Things to do in Kiev + Day Trip to Chernobyl

Kiev is the capital city of The Ukraine.  Here are a few things to do in Kiev;

  • Independence Monument and Maidan Nezalezhnosti
  • St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery
  • Golden Gate
  • Kiev Pechersk Lavra – UNESCO site
  • St Volodymyr’s Cathedral
  • Motherland Monument
  • House with Chimaeras
  • Day trip to Chernobyl

Hotels is Kiev are quite expensive therefore Airbnb is the better option for accommodation.

Independence Monument and Maidan Nezalezhnosti

Things to do in Kiev - Independence Monument and Maidan Nezalezhnosti

The heart of Kiev city is the Independence Monument and the square which is called Maidan Nezalezhnosti.  Just behind and visible from the square you’ll find the St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery which is a Russian orthodox church.  Around this part of Kiev you’ll find lots of bars and restaurants.  The main road passing the square is Khreshchatyk Street, if you walk on this street you’ll find shopping malls, in fact under the Maidan Nezalezhnosti square is a shopping mall and Khreshchatyk metro station.

Arsenalna Metro Station

The next station on the metro line after is called Khreshchatyk is called Arsenalna station.  Arsenalna is is the deepest metro station in the world.  A visit to this station is a must, even if you only decide to ride the huge escalators up and down!  A bucket list item your friends won’t have experienced is the deepest metro station in the world!  Did you know the deepest underground rail network is found in Pyongyang, North Korea?

St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery

Things to do in Kiev - St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery

St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery is a monastery in the center of Kiev.  With its light blue color and golden domes it photographs beautifully.  Originally built in the 12th century it was destroyed by the Soviets in the 1930’s but rebuilt by 1999 after the Ukrainian Independence in 1991.  It’s free to go in the grounds and photograph the monastery, if you desire you can even go inside to photograph the beautiful interior.  Another equally stunning building you’ll find close by is the Saint Andrew’s Church, again it’s free entry and free to look around.

Kiev Funicular

Behind St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery is the Kiev Funicular.  Built in 1092, the Kiev Funicular joins the upper-town with the lower neighborhood of the city which is next to the Dnieper river.  You’ll find lots of bars and restaurants in the lower neighborhood of the city as well as a few monuments.

Golden Gate

Things to do in Kiev - Golden Gate

Of course, the Golden Gate is a famous bridge in San Francisco but there’s also a Golden Gate in Kiev.  This Golden Gate is in fact a gate, not a bridge!  But what is the Golden Gate of Kiev?  It was the main gate of the Medieval Fortress of Kiev.  An interesting detail about the gate is there’s a bell chapel on top of it.

Kiev Pechersk Lavra – UNESCO Site

Things to do in Kiev - Kiev Pechersk Lavra

Kiev Pechersk Lavra is an orthodox Christian monastery and a UNESCO world heritage site.  The monastery complex has been named as one of the seven wonders of The Ukraine so it’s a must visit whilst in the city.  The monasteries photograph very beautifully too with their orthodox shape and golden domes.  They started as caves back in the 11th century and it’s still possible to visit the underground caves network today.  The caves are a little claustrophobic but it’s interesting to walk through such an old cave system.  Additionally, you’ll see lots of colored eggs displayed around the monasteries, these are all unique and very photogenic.

River Dnieper

The river Dnieper (above) flows from Russia, through Belarus and The Ukraine into the Black Sea.  It’s the longest river in the Ukraine (and Belarus) and a Dnieper river boat cruise is a popular thing to do whilst in Kiev.  A good place to organize a riverboat cruise would be close to the Kiev Funicular at the Kiev River Port.

Motherland Monument

Things to do in Kiev - Motherland Monument

The Motherland Monument is part of the Museum of The History of Ukraine in World War II.  An interesting fact about this monument is that the sword has been cut therefore is not the full length.  The sword was cut because it was reaching higher than the cross of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.  You’ll find a memorial wall at the museum with names of over 11,000 Soviet soldiers.  There are tanks and other Soviet era machines on display too.  To get to the museum you could take the metro as it’s a little far.  You could even take the metro to Arsenalna to experience the deepest metro station in the world and walk from there passing by Mariyinsky Palace as well as Kiev Pechersk Lavra.

