Take a flight to Kiev and:
- join the sunbathing locals on the River Dnieper’s islands
- stroll around the trendy Podil neighbourhood, a former merchants’ quarter
- experience an Orthodox church service
Founded in the 5th century and eventually becoming the capital of Kievan Rus in the 13th century, Kiev has a long reaching history and may be rightly called the birthplace of Russia. Today, Kiev may be both modern and off-coloured (if only by reputation), but it is also a city of an undeniable spirit and immediately noticeable beauty. Above all , to see is to believe with the remarkable city of Kiev. Spanning both sides of the mighty Dnieper River, with its rolling hills and ravines to the west, and by which it has access to the nearby Black Sea, the city is located in the north of Ukraine. With a population of over 2.5 million inhabitants, Kiev is the capital and largest city. airBaltic is pleased to provide cheap flights to Kiev Boryspil International Airport, a short distance from the centre.
The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, but stay there long enough with open ears and you might not think so. Most of the people in Kiev opt for Russian, commonly used in all aspects of business and day-to-day communication. English may be difficult to come by outside of hotels and tourist areas but, as with other post-Soviet countries, always look to the younger generations for help.
See and Do
Don’t believe the hype that makes Kiev seem like a city out of a film noir nightmare, where gangsters and politicians forever rule the streets and just about everyone and everything is crooked. Arrive with an open mind and understand why its people have made it home for centuries. From the rushing of the Dnieper to the rugged architecture joined with golden domes in Independence Square, there is a quiet unsung beauty about the city that speaks for itself.
Perhaps everyone hears first of the mummified monks at the monastery caves of Pecherska Lavra and they are definitely worth a visit, if not as the first on your list during a stay in Kiev. There are two sections to it, with a museum above and the candle lit caves below for the brave. The main artery of the city is Khreschatyk Street where tourists and locals alike throng on the weekends to have fun and take in the atmosphere, including some wild performances, while another (and somewhat tamer) beautiful street for a stroll is Andriyivsky uzviz. See to it that you visit the impressive St Sophia's Cathedral, Kiev’s oldest church, with the nearby statue of Bohdan Khmelnytsky upon his horse. Likewise, the fully restored Kiev fortress, which dates back to the 19th century, is a particularly engaging stop off. Emblematic of the city is the Golden Gate of Kiev, the historic gateway set within the city's ancient walls and erected in the 11th century, once destroyed and later rebuilt.
As for museums, there are a number across the city that promise an interesting afternoon. The Chernobyl Museum is fascinating, if a little disturbing as well, although there is no way to really view it in English, so arrange in advance for a tour guide. Check out its Doric columns before getting tickets to the National Art Museum of Ukraine, which itself houses a broad range of Ukrainian Art, and then head to the Museum of the Great Patriotic War commemorating with a gripping collection of displays the many Ukrainians who lost their lives in the Second World War.
After enjoying the sights of the city and partaking in some rowdy nightlife as only done in Kiev, relax by the beach at the Hydropark and soak in the sun right along with the locals, and even begin to feel like one yourself.