Best Things to do in Kiev skyline

After visiting all countries in Europe, I must say Kiev is one of the most underrated cities to visit and it is extremely affordable.

To help you plan your time in Kiev, here are some of my favourite and best things to do in Kiev Ukraine as well as suggestions for places outside the capital, if you have some time.

13 Best Things To Do in Kiev Ukraine

1. Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti)

This is the heart of Kiev, the main square that everyone calls simply Maidan. This is the place where the Ukrainian Revolution took place in 2014 and it’s the perfect place to start exploring the city of Kiev. Often used for cultural events, when I visited, there was information on display about the revolution.

You might want to do some people watching or visit the nearby Globus Mall with an observation deck. The nearby Khreschatyk Street is the main shopping street and full of life.

Stroll down and if you need a good coffee nearby, pop into The Blue Cup Coffee Shop.

Best Things to do in Kiev Ukraine Maidan
Best Things to do in Kiev Ukraine – Maidan

2. St Sophias Cathedral

One of the best things to do in Kiev Ukraine is to see its amazing churches. No, you don’t have to be religious to be blown away by them. Unique architecture, colours and incredible rich interior.

St Sophias Cathedral is one of the most famous ones in Kiev and a must-see. It was built in the 9th century and the structure is inspired by Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. This is one of the few surviving buildings of the Kyivan Rus’ time. 

You do need to purchase tickets ( there are a few options) but it is well worth it for the frescoes, two levels and amazing view from the Bell Tower.

Best Things to do in Kiev Ukraine - St Sophias
Best Things to do in Kiev Ukraine – St Sophias Credit: Wikipedia Commons

4. St Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery

From St Sophia Cathedral, you will be able to see a gold-domed blue church. It’s named after Kievs patron Saint, Saint Michael. 

From here you could take the funicular for 8 UAH that will take you down to Podil district, more about that soon.

St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery

5. Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum

You might not have time to visit Chernobyl and the town of Prypyat, but even if you do, this museum is a must. The small museum includes three exhibit halls that seek to inform visitors about just exactly what happened on 26th April 1986 at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station. 

The museum opens from 10 AM – 6 PM every day except Sunday. The entry fee is 100 UAH for the entrance, 36 UAH for photos. The audio guide s highly recommended.

Things to do in Kiev Chernobyl Museum
Things to do in Kiev – Chernobyl Museum

6. Arsenalna Metro Station

The deepest metro station in the world is also on our list of the best things to do in Kiev. The metro in Kiev is great to use during your time here, but make sure you visit this station. 

Arsenalna Metro Station lies nearly 105.5 meters (350 feet) beneath the city and the escalator ride to and from the stop can last up to five minutes!

Best Things to do in Kiev Ukraine Metro
Best Things to do in Kiev Ukraine – The Metro in Kiev

7. Kyiv Pechersk Lavra

You can walk from Arsenalna Metro station to reach the entrance of Kiev Pechersk Lavra (it takes about 20 minutes). To be honest, I didn’t expect this place to be so huge! The World Heritage Pechersk Lavra is a wonderful complex of churches, bell towers and subterranean caves.

You can choose to walk around, or join a guided tour, especially if you wish to visit the caves. Women should cover their hair to enter any orthodox places, a light scarf is always handy to have in your bag/backpack. For a small fee, you can also visit a baroque tower: The Great Lavra Bell Tower.

The entrance to Kiev Pechersk Lavra is 80 UAH.

Best Things to do in Kiev Ukraine - Kiev Pechersk Lavra
Best Things to do in Kiev Ukraine – Kiev Pechersk Lavra

8. The Motherland Monument

Stainless steel Soviet Motherland statue stands over Kiev 62 metres tall! You will see her hovering over everything as you approach. There has been a lot of controversy over the statute and the initial cost back in 1981. Some locals think the money or material could be spent in a better way.

It is also here, that you might visit the museum of the History of Ukraine in World War II, but you will need some time as the museum is huge.

The best time to visit the Motherland Monument would be just before sunset.

Best Things to do in Kiev Ukraine Motherland
Best Things to do in Kiev Ukraine – The Motherland Monument for above

9. Andrew’s Church

Another beautiful church in Kiev is located within the Andriivs’kyi Descent street which is the next place on our list of the best things to do in Kiev.  

The church is gorgeous from the outside, with its gold and blue baroque architecture and you can pop inside for just 30 UAH.

St Andrews Church - Best Things to do in Kiev
St Andrews Church – Best Things to do in Kiev

Some Fun things to do in Ukraine:

10. Andriivs’kyi Descent – Coffee with the hipsters

If you are visiting Andrews Church you will find yourself in Andriivs’kyi Descent. This is a cobbled street connecting the old Kiev with one of the hipster neighbourhoods of Kiev, Podil. It’s a great place to linger around, have a coffee at Svit Kavy (means World of Coffee) or First Point Espresso Bar

For more hipster cafes check out friend Pete’s blog on the best hipster cafes in Kiev.

Best things to do in Kiev coffee
Best things to do in Kiev – Hang out at a hipster coffee

11. Eat lunch in a local cafeteria

We loved the food in Ukraine and wrote another blog about all the best Ukrainian dishes you should have here. And when it comes to fun things to do in Kiev, eating lunch in a traditional cafeteria is up there. 

Check out Puzata Hata, where you can select what you wish to eat and pay on the end. All signs were in Ukrainian only so you can always ask what each dish is, but it’s a lot of fun to just choose things and be surprised later.

Fun things to do in Kiev - Eat at local cafeteria
Lunch at Puzata Hata

12. House with Chimeras

There is plenty of incredible cathedrals, monasteries and other architectural masterpieces. And then, there is this art nouveau building – House with Chimeras.

This is by far the weirdest building in Kiev and once you see it you will know why we include it on the fun things to do in Kiev list.

You will see everything from crocodiles, rhinos, antelopes and other gargoyles decorating this former private residence.

13. Visit an out-door Soviet-era gym made from scrap metal

If you love to exercise, consider visiting Kachalka in Kiev, it might be one of the best things to do in Kiev for those who love weird and unique places.

An open-air gym from the ’70s in a park is filled with machines that were made from recycled tank chains and various other rusted scrap metals. 

And there you have it. That’s the nine best things to do in Kiev Ukraine, and a few more fun things to do in Kiev as well. 

As of 2019, Kiev has changed the official spelling to Kyjv which derives from the Ukrainian language. (Kyiv is pronounced KEE-eve, not KEE-yev. 

You might also like to learn about Ukrainian vs the Russian Language, find out more about the unknown self-declared country of Transnistria or plan your Euro trip with our guide on travelling Europe by train.

And if you are visiting Slovakia, read more about the best places to see and what difference there is between Slovakia vs Slovenia.