Kiev Underground Bunker

Underneath Kiev is a network of underground bunkers and tunnels.  After all, this was a major city of the Soviet Union during the cold war.  I highly recommend an underground tunnels and bunker tour when in Kiev.

House with Chimaeras

Things to do in Kiev - House with Chimaeras

The House of Chimaeras has become a top Instagram spot in Kiev.  It’s a unique building of Art Nouveau architecture style.  Furthermore, the President of the Ukraine works opposite the House of Chimaeras.

St Volodymyr’s Cathedral

Things to do in Kiev - St Volodymyr's Cathedral

The St Volodymyr’s Cathedral is a must see.  Not only is it a majestic orthodox church but it’s also bright yellow.  No trip to Kiev is complete without seeing the St Volodymyr’s Cathedral.  Which is more beautiful, the blue St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery or this one?

Day Trip to Chernobyl

Things to do in Kiev - Chernobyl, Ukraine

Chernobyl is a town outside of Ukraine which is famous (or infamous) for the worst nuclear power plant disaster in the history of mankind.  The town had to be evacuated and abandoned immediately and everything was just left.  It is now safe to visit Chernobyl on a guided day tour from Kiev to see how brutal the disaster was.

Chernobyl was a very prosperous city with money coming in for the nuclear energy and jobs it produced, hence there was a large population.  The first thing you’ll come across when entering Chernobyl is a river full of huge fish which have been affected by the nuclear environment around them.  Then you’ll drive down the main street of Chernobyl which you can barely make out for the overgrown weeds and trees.  On the tour you visit schools, supermarkets, apartment blocks and the famous theme park of Chernobyl.  All these places were abandoned at a moments notice and are still to this day full of people belongings.

During the tour you’ll be shown videos of the disaster explaining how brutal it was and it truly was brutal.  Finally, you must book the Chernobyl day tour in advance as an independent visit is prohibited.

How to get from Kiev to Moscow by Overnight Train

Overnight First Class Train from Kiev to Moscow, €160.

From Kiev train station I took a direct train to Moscow, Russia.  I was lucky as I had a cabin all to myself, so the €160 price tag was justified!  To enter Russia you must first buy a visa (usually in your home country) and the visa is specific to exactly which day you arrive and leave the country.  For this reason you need to organize where you stay and your itinerary very well on a visit to Russia.  The immigration officers of The Ukraine and Russia will come onto the train to check your documents and stamp you in and out of each country.

Moscow to Irkutst

2019-01-03T14:14:45+00:00April 27th, 2017|Eastern Europe, Ukraine|24 Comments


  1. Lolo April 28, 2017 at 5:46 am - Reply

    Kiev is definitely on our bucket list! But I’m not entirely sure how safe it would be to visit with the “war” going on with Russia. Good to know that it’s so expensive and airbnb is a better option!

  2. Tracy April 28, 2017 at 6:09 am - Reply

    Love following all your train travels- I would like to do the same one day (trains are always my first choice of transportation.) what has been your favourite trip so far?
    It must have been quite an experience seeing Chernobyl

  3. Abhinav Singh April 29, 2017 at 7:16 am - Reply

    Recently I met a girl from Ukraine in Leh, Ladakh (India). She got me interested in Ukraine as a destination. I would love to use your guide and see both Ukraine and Russia

  4. Jennifer April 29, 2017 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    There’s a lot going on in Kiev! St. Michael’s Monastery really does have an imposing presence. Some may think it’s weird, but I would love to visit Chernobyl – an important reminder to take care of our planet.

  5. Sabrina April 30, 2017 at 2:31 am - Reply

    Stunning pictures! I definitely need to see more of that part of the world 🙂 Once I’m back in Europe, I will use your excellent guide to plan my trip! 🙂

  6. Gareth April 30, 2017 at 10:24 am - Reply

    I’ve actually done this train journey during the first of the hostilities between the two countries and I have to say it was a very interesting time to go. Certainly, the people on board, both Russian and Ukrainian were nothing but welcoming but the officials were extremely guarded. Nevertheless, two great cities and ones that you did a great job of capturing with your photos

  7. Paul April 30, 2017 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    This is an excellent guide for visiting Kiev. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Shona @ May 1, 2017 at 5:17 am - Reply

    Your photos always give me travel envy (that’s a good thing) and this post is no exception. Kiev has so much going for it with its architecture & history and of course, Chernobyl speaks for itself. Great post!

