Kyiv (Kiev): My Best Budget Destination in Eastern Europe – Ultimate Guide

St. Sophia's Cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine

According to a legend, Kyiv (or Kiev) was founded by a Slavic family during the 5th century. Specifically, the name of Kyiv (Kiev) came from the eldest family’s member name that was called Kyi. Built close to the Dnieper river, Kyiv was founded during the Bronze Age and it was an important trade center during the Iron Age. Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine as well as it is one of the most historical European cities.

I had the opportunity to visit this wonderful destination in the last year. Walking in the streets of Kyiv, I realized that this historical city has plenty of Soviet ruins as well as many interesting monuments that are dated back to the old ages. Exploring the city you can see huge buildings with impressive architectural designs that were built during the Soviet Union’s period.

Also, Kyiv has some of the most popular metro stations in the world, because they have the world’s deepest escalator. The underground of Kyiv has been constructed during the Soviet Union’s period. Some of the underground stations attract many tourists because of their impressive baroque architectural design.

Kyiv is a very interesting destination that is located in Eastern Europe and it has a low cost of living. So, it is the perfect choice for budget travelers, who can enjoy excellent accommodation and good quality of food without spending a lot of money.

Below, I write how I spent my travel days in Kyiv (Kiev). Specifically, you will find a list of my favorite things to see and do in Kyiv, which will help you organize better your trip in Kyiv.

How I spent my travel days in Kyiv (or Kiev) | Best Things to See and Do in Kyiv

1. Golden Gate

When I arrived at the Boryspil airport in Kyiv, I had to take the airport train. After thirty-five minutes, I arrived at the central railway station of Kyiv, where I took the subway. Coming out of the subway station, I saw the 11th-centrury Golden Gate that protected the old town of Kyiv. Constructed by Yaroslav the Wise in 1017 - 1024, the Golden Gate is the only preserved gate nowadays, because the other two gates, Ladski and Zhydivski Gates, have been destroyed. The original name of the Golden Gate is Southern Gate.

2. Pechersk Lavra Monastery (Monastery of the Caves)

Pechersk Lavra Monastery (Monastery of the Caves) in Kyiv

Also, another characteristic of the Kyiv city is the large number of orthodox churches and monasteries. My first day in Kyiv (or Kiev) I decided to visit the popular Pechersk Lavra Monastery that is well-known as the Monastery of the Caves and was founded by St. Antony in 1051. The history of this Monastery is associated with establishment of Orthodoxy during the period of Kievan Rus as well as the Byzantine period (1073 - 1089). Inside Monastery I found many monks as well as religious people. Following the crowd I found the entry that leads to the catacombs. After a few minutes I was underground. There was only the light of candles. The atmosphere was dry and cool. Walking into the dark, I saw a lot of coffins of holy men into the walls. When I finished my tour in the catacombs, I continued exploring the surrounding places of Monastery. Except for the ancient catacombs, this Monastery is also worth a visit, because it has a spectacular view of the Dnieper river. From the other side of river you can see the modern part of city.

3. National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War

National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War in Kyiv

After Pechersk Lavra Monastery, next stop was the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War. Here, there are a lot of war vehicles that are dated back to the period of the Soviet Union. This museum has been built in the memory of the Ukrainian soldiers who lost their lives against the Nazis. For the first time in my life, I understood the huge military force of Ukraine during the Soviet Union’s period. Over the hill, the Motherland statue has been constructed in the memory of the victims of the Second World War. If you want to visit the Hall of Glory and the Hall of Remembrance and Sorrow as well as enjoy the view of the Dnieper river from the platform on the top of the Motherland Monument, you need a guide.

4. Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti)

Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) in Kyiv

After spending a few hours in the National Museum of the History of the Second World War, I decided to explore the city’s center. Taking the metro I arrived at the Independence Square that is also known as Maidan Nezalezhnosti and it was constructed in 2004. The square is surrounded by buildings from the Soviet Union’s period. Important events took place in this place during 2013 - 2014. Specifically, the Ukrainian revolution of 2013 - 2014 began in this place, because of the political decisions of Viktor Yanukovych, who was president of Ukraine and he suspended the process of Ukraine’s integration in the European Union. There were many conflicts during the revolution of 2013 - 2014 and a lot of Ukrainian people lost their lives. So, you will see the photos of the victims in many places around Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) and the streets of the city’s center.

After a long walk into the city’s center, I started starving. So, I visited the famous Porter pub. It is one of the most popular pubs in Kyiv (Kiev) with delicious meat dishes and tasty beers. Here, you can enjoy a cold Ukrainian beer and eat meat dishes without spending a lot of money.

5. St. Andrews Church

St. Andrews Church in Kyiv

After this stop, I decided to continue my exploration by visiting St. Andrews Church that is located in the main street of the old city’s center. It stands on the top of the old city’s hill. From this magnificent church with its impressive architecture and beautiful green-white color you can see the whole city from above. Built by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, during the reign of the Great Catherine, St. Andrews Church attracts many travelers because of its impressive baroque architecture and its interesting collection of paintings, sculptures and other masterpieces of art.

After a long day wandering in the lovely city of Kiev, I returned to my hotel room and I rested.

6. St. Sophia’s Cathedral

St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv