JOIN US IN AN INTERVIEW WITH NATALIYA BILIUGA FROM KYIV, UKRAINE !
Nataliya Biliuga is a bow-tie and fabric buttons designer from Kyiv with indeed truly travel passion at heart. Her adventure story started in 2007 when she flew to Taiwan to work as a model. Later on she worked as a Travel Consultant and visited 27 countries from Iceland to Maldives, from USA to China. Nataliya started her blog GetUpNGo to share her travel experience. She adores to visit new destinations with family and creates travel related photo and video content.
Special thanks to photographer Sergey Ristenko for providing us amazing pictures of Ukraine’s oldest city, Kyiv.
Kyiv is the capital and largest city of Ukraine and one of the oldest cities of Eastern Europe. The city was named after one of its four legendary founders of the city in the 5th century A.D.
Situated on the banks of Dnipro river, Kyiv has a population of 2,887,974 and area of 847.7 million square metres of which half is occupied by parks, botanical gardens and tree-fringed boulevards.
Kyiv is the city, where you can walk around, eat delicious food and even have a lot of fun being on a budget. At the same time, there are a lot of places with unique and cozy atmosphere. With Kyiv’s efficient transport system you can also easily reach Kharkiv, southern and western Ukraine, Minsk and Poland.
When is the best time to visit Kyiv?
Kyiv, without doubt is always ready to welcome you, the city is beautiful all year round !
However, for your unforgettable visit there are 4 seasons to choose from :
Spring time would be awesome for nature lovers. Thousands of trees and flowers start to bloom. Don’t forget to visit Hryshko botanical garden being in Kyiv in spring.
Summer is a great time for Dnipro river cruise, open air cinema or for seeing chestnuts in full bloom. There are a lot of street food stalls, so you could take away your food and enjoy terrific sunset from one of the sandy beaches.
Autumn is highly recommended time for romantic walks if you are looking for an inspiration. From city parks to viewpoints, newly built pedestrian-bicycle bridge is one of must-visit places.
Winter is a low season in Kyiv, because of cold weather, but you can feel magic mood in amusement parks. Expocenter of Ukraine is top one. Have fun with winter sports and numerous exciting festivals.
Which is the most convenient and favored transport of Kyiv?
If you arrive to Boryspil or Kyiv International airport – the easiest way to get to the city center is to take a taxi. Use Uber or Uklon mobile apps to save money on your trip. It probably will cost you about 5-15 USD, depending on the distance. You could also use Kyiv Boryspil Express for 3 USD, it will take you to the Central Railway Station or Sky Bus for 2 USD to Kharkivska subway station.
Public transport is the most convenient way to get around the city. Use EasyWay or Google Maps apps to find the best route. One way bus ticket costs 8 UAH = 0.3 USD.
Subway is fast and includes English station names. Kyiv’s Arsenalna metro station is considered to be the deepest metro station in the world with a depth of 105 meters below the ground following which is Moscow‘s Victory Park station located at the depth of 84 meters. Subway in Kyiv is both efficient and picturesque especially the Golden Gate station.
Use Kyiv Funicular to get up the hill from Poshtova Square to Mykhailivska Square. The ride is short, but it is great fun.
Taxi is also very popular, but try to avoid it during morning and evening hours because of traffic jam. It will cost you from 2 USD.
If you prefer to ride a bike here we have Nextbike service available at some locations.
What are the top three must visit places in Kyiv?
Get to Poshtova Square (or Postal Square) before sunset, walk around, try local food in the River Port and marvel at the spectacular architecture present in this part of Kyiv. In the evening, reach the Parkovy Pedestrian bridge, constructed specifically for pedestrian traffic, to be greeted by bright multicoloured lights and its reflection in the Dnipro river. Such landmarks are everlasting at memory. With panoramic landscape views of Dnipro riverbanks, Parkovy bridge also makes for one of the most favourite photo spot in Kyiv.
The Motherland Monument is the figure of a woman with a shield and a sword in her hands, installed on a conical pedestal of 40 meters high making the total height as 102 metres and weight of 450 tonnes. It is one of top 5 tallest sculptures in the world. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit viewpoint of the city and WW2 museum if you are fond of history. WW2 museum has more than 17000 exhibits where you can learn about Ukrainian history in second world war.
Museum Timings: Mo-Fr – works from 10:00 to 18:00 and Sat-Sun – works from 10:00 to 19:00.
Kyiv-Pecherska Lavra and the Caves is the first and the oldest monastery in Ukraine. Located in the heart of the city, these caves are a complex of over hundred buildings and are spread out on an area of twenty hectares. It’s underground architecture is a complex system of passageways and catacombs in which the mummified bodies of more than 120 early monks and saints are entombed. Also open as a museum for visitors Lavra has 11th century cathedrals and numerous other churches in it. A UNESCO World Heritage, it is situated on the beautiful cave bluffs with many viewpoints to the left of the Dnipro river and Lavra buildings.
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from Kyiv?
