraine). This state created the religious and cultural foundations for modern Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.

In the middle of the 13th century, Kievan Rus was overrun by the Mongols. Later that century, Kiev became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In 1569 the city was absorbed into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and in 1654 it was liberated from that Commonwealth by the Cossack, Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, who then promptly signed the city over to Russia. This action continues to be a sore point for Ukrainian nationalists.

In 1775, Kiev was annexed by the Russian Empire. The city remained under Russian rule, with brief but uncertain periods of independence between 1918 and 1920. Over these two centuries, Kiev experienced growing Russification and Russian immigration. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it became the capital of independent Ukraine and is now discovering its place as a large European capital.

It is generally acknowledged that the population is over 3,000,000 (2006 estimates). About 85% claim Ukrainian ethnicity and about 12% Russian. However, the census numbers are believed to be unreliable so these percentages must be taken with a pinch of salt. There are many minorities in the city, including Armenians, Azeris, Belarussians, Jewish, Georgians, Polish, Romanians and Tatars. Since 2001, not only has the population of Kiev increased, but also the percentage of people claiming Ukrainian ethnicity. This is probably a result of the strong nationalist movement centered in Kiev during the Orange Revolution (October 2004 to January 2005).

In Kiev, Ukrainian is primarily spoken by immigrants from Western or Central Ukraine, while most Kievans usually speak Russian, sometimes with a few Ukrainian words (called "Surzhik"). Officially, all signs are in Ukrainian only. Since 2011, signs with Latin transliteration have been installed in the city centre.

According to the national census taken in 2001, about 93% of the population has a secondary education, and nearly 46% received higher education.

Average temperatures are maximum 26ºC (79 ºF) / minimum 15ºC (59ºF) in summer and maximum -2°C (28ºF) / minimum -8ºC (17ºF) in winter. Spring and autumn (fall) can be very brief. Heat waves featuring temperatures as high as 38ºC (100ºF) are rare but not unheard of in the summer months and brief but potent cold spells with temperatures as low as -20ºC (-4ºF) are not uncommon in winter.

In general the people in Kiev are hospitable and will be eager to help you. However, if you don't have a knowledge of Ukrainian or Russian you may find service in restaurants and shops difficult, although this will change with time as more people begin to study English.

Get in

By plane

Boryspil International Airport (IATA: KBP) [2] (Міжнародний аеропорт "Бориспіль") is about 20 km south-east from the city border (40 minutes by car from the city center). The city's second airport Zhulyany (IATA: IEV) [3] (аеропорт "Жуляни"), used mostly for domestic flights and low cost airline WizzAir, is located within the city border (20 minutes from the centre).

Ukraine has two major international airlines - Ukraine International Airlines [4] (Міжнародні Авіалінії України - Mizhnarodni Avialiniyi Ukrayiny) and Aerosvit [5] (АероСвіт). These airlines have daily flights to major European cities. Aeroflot, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Czech Airlines [6], Delta [7], Estonian Air [8], Finnair [9], KLM [10], Lufthansa [11], Turkish Airlines [12] and others have scheduled flights to Borispol airport. Semi-Budget airlines flying to Kiev include AirBaltic [13]. Budget airline Wizz Air [14] has flights from several European cities to the smaller Zhulyany airport. There are occasional budget charters from Italy, and in summer, Ukrainian Mediterranean Airlines runs charters to destinations including Italy and Turkey. Aerosvit and Delta are the only airlines with non-stop service to North America.

As of may 2012, Boryspil Airport operates terminals B and F. Most international flights arrive in the terminal F, whereas terminal B is used for domestic flights and few international destinations (e.g., Moscow by Aeroflot). Terminal B is much older than F and dates back to Soviet times, but in fact they differ in small details only. Both terminals are very cramped and inconvenient. Expect long queues at the immigration control, which is inevitably haphazard. Despite separate lanes for Ukraine citizens, 'non-visa', and 'visa' passengers, few booths are usually in operation, so foreigners may easily find themselves in a lane for Ukraine citizens, and the other way around. The new, and bigger, terminal D is scheduled to open in summer 2012 and may remedy the congested traffic situation.

The simplest way to get to the city centre from Boryspil (KBP) is the Sky Bus [15] that operates a regular bus service between the airport and Central Railway station. Buses depart frequently and the cost is 27 UAH. Tickets are bought from Kiyavia booking-offices in Terminal F and B. On average, it takes 40-70 minutes to get to city center by bus. To find the buses, you must walk over to terminal "B" and they will be outside, which is to the right of the arrival terminal. Buses terminate at the southern side of the railway station, while the metro (Vokzalna station) is on the northern side. To change for the metro, enter the railway terminal, follow the bridge over the railway, leave the building, and turn left.

Taxi from the Boryspil airport starts from 150 UAH. The minimum price to the city centre is about 200 UAH when you book in advance and call a cab from the city. The official taxi service at the airport (Sky Taxi [16]) is slightly more expensive (6.50 UAH/km, 34 km to the city centre). Unofficial cabs may demand yet higher prices, so feel free to bargain and always arrange the price before you enter the cab.

And if you are arriving at Zhulyany (IEV) you can use Kiev's public transport to reach your accommodation or the train station.

When leaving there can be very large queues waiting to go through security. Travelers flying to the United States may be required to go through a second security checkpoint. Going through check-in queue, security queue and passport control queue may take less than 30 minutes but can be much longer. Check-in counters open two hours before the scheduled departure time and going from the city to the airport may take anything between 30 minutes and 2 hours depending on city traffic.

By train

View towards Kiev Passazhyrskyi, the main railway station.

Kiev's central railway station Kiev Passazhyrskyi (Київ-Пасажирський) is close to the city centre. Metro station Vokzalna (метро "Вокзальна") on the M1 line connects to the railway terminal. The terminal building straddles numerous railway tracks, and effectively comprises two separate buildings adjoined by a bridge. The building on the northern side (next to the metro station) is the main station. The building on the southern side is, respectively, the south station with its own ticket office and hotel. Public transport stops on both sides of the railway. Buses and trolleybuses to the city centre depart from the main building, buses to the Boryspil and Zhulyany airports operate from the southern station. Finally, suburban trains may also depart from a small station Pivnichna (Пiвнiчна) located under the square adjoining the main station. This station is separated from the other two buildings and has its own entrance equipped with turnstiles.

Direct day and night trains are available from all major cities and towns in Ukraine. There are five daily departures from Dnipropetrovsk (5½-9 h) and up to ten from Lviv (9 h) with an express train departing 6:35AM except Tuesdays and taking just six hours. The eastern city of Donetsk is only served by night trains taking 12 hours. Connections with the Black Sea region Crimea are plentiful, most night trains depart from Simferopol (14 h) but some originate in Sevastopol (16 h) as well. Prices for domestic train ranges between 90-120 UAH for seats and from 150 UAH for second class sleeper.

There are good international connections with central Europe and Russia. Departures from Belgrade (36 h), Budapest (24 h), Bratislava (29 h), Chisinau (15 h), Minsk (12 h), Prague (35 h), Sofia (37 h) via Bucharest (26 h) and Warsaw (16 h) are nightly. From Moscow there are a multitude of trains with the fastest one being Metropolitan Express taking just 8½ hours. Saint Petersburg is also well served with an overnight train taking 23 hours. Berlin (22 h) have nightly connections during summer while departures from Vienna (34 h) are nightly Mon-Thu. There is also a connection from Venice (45 h) via Ljubljana (41 h) once a week, departing Thursdays.

More exotic cities with infrequent departures include Astana (73 h, Thu), Baku (64 h, Wed) and Murmansk (61 h, seasonal). And if you are looking for a real journey, hop on train 133E linking Kiev with Vladivostok. It's one of the longest journeys possible by train, taking eight nights!

