Kyiv is the capital and most populous city of Ukraine. It may not be on top of your bucket list, but it should. Here’s why:
From the Mongol invasion to the Kingdom of Poland to the USSR, Ukraine has been conquered and reconquered by different countries for centuries. While most of the history is quite sad, it plays into their culture, food, and way of life and it is a unique blend not seen in many other countries.
Museums, monuments, and beautiful old churches are in every corner of the city and most are quite cheap or free.
Ukrainian food is known for its simplicity with potatoes, dumplings, sausage, and soup as the staples of a Ukrainian meal. Over the years, and with Kyiv developing as a huge international city, restaurants have evolved into the same top-notch dining you can expect in any big city, only with cheaper prices.
Street food and fresh bakeries line the streets and there’s nothing better than fresh baked goods and a coffee to start the day right.
If you’ve never been dressed up in a doctors coat, had old Soviet helmet lit on fire while simultaneously drinking 3 different colored shots and being hit on the head with a wrench and a barrel, you obviously haven’t been to Palata Bar no. 6 in Kyiv. It is probably the only bar in the world that offers an experience like this and it is definitely worth every hryvnia (Ukrainian currency).
The Arena Center and Podil neighborhoods are more typical areas with nightclubs and bars, but no matter where you are in this big city there are guaranteed to be bars with different themes and good beer to try.
Quite simply, Kyiv is significantly cheaper than Western European cities such as London, Amsterdam, and Paris. A very good meal at a nice restaurant shouldn’t cost more than $10 with a tip, and the average drink at a bar will come out to the grand total of 1 dollar. A subway ride costs about 25 cents.
Not only is it the greatest nuclear disaster in human history, but it is also one of the only remaining artifacts completely preserved from the time of the Soviet Union. Although it is not actually in Kyiv (about 2 hours north) almost all the tours leave from the city center.
Whether you see it as an interesting piece of history, proof of how anyone can be a hero or a villain, or a great photoshoot, it is guaranteed to be the trip of a lifetime.
Chernobyl tours have been around for years, but since the HBO miniseries debuted in May, interest has skyrocketed, so make sure to book in advance!