  9. Swati May 1, 2017 at 7:11 am - Reply

    Your blog gives an insight of places I have never heard about or read. So many hidden charms of Europe. Photos are stunning too as always

  10. Sonia May 1, 2017 at 8:26 am - Reply

    I am reading this post at the perfect time. I am off to Moscow next week and then I am planning a trip to Ukraine. I haven’t been to to any CIS country till now … and I am so excited! I am not sure if I want to visit Chernobyl though!

  11. Stephanie May 1, 2017 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Great guide to Kiev. I have not visit Kiev and have it on my bucket-list. I have pinned this for later use! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. Anna May 1, 2017 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    I loved the views from Kiev Pechersk Lavra when I was there! This place was so peaceful… Didn´t realize they were making trips to Chernobyl, must be shocking to travel back in time while seeing everything so abandoned… I think now taking train is the only way to travel from Russia to Ukraine directly, cause I´ve heard they don´t have flights from one place to another (only via Bielorussia or Europe) although if I´m right – you cross Bielorussia by train as well

  13. Anna Hammerschmidt May 1, 2017 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Oh my! The Golden Dome Monastery is amazing! I can’t believe you can enter free of charge! There looks like there is so much to do in Kiev!

  14. Cat May 1, 2017 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    Kiev is such an impressive city for history lovers and photographers! St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery is so beautiful with the golden dome and light blue color. Kiev Pechersk Lavra is equally beautiful with a view overlooking the river!

  15. Riely May 2, 2017 at 4:16 am - Reply

    You sure do travel to some beautiful cities. Kiev has quite the impressive cathedrals, churches and monasteries to capture along the way. St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery has the most beautiful blue exterior with golden domes. It’s sad to learn of Chernobyl’s history with its’ nuclear power plant disaster. Such a shame for all who lived there during that time.

  16. Anna Schlaht May 2, 2017 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    I’ve never considered the Ukraine as a travel destination (I guess my eyes hadn’t found it on the map yet), but WOW, I’ve definitely changed my mind. The Golden Dome Monastery looks straight out of some picture books I read on travel as a kid, and I love all the golden domes atop the buildings there. Taking a sleeper train to Moscow also sounds fun. Adding Kiev to our list! 🙂

  17. Barry May 3, 2017 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Nice – I’ve been planned to visit the Ukraine and Chernobyl last year but a change of plans saw me head to Slovenia. Would love to check this neck of the woods out one day. Also, don’t mind taking the train instead of flying.

  18. Barry May 3, 2017 at 11:22 am - Reply

    Nice – I’ve been planned to visit the Ukraine and Chernobyl last year but a change of plans saw me head to Slovenia. Would love to check this neck of the woods out one day. Also, don’t mind taking the train instead of flying for a change.

  19. Bhusha May 3, 2017 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Wow! Kiev Pechersk Lavra looks gorgeous! Against the blue of the sky, the blue exterior of St.Michael’s Monastry looks stunning.
    I recently read a post on the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. Its really sad!!!

  20. Lisa May 3, 2017 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    Nice detailed trip, especially for first time travelers. Lot of history and great buildings to explore there. Chernobyl would be interesting and sad to tour and see. Thanks for sharing and will pin for a future visit.

  21. Carmen Baguio May 4, 2017 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    I would have to visit the blue monastery, such an interesting building! I guess it is safe to see Chernobyl. I would have thought differently, but as a history lover, this would attract me.

  22. Leslie May 6, 2017 at 10:58 am - Reply

    Kiev looks beautiful – I’ve been to Ukraine quite a few times when I was younger but have never made it to Kiev. Looks like a great p;lace to visit and Ukraine is meant to be one of the cheaper countries to visit at the moment so definitely somewhere I will consider!

  23. Sabrina May 10, 2017 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    I haven’t been to that part of the world, but your post totally inspired me to add these places to my future destination. The history, the culture and the people must be very interesting and then, of course, Chernobyl is a must-do to learn from our mistakes and hope for a better future. Very detailed post, perfect for planning a trip there, thank you very much for sharing.

  24. Shruti May 12, 2017 at 6:35 am - Reply

    Russia is on our bucket list. Good to know that visas are issued specific to exactly which day you arrive and leave the country. Did you have a good experience with Air BnB in Russia? What part of Kiev did you stay in?

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