The capital of Ukraine is a mesmerising vista of golden domes and glittering white cathedrals, churches and monasteries.
Kiev Pechersk Lavra is one of the oldest and most important monasteries in Ukraine. Complete with underground caves where priests once lived as hermits, this is a breath-taking example of Byzantine inspired architecture. St Sophia’s Church dates back to the 11th century. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, it boasts the world biggest collection of frescoes and mosaics. The golden domes of St Michael’s Cathedral are dazzling in the summer sun.
The moving Motherland Statue is the perfect example of a Soviet memorial while Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, is the site of much more recent events in Ukraine’s fascinating and often turbulent history. Mariansky Palace with its beautiful grounds is a popular walking spot for locals while the One Street Museum and the Pyrohovo Museum of Folk Architecture with magical examples of wooden churches, are wonderful for delving further into the city’s past.
The charming maze of cobblestone streets of Andriyivsky Uzviz are crammed with tiny shops and cafes and galleries making this a fun place for exploring, while a night at the stunning Taras Shevchenko National Opera Theatre is an extravagant and memorable experience.
Families with young ones will find ample entertainment on Hidropark Island in the Dnipro River with its natural city beaches while two other ‘aqua parks’ offer slides and pools galore. Shoppers need go no further than the Metrograd Shopping Centre where there is plenty of opportunity to spend.
For those with the inclination, various tour operators in the city offer trips to Chernobyl, the site of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters. Not for everyone, these tours take in the reactor and much of the local area including the ghost town of Prypyat, before lunching in a nearby Soviet-style canteen. For those not keen on this experience, the Chernobyl Museum in Kiev gives a moving account of the events of that day.
The following information is correct as of January 2015 and is subject to change. Please check with the airline directly for complete accuracy.
Kyiv Borisypil Airport is located 19 miles east of the centre of Kiev. It can be reached by car in approximately 45-50 minutes. The Skybus service provides regular transport to and from the airport and the city centre, taking just 45 minutes. Taxis are also available for hire from outside the terminal building.
What you need to know
Currency: Ukrainian Hryvnia
Visas: UK nationals do not require a visa to enter the Ukraine. However, a passport valid for three months beyond the date of departure is required. Nationals of other countries may require a visa. More information can be obtained from a local embassy or from the Foreign Office website.
Laws: The legal age for purchasing and consuming alcohol in Ukraine is 18. A smoking ban is in place across the country in all indoor public spaces, including bars, cafes, restaurants, hotels and clubs and on all public transport.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit depends on your preferred climate. Summers in Ukraine are lovely and hot, though not unbearably so. July and August are the warmest months but also the busiest. Late spring and autumn are still warm enough to enjoy coat free weather by from October to March the likelihood of snow increases. Winters are bitterly cold, often dropping to -20 and below with high levels of snowfall.
May is a good month to visit both for the weather and for the festivals where fireworks, music, dance and performances are held across the city. August brings the International Jazz Festival and the international fencing competition while in October the International Film Festival comes to town. December sees the Ukrainian Orthodox Christmas get underway, culminating in New Year on 7th January.
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