By car

The main route into Ukraine from the West is via Poland - the only 24-hour customs post is in Lvivska Oblast (Region) at a place called Krakovets. The nearest significant town on the Polish side is Przemyśl, and it's straightforward to find by following route #4 (which passes through Przemyśl). When you arrive at the border, the road is fairly narrow (no motorway/autobahn), and there is always a queue of trucks and vans parked to the right of the road. Don't park behind the goods vehicles, slip up the side of them and then feed into the customs area when the guy flags you forward (for courteous Europeans, you're not jumping the queue as commercial traffic goes through a different process). If you're in an EU-registered car then find the EU-passports section. Then, proceed to Ukrainian passport control and then Ukrainian customs and you're through. It used to be a nightmare, with apocryphal tales of 5-6+ hours at the border, but the Ukrainians have made great advances in efficiency with a 1-2 hour border crossing now possible.

Once through, just follow the main road towards Lviv (Львів) on the E40 - this is the route right across Ukraine to Kiev (and thence the East). Stick to this - the main towns on the way are Lviv, Rivne (Рівне), Zhytomyr (Житомир). Care is required as the road still remains in a miserable condition, even though it is the main East/West highway and the main road route from and to the EU.

By bus

International buses stop at the central station, which is a squalid place that is anything but central (metro station Demyvska, M2 line). There are frequent direct buses of variable quality from Germany, Poland and Moldova.

Kiev is served by Euroclub-bus [17] from various destinations in Germany: Bremen, Cologne, Frankfurt and Rostock, and from Vienna in Austria.

By boat

It is possible to organize trips down the Dnieper to the Black Sea in summer. A travel agency in Ukraine can book these trips for you.

Get around

Kiev can seem quite foreign to the western tourist, as most signposts are in Cyrillic script. It is still largely a city where very few people know English, and the likelihood of encountering an English speaker is low - but not impossible. For the non-Russian or Ukrainian speaker, it's quite possible to get around easily, and it is a very interesting city to explore. It never hurts to speak English. Often, a shop assistant will ask customers who can speak English to act as translators.

It is advisable, however, to pick up a pocket Russian or Ukrainian phrasebook, and learn the Cyrillic alphabet, which can be fun and is easy to learn. Spend some time practicing key words and phrases (e.g. 'hello', 'thank-you' and 'bill please'). Even what you regard as a feeble attempt at Ukrainian or Russian will amuse most people to the point where they become comfortable engaging in pantomime or trying out the little bit of English they know.

It is impolite to chat loudly (e.g., in the Metro), point or wave one's hands. You should also avoid whistling inside or being under-dressed, although in summer very short mini-skirts are widespread. All of these actions will regularly attract the wrong type of attention, including outright hostility.

Navigating

Pick up a "Kyiv Tour Guide" map book (Geosvit books - around US$3-4), which is available at a number of kiosks or at the central post office. Basic tourist maps are available at the baggage carousel at Boryspil Airport. If you are spending much time in Kiev, get the matching Ukrainian version of your map, many locals have as much trouble with the version that is transliterated to Latin characters as you will have with Cyrillic. They need the version in Cyrillic. When asking for directions or setting out in a taxi, it helps to locate the place you want on the English map and then point out the same spot on the Ukrainian version.

If you need more detailed tourist info visit Tourist Info Center on Khreshchatyk 19 (in same building with metro Khreshchatyk). There you can pick up all kinds of city maps and brochures, get a free guide, join free walking tours, use wi-fi and get an answer for any question. Open: 10 am- 7 pm daily. Staff speaks English, Russian, French, German, Spanish and other languages.

By bus

There are two types of city-run buses available – bus (автобус) and trolleybus (тролейбус) – as well as slow and moribund trams. These can be hailed from assigned stops, which are marked by an inconspicuous sign on a telegraph pole. The buses are often very crowded during peak hours, but the norm is to push your way in. Once on board, you need to get a ticket and validate it by punching a hole with one of the small punchers that are attached to the posts inside the bus. If you can't get near the hole puncher, ask someone to validate your ticket for you. Tickets cost 1.50 UAH and are normally available from a special lady on board (oddly enough, she first sells you as many tickets as you want, then asks you to validate one). Tickets can be also purchased from drivers or in kiosks throughout the city.

You can also travel, although with less comfort, on route taxis or mini-vans called "Marshrutky" (Маршрутки). These are privately run vehicles that travel assigned routes, which are listed on the front of the bus. You can hail a Marshrutka at the assigned bus stops. When you board, you pay the driver directly or, if you're not near the driver, pass the money to the nearest passenger who will pass it to the driver. Your change will be returned in reverse order, but it is unwise to pass big bills. When you are reaching your destination, simply yell out to the driver to stop "Na a-sta-nov-ke" (some 100 meters in advance to the bus stop you need). If you overshoot you get a nice walk and a driver gets a little extra stress a day. The fare ranges from 2.00 UAH to 3.00 UAH, and is usually stated on the front and sidewalk-side of the vehicle, so you will know how much you pay in advance. It is good to have some change, so you can pay exact amount.

Marshrutka routes can be hard to figure out, but they have a list of stops on the window and a Metro logo for the metro stops. The best way to figure out where these go is to ask some of the locals. City maps usually picture all public transport, both normal buses/trolleybuses/trams and Marshrutky. The one downside to using Marshutkas is that they tend to be a little overpacked (understatement) and very hot or cold, depending on season.

By taxi

There are two types of taxi in Kiev - official company taxis, and 'gypsy' cabs.

As with many former Soviet cities, it is perfectly acceptable for any car to stop and pick you up. An unmarked vehicle is a 'gypsy' cab. To hail a ride, simply stand with your arm out. When a car pulls over, negotiate a fare. As a rule of thumb, rides within the downtown should not cost more than 20-40 UAH and moving across the city might be anywhere from 30 to 70 UAH (also depends on car model, time of day, weather and traffic conditions, whether both of you need to get to the same part of the city, etc.). Therefore, you should choose a proper street side, and your gender and numbers usually matter for the price. Generally, girls would find informal taxis easier and cheaper than men. It is safe enough compared to many cities, but in the middle of the night you may be taking a risk.

Official company taxis can be hailed, or booked over the phone. There is usually someone who speaks English working for the company. Simply ask 'pa angliski pazhalusta' (or "English please"). The operator will give you a quote, which will save you from the sometimes intimidating process of negotiating on the street.

Taxi fares do vary widely. On the same route, a local could pay UAH15 while a foreigner may be quoted UAH60 with the driver being prepared to settle for UAH30. Don't hesitate to bargain!

By metro

The Metro (Ukrainian: Метро) is one of the pleasures of Kiev. It is a clean, fast subway system, and it is easy to navigate once you realize that all three metro lines (red, blue and green) go through the city centre. In total there are 50 stations, with ambitious plans for extension.

When you enter the Metro, you must purchase an entrance token from the cash desk, Kasa (Ukrainian: каса) or from a special ticket machine. One token is valid for one trip, no matter how far you go. A token is 2 UAH and one needs to slip the token into the turnstile to enter. A note of caution: make sure you walk through the correct side of the turnstile, or you will be hit with a metal gate that will slam shut. You can also obtain an unlimited monthly ticket with a magnetic tape, which is available for sale for 95 UAH during the first week of the calendar month or the third week for half the price (but not strictly so).

As of 2012, the Kiev metro has undergone a major improvement with respect to the navigation. Most maps and signposts are translated into English. Additionally, every stations has got its unique three-digit number, with the first digit showing the number of line (M1 for red, M2 for blue, and M3 for green). Once on board, every station is announced by loud speakers and TV screens. These screens show a lot of weird ads between the stations, but flag an impending station before arrival. Upon departure, they then show the next station.

Metro station escalator

Metro stations where you can interchange have two different names - one for each line. If you are changing lines, the other station can be reached by an overpass in the centre or near one of the ends of the platform.

Trains run every 30 to 150 seconds during business hours, every 5 minutes after 8 PM, and every 10–15 minutes after 10.30PM. Last trains depart from the terminal stations around midnight, so your last chance to catch a train in the city centre is between 12.15AM and 12.25AM (check the timetable of late departures, which is signposted on each station). Trains are often very crowded. Be prepared to push, as this may be the only way you get on the train during peak hours.

