23 Best Things To Do & Places To Visit in Kyiv, Ukraine

Update: November 17, 2021 r

Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine, where you will find eye-catching architecture, hidden gems and UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Saint Sophia Cathedral, Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Caves, and Motherland Monument. There are also places full of Ukrainian history, like Independence Square. These top attractions of Kyiv are based on the contrasts between the beautiful domes and facades and post-Soviet blocks of flats that survived after the Second World War.

In this article, you will find the best places to see & things to do in Kyiv. You won’t skip any interesting places to visit in Kyiv. The list combines popular attractions and less crowded sights.

Inside this guide:

  • how to move around Kyiv by public transport,
  • a list of top-rated places in Kyiv,
  • an interactive map with all the most important points marked,
  • how to get to places worth seeing,
  • what to see close to Kyiv,
  • where to stay in Kyiv,
  • the answer to the question of whether it is safe in Kyiv,
  • practical tips for travelling in Ukraine.


An addition to the article is a map of the best places to see in Kyiv with places, monuments, museums, the best cafes, restaurants, and accommodations.

You will find it useful if you want to visit a lot in a few days. Works on phone & computer (Google Maps).

1. Kyiv Founders’ Monument

Before you start climbing towards the giant Motherland Monument, I recommend walking to the river and seeing the Kyiv Founders’ Monument.

On the Dnieper river embankment, there is a sculpture depicting the three legendary founders of the city: Kija, Szczek and Chorywa with their sister Łybedzia. It is an excellent photographic spot of the river and the city’s buildings on the other side of the Dnieper river.

Kyiv Founder's Monument View

2. Motherland Monument

The Motherland Monument is a monumental relic of the Soviet Union that towers over Kyiv. Over 60 meters tall, the figure holds a giant sword in one hand and a shield with the emblem of the USSR in the other.

Looking at Mother Motherland through the prism of the current international situation, the emblem evokes quite extreme emotions. A bit like the Stalin museum in Gori in Georgia, the Motherland Monument divides Ukrainians into supporters of leaving it as a tribute to victims of World War II and fierce opponents who see it as an unnecessary reference to Russia.

Kyiv Motherland Monument Closely
Kyiv View At Dnieper River And Buildings

Without a doubt, the Motherland monument is one of the most characteristic attractions of Kyiv. It is worth seeing the other side of the river from this perspective.

Going down the hill, you will pass the Museum of the History of Ukraine in World War II and come to the Pechersk Lavra.

3. Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (Kyiv Monastery of the Caves)

The Pechersk Lavra is the seat of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the most sacred place of worship in the whole country and one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The area is divided into the upper one, administered by the state, and the lower one, which is in the hands of the ecclesiastical authorities.

Kyiv The Pyrohoshcha Dormition of the Mother of God Church

The area where the Pechersk Lavra is located is filled with numerous churches and museums. You will find here, among others, The Pyrohoshcha Dormition of the Mother of God Church, the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross and the impressive structure of the Gate Church of the Trinity.

Take a look at the Great Lavra Bell Tower – the building measuring 96 m, which was built in 1731-1744. Until the 20th century, before skyscrapers began to be built, the Great Lavra Bell Tower was the tallest structure in Eastern Europe.

The first bell towers in Pechersk Lavra were wooden. After the fire in the 18th century, they were rebuilt in brick. II World War did not spare the bell tower, which burned down again. It was rebuilt twice in the following years.

The Great Lavra Bell Tower serves as a vantage point today. From that place, you can see the other buildings of the Pechersk Lavra and look at the surrounding area from a different perspective.

When visiting the area of the Pechersk Lavra, you have to be aware of the religious importance of this place.

Visitors must dress modestly (long legs, covered shoulders) both inside the temple and throughout the complex. Signs on the entrance gates inform about the prohibition of taking photos, which does not seem to be respected by anyone.

After leaving the Pechersk Lavra area, there is the Park of Eternal Glory, with the magnificent Holodomor Memorial to Victims of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932–1933. It commemorates the dramatic consequences of Stalin’s decision, which led to the death of several million people from starvation through the forced collectivisation of agriculture.

