One of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, Kyiv in Ukraine proudly wears its history on it's sleeve. Once the pioneer of civilization in Eastern European, Kyiv's present day version of itself is young and modern but stays strongly rooted in it's culture. Lilia gives us some insight on how best to spend your time when travelling to Kyiv.
Lilia in Vozdvyzhenska street
Best time to visit?
I would say the best time to visit Kyiv is from April to October, however, if you are not afraid of cold winter weather, you are welcome to visit us during a snowy season.
Must try local dishes?
Borsch (traditional Ukrainian soup)
Salo (lard, raw bacon with garlic, herbs and spices)
Varenyky (a kind of dumplings with a variety of fillings, like cabbage, mashed potato, cottage cheese, mushrooms or sweet ones with cherries)
Chicken Kyiv (chicken roll stuffed with garlic butter and parsley)
Holubtsi (rice with minced meat wrapped in cabbage leaves served with tomato sauce)
For Ukrainian food, you can pay a visit to O'Panas restaurant in the city center, enjoying not only the food, but vivid traditional interior, or Baluvana Galya cafe with contemporary interpretation of local tradition and half-made varenyky to go. Anyway, you will not stay hungry in Kyiv as there are lots of cool places offering Asian and Western cuisine.
Your city's most popular tourist spot?
One of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, Kyiv is known for its historical places and monuments, such as the Golden Gates (11th century fortification), the monument to the founders of the city (to the brothers Kyi, Shchek and Khoryv and their sister Lybid), the Motherland Monument, the Independence Monument as well as for its churches and cathedrals: Pecherska Lavra (the Caves Monastery), St. Andrew's Church, St. Michael's Monastery, St. Sophia's Cathedral, St. Nicholas Cathedral. Many of the attractions are located in the city center or a short metro ride away.
Any favorite local place or spot you would recommend to a visitor in your city?
One of the things I love about this city is that it is green and whenever you miss fresh air and fresh mind, you can always comfort yourself, spending a day in a park or garden, like Mariyinsky park, the park of Glory, Feofaniya or Botanical Gardens, open air Pyrogovo museum or just walking along the banks of the river (well actually both have beautiful parks). You can forget about industrial mess easily finding a cozy coffee place and reading your favorite book/planing your next day route:) during the day or having fun listening to live music sessions at weekends (Babuin, Kupidon, Krapka Koma). You shall also visit Andriyivsky uzviz for local souvenirs, paintings, dresses and just magnificent views.
Important local phrases
Diakuyu! (Thank you!)
Garnogo dnya! (Have a nice day!)
Many people speak English here and will be happy to help.
Safety Precautions/Reminders/tips for travelers?
Ukraine is the country of four seasons, so make sure you check weather conditions prior to your trip. Most of the places will have free WiFi available, just ask for the details. Though there are lots of ATMs, make sure you keep some cash in local currency (the easiest to exchange are US dollars or Euros). Keep an eye on your personal belongings, especially when in crowded places. Taxi rates are comparatively cheap if you use specialized taxi services, like Uklon online taxi service. Tap water is not recommended for drinking.
Photos property of contributor