Ancient Kyiv in “The Kievan Rus Park” – is a unique reconstruction of one of the most famous and at the same time the most mysterious medieval cities of the Eastern Europe. It is located in the Kopachiv village, a short forty five minutes taxi drive from the city. There are many different festivals every week at this location, like horseback/carriage rides, horseback archery, balloon flight, medieval safari or camping. To preserve Ukrainian art they also organise classes on pottery, blacksmithing and historical fencing. please check on their website before your visit.
Pyrohiv Open-Air Museum is an outdoor museum on Ukrainian life and folk architecture. Located towards the south of Kyiv, in the outskirts, Pyrohiv museum is the largest open air museum in whole of Europe. It is a collection of three hundred traditional structures (some are even from the 16th century) brought here from various parts of Ukraine. There is plenty of space in outdoors to move around and to picnic surrounded by the traditional Ukrainian houses. Ticket here is 2 USD. Every day from 10 AM till 6 PM.
What is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Kyiv?
Independence Day of Ukraine is on 24th of August. Usually in Kyiv we have parade on the main street. Many people wear traditional colorful embroidered clothes and join the celebration. Also we have outdoor exhibitions, concerts, public fairs and sport events on this day.
What is the most loved local food, savory and sweet of Kyiv? Is it a vegetarian friendly city?
Don’t miss the legendary Kyiv perepichka – a sausage and a bun for 1.5 USD. Perepichka is a deep fried dough with a simple sausage stuffed inside it but it is great to taste. The shop opened in 1981 and is easy to spot being directly opposite the Central Department Store. Since it’s very popular among the locals, there can be a long queue.
Visit “Ostannya Barykada” restaurant to feel unbelievable atmosphere and try Ukrainian cuisine like borsch, Kyiv chicken or Kyiv cake. Book your table in advance.
If you prefer vegetarian food, “Imbir” restaurant definitely would be a great choice. They serve truly amazing healthy food from 8 AM till 11 PM.
Where to head for shopping in Kyiv?
Kyiv has lots of modern shopping malls: Gulliver, Ocean Plaza, Globus, Skymall, Lavina mall with clothes, gifts and food courts.
If you prefer to find local specialties, like traditional clothes, arts and crafts go to Andriivskii Uzviz. A local market with cobblestone paths and an European feel.
Ukrainian designers store Vsi.Svoi on Kreshchatyk str., 27. There are a lot of beautiful and young designer’s brands, quality shoes and bags. Perfect for cool and useful presents from the heart of Ukraine.
Which is the local craft or souvenir of Kyiv?
Vyshyvanka – traditional Ukrainian clothes.
Pysanka – an egg, decorated with traditional folk designs using a wax-resist method.
Motanka – a traditional Ukrainian doll.
Ukrainian chocolate – Lviv Handmade Chocolate.
Shukai pins with Kyiv symbols – Vsi.Svoi store.
Shukai pins with Kyiv symbols. Image Source
Which are the best streets in Kyiv worthy of taking a stroll on?
Khreshchatyk street – the shortest main street among European capitals, 1300 meters long, during weekends it becomes only for pedestrians. It is also the axis of the city centre and the most notable public square along Khreshchatyk street is Kyiv’s Independence Square (or Maidan Nezalezhnosti).
Vozdvizhenka street – the heart of historical Kyiv.
Yaroslaviv Val – take a short walk from the Golden Gate to Lvivska Square.
Can you suggest a place from where one can get the best view of Kyiv?
Zamkova Hora, a pedestrian-bicycle bridge through Volodymyrsky descent and Bell tower of Saint Sophia’s Cathedral.
Visit Saint Sophia’s Cathedral not only for the best view of the city but also because it’s an architectural masterpiece and an example of early Rus-Byzantine architecture. It contains the tomb of the grand prince of Kyiv Yaroslav I during whose reign the cathedral was built and is beautifully adorned with frescoes and mosaics. It’s bell tower is 76 metres high and has the biggest bell in Ukraine of 13 tones!
Bell tower of Saint Sophia’s Cathedral, Kyiv
Do you suggest any shows on music, culture or art performed by the locals?
Atlas Weekend – is an annual music and arts festival hold in Kyiv in July. The event features many genres of music, including rock, indie, hip-hop, and electronic dance music.
Pinchuk Art Centre is a centre of contemporary art with a collection of works by Ukrainian and international artists. Don’t forget to come by at a coffee shop on the 6th floor with spectacular view for the city centre.
For more intense cultural scene of Ukraine, opt for venues like Taras Shevchenko National Opera, Lesia Ukrainka Russian drama theatre (not far from the Opera house) and Ivan Franko theatre.
Where can one spot street art in Kyiv?
Discover the murals of Kyiv, more than 160 artworks throughout the city.
Map with locations: http://kyivmural.com/en/index
Would you recommend any local apps for food, transport or hidden gems in Kyiv?
Taxi : Uber, Bolt (formerly Taxify) and Uklon.
Transport : EasyWay, Google Maps – free apps for transportation around the city.
Hidden Gems : Kyiv City Guide is a free app with walking tours and useful information for tourists.
Do you want to give any suggestion/tip to tourists coming to Kyiv?
Just pack your bag, get up and go to see Kyiv with your own eyes.
IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING TO KYIV OR WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NATALIYA’S TRAVEL EXPERIENCES THEN BE SURE TO FOLLOW HER ON INSTAGRAM
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