It's interesting to note that the Kiev metro has some of the deepest stations in the world. The Arsenalna station (Ukrainian: Арсенальна) station is the deepest metro station in the world, at 107 meters deep, and the Universytet station (Ukrainian: Університет) has one of the longest escalators (87 meters long). Many stations have two long and intimidating escalators in a row.

If you enable "Cell Info Display" on your GSM phone, it will show you the name of the station (in transliterated Latin characters (for UMC and Kyivstar subscribers) just like your map) when you are underground in the vicinity of a station. Your mobile/cell/handy should work on most of the network, including between stations.

Spend some time looking at the stations. The red line features impressive architecture, similar to that seen in the Moscow and Saint Petersburg metro systems. Elaborate mosaics in the Zolotye Vorota station depict rulers and other historical characters of the medieval Kievan Rus.

By Funicular

A scenic way to get from the upper city down to Podil (or, naturally, the other way around) is to catch the funicular from Mykhaylivs’ka Ploscha to Poshtova Ploscha in Podil. You can enjoy views of the Dnieper and left bank on the way down. The cost is 1.50 UAH, and the Funicular runs from 06:00 to 23:00 during summer and 07:00 to 22:00 during winter. As with the Metro, you buy a token and insert it into the entrance barrier.

The main square

See

Women are supposed to cover their heads and put on skirts before entering the caves or churches. However, this is not always enforced for tourists. You may be invited to take the church's shawls - one to cover your head and a second to wrap your legs like a skirt. Or you may buy nice shawls at Kiev Pechersk Lavra.


  • Chornobyl Museum, Khoryv Lane, 1 (Metro “Kontraktova Ploshcha”), 0038 (044) 417-54-22, [18]. Mon-Fri 10-18; Sat 10-17. A fascinating and moving museum. No signage in English, but English audio guides are available for a fee - highly recommended.
  • Khreshchatyk (Хрещатик) Street - The main drag of the city centre. It is closed to traffic on some weekends and full of entertainers and people wandering around. A big happy crowd and very conducive to peoplewatching. Metro: Maidan Nezalezhnosti or Khreshchatyk.
'Mother' Motherland statue in Kiev stands in the centre of the Museum of the Great Patriotic War.
  • Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Cave Monastery--Печерська лавра), (Metro station Arsenal'na is a couple blocks away from the main entrance. You can take a trolley from the subway station - 2 stops). One of the oldest and most important monasteries in Ukraine and in the teritory of the former Soviet Union. Only the most important monasteries were designated as Lavras; there were only four, of which this Cave Monastery is the oldest. It was founded in 1077 by St Antoniy. The caves were dug out by priests who lived there as hermits. Nowadays, the caves are venerated by the faithful and tourists who visit the mummified monks, and pilgrims are still allowed access to the underground church there. There are two parts to the modern complex: the upper lavra, owned by the state and consisting of a number of museums (entry fee); and the lower lavra, owned by the Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriach) and consisting of the caves (you'll need 1 UAH to buy a candle to enter). Do not miss the display of micro-miniatures in the upper lavra. It sounds lame, but it is fascinating. You can enter the caves in the lower part if you dress correctly (women MUST cover their hair and wear skirts, no shorts. Expensive scarves are for sale there). Women can only just get away with pants in the winter. Start at the Lower Lavra, visiting the caves before the crowds descend for the day. There are two cave complexes, each housing the mummified remains of monks, as well as religous icons and other relics. Both caves are accessed through churches, with the entrance to the shorter caves at the end of a boardwalk. While it is free to enter the caves, you must purchase a taper candle in order to light your way. The caves are not recommended for the claustrophobic or overly tall. Once you're in there, it's hard, even impossible to turn around and go back out - you have to keep going.


St. Sophia's
  • Open-Air Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Life (Музей народної архітектури та побуту - Muzey narodnoyi arkhitektury ta pobutu), Krasnoznamennaya street, 1, Pyrohiv (Bus #156 or #172 from Olimpiiska, Lybidska or Vystavkovy Tsentr Metro stations goes there for USD 0.30 (pay driver). About 30-40 minutes.), +38(044) 526 57 65. daily. Covering 160 ha, the area shows how people used to live in different parts of Ukraine. Six restored rural Ukranian villages, with old huts, wooden mills and churches from all over Ukraine have been carefully restored and function as living museums. English-speaking (sort of) guides with expertise on the whole site are available and well worth-it. Ukrainians come on sunny days to relax in the grass.
  • St Sophia's Cathedral (Собор Святої Софії - Sobor Sviatoyi Sofiyi), (Metro: Zoloti Vorota). 09.00-16.00. The oldest remaining church in Kiev. Parts date from the 11th century. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and has world biggest emsemble of frescoes and mosaics dating from 11th century, including the Virgin Orans mosaic. Several green-robed ladies maintain order and will shout at you if you look like you are planning to take a photo. The gatehouse and other restorations were completed in the 17th century. Outside the gates, there is a statue commemorating hetman Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, who liberated Kiev in the 17th century... then gave the city to the Russian Empire. UAH53 for admission to the complex and church (UAH 23 for children). Additional charges to climb the bell tower, visit the museum and have a guided tour.
St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral
  • St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, (a short distance and easily visible from St. Sophia's cathedral). A working monastery that goes back to the 12th Century. Destroyed during the Soviet era, with many of its art works hastily removed, some of which were trasferred to the museums in Moscow and St Petersburg, some were moved to St Sophia Cathedral. Some mosaics housed in St Sophia subsequently fell into the hands of the Nazis but were returned... to Hermitage in St Petersburg. Rebuilt in 1997-98. Impressive gold domes best visited on a sunny day. Behind the complex is a pleasant park with views of the Dnieper and, to the left, the entrance to the funicular.
  • Motherland Statue and War memorials - Kiev was pretty much destroyed during the invasion in WWII. The memorial near the motherland statue is pretty gripping. Lots of examples of classic Soviet-era memorial statuary as well as some amazing exhibits of military hardware. The Museum to the Great Patriotic War (WWII) located in the base of the statue is a must-see for visitors interested in the impact the German invasion had on the Soviet Union. Well worth the visit even if you don't speak or read any Russian or Ukrainian (several English language tours are provided daily). It's well curated and full of artifacts (including weapons, battle maps, hundreds of original photographs, and a moving installation at the end of the exhibit symbolizing the great losses suffered). There is also a small museum of the Afghan conflict nearby. Try to enter coming from the top part of the Pecherska Lavra. This way you get submerged with old soviet music and dark statues. Metro: Arsenalna
  • Babyn Yar (Бабин Яр) - a ravine which was the site of massacres of Jews, Gypsies, and other civilians by the Nazis and their puppets during World War II. Approximately 60,000 civilians were executed at this site during the war (over 34,000 Jews in the first two days alone). Now a memorial to "Soviet citizens" murdered by the Germans, the park can be reached via the metro.
  • Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Майдан Незалежності) - Independence Square, located on Khreshchatyk Street. Maidan is known throughout the world as the place where supporters of Yushchenko and the Orange Revolution camped for weeks on end in October 2004. This is a central meeting place in Kiev. Metro: Maidan Nezalezhnosti or Kreshchatyk
  • Kiev TV Tower (Телевізійна вежа - Televiziyna vezha) is the tallest lattice tower in the world. It is not accessible for tourists.
Statue at top of Andrew's Descent
  • Andriyivsky Uzviz (Андріївський узвіз) or Andrew's Descent - At the top of this quaint, very rough cobblestone street is St Andrew's Church (closed for restoration in 2011). Sidewalks are gradually being added to the Descent but, meanwhile, take a good pair of shoes. Andrew's Descent winds down to Kontraktova Ploshcha in Podil. The street is lined with souvenir sellers, restaurants, galleries and museums. Touristy but retains charm.
  • One Street Museum (Музей однієї вулиці - Muzey odniyeyi vulytsi). (Andriyivsky uzviz (Андріївський узвіз), 2-B Kyiv.) The collection of the One Street Museum is dedicated to the history of the Andriyivskyi uzviz (Andrew's Descent) and its famous residents. Open daily from 12 noon to 6PM (closed Mondays) Web-site of the One Street Museum [19]
  • Mariyinsky Palace (Маріїнський Палац) and Mariyinsky park where Lovers' bridge [20]is situated.
  • State Aviation Museum - located inside the old Zhulyany Airport [21] with many impressive Soviet civil and military aircraft on display, including an An-2, Tu-104, Il-62, Il-76, an Il-86 and is constantly improving. The museum is opposite to the airport terminal, which is an industrial zone. To get there, you can either take Trolleybus #9 from the main train station - Kiev Passazhyrskyi (South exit)/Vokzalna metro stop or #22 from Shuliavska (Шулявська) metro station, both until Sevastopolska Square. From there, take the minibus 220 that will take you straight to the museum (last stop). Walking in the surrounding area after dark is not advisable as the area is poorly lit and stray dogs are present. Admission: 15 UAH.
  • German Military graveyard- located on the road to Odessa, about 20 km away from Kiev, next to the Kiev cemetery. About 10000 German soldiers are buried here, after the battles around Kiev in 1941 and 1944.
  • Golden Gate of Kiev - * Zoloti Vorota (Золоті ворота). Metro: Zoloti Vorota. This is a 1982 reconstruction of the Golden Gate of Kiev, described by Mussorgski in "Pictures of an Exhibition". It is quite a nice spot to visit and learn about the town walls. Some nice buildings are also there and you can inspect the Porsche Cayennes, Lexuses, Audis, BMWs and Mercedes of Ukraine's nouveau riche who are very much into conspicuous consumption.

