Four Wonderful Reasons Why You Should Travel to Kiev

Updated on April 23, 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 a must-see city!
Kiev is a must-see city!

Kiev should be on everyone’s list of European cities to visit. The Ukrainian capital will not disappoint. It was an eye-opening experience that will not be forgotten.

The moment the taxi started to cross the Dnieper River, I knew the trip of a lifetime had begun. People in rowboats fished in the middle of the river, their boats tiny specs lost in the massive expanse of water. The scene seemed inconceivable when I saw the width of the river from the bridge. There was no doubt about it—the Dnieper River was impressive.

The Motherland Monument waited upon the hillside as my taxi crossed the bridge. It was visible against the skyline and welcomed me into Kiev. My adventure was beginning. During my visit, I saw fantastic architecture and breathtaking scenery and experienced a beautiful culture and fabulous food.

Beautiful St. Andrews Church
Beautiful St. Andrews Church

1. Amazing Architecture

The architecture of Kiev is as rich as its culture. There is a representation of different eras of the city’s history. Golden-domed churches are plentiful in Kiev. Churches like Saint Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, Saint Sophia’s Cathedral, and Kiev Pechersk Lavra from the 11th century are as amazing inside as their outward appearance. There are also the Baroque style churches of Saint Andrew’s and Saint Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral.

St. Michael's Golden Dome Monastery
St. Michael's Golden Dome Monastery | Source

The Horodecki House, also known as the House of Chimeras, is located near the Presidential Administration building. It is an odd but stunning work of the Art Nouveau style. It boasts unique sculptures inside and out that depict fairy-tale creatures, exotic animals and hunting scenes.

The House of Chimeras
The House of Chimeras | Source

The National Opera of Ukraine is another architectural wonder to see. The opera building itself is of French Renaissance style. Busts of famous Russian composers decorate the facade, and the inside of the theater has magnificent crystal chandeliers. The rest of the interior is a beautiful velvet and bronze.

National Opera House of Kiev
National Opera House of Kiev | Source

There is one building that stands out from the others in the area—Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev. It is also called the Red Building. Built in the Russian Classicism style, it boasts the color scheme that represents the Order of St. Volodymyr’s ribbon. The structure and columns are red, the capitals of the columns and bases are black.

Baroque Cathedrals, Soviet era, and modern buildings are more examples of architecture from Kiev’s other periods.

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev | Source

2. Breathtaking Scenery

The architecture is just part of the must-see scenery. Many hills in Kiev give a breathtaking view of the city and surrounding areas.

The People’s Friendship Arch is a monument in Khreshatyk Park. The arch symbolizes the friendship between the Russian and Ukrainian people. It can be seen from the Podol District down by the river, but the view from the lookout is spectacular. Not only can you see the Dnieper River and Podol, but you can also see the other side of Kiev and the surrounding forest.

Freedom Arch: View From Podol waterfront
Freedom Arch: View From Podol waterfront | Source

Kiev has many botanical gardens, each of which displays rich and abundant flora. The largest is the M. M. Hryshko National Botanical Garden. It contains 13,000 types of trees, flowers, shrubs, and other plants from across the globe. Since the garden is on top of a hill, there is an excellent viewing point that looks over the Dnieper River and the other side of Kiev.

View from M. M. Hryshko National Botanical Garden
View from M. M. Hryshko National Botanical Garden | Source

The Podol District is along the riverfront. Boat tours allow you to go up and down the river to see more of the magnificent scenery. Whether you are on the waterfront or on the opposite bank, the scenery is breathtaking.

View of the Dnieper River from Podol Waterfront
View of the Dnieper River from Podol Waterfront | Source

3. Incredible Culture

The museums of Kiev represent the cultured side of this great city, and all of them are worth seeing. It is the people, however, that make the city a cultural wonder.

Life for the average Ukrainian is often unpredictable. Even with all the uncertainty, they enjoy life. They go out with friends to have dinner or to have a glass of wine and talk. During my time in Kiev, the one cultural norm I found was that the people in Kiev are social.

Independence Square Fountain
Independence Square Fountain | Source

During the weekends, a part of Khreschatyk Street is closed off, and it becomes a pedestrian street. Street performers position themselves along the road to entertain the people that come to Kiev’s City Center. The fountains on Independence Square come alive at night and dance to recorded music, adding to the weekend spectacle.

Khreschatyk Street
Khreschatyk Street | Source

The restaurants fill with people enjoying the evening air. It is a beautiful experience for good food and great company. I found it romantic as well.

Khreshatyk Park Restaurant
Khreshatyk Park Restaurant | Source

A stroll through Mariyinski Park in the early evening is typical for couples, and during the day, mothers take their children to parks to have them play and make friends.

Mariinsky Park
Mariinsky Park

Street musicians are plentiful in Kiev's city center and parks. It is not uncommon to see young men playing guitars and young girls playing the violins or the other way around. One street musician that impressed me the most was outside the walls of St. Michaels Golden-Domed Monastery. He gathered a good-sized crowd each time he played his piano.

4. Fabulous Food

My adventures in Kiev would not be complete if I didn't spend time talking about the fabulous food. Like any city, there are great places to eat and decent places to eat. I was fortunate to have dined in many of Kiev’s most excellent restaurants.

There are a variety of restaurants in Kiev that offer food from many nations. The restaurants range from cafeteria-style, sit-down establishments with a comfortable atmosphere to simple cafes.

Milk Bar Cafe
Milk Bar Cafe | Source

While in Kiev, you can eat well at a decent price. People say that it is cheap to eat in Ukraine. The truth is you can eat cheap and still eat well, but expect to pay moderate prices for the best food and atmosphere.

Salmon and Spinach Meat Pie
Salmon and Spinach Meat Pie | Source

Visiting a culture that is older than your own is an experience worth taking. Kiev may not be high on your list of European countries to visit, but I assure you that it would be the adventure of a lifetime.

The beautiful architecture, breathtaking scenery, incredible culture, and fabulous food are reasons enough to make a trip to Kiev.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Ronald Piper

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      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        3 months ago from UK

        How times change. We were grateful and surprised to find Coca Cola there. Apart from that there was little western influence and we were viewed with intrigue and suspicion. It sounds like the food is very much improved. I look forward to reading your updates. I was struck by how much Ukrainians had suffered during the Second World War, which I had not realised before my visit.

      • Ronald Piper profile imageAUTHOR

        Ronald Piper 

        3 months ago

        I can imagine that the food was different back in the Soviet days. The difference that I noted was how fresh the food was and the number of options present-day Ukrainians have to eat. I tasted Tai, Uzbek, Italian, and host of other food from other nations. I stayed away from McDonald's and Domino's pizza. All of which are staple places to eat in the USA, except for me. I stay away from those places and prefer healthier food.

        I'll be going back this summer and hope to have updates and hopefully videos to post.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        3 months ago from UK

        I was in Kiev nearly 35 years ago. Many of your photos are familiar. This article brought back a lot of memories. I was especially interested in your comments about food as I recall a lot of cabbage soup and cucumber on the menu of our cheap hotel.

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