There is an entrance fee depending on which places exactly you want to visit.

4. St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church

I came upon the St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church by accident, booking a night in the building opposite. I have not found a mention of this monument in any of the previously reviewed sources.

The church building is beautiful. The rosette decorating the front wall of the temple reminds me a bit of the one from the Parisian Norte Dame.

Kyiv St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church

You can already see soaring, 60-meter towers dominating architecturally, not very interesting neighbourhoods from a distance.

The church was designed by the Polish architect Władysław Horodecki. He is also known for the project of the House with Chimeras, you can read about a few paragraphs below.

5. Palace “Ukraine”

A few hundred meters closer, right at the exit of the metro station, there is a rather dingy Palace “Ukraine”.

This building serves as one of the most important Ukrainian scenes, official ceremonies and concerts.

Kyiv Palace Ukraine Building
Palace “Ukraine” – exceptionally without not very aesthetic advertising

6. Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti)

I don’t think you haven’t heard about the modern history of Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square). The square was the scene of events related to the Orange Revolution and the bloody Euromaidan fights.

When visiting Independence Square, you must be aware that dozens of victims of the protests have spilt their blood in this place.

At the turn of 2013 and 2014, there were fights between the pro-European activist camp and the government camp. President Yanukovich’s resignation triggered it from signing an association agreement with the European Union. Currently, the square buildings have been restored to the state they were in before the riots.

Kyiv Independence Square
A view of Independence Square with a small Lach Gate in the background

Dozens of photos of victims hung on the trees growing at Independence Square remind of the bloody history. The Trade Unions Building on the corner of the square was burned down during the clashes. It was covered with a huge billboard with the words “Freedom is our religion” and has already been renovated.

Kyiv Trade Unions Building With Banner "Freedom is our religion"
Destroyed Trade Unions Building
Kyiv Trade Unions Building After Renovation
Trade Unions Building after renovation

A characteristic object in the central square of Kyiv is the symbol of Ukrainian independence – a column with the Slavic deity Brzeginia.

On the square, there is Lach Gates – the rebuilt medieval entrance gate to the city of Yaroslav. The three-star Hotel Ukraina (formerly: Hotel Moskwa) looks down on the square from above.


An addition to the article is a map of the best places to see in Kyiv with places, monuments, museums, the best cafes, restaurants, and accommodations.

You will find it useful if you want to visit a lot in a few days. Works on phone & computer (Google Maps).

7. Khreshchatyk Street

The central urban axis of Kyiv, Khreschatyk Street runs through Independence Square. The buildings on the street were recreated after the destruction of World War II in a socialist-realist fashion. The facilities are very impressive and therefore correspond well with the representative character of the street.

Kyiv Building Close To Khreschatyk Street

Khreshchatyk Street sometimes has as many as eight lanes and is a huge communication barrier in the city’s heart. There is not a single pedestrian crossing in the vicinity of Maidan Nezalezhnosti – all traffic passes through uncomfortable underground passages.

Kyiv Khreschatyk Street City State Administration

In Khreschatyk Street, the Kyiv City State Administration, the Ukrainian post office, many shops and restaurants are located. One of the few buildings that survived the war is the Central Department Store.

The street does not attract much with anything special in tourism, as another example of heavy, socialist architecture. It is teeming with life in the evenings, so it can be a good choice for those who want to drink a few glasses of Ukrainian vodka.

8. House With Chimaeras (Horodecki House)

The House with Chimeras is another, after the Church of St. Mikołaj, the project developed by the Polish architect Władysław Horodecki.

The building, also known as the Horodecki House, is one of the seats of the administration of the President of Ukraine. The military guards the area around, but you can also view the beautiful sculptures by the Italian artist Emilio Sala from the outside.

Initially, the house was filled with luxurious apartments, and Horodecki himself lived in one of them. The architect was not very successful in renting the premises, and his hopes for a big profit backfired.