Do

  • Catch the metro to Hidropark island in the Dnipro river. Kiev is endowed with natural city beaches that line the Dnipro. Many a summer day can be spent in the parks and on the beaches of the islands, where you can buy shashlyk from stalls, play beach volleyball, swim in the river or in the pools on the island, or just soak up the sun.
  • Stroll around Podil. Start at St Michael's Cathedral in the Upper Town. Catch the funicular behind it down to Poshtova Ploscha, and wander around the grid-like streets of Podil. The area was the merchant's quarter, and was completely rebuilt in the 19th century after fires destroyed the area. It was mainly untouched during WWII and is emerging as a hip restaurant district and is rapidly being gentrified. Finish your stroll by walking up Andriyivsky Uzviz, which will get you back to St Michael's Cathedral.
  • If you're in Kiev on the weekend, go and people watch on Kreshchatyk. Start at Lva Tolstoho Square and head underground. Walk through the Metrograd shopping center, always sticking to your left. Head above-ground at Taras Shevchenko Boulevard (бульвар Тараса Шевченка), from where the council shuts down Kreshchatyk on the weekends. Walking up the street to Maidan, you will be treated to the sight of numerous street performers and animal handlers, or you can simply enjoy seeing families out and about for a weekend stroll.
  • Go to a service at an Orthodox Church. The best one to visit is St Volodomyr's on Taras Shevchenko Boulevard. Services are long and there are no seats in Orthodox churches, however it's perfectly acceptable to come and go as you please. Women must cover their heads before entering the church. Metro: Universytet
  • Visit different eco-cultural, ecological, ethinic, rock and other festivals both inside the city and near its suburbs. This year there will be the V International Eco-Cultural Festival "Trypilske kolo 2012. Parade of Elements!" [22] that is an official Euro 2012 Cultural event. It will take place from 28th of June till 1st of July in Rzhyshchiv.

Learn

  • National University Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Національний університет «Києво-Могилянська академія» - Natsionalnyi universytet "Kyevo-Mohylianska akademiya") Is the leading university in the Ukraine with regards to political fields. The university's professors offered support to politicians and various international media outlets during the Orange Revolution in late 2004 that resulted in the election of Viktor Yushchenko. [23] (English)
  • Kyiv National University named after Taras Shevchenko (Київський національний університет імені Тараса Шевченка - Kyivsky natsionalny universytet imeni Tarasa Shechenka) The university is the largest and one of the more important universities. Its enrollment is over 30,000 [24] (English)

There are a number of private schools where you can learn Ukrainian or Russian, either part-time or full time [25]. There are also experienced teachers in the city - check out resources such as Kyiv In Your Pocket, The Kyiv Post [26], and What's On Weekly for details of schools and teachers.

Work

Foreigners can sometimes find work teaching their native language. Pay is usually decent enough to live on in Kiev if you get enough pupils and live by local standards.

As is the nature in a global economy, professionals with skills in demand, e.g. accountants and IT professionals, can be employed with global firms in Kiev, without knowledge of Russian or Ukrainian languages.

Getting a work permit (visa) is a necessity for foreigners if they are going to be employed by any legal entity (exceptions apply only for international institutions and representative offices of foreign companies). The work permit is more of a hiring permit. The potential employer has to apply with the labour administration for hiring an non-resident employee. With the application a complete cv, as well as documents showing an accredited education, have to be submitted.

Buy

Go to the market at Andrew's Descent (Andriyivskyi Uzviz) for a nice collection of traditional things, old communist goods (real goods as well as some that are fake and mass-produced), matrioshka dolls, etc. The best days are Saturdays and, especially, Sundays.

Money

The unit of currency is the Hryvnia (UAH) (гривня) [pronounced: Hryvnia (in Ukrainian), Grivna (in Russian)], which equals about 10,1 UAH to the Euro and 8 UAH to the US Dollar (May 2012). There are many exchanges booths that will convert Euro, USD or Russian rubles to UAH, just look for signs with exchange rates posted on about every block in the downtown area or any bank outside downtown. Exchange rates vary a lot and deteriorate fast when you get into less competitive places or outside of standard business hours. You should also make sure to get a receipt when buying UAH. Rates at the airport are not as good as in the city center. However, beware that not all hotels will change money and if you arrive in the evening or Sunday you could find yourself with no money for dinner if you don't change at least some at the airport. Most banks operate on Saturdays as well as Mondays to Fridays.

ATMs are known as 'bankomat' (банкомат), and can be found everywhere. All major credit cards and debit cards can be used at some ATMs throughout Ukraine, but do not work in many. You can withdraw UAH but in some cases also US dollars. Be sure to contact your credit card company prior to your visit or they may freeze your card! As a backup, it is possible to get dollars from most banks using a cash advance from a Visa or Mastercard. There is a small service charge (3%) to do this in addition to whatever your bank charges. Debit cards such as maestro do work in ATMs. Cirrus/Maestro/Plus bank cards could be most effective way to get cash in Ukraine. Many ATMs, such as Aval Bank and Express Bank ATMs do not charge any transaction cost to cash withdrawal transactions from foreign cards (unless you are withdrawing dollars). Not all ATMs indicate that they support the Plus system, but in most cases they do support it if they support Visa. PrivatBank ATMs do indicate that they support Plus, but they do not work with North American cards.

It is often expected that one carries small change in Kiev. Most retail establishments will scowl at you if you try to pay for a UAH4 purchase with a UAH20 note. They generally keep very little change on hand and will always ask if you have the right amount. Keep small change to use the toilets.

Eat

In general, it is very cheap to dine in Kiev by European or US standards. So long as you stay away from the places that totally pander to tourists or to the Porsche Cayenne-driving "elite", the food is great and cheap. Try the Borscht and the Mlyntzi and then try absolutely everything else. Baked goods are cheap and great too. Even the ice-cream on the street is great. Try, for example, the one to the right from Khreshchatyk metro exit - blue kiosk with varying length of queues.

When you see vendors selling some liquid from big yellow/blue tanks on the street, you can be sure that it is "Kvas," which is a brewed bread drink. Some people like it and others hate it. It tastes a bit like malt, and the alcohol content is so low (0.05-1.44%) that it is considered acceptable for consumption by children. Try "Odyn Malenkyi" (one small) drink.

