15 Things to Do in Kiev, Ukraine

Updated on April 25, 2019
Ronald Piper profile image

I love traveling for all the new things it exposes me to, from friendly locals and breathtaking architecture to regional grub.

Kiev is often overlooked as a travel destination, which only makes it better for the people who do decide to visit!
Kiev is often overlooked as a travel destination, which only makes it better for the people who do decide to visit! | Source

As I recently discovered, Kiev is a very cool place to visit. I have compiled a short list of places you can see during your stay. The majority of the sites I have listed are within walking distance of each other. The others require transportation. Kiev's metro is clean and inexpensive, and their bus system is also low-cost. There is an admission fee for some of the places on the list, but it is minimal. I hope my list gives you a look at what you will see when you visit Kiev.

Hanging out in Kiev's City Center
Hanging out in Kiev's City Center

1. Kiev Pechersk Lavra

This landmark monastic complex is a site that should be on your agenda. The elaborate, golden-domed monastery is enough to make you want to see the whole complex of buildings. On the grounds, there is a network of catacombs where you will see mummified monks. It is a religious experience as you go from mummy to mummy by candlelight.

Note: If you go into the cave system, treat the visit with reverence. It is a holy place.

Kiev Pechersk Lavra
Kiev Pechersk Lavra

2. Mykola Siadrystyi Microminiatures Museum

Even if you are not a fan of museums, this one will amaze you. It is located on the grounds of Pechersk Lavra and hosts astonishing miniatures. The works in this museum are not much larger than the size of a pinhead. The detail and artistry will amaze you.

Mykola Syadristy Microminiatures Museum
Mykola Syadristy Microminiatures Museum | Source

3. St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery

You will be astonished by the golden domes of the monastery and the Ukrainian Baroque architecture. When you enter through the gates, you will delight in the ornate decorations above every window and doorway. Your amazement will not end there; as you come farther into the church, you will see breathtaking artwork and gilding covering every wall.

Inside of St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery
Inside of St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery | Source

4. Saint Sophia’s Cathedral

This is Kiev’s oldest church. It is famous for its opulent frescos and mosaics. The refectory is a museum and contains archaeological artifacts and models of Kiev as it looked before the Mongols invaded.

St. Sophia Cathedral
St. Sophia Cathedral | Source

5. The Ukrainian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War

This park is a beautiful attraction. You will find statues, military vehicles, the museum and the Motherland Monument to experience. The museum has been around for four decades and has the most extensive collection of Ukrainian military history in the world. The artifacts date from the Second World War, pre-war and post-wartime periods.

Motherland Monument at The Ukrainian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War
Motherland Monument at The Ukrainian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War

6. Golden Gate

In the time it was built (during the reign of Grand Prince Yaroslav), the gate served as the main entrance into the city. High ramparts surrounded it with deep ditches surrounding the town. Today, a bronze statue of Yaroslav guards the gate along with a smaller figure of a bronze cat called Pantyusha. It died in a fire nearby in 1997, and the people wanted it remembered.

Kiev's Golden Gate
Kiev's Golden Gate | Source

7. Andriyivskyy Descent

One way down the waterfront district of Podol is to take a centuries-old, cobblestone road. This roadway is also called “souvenir street.” As you make your way down the steep hillside, you encounter street vendors and their booths on the sidewalk. Art galleries, local landmarks, quaint shops, and eateries are also on the way down to Podol.

Going from Uptown to Podol via Andriyivskyy's Descent
Going from Uptown to Podol via Andriyivskyy's Descent | Source

8. St. Andrew’s Church

This 18th-century baroque church is one of the prettiest in Kiev. Its distinct green-onion domes are hard to miss as you make your way down Andriyivskyy Descent. The church is a work of art. The interior is just as spectacular as the outside, as it has gilding and icons across its walls.

St. Andrew’s Church
St. Andrew’s Church | Source

9. Mariinsky Park

Paved pathways, monuments, a playground and a fountain are all part of Mariinsky Park’s allure. It is a beautiful place to unwind and walk peacefully in the fresh air among the maples and chestnut trees. Mariyinsky Palace is on the grounds of this beautiful park and represents the ceremonial residence of the President of Ukraine. The palace adjoins the Verkhovna Rada, which is Ukraine’s parliament.

Mariinsky Park
Mariinsky Park | Source

10. Kiev Funicular

Instead of walking up Andriyivskyy Descent, you can take a railway up to the top of the hillside. Kiev Funicular has two lines that go to Upper Town from Podol. It is a short ride, but the view on the way up and at the top of the hill is beautiful and impressive.

View from Inside of a Railcar of Kiev's Funicular
View from Inside of a Railcar of Kiev's Funicular

11. Kiev Fortress

On the top of a hill in Kiev sits a 17th-century Russian fort. The size of the fort is astounding. When you stand on the top of the rampart, you capture how massive Kiev Fortress is. From that vantage point, you can also see an impressive view of the building tops of the city. On-site, there is a museum that plays an essential role in the cultural and educational life of Kiev.

View Looking Into the Fortress From the Rampart
View Looking Into the Fortress From the Rampart | Source

12. National History Museum

The museum covers Ukraine’s history from ancient times to the present day. The exhibits are amazing and of high quality. Perhaps the most touching exhibition is of the current hybrid war with Russia. Personal effects from soldiers on the front line are on display. The display touches your heart when you think about how war affects a soldier’s family.

Traditional Ukrainian Clothing Exhibit
Traditional Ukrainian Clothing Exhibit | Source

13. Independence Square

Also known as Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Independence Square is the main square in the city center. On weekend nights, its fountains come alive with lights as the water dances to prerecorded music. It is a gathering point for people to socialize and shop in the surrounding stores.

Independence Square
Independence Square

14. M.M. Hryshko National Botanical Garden

A trip to a different county would not be complete without visiting a botanical garden. Kiev has several beautiful gardens, but Hryshko National Botanical Garden is the largest. It overlooks the Dnieper River and is a great place to relax and enjoy nature.

Flower Garden - M.M. Hryshko National Botanical Garden
Flower Garden - M.M. Hryshko National Botanical Garden | Source

15. The Landscape Alley Park

Outside of the city center, there is a unique park where children and adults can let their childhood imaginations run wild. You can sit on charming benches disguised as rabbits, crows or cats. There is a cat-centipede wall, angels on pillows, zebras in love, and an elephant fountain to delight your heart. It is a fun park to visit.

The Landscape Alley Park
The Landscape Alley Park | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Ronald Piper

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      • Ronald Piper profile imageAUTHOR

        Ronald Piper 

        3 weeks ago

        I'm sure not much has changed since your last visit. I think one thing that is different from my visit a year and a half ago is there is a Ferris Wheel in the Podol district.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        3 weeks ago from UK

        Some of these sights, especially the churches, monument and main square are familiar from ny vusit in 1984. This is a very well-illustrated article.

      • Ronald Piper profile imageAUTHOR

        Ronald Piper 

        3 weeks ago

        I don't know how much has changed since 2014, but I enjoyed my time there. So much so, I'm going back this summer. I hope to have updates and maybe some videos to share.

      • Guckenberger profile image

        Alexander James Guckenberger 

        4 weeks ago from Maryland, United States of America

        I haven't been there since 2014.

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