Money seemed to pour out Horodecki, and the house was quickly pledged to the mortgage. In the post-war times, the building had its episode as the seat of a party clinic.

The House with the Chimeras is shrouded in several legends. According to one of them, despairing with his poor financial situation and forced to move out, Horodecki cursed all the later inhabitants of the building. Because the building is currently the seat of government administration, there may be a hint of truth to this.

If you want to relax after the sightseeing, you can go to lovely Mariinsky Park, located a few minutes walk from the House with Chimaeras.

9. Golden Gate

There is a legend connected with this medieval gate to the city. During his trip to these areas, Bolesław Chrobry was supposed to hit the gate with his sword, which unfortunately made him a little jagged.

Hence it was supposed to get the name Szczerbiec (the Jagged Sword) – the coronation sword of the Piast dynasty. Unfortunately, the legend doesn’t have much to do with the truth. The Golden Gate was built 19 years after Chrobry took over Kyiv.

Kyiv Golden Gate Szczerbiec

What we see in Kyiv today is only a replica of the gate. It was rebuilt without preserving its former shape and historical truth. If you want to go inside, there is a small entry fee.

It was established in 1982 in preparation for celebrating the city’s 1500th anniversary. You can find fragments of the original city walls in the museum inside the gate.

10. Saint Sophia Cathedral

There is one of the two pearls of Kyiv a few hundred meters north of the Golden Gate. Saint Sophia’s Cathedral is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The second such monument is the Pechersk Lavra.

Kyiv Saint Sophia's Cathedral
Saint Sophia Cathedral (photo: Paweł Szubert / Wikipedia, license: CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Visiting the facility can be done in stages, including only the place of interest. You do not have to watch everything. It is worth climbing the tower to feel the sightseeing of Kyiv from a slightly different perspective.

Kyiv Saint Sophia's Cathedral View From The Street

The facility is currently a museum, and no services are held there. Therefore, the atmosphere inside is quite strange. The cathedral is a bit neglected. On Sofia’s Square, a vast area where city events occur, there is a magnificent statue of Bohdan Khmelnytsky.

11. St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery

The St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery with surrounding buildings is located near the upper funicular station on St. Vladimir Hill.

The blue facade of the building and the domes covered with gold make the temple one of the most recognizable churches in Kyiv.

Kyiv St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery

The cathedral is part of the monastery complex, clearly visible from the nearby St. Michael Square. Next to it is located, among others, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. There is a bell tower with a clock belonging to the monastery in the square.

Kyiv St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery View From Square

The temple building is not the original one. The monastery, built in the 11th century, was pulled down in the 1930s by the Soviet authorities. They considered it not worthy of maintenance and upkeep.

There was a plan to take over the place of the monastery for government buildings after the capital of the republic was moved from Charkov to Kyiv. After the Ukrainian declaration of independence (in the 90s), the church was rebuilt, or rather built anew.

12. Kyiv Funicular

The Kyiv funicular is a funicular that climbs from the area of the River Station and leads straight to St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery.

The funicular route is just over 200 meters long, and its slope is up to 36%. You can buy a ticket at the ticket offices at the lower and upper stations of the cable car.

Kyiv Funicular Station Inside

The route is covered by two carriages connected by a rope, which start simultaneously from the two ends of the track. The single-track line in the middle of the route becomes double-track for a moment to allow vehicles to pass each other.

The funicular is mainly a tourist attraction, although the inhabitants of Kyiv also use it constantly.

13. Park Landscape Alley (Peizazhna Alley)

Strolling along Park Landscape Alley, located on a steep hill, you can feel like in a smaller and poorer version of the Güell Park in Barcelona.

A several-hundred-meter promenade is meandering between the building line and the park. It departs from Velyka Zhytomyrska Street and leads towards Andreevsky Uzwiz with the Mikhail Bulgakov Museum and the One Street Museum.