You should not drink the tap water (for reasons both chemical and microbial). It is advisable to buy bottles in the supermarkets; they usually have English section on the label for "ingredients". You can always order "Bonaqua" (sparkling mineral water), but beer is just about as cheap.

Budget

Fast-food chains

  • Celentano (Челентано) (pizza, salads)
  • Domashnia kukhnia (Домашня кухня, home kitchen) offers a buffet with typical Ukrainian food. Not the best.
  • Korchma Budmo (Корчма Будьмо), 22a, Mikhailivska str. (вул. Михайлiвська) - national Ukrainian cuisine, simple, but tasty and cheap, pleasant atmosphere. All the major credit cards are accepted.
  • Mister Snack (містер снек) - cheap sandwich and salad chain. Also do hamburgers
  • Potato House (Картопляна Хата) chain - Mexican food
  • Puzata Khata [27] -- "Puzo" is Ukrainian for "belly," and a khata is a traditional Ukrainian hut or shack. If you're from the States this place is like Picadilli, or any other pay-per-plate cafeteria. Popular with locals. Food is good, but almost entirely traditional Ukrainian. They also offer kvas and good Ukranian beer. Two people can eat like absolute pigs here for less than $US12. You'll be full for the rest of the day, guaranteed. On a more practical side, soups cost below 10 UAH, mains are 15–30 UAH, and beer is only 10UAH for half a liter. Three locations are across from Bessarabski Market; through the second arch to the right of the Khreshatik Metro station [past McDonald's, turn right through the big decorative arch]; and another on the corner of Sahaidachnoho Street, opposite Bohorodytsi Pyrohoschi (a square with a church on it). There is another one at Kontraktova Square, close to Kontraktova metro station, at the end of a downhill walk from the Andrivskyj Uzviz.
  • Shvydko (Швидко) (pseudo-national), Kartoplia (Картопля) (main dish: mashed potatoes with 1-3 of 30 different kinds of salads), MacSmak (МакСмак) (pizza)
  • Two Geese ("Два гуся") serves decent cafeteria-style meals. Look for the signs with two geese on yellow background. Sometimes there's a vintage car painted with their logo out front. Fast, decent, easy, all you have to do is point. No language skills needed.
  • Vesuvio Pizza, 3 locations - Reytarska 25 (Рейтарська), bulvar Shevchenko 2 (Шевеченко) - near Khreschatyk (Хрещатик), and Balzak 2a (Global Shopping Centre) (Бальзака, ТоргЦентр Ґлобал). Kiev's first North American style pizza, probably the best in the city. 25 types of pizza, pan pizza and thin crust, pastas, lasagna, green salads, starting from approx. $US5 per person incl. drinks. Eat in, take out and delivery 235 6681 and 278 3028.
  • Viola's Bierstube (Виола) - cheap pub with a great variety of sausages and different meat meals. Also beer here is always good. (In the arc near Bessarabka).

For anyone near Kyiv-Mohyla university, there's a small cafeteria-style place down a few steps on the ground floor of a building on the main square (near Illins'ka st).


Mid-range

  • CCCP, over the road from the entrance to the Great Patriotic War memorial. This Soviet-theme restaurant has staff dressed in costume and dozens of traditional dishes listed on the English-language menu. Try the Uzvar traditional drink made from smoked fruit. Expect to spend US$10 each for lunch; they also have a US$20 business lunch menu. It is possible to spend a lot more though. Live traditional music and farm implements decorate the walls.
  • Corsair, on Sahaydachnoho (Сагайдачного) - about $17/person complete. Serves Mediterranean-inspired food.
  • Ikon restaurant & bar, on Basseinaya str. 5a (Бассейная 5а) +380675077020. About $40/person complete. Serves fusion cuisine, unique cocktails. Open Sun-Wed from 12:00 till 01:00, Thu - Sat from 12:00 till 6:00 - party.
  • Karavan, on Klovskiy Spusk 10. Serves Uzbek-Tatar food.
  • Kureni, 4, Parkova Alley - wonderful national restaurant with very tasty dishes. Dinner for five persons, including different appetizers, soups, main dishes and gorilka is around €135. It is situated on the bank of the Dnepr river and in summer it is very nice to get dinner in the garden, while in winter inside the main building you can enjoy view through large windows and fire from the fire-place. all the major credit-cards are accepted.
  • Lola Pizza, on Lva Tolstoho (Льва Толстого). The cost of a large pizza is about 100 UAH, and it's a very generous size. You can eat in the cafe area or take-away.
  • Oliva, Druzhby Narodiv Blvd 25a (Бульвар Дружбы Народов 25а), Kominternu St 5 - Good Italian restaurant with delicious food, and good prices (average price fore one persone is about 100-200 UAH). And you can have English breakfast there from early morning till 11am.
  • O’Panas, Shevchenko Park, 10 Tereshchenkivska, 235-2132. Open daily from 10PM till 1PM Traditional wooden restaurant, popular to tourists. Really good mlyntsi... try the mushroom ones. (avg.$US20/person). If you just want to try the mlyntsi, you can walk-up to a stand on the side of the restaurant and get them to go.
  • ResTop, ул. Малая Житомирская, 3/4: Zhitomirskaya 3/4 (Just behind the main square of Maidan Nezalezhnosti), 278-0636. until 23.00. Offers a sushi menu together with European dishes in a friendly atmosphere. Currently closed for renovation. UAH100-200.
  • Tsimmus, 10/5 Sahaydachnoho for Ukrainian-Jewish food. [That's in the #10 building on the main street, but go around the corner to a side street where the street number would have been 5 had it not been attached to a building that already has an address] (about $US20/person)
  • Vernissage, Andrew's Descent 30, 425 2403. One of a chain of four restaurants in Kiev with the same name, this has a Bohemian feel to it that goes well with the "Montmartre" reputation of Andrew's Descent. Outdoor eating in summer but the small indoor restaurant is nicely decorated and the toilet tucked away in a difficult corner is not to be missed. UAH 150-250 but if you don't want a full meal the pancakes are great..

It's also worth checking out pubs and restaurants that offer business lunches during weekday lunch. These are set menus that usually cost around 40 UAH, and include soup, salad, meat dish and a drink.


Splurge

  • Buddha Bar Kiev, Kreshatik 14; ул. Хрещатик, 14 (in the centre, near Maydan Nezalezhnosty square), (+38 044) 270-76-76 (), [28]. 13:00 till 02:00 (till 04:00 on Friday and Saturday). The restaurant has a longest bar in town. Restaurant and Lounge zone. Pan-Asian cuisine: enjoy Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Indian dishes in a exclusive interior.
  • Concord - on the roof of the Donbass Centre at Lva Tolstogo Square
  • Da Vinci Fish Club, Volodyrmyrska Street (Володимирськa). Seafood-orientated restaurant with an Italian influence. Very delicious food - a place to see and be seen. Cost around $60 per person, drinks extra. Metro: Zoloti Vorota
  • Mimino, on Spaska (Спаська). Based on the Soviet film of the same name about a Georgian pilot. The waiters are attired in '60s influenced flight attendant uniforms. Very nice Georgian food, mainly lots of meat. Good Georgian wine available also. Cost around $US40 per person, drinks extra. Metro: Kontraktova Ploscha.
  • Restaurant Patisserie Surprise, ул. Пирогова, 3: Pyrohova 3 (Just parallel to the Metro University crossing st. Bogdana Hmelnitskogo), 235-72-34 (), [29]. 9:00 till the last customer. The restaurant has a bar, tea salon, summer terrace, television, etc. Enjoy freshly made pastries, ice cream and sorbets. French and European cuisine.
  • Touch cafe - mostly a restaurant but also turns into a nightclub.
  • Two Hares, at the top of Andriyivski Uzviz. 19th-century themed place, good food. Have the rabbit pie (about 90UAH), which is served in a rabbit made of pastry.
  • Wolkonsky cafe, bakery and patissiery, good croissants and perfect place to have meal. [30]
  • Lun Van Chinese restaurant
  • Schnitzel Haus, vul Saksahanskoho 51.
  • Tapas Tapas Bar, vul Tarasivska 10a.


