It is certainly possible that you haven’t been to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv before. At the same time, I’d advise that you plan your next travels in such a way that you can enjoy Kyiv’s beauty and see many of the main sights. True, this might not always be possible due to time restraint, but if you ever are in Kyiv, even if you have just one day to spend, you need to maximize that one day in the best possible way. Kyiv has many famous places and sights to visit that you might want to check out.
Best time to travel to Kyiv
Kyiv is at its busiest and liveliest during summer, and this should be one of your top considerations when planning a day trip to Kyiv. You have a pleasant and sunny day with tourist destinations full of other tourists and travel enthusiasts trying to see the best places in the capital.
While things start to get chilly in October, it is the best time for you to visit Kyiv. The month’s start comes with more peaceful beaches, fewer people everywhere, and, more importantly, massive discounts.
Depending on your interests, you can choose to go during the summer’s bubbly months with higher expenses and more interactions or the less busy October period with fewer businesses and lesser costs.
One day in Kyiv itinerary
Since you have just one day in Kyiv to spend, maximizing it has to be the plan, and this guide below will help you do that, making sure that you see the best places in Kyiv.
Visit the Golden Gate
If there is one structure that highlights the defensive system put in place at the capital of Kyivan Rus’, then it is the Golden Gate. They constructed this monument during Prince Yaroslave’s reign over Kyiv, which saw the city actively expand its territory, which led to the construction of some newer defensive fortifications – deep grooves and reinforced wooden cedars combined to create mighty shafts which totaled up to 3.5 kilometers and stretched through some of the streets in Kyiv’s center – from Yaroslaviv Val street to the Independence Square through the Golden Gate, to the Mikhailovska Square.
St. Sophia cathedral
The St. Sophia Cathedral was built in Kyiv’s center during the first 50 years of the 11th century. History has it that Prince Yaroslav also built it. The external parts of this cathedral were, however, rebuilt during the 17th and 18th century.
The inside of the cathedral has some of the best ensembles of frescoes and authentic mosaics with some significant fragments of the 17th and 18th century walls. This monument was later made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is the first monument labeled a UNESCO heritage site in Ukraine.
The Andreevsky Descent
An ancient road that connects the central part of the upper city with the Podil neighborhood is the Andreevsky Descent. They gave the Andreevsky Descent such a modern name due to St. Andrew’s church being built there during the mid-18th century.
The Andreevsky Descent has to be the most visited place by tourists, and that’s understandable. It is a tourism paradise with many street artists, souvenir sellers, theaters, museums, etc, all soaked into the magical atmosphere in this part of Kyiv.
The Podil Neighborhood
Once that is done, the next stop is the Podil neighborhood. Here, you can follow the river downwards, explore Kyiv’s oldest district, check out the oldest university location, and the place where ancient merchants had their fair in Kontraktova Square.
As stated by authors in the write my essay platform, the major highlight of this tour is the visit to Podil, one of Kyiv’s oldest neighborhoods. It is also where the city’s trade, industry, and commerce were born. This was also once the city center, after Kyiv’s destruction during the Mongol invasion, until the turn of the 19th century. This location had the magistrate – the city administration, the primary university, before establishing the port and shipyard in this city.
Podil still has many historic landmarks and feats of architecture, and some new archaeological sites have also been discovered. It is a significant arm of the Podilskyi District, the larger administrative unit of the city.
The Motherland Monument
The Motherland Monument is one of the world’s highest monuments. It has a pedestal (in which a museum is located) and a massive height of 102m, 62m of which belong to the sculpture itself. However, the initial plan for the sculpture’s height was 80m. This decision was opposed by the Kyiv Metropolitan because, in this case, the monument would become higher than the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra bell tower. One of the reasons for this objection was maintaining the height equilibrium. It was going to disturb the city’s architectural appearance.
The statue has three major viewing platforms where people stop on their tours and excursions regularly. The first one is at the monument’s feet, which stands at a 36m, while the second one is at the sword of the monument, at an altitude of 91m. From this platform, you’ll get the best view of Kyiv.
Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Cave
The Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Cave is another highlight of this itinerary. The Dnieper slope has many majestic buildings, beautiful temples, and beautiful gardens with paths paved using ancient stones. However, the main monastery is underground.
Once you get to the bottom of the Dnieper hills, there is a maze of narrow corridors (two people can’t fit there), and anyone is allowed entrance. It is quite dark, so you might want to turn on the light on your smartphone or something. This is where 120 saints – including doctors and monks that lived on the monastery’s territory – are resting.
Where to stay in Kyiv
Kyiv has several great places where you can spend the night comfortably and maybe even in luxury. But since you aren’t staying around for a long while, your best bet is to stay around Maidan. This is also the meeting point for many tours, so it will be more convenient for you to book something like that. Apart from that, there are nice hotels in the city, though, so here are a few great places I wholeheartedly recommend.
Velyka Zhytomyrska Street 2A, Kyiv, 01001
Should you be looking for something more luxurious, InterContinental – Kyiv will give you that and more. This 5-star hotel boasts classy restaurants with chandeliers, wonderful greenery all around it and an incredible bar on the 11th floor from which you can enjoy some truly spectacular views of the city. What are you waiting for?
Iryninska street 5/24, Building B, Kyiv, 01034
If you book a room at Bontiak Hotel, you will be just a few minutes away from the St. Sophia Cathedral and the Golden Gate. Despite its location, this modern hotel is surprisingly peaceful and relaxing, and they will serve you breakfast in your room. Free Wi-Fi, 24-hour front desk amd a minibar in your room are just some of the other advantages of staying here.
5 Pushkinska Street , Kyiv, 01034
Summit Apart Hotel is a lovely little place in the city center that will provide you with quite a lot for your money. Its great location means you’re close to many excellent bars and restaurants, and the rooms are very comfortable, with private bathrooms and flat-screen TVs. Add to that great service and you get a lovely place to spend the night.
Day trips from Kyiv
Have more than one day in Kyiv on your hands? Then you may want to set up a day trip. Here are a few destinations that are bound to leave an impression on you.
Kyiv Sea – an artificially made huge reservoir of water is quite a sight to behold. On top of that, there are some very good restaurants here, so you can have a lovely and relaxing day out, away from the hustle and the bustle of the city.
Chernobyl – the infamous site where a nuclear power plant went haywire will surely make many travelers’ imagination go wild. Indeed, you can visit the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and even spend the night there if you so desire.
Bila Tserkva – if you want a relaxing day trip from Kyiv, this is most certainly it. A lovely little town of Bila Tserkva takes things easy, and there’s a wonderful arboretum called Oleksandriya Park you can visit to relax even further.
Kyiv has a lot to offer in terms of attractions, history, and historical buildings and places, so you might not be able to run through everything in just one day. But what is certain is that you’re going to enjoy your journey to the Ukrainian capital. This itinerary will help you find your way in the city and ensure that you don’t miss out on the best possible locations to visit.
However, there’s a lot more to see in Kyiv, and it is quite challenging to cover all of it in one day, but with a good itinerary, you will be able to see as much as possible and make that one day a memorable one.
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Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.