Kyiv Park Landscape Alley

The Peizazhna Alley is decorated with sculptures and art installations made in the form of mosaics. The figures are very colourful. Many of them resemble the heroes of Alice in Wonderland. That is why the place is crowded with families with children.

A walk along the Park Landscape Alley is a good springboard after a few hours with the Kyiv socialist realist architecture.

Kyiv Peizazhna Alley Mosaic

The park is associated with the colourful works of Gaudí from Park Güell in Barcelona. In my opinion, it is less well-kept and less artistically valuable. However, the alley can be considered an interesting place to walk and take photos.

Ending your walk along the Alley, you can be tempted to visit the National Museum of the History of Ukraine.


An addition to the article is a map of the best places to see in Kyiv with places, monuments, museums, the best cafes, restaurants, and accommodations.

You will find it useful if you want to visit a lot in a few days. Works on phone & computer (Google Maps).

14. St. Andrew’s Church

According to legend, the location of the temple is not accidental. 2000 years ago, passing by St. Andrew was supposed to be delighted with the passed hill and indicate it as the temple’s place.

The legend, like most of them, of course, has little to do with the truth. Construction works began in 1744. After nine years, the church was built, crowned with the main dome and four smaller towers.

Kyiv St. Andrew's Church

In the Soviet Union, the St Andrew’s Church served as a museum. Its original function was fully restored in the 90s. Entering the temple will not be a waste of your time because of the eighteenth-century iconostasis (the form of an altar).

The entrance itself is free. Unfortunately, you have to pay for the opportunity to take photos.

In 2018, the church was pelted with Molotov cocktails by unknown perpetrators. Fortunately, it was not seriously damaged.

15. Andriyivskyy Descent (Andrew’s Descent)

The Andrew’s Descent is probably the only street in the world with its own museum – the One Street Museum. If you are an inquisitive history enthusiast, this place will be good for you. Otherwise, it may be simply boring.

If you deviate from Andrew’s Descent for a moment, you can climb to the viewpoint. During my visit, the area looked neglected. It was used primarily as a place for evening meetings of young lovers. Nevertheless, it is worth spending 5 minutes climbing the steep stairs for lovely views from above.

Lovers of Bulgakov’s literature probably know the short story “The White Guard”, the plot of which the writer placed in one of Kyiv’s houses. This house was a building located at the Andreevsky Uzwiz 13.

Kyiv Andriyivskyy Descent

Mikhail Bulgakov lived in this place for over ten years. The Mikhail Bulgakov Museum, organized in his memory, was initially very modest. It gathered less than 150 exhibits, including only 47 belonging to the writer himself.

Currently, the collection has increased to 2,500. Nine hundred of them were owned by Bulgakov. The first floor of the tenement house is in line with the vision presented in “The White Guard”. The museum is open every day except Wednesdays.

You can end your tour of the steep street where the most eminent members of the Kyiv cream of society have walked for decades – at the Square of Contracts. And if you get hungry, this is where Puzata Chata awaits you. If you have had no opportunity to visit it yet, it is a restaurant chain with cheap, local food.

16. Saint Nicolas Church on the Water

Even though Saint Nicolas Church on the Water is not very impressive, its position only a few meters from the bank of the Dnieper river makes it highly photogenic. It is not so popular among tourists. There is free admission.

Kyiv Saint Nicolas Church on the Water

Please pay attention to the people in the temple as it is an active religious object. Loud behaviour and intrusive taking of pictures may not be appreciated.

17. Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum

The Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum is located close to the central square of the Podil district – the Square of Contracts.

From the article about the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, you will know the course of the disaster and how to plan a trip to the Chernobyl Power Plant.

Kyiv Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum

18. Kyiv Metro

The mode of transport that allows you to reach all the exciting attractions of the city is worth getting to know in itself.

The nearly 70-kilometer-long Kyiv metro network consists of 3 lines. The fourth metro line, which has been designed for many years, was initially supposed to be built in 2000. Big financial problems delayed putting the line into service until 2025.

The railway network was established as the third in the former Soviet Union (after Moscow and Saint Petersburg). Only 6 of 52 stations are above ground level.