National

  • Ukrainian: There are many restaurants that claim to serve authentic Ukrainian food.
  • Shynok: In the Pechersk district. 28v Lesi Ukrainki, very traditional food and furniture. 11.00-24.00.
  • Pervak : vul Rohnidenska 2 , set lunch only 35-42 UAH.
  • Italian: Momento on Zlatoustivska (near the Circus), Napule on Mechnikova (near Metro station "Klovska")
  • Georgian: Mimino on Spaska (Podil)
  • Vietnamese: there are several restaurants, owned by a person from Vietnam (the cuisine is a comprise of "hits", rather than complete luncheon sets; considered above-average within local Vietnamese community; extremely expensive)
  • Chinese: There is a good one near Metro Universitet. It's called "Jiu Long", which means "Nine Dragons" (there is a fast food store upfront, but if you go through the arch, you will see an entire Chinese-style building, that's where the real restaurant is; quality is good and prices are lower than some other similarly fancy restaurants). If you don't care about price, go to "Lun Van" near Metro Teatralna. Other above-average venues (but be warned, no one who's experienced anything like the real thing will find satisfactory Chinese food in Kiev) are Mandarin on a floating entertainment complex near the river port in Podil, and Vostok which is across the road from Mandarin.
  • Japanese: There's one called Hanoi which serves Japanese and Vietnamese food. It is located near Metro Arsenalna. The quality is quite high, although the prices are too. Further, you will find various sushi-bar-chains in Kyiv (namely Sushi-Ya, Murakami and Yakitoria)
  • Nobu, 12 Shota Rustaveli Street. Good Japanese restaurant, but don't be fooled by the name it's not owned by famous chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
  • Sumosan, in The Premier Palace hotel. Sister restaurant to Sumosan in London. Decent sushi.

Kosher

  • King David Esplanadna 24 tel 044 235 7436 near the Central Synagogue, Glatt Kosher, many traditional Eastern European dishes. Many Vegetarian dishes. Open 10.00 to 23.00, closed Saturdays
  • Haiffa Kostiantynivska 57 Warning: Despite what some guide books (Bradt etc.) may say this restaurant no longer serves kosher food, it has been converted into a strip club, but the signs from the kosher restaurant have not been removed.

Groceries

The leading supermarket chains are "MegaMarket" (МегаМаркет), "Furshet" (Фуршет), "Velyka kyshenya" (Велика кишеня), , "Silpo" (Сільпо) which are conveniently located to the city centre. The closest MegaMarket to town is on 50 Gorkoho (Горького). This MegaMarket is big but can get busy. Foodstuffs are available on the ground level, and non-food available on the first level. You have to go through the cashier on each level, which means two long lineups on busy days.

The closest Furshet to the city centre, and most central supermarket, is on the basement level of the Mandarin Plaza, which is at the back of Bessarbabsky Square. This supermarket stocks many imported goods, and also has five restaurants.

"Fora" (фора) is a popular chain of mini-marts that are widely distributed, particularly on the Left Bank side of the city. They are about the size of 7-11 and stock most staple items, including toiletries, bread, dairy, sweets, and of course alcohol. Plastic bags are available but are not free, and some stores do not take credit cards. Bag your own groceries. If you're paying in cash, make sure the cashier gives you correct change back as some are careless or dishonest.

Most bottled waters are sparkling. To purchase regular bottled water, ask for Water Without Gas (VoDA bez gaza). A 500ml bottled water cost UAH 3-UAH 6 in August 2009, occasionally they will inflate the price to UAH 10 if you look like a rich tourist.

Do not forget to buy a few big jugs of bottled water such as Staryi Myrhorod (Старий Миргород) or Truskavetska (Трускавецька). Kyivskij tort (київський торт) is another thing you should eat in Kiev if you love cakes. Dark rye bread, Ryazhenka (Ряженка, ukrainian style yogurt), Kvas (Квас, fermented drink made of bread) could be also be interesting things to taste.

Chocolates, cakes, lollies, crisps and biscuits/cookies are widely available at low cost and very popular with Ukrainians - after years of being deprived western brands, snack foods are becoming big business.

Drink

There are several nice places in Kiev to get a drink. From small cafés that are only frequented by locals (they look dirty at first sight) to expensive places. Locals often buy some drinks (beer) at a stall in the street and drink it in a park, leaving their bottle for the homeless to collect and cash in. However since 2011, drinking beer in the street is prohibited and whilst you will see locals drinking in the street, you will make yourself an easy target for the police to stop and try for a bribe if you do. Locals often buy some chips or other salted things to go with their drinks.

The prices are quite reasonable by European standards. You will easily find decent Ukranian beer for 20–30 UAH and get 5 cl of vodka or similar alcohol for about 20 UAH.


  • Arena Bar & Sports Bar (close to Besarabsky market) - always a good place to meet other travelers and expats, and a good starting point for a night out.
  • Art Club 44 (vul. Khreshchatyk 44/b) it's a club that plays live music every day. Hard to find if you haven't been there. Go through the arch at Khreshchatyk 44/b, there's a small Ukrainian-themed restaurant on the right (quite good actually), you need an unmarked door on the left. Or simply ask just about anybody between 18 and 35, they will probably know. Cover 20 UAH on Fri-Sat.
  • Bar Fidel (Hrushevskoho 4B) Well worth checking out. DJ plays late on a friday night and there is some serious moshing and crowd surfing in what must be Kiev's lowest bar / club. Great fun, open till 5am.
  • Blyndazh (Блиндаж, means "entrenchment") at the basement of 15 Mala Zhytomyrska (200 m. off Maidan sq.). Military-themed bar (recently changed its signboard to Blind Age with a cartoon mole with shades on it). Small, cheap and popular, mostly student types.
  • Orech ("Walnut") (vul Velyka Vasylkivska 126) - small, good selection of local beers, used to serve unlimited free walnuts if you drink beer. Recently the walnut servings have been limited unfortunately.
  • T.G.I. Friday's - The haven for any home-sick American. All staff speaks English, and the food has shapes you are familiar with. Again, just around Bessarabsky market (back-side). O'Briens, off Independence Square, has the same sort of thing.
  • Trolleybus is a decent pub on Proreznaya St. Their design may look strange until you take a ride on an old USSR-type trolley-bus and fully appreciate the charm of this transport. The pub offers some fancy Ukranian beer and a selection of home-made vodka-based spirits as well as the full row of typical snacks (dried salted bread, salted fish, calamaris, etc.)
  • Viola's Bierstube (bulevard Shevchenka 1a) is also well hidden behind a dark door in a small alley.

Irish

There are several Irish pubs, none authentic, but OK if you're in need of a Guinness and expat company. One is located near Golden Gate (Zoloti Vorota) on Volodomyrska (called, eponymously, The Golden Gate Pub). Another (and the first in Kiev) is O'Briens on Mykailivska (one of the streets running west off Maidan sq., the one to the right, with a branch of OTP Bank on the corner). Both are expensive by Kiev standards. A new one is open in Podil, on the corner of Gostyny Dvor, near the Dutch embassy (can't miss it as it's close to the bottom of Andryevsky) called the Belfast Pub. Other than these centrally located ones, others lie scattered around Kiev, these do not cater to the ex-pat crowd and have better prices than you expect to find in any 'western' country. Keep your eyes open. Also try Dockers Pub.

Belgian

There are two Belgian beer cafés. One is located across the road from the Golden Gate, close to the South Korean Delegation (Le Cosmopolite, Volodymyrska street). The other is close to the Olympic Stadium (Belle-Vue; Ul. Saksahanskoho 7). Prices range between normal western prices (1.3 Euro for 0.5L of Stella Artois) and splurge western prices (4.5 Euro for 0.33L of Leffe Blond). Service is in perfect English usually and they do serve Belgian beer and traditional Belgian food (expensive).

