Small trip trough Kiev

If you are going to visit Kiev, we will take you on a small trip through the Ukrainian capitol. The best way to explore this marvelous city is, of course, by car.

Kiev Old Town
View on Kiev’s Old Town

With a population of more than 4 million citizens, Kiev is a pretty big city. The Ukrainian capitol has a long history and is more than 1500 years old. Obviously it has many sights to see and we will take a closer look at some of them.

Before starting our trip, you should know that visiting Kiev on 4 wheels can be an adventure by its own. The maximum speed limit is 60km/h (39mi/h), which is pretty fast for cruising “downtown”. The road is sometimes in very bad shape with plenty of big holes and stones. Apart from that, Ukrainian drivers are not very law-abiding, so be very careful at crossings and traffic lights.

Kreschatik straat kiev
Entering the main Kiev’s street - Kreschatik

No matter where your trip through Kiev will start from, all the important sights are located mainly in the city centre; which is, comparing to other capitols, pretty big. Begin your journey by driving through Volodymyrska Street. Here you’ll find main attractions from medieval times: the Saint Sophia Cathedral and the Golden Gate. Don’t forget to visit the inside of the cathedral, the frescoes and mosaics from 11th century are just fascinating. On the way you’ll also see Kiev’s Opera house, a beautiful building.

Saint Sophia Cathedral kiev
Saint Sophia Cathedral

While driving you will face a problem: where can you park your car? If you are on the one of regular tours of Kiev, that is not your problem, but when driving by your own in an unfamiliar city, finding a spot is not that easy. Well, there is an unwritten rule that says: if you see cars parked under a prohibition sign, it’s safe to park there for a while. Follow the rule at your own risk though.

After exploring Volodymyrska Street and all of its attractions, we move down to Saint Michaels street to see one of the best architectural masterpieces in the city: “House with Chimeras”. To get there, you drive trough Kiev’s “Beverly Hills” Pechersk district. All the rich people live here. You can find many astonishing mansions that were constructed in the beginning of 20th century. The Ukrainian Parliament, the administration of the Ukrainian president and the National Bank of Ukraine are also located here. But our final destination: “House with Chimeras” is a lot more interesting. Observe the house from different angles. You’ll see some fairytale creatures like dragons and chimeras, animals like elephants, crocodiles and many more. As said before, you can’t park your car just near the house, but you can easily find a spot at a 3 minutes walk distance.

House with Chimeras kiev
House with Chimeras

The next stop is the “Mother Motherland” monument and the WW2 museum next to it. It’s a remainder of Soviet Union times when Ukraine was a communist’s country. The exposition of the museum is really interesting, but the Motherland Statue is the real attraction. This is the so called “women with a sword”. Use the elevator and climb up to the top of the monument to get a splendid view over Kiev’s banks (we haven’t mentioned it yet - Kiev is divided in two by the fourth biggest river in Europe, the Dnipro river). You pay about 5 Euros/person to get to the top.

Mother Motherland
Mother Motherland statue

Another attraction in the central part of Kiev is the Pechersk Lavra monastery. Pechersk Lavra is not just a monastery, it’s a religious complex that consists of numerous churches (the most interesting is the Holy Dormition Cathedral), an ancient system of underground caves and several museums. The beautiful Great Lavra Bell Tower (built in 1745) and fortification walls are also located here. The first cave that started the development of the monastery was dug here in the 11th century. If you’re not into religion and ancient stuff, you can visit the micro miniatures museum. It shows you a rose carved out of a hair, a windmill model as small as a poppy seed and the smallest operating electromotor in the world.

Holy Dormition Cathedral Lavra
Holy Dormition Cathedral in Lavra

Apart from these highlights, there are just dozens of interesting places to see in Kiev. They have several great museums; one is even showing you the history of the toilet. The Pirogovo museum is also worth a visit. It’s a picturesque open air museum on the outskirts of Kiev.

Pirogovo museum kiev
Pirogovo museum

Officially, it’s located on Kiev territory, but actually it is countryside. It’s just a 15-30 minutes from the centre. It’s the biggest skansen type museum in Eastern Europe. Here you can find examples of original Ukrainian houses, taverns, windmills and an old forge form the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Those buildings are original and were brought here from different parts of the country. It’s a unique place to visit. We end our journey tasteful in one of the Ukrainian national cuisine restaurants.

tags: 
destination, europe, ukraine