Kyiv Metro Station

Metro stations were built to look like underground palaces. Although they are much more modest than Moscow, Kyiv stations look as dignified as their socialist realist character allows them.

The passages to the tracks are often arched, and crude chandeliers light the rooms. Not only do the chandeliers look not very aesthetically pleasing, but they also keep some parts of the rooms underexposed. Soviet standards with columns and ornaments richly decorate the entrances to the earliest built stations.

Kyiv Metro Station Entrance

The Kyiv Metro boasts the record for having the world’s deepest metro station. The stop on the red metro line – Arsenalna – is over 105 meters below street level. There are two sections of steep, breaking-neck escalators leading to the station.

Arsenalna is the only metro station in Kyiv that was built in the so-called London style. The platform hall consists of three tunnels, separated by massive towers (pylons).

The number of crossings from the central part of the station to the section with railway tracks is limited due to the large thickness and massiveness of the pylons. In rush hours, such a structure negatively affects the station’s capacity. The advantage of the system is the high resistance of the station to overloads.

Kyiv Entrance To Arsenalna Metro Station
Kyiv Arselna Metro Station Building

Interestingly, the following line after the Arsenalna metro station – Dnipro, is above ground level. That makes the line between the two stations one of the steepest sections of the metro track in the world.

19. Mariyinsky Palace

Former tsarist residence built in 1752, used mainly as the seat of the Kiev governor. Today it belongs to the President’s Chancellery. The palace’s name derives from the wife of Tsar Alexander II, thanks to whom the baroque palace gained a park adjacent to it.

20. St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral

St. Volodymyr Cathedral is a temple from the 19th century located near the National Opera of Ukraine and the Golden Gate, at Schebchenko Blvd. The temple was built to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the baptism of Kievan Rus. The cathedral looks interesting from the outside, but it is also worth going inside and seeing the beautiful frescoes.

21. Flea Markets

Visiting flea markets is an exciting way to know Kyiv and interact with the local community. It would be best if you bargained a bit before you buy something that catches your eye. It takes conversations, trying to use Ukrainian / Russian, and overall can be quite a fun experience 😉

Kyiv Walk Through The Streets

Interesting places where you can buy second-hand things include Petrivka near the Pochaina metro station (Почайна) or Kuraż at the Vystavkovyi Tsentr metro station (Виставковий центр).

22. St. Cyril’s Monastery

The former complex of church buildings, the construction of which dates back to the 12th century. The Soviet authorities generously did not dismantle the St. Cyril’s Monastery for bricks (and this was the case with the other complex buildings).

Inside the church of St. Cyril, you can still admire the frescoes, some of which still remember the times of building the temple. The easiest way to get to the church is by tram, getting off at the nearby “Spartak” stop (Стадіон “Спартак”).

23. Hryshko National Botanical Garden

The National Botanical Garden (Hryshko National Botanical Garden) in Kyiv is located near the Pechersk Lavra and the Mother Motherland monument. It is named after a Soviet botanist, Mykola Hryshko.

Botany enthusiasts will have plenty to do here – 120 hectares of garden with 13,000 species of plants are at your disposal. From the park, you can admire the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra.


An addition to the article is a map of the best places to see in Kyiv with places, monuments, museums, the best cafes, restaurants, and accommodations.

You will find it useful if you want to visit a lot in a few days. Works on phone & computer (Google Maps).

What To See Close To Kyiv

Just outside Kiev, there are still some interesting, unusual attractions worth seeing. I especially recommend three of them to you that can be a day trip from Kyiv.

Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

The most famous attraction around Kyiv is undoubtedly the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. You can start your Chernobyl tour in Kyiv.

I used the Ukrainian office of Chernobyl Tour, which organizes one-day trips to the Chernobyl Zone. We managed to see reactor 4, Pripyat, Duga radar and the town of Chernobyl – quite a lot for one day.


With a little more time, you can consider a trip to Kyiv, to the sumptuous estate of former president Yanukovych.