Coffee houses

If you are not keen about alcohol, try one of the abundant coffee houses. No matter whether their names are well-known and international (Starbucks, Costa Coffee, Russian-based Coffee House and Shokoladnitsa) or weird and local (Coffee Land, Coffee Life, and other similar variations), they are always neat places with similar menu featuring all imaginable versions of coffee, a good choice of tea, fancy milk shakes and smoothies, and a selection of cakes. Their main advantage is free Wi-Fi, while on the downside are the prices that are rather high on Kiev standards. Coffee and piece of cake start from 20 UAH each.

When you urgently need a shot of espresso, you can also try coffee sold on the street. Basically, every second kiosk will offer some cava (Ukranian word for coffee), but its quality is at best iffy. A safe choice would be special cars equipped with coffee machines. These cars can be found in most public places and next to entrances to the metro stations. They offer decent take-away coffee for 8–10 UAH.


Clubs

Kiev has a nice club scene. Ranging from very cheap to overly-expensive, you can find what you want.

  • Art Club 44 [31] is packed on Friday and Saturday nights. Live music, mixed crowd of expats and local students.
  • D-Lux [32], upscale, where a lot of people go to look beautiful, popular on Fridays and Saturdays. Grand, stone steps lead up to the entrance. A well-reviewed restaurant is on the first level. A swanky bar, somewhat in the style of a small Buddha Bar, is on the second level. The disco is on the third and fourth levels, the main dance floor being on the former and extra bars and balconies look down from the latter.
  • Faberge also an upscale club, address Rybalska 22, similar to Chaikovsky Deluxe.
  • Forsage [33], one of the most known clubs has 3 floors with different music genres, is supposed to have strict face control but you can find some underage students inside, they only look at shoes and make sure its not sport shoes. Entrance on the weekend is 70 UAH for men and 50 UAH for women.
  • Patipa is one of Kiev's dinosaurs, but still one of the most trendy and best visited clubs in Kiev.
  • Shooters [34], Moskovska 22, is currently one of the more traveler and expat friendly clubs (it belongs to a group of Scottish expats).
  • Sorry Babushka [35]. The interior space of the club is a three-level complex, where each floor has its own concept of music, design, light and sound.
  • Stolytsia is an upscale lively place located close to the Water Museum. Expensive and pretentious, but beware of the face control, e.g. no sport shoes allowed.
  • Xlib-club, Frunze 12. Brings what is called cutting-edge music to Kiev. The club is neither expensive nor pretentious and exceedingly crowded on Friday and Saturday nights. Located in Podil - one of the romantic districts near the Dnieper river.
  • A few popular venues are located at the Mandarin Plaza shopping mall (Arena Entertainment complex), rumored to be owned by the Klitschko brothers. The clubs include Arena, Sky Bar, Barsky and Grotesque. They're right next to Bessarabsky market; most of the clubs are accessible from the court.

Sleep

Budget

  • Art Lounge Hostel, Horkogo Street 18B apt.14, +380 637294688, [36]. Privates as well as 4-8 bed dorms; a large lounge area with comfortable sofas, a big TV, movies, books and games, a fully-equipped kitchen (with tea and coffee for free), computers providing free 24h internet access and wifi. The staff of the hostel provides some weekly activities and organize tourist tours around the city.
  • Hostel Kiev Backpackers (former TIU Kiev Backpackers), 18, Chervonoarmiis'ka St., Apt. 15 (In the passage opposite of the KinoTheater Kiev), +380 96 997 8398 (), [38]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 11.00. Located in the centre with English, German, Russian, and Ukrainian staff. Dorm beds from €5.
  • HostelKyiv.com Hostel, 28 Yaroslaviv Val, 4th floor, apt. 13, +380 (94) 925-00-20 (), [39]. From €12.
  • Hostel United, 9, Kostelnaya st., apt. 5 (right bank of the Dnipro, 3 min walk from The Independence Square underground), +380 63 434 96 66 (), [40]. checkin: 1 p.m.; checkout: 12 noon. 24-hour reception, 4-6-8 dorms, free wi-fi, shared laptop, clean bed linen, towel, free tea/coffee, lockers, big social area, big well-equipped kitchen. Helpful and outgoing staff who speak English, German, Russian, Ukrainian fluently. This is the hostel with a low price and great service. Dorm beds €10-15.
  • Kiev Central Station [41], 25 Gogolivska Apt. 15 - Closest hostel to the train station (+38 098 669 4783)
  • Kiev Center Hostel, 5 Pushkinskaya, +380630418953, [42]. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. Hostel in the center run by western backpackers. Hot running water 24h 365 day a year, a big common room and kitchen, newly renovated (2 showers, 2 toilets, 5 dorms, 2 private rooms) free wifi and internet. From €10.
  • Magic Bus Hostel Kiev, 31 Saksaganskogo str., 2nd floor, apt. 3, +38097-336-03-03, [43]. Cozy and welcoming hostel within walking distance to the main street Kreschatik and railway station. Uniquely designed room. Professional & friendly staff. From €9.
  • Mini Hostel Kiev, 43, Chervonoarmiis'ka St., Apt. 32 (200 meters away from the stadium of the EURO 2012, and just 100 meters from Metro station Lva Tolstogo), +380 98 4891934 (), [44]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 11:00. Located in the city centre with English, German, Russian, and Ukrainian staff. Dorm beds from €5. (50.43641,30.51645)
  • Really Central Hostel, 10, Bogdana Khmelnitskogo, Floor 2. Apt. 50 (access via second courtyard) (at the city centre), +380 982 636506, [45]. Very friendly, one communal dorm, two private twin rooms. English speaking staff, wi-fi and communal kitchen. From €8.
  • St. Sophia Hostel Kiev, Apt. 2, 2 Georgievsky lane, +380 93 642 3006 (), [46]. Located in the very centre in a quiet green area, with a view on Sophia Cathedral. Dorm bed €10.
  • The Hub Hostel Kyiv, Tereschenkivska Street 5A, +380 44 229 12 66, [47]. A hostel in a freestanding building in the center with a huge yard. Privates and 4-12 bed dorms, including female only dorms; free wi-fi, linen, tea and coffee. A 24-hour reception, free lockers. Big, soundproof social area with variety of board games, movies and books, well-equipped kitchen. Different activities every day of the week: movie nights, guided tours, pub crawling. Can accommodate groups and provide lodging for all sorts of events. From ~ €14.
  • TIU Kreschatik, 8b Kreschatik Apt. 11 (On the Main Street next to the Independence Square), +380 66 932 3676. Fully equipped kitchen, free Wi-Fi internet access, friendly English speaking staff, common rooms with big-screen TVs and DVD libraries, private rooms, frequent pub crawls, security lockers and digital coded front door locks. Dorm beds from €10.

Mid-range

  • City Park Hotel, 20-A, Vorovsky Str., +38 (044)503-7790, [48]. A new boutique hotel located in the cultural, historical business part of Kiev.
  • Diplomat Hotel, Zhilyanska street 59, [49]. The apartments offers fully renovated classic single and double rooms, each with ensuite facilities, including plated breakfast. All of the accommodations come equipped with individually controlled air conditioning, heating, desk, safe deposit box, mini bar, hairdryer, double glassed windows and satellite TV. From $100.
  • Gintama Hotel, Trekhsvyatitelskaya Street 9, [50]. Centrally located boutique hotel with 23 rooms. From $180.
  • ibis Kiev Shevchenko Boulevard, Taras Shevchenko Boulevard, 25, +380 (44) 591-222, [51]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. from 740 UAH.
  • Hotel Kozatskiy, 1/3 Mihaylivska Street, +38 044 279 49 14, [52]. checkin: 13.00; checkout: 12.00. A 3 star hotel in the centre (Independence Place). From $70 per night.
  • Hotel Lybid', [53]. The Hotel Lybid' is a standard European hotel. It is a short subway or shuttle ride from the city center. $115.
  • President Hotel, Hospitalna Street 12, [54]. 4 star hotel with 325 rooms and 13 suites set out over 10 floors. Situated close to the city centre is in a cultural and historical quiet green area of Kiev. With your choice of either the fitness centre, leisure centre or health club. From $130.
  • Hotel Rus, Hospitalna Street 4, [55]. One of oldest hotels in the city. Rooms are ok, but wear and tear is obvious and service is good. From US$183.
  • Hotel Saturn, 2b Geroev Kosmosa Street, +38 044 403 32 63, [56]. checkin: 13.00; checkout: 12.00. From $30 per night.
  • Slavutych Hotel, 1, Entuziastiv St. (left bank of the Dnipro), +380 44 561 1112 (), [57]. checkin: 2 p.m.; checkout: 12 noon. Economy hotel with great service. From €30.
  • Hotel Tourist, 2 R. Okipnoi St. (metro station Livoberezhna), [58]. Rooms are good, but service is Soviet. Especially breakfast. Reception ok, English speaking. Bring your own teabags or instant coffee. 29 floors. Restaurant with English menu. Close to metro, market and shopping centre. Overlooking soviet style housing flats, view on city from 3 km away. Strange bath tube. From €60.

