Kiev, or spelled Kyiv, is the capital and largest city of Ukraine and located on the bank of the Dnieper River. It is one of the cultural epicentres of Eastern Europe, and the site of numerous famous historical landmarks. With an eclectic landscape of majestic antique cathedrals and advanced modern infrastructure, Kiev is a magnificent destination to explore.
What to see and do
Begin your discovery of the city’s golden-topped churches with St. Sophia’s Cathedral, Kiev’s oldest standing church. Built in 1037 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise – whose body now lies in the church – this 13-cupola sanctuary is now a UNESCO protected site. It houses an exhibition of archaeological artefacts and displays documenting the historical landscape of the city. The Cathedral is connected to Yaroslav’s Palace, and an entry fee of lower than NZD1 can get you into the building.
Another notable religious ground is St. Andrew’s Church, a pristine Baroque church designed by famous Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli. It stands tall atop Andriivs’kyi uzviz (or Andrew’s Descent), and is rumoured to be where Apostle Andrew erected a cross when he preached the Christian gospel in Kiev. Valued more for its grand exteriors than its loud interiors, the church is also known to have been the favourite strolling spot of famous Ukrainian writer Gogol.
Outside the church, the oldest street in Kiev rolls out in a splendour of art galleries, museums, eateries, and outdoor bazaars. Andriivs’kyi uzviz is a well-loved stop for visitors on the hunt for artworks and traditional Ukrainian handicraft. N°15 is a sweet spot that hides a climb to an unrivalled view of Podil and the Dnipro, while the Bulkagov Museum at N°13 is an oasis for literary enthusiasts.
If ever in doubt, there are multitudes of city tours available to take you around the city without worry. From trips on a comfortable coach to excursions to the mysterious depths of Kiev in its secret tunnels and Chernobyl, these tours can bring another dimension of Kiev to light with the guide of local professionals and experts.
Kiev is served by public transport networks, namely trolley buses, trams, regular buses, the metro, minibuses, and minivans. These rides tend to get a little crowded, but it’s a parcel of Ukrainian life. It is customary here to give up your seat to the elderly and mothers with children. Taxis can also take you around the city if you prefer a more comfortable and worry-free ride.
Getting to Kiev
International flights into Kiev are processed by Boryspil State International Airport, while domestic flights and Wizz Air flights from Europe land at Kyiv Zhulyany Airport. Major airlines include Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, and Ukraine International Airlines.
From Boryspil Airport, taxis can be hired from outside the terminals and will take you to Kiev’s city centre in about 20 minutes. SkyBuses link to the city from Terminals B and F and take about an hour’s journey. From Zhulyany Airport, taxis and trolleybuses can take you to various locations in the city.