You can get there by Uber (max. 300 UAH, price depends on the time of day and many other factors) or take a bus from in front of the Heroiv Dnipra metro station.

Pirogovo – Kiev Museum of Folk Architecture and Life

An open-air museum in the former Pirogov, today within the borders of Kyiv. Interesting places for people interested in folk architecture and the life of the former village. Good location for a long walk outside the city center.

Where To Stay in Kyiv

It is best to book accommodation so that the metro station is within walking distance. You will be able to use the saved time saved for sightseeing in the city.

The price spectrum is very wide. Sometimes you can book a comfortable apartment here for the price of hostel beds in Western European cities.

How Many Days To Plan For Kyiv

If you are wondering how many days to spend visiting Kiev, first of all, analyze your needs.

  • One day is enough to see the most basic, must-see attractions of Kyiv (Pechersk Lavra, Independence Square, Sophia Cathedral). Although, in my opinion, this sightseeing pace is a bit too fast.
  • The optimal length of the first stay in Kyiv is two full days. Then you will have time to see most of the places on my list. At the same time, you will not be forced to run between attractions.
  • If you manage to stay in Kyiv for 3 or 4 days, then apart from the entire list in the article, you will also be able to visit Chernobyl or the Mezhyhirya residence.

How To Get To Kyiv

The easiest way to get to Kyiv is by air. If you are already in Ukraine, an alternative option may be to get here by train. You can reach Kyiv, e.g. from Lviv, Odesa. You can reach Kyiv by landing at one of the international airports in the city.

Boryspil International Airport

The largest Kyiv airport is located on the southern outskirts of the Ukrainian capital and serves mainly long-distance international air traffic. However, some low-cost airlines land here. If you change planes in Kyiv, there is a chance that you will have to move between the airports of Boryspil and Zhuliany.

How To Get To City Center From Boryspil International Airport? There is a train to Kyiv-Boryspil airport from Kyiv’s main railway station and many buses and marshrutkas. You can check the train timetables on the airport’s website – from the airport to the railway station in Kiev and from the railway station in Kiev to the airport. You can find out more about buses on this website.

Zhuliany International Airport

When visiting the Kyiv-Zhuliany International Airport, you can visit the nearby State Aviation Museum, named after O. K. Antonowa (Ukraine State Aviation Museum), with a large collection of historic aeroplanes.

How To Get To City Center From Zhuliany Airport? The airport is mainly served by low-cost airlines. You can get to the city center by taxi, Uber, Bolt or Uklon (the Ukrainian equivalent of Uber) or use the trolleybus no. 9 or no. 22.

There are also buses (marshrutkas) to the center. Marshrutka no. 368 will take you to the railway station in Kyiv. You can check the detailed public transport routes from the airport on the website.

How To Move Around Kyiv? Public Transport

Public transport in Kyiv consists of the subway, trams and marshrutkas.

From the tourist’s point of view, there are mainly three metro lines (M1, M2, M3). They will take you to all the places mentioned on my list.

Kyiv Metro And Tram Lines Scheme
The network of metro and tram lines in Kyiv

You have to pay a toll for the metro ride before entering the station. You will pay with tokens or contactless cards. You will only need to use the tokens for a few days’ sightseeing in Kyiv.

As part of your ticket, you can change unlimited times without leaving the metro station, so transfers between lines are possible.

A great Kyiv travel planner is the EasyWay Kiev website. It leads you from point A to point B using all means of public transport. It will be handy if you want to visit the Ukrainian capital for only one day and move quickly.

Are you considering going to Ukraine and visiting Kyiv? What impression did Kiev make on you? Share your feelings in the comments section and show if you managed to see all the places from my list.


An addition to the article is a map of the best places to see in Kyiv with places, monuments, museums, the best cafes, restaurants, and accommodations.

You will find it useful if you want to visit a lot in a few days. Works on phone & computer (Google Maps).

Welcome to my travel blog!

Hi! I’m Bartek Dziwak – traveller & travel blogger with 10 years of travel experience. 

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