Splurge

  • Hyatt Regency Kiev, 5, A. Tarasova Street (in the centre, overlooking Saint Sophia Square), +380 44 581 1234 (), [59]. Opened in June 2007, 5 star luxury hotel offering great views and featuring a 25m indoor swimming pool, spa and fitness centre.
  • InterContinental Kiev (Velyka Zhytomyrska 2A), (sales.kiev@ihg.com), +380442191919, [60]. First InterContinental in Ukraine. The 11-storey hotel is designed by celebrated Ukrainian architect Sergey Babushkin. Its angular marble-and-glass façade is a blend of classical and contemporary features, highlighted by a three-metre statue of the Greek Goddess Nike (mythology) by Ukrainian sculptor Michael Reva. InterContinental Kiev has 272 deluxe rooms, five Ambassador Suites, Royal Suite and Presidential Suite, both overlooking St Michael’s Square.
  • The Opera Hotel, B. Khmelnystkoho Street, [61]. The Opera Hotel is (5*) and member of the leading hotels of the world. Opened in 2006 and owned by Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's wealthiest billionaire. +500$ per night.
  • The Premier Palace Hotel, [62]. A nice 5-star hotel in a historic building. From $500.

Stay safe

The usual "don't be stupid" advice seems to be adequate. Avoid drinking the water from the tap--bottled water is cheap and available everywhere (Morshinska/Моршинська, Mirgorodska/Міргородська is good). Kiev is a generally open and friendly city and stays lively until at least 11PM in most districts.

If you are female, and especially if you are traveling alone, try to take a taxi instead of public transit after 9 p.m. These are prime drinking hours and the metro and marshrutky may be crowded with drunken men. This is particularly true on the weekends. Ask a local English-speaker to call the taxi for you and get the amount of the fare in advance; drivers may greatly inflate the fare once hearing your accent.

Robberies and scams on tourists are fairly common in Kiev. The best approach is to be extremely selfish and ignore anyone who approaches you. Avoid eye contact with suspicious looking people. If you do get caught up in a scam (such as the infamous wallet scam or the "Look, I've just found money" scam or even if you are stopped by someone claiming to be a policeman), simply ignore the person and walk away, indicate that you want to call your embassy or go to the next police station to get the problem sorted. That will usually shake the person off.

If you are leaving your baggage in the station, it is better to leave it with the guys in person rather than use a locker. Stories have been heard of people 'assisting' with the locker and overseeing the code, then walking off with the bag afterwards.

On the metro, always keep your belongings securely zipped as close to your skin as possible. Pickpockets are highly organised and often in gangs that know what they are doing.

There are occasional (rare) reports of visitors being shaken down by corrupt officials, often customs officials. Naturally, the best protection is to make sure that you stay on the correct side of the law and, if there is any question, to keep your cool and not become argumentative. It seems that the cost of an error is surrendering the object in question and paying a "fine." The officials are skilled at ensuring that people who argue miss their flights. Making, or giving the impression of making, a cellphone call to your country's embassy has been known to clear up "problems" quicker than actually paying the "fine" --- or pretend to have a very late flight :-)

Some thieves like to abuse new tourists, for example, by playing plainclothes cop. They are rarely aggressive. They will go to you only if you're walking alone and don't look too familiar with the town. A bit of resisting usually shakes them off (but not too much since you never know).

There is still some corruption in Ukraine; some services might openly ask you to bribe them to process your request, and denying it might make them refuse to help you.

The people are very tolerant and it is only reasonable to assume that they expect the same in return.

Contact

Telephone

Mobile (cell) phones: GSM (900/1800) and 3G (CDMA, UMTS) is used in Ukraine. This system is compatible with mobile phone networks used in Europe, most of Asia, Australia, New Zealand.

If you have an unlocked GSM phone, you can get an Kyivstar [63], MTS [64] or life:) [65] (Astelit) SIM card for a few dollars at street vendors which will give you a local number and free incoming calls. Note that most of those cards don't have money on their account so you may want to buy a payment card when you buy a sim card. If you don't have an unlocked phone already, new ones can be had for USD 30-40 and a touch cheaper if you buy a pay-as-you-go sim card at the same time. Incoming calls are free in Ukraine so in extremis you can just SMS/text a request for a return call for a small charge.

If you want to use 3G connection, you can get OGO! (ex-Utel) [66] for UMTS and PeopleNet [67], CDMAUA [68] or Intertelecom [69] for CDMA, for mid 2011 last three operators don't have English version of site.

If you are roaming in Kiev, SMS messages do work well. They are confirmed to work for most foreign networks. Do note that the size of the country and the relative low population densities of rural areas means that sometimes there might be 'black-spots' where mobiles will not work. But of course these are away from the main cities/urban areas (and most of the main arterial road and rail routes also have reasonably consistent call signals).

If you are trying to call the US from your GSM phone, you may find that the access numbers for your calling card are blocked. Plan ahead and sign up with a callback service (such as UWT [70] **warning, lead-time required**) before you start your travels and you can provoke them to call you (at much better rates) when you need to make a call.

Internet

The easiest way to maintain internet connectivity if you use your own laptop is to buy a 7-day unlimited Lucky Internet callback card. They are about UAH36 at the street kiosks. When you dial in, you will be initially firewalled off from everything until you activate by visiting their website [71]

You may also buy wireless internet access for your laptop for about 10 UAH per day. See [72] for details or just google "wireless internet in Ukraine".

Internet cafes have a good service. They usually have different types of computers with varying prices. Near the metro station on ul Khmelnytskoho (on the left side at a corner) there is one that is very good, open 24 hours non stop. The cheapest computers cover your basic needs, the most expensive ones are usually for hardcore gamers.

Also most foreigner-friendly cafés (see "Drink" section above) and a lot of fast food restaurants (including McDonald's) offer free Wi-Fi. Some require password to use their access point, ask waiter to get it.

Cope

Kiev was part of the former USSR. Some things work well and other things may be broken. There is no point in stressing about this. Arrive with that realization and be prepared to roll with a few surprises.

Embassies

  • Eg-flag.png Egypt, 19, Observatorna St, +38044-2720283 (fax: +38044-4869428), [75]. 9:00 AM - 15:30 PM.
  • Fi-flag.png Finland, 14, Striletska St, +380-44-278 7049, [76]. Mon–Fri 9:00–17:00.
  • Gr-flag.png Greece, 10 Panfilovtsev Str., +38044 2545471-5, Emergencies: +38095 2838252/+38050 3107758 (, fax: +38044 2543998), [78]. M-F: 09:00 - 16:00.
  • Ru-flag.png Russia, 27 Vozdukhoflotskiy Boulevard, +38044 24406-1 (, fax: +38044 2463469), [79]. M-Th: 09:00 - 18:00, F: 09:00 - 17:00.
  • Uk-flag.png United Kingdom, 9 Desyatynna St., +380 44 490 3660 (fax: +380 44 490 3662), [82].
  • Us-flag.png United States, [83].

Get out



This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!




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