On Saturday 26th April 1986 the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine (62 miles north of Kiev) went under a routine safety test. Just minutes later the reactor exploded polluting the air with millions of tons of deadly radioactive substance.
Today, you can visit the ghost town of Pripyat and visit the memorial 500 yards away from the fourth reactor on a semi private tour.
You can read about our visit to Chernobyl here.
St Sophia’s Cathedral
Saint Sophia’s Cathedral is an outstanding complex; work started on it in 1037 and lasted for just three years.
As the architectural monument has had only a few reconstructions, you can marvel at the Byzantine cathedral in close to its original form. In addition, as it is located at the intersection of the four leading roads in Kiev, climb to the cathedral’s bell tower and you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view from the top.
St Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery
Named after Kyiv’s patron saint St Michael’s is a fresh copy (opened in 2001) of the original (built in 1108), which was torn down by the Soviets in 1937.
The church’s fascinating history is explained in great detail (in Ukrainian and English placards) in a museum in the monastery’s bell tower.
Standing proudly over the Kiev skyline is the 340-foot tall, stainless steel Soviet Mother Motherland statue.
Originally intended to be even taller, the sword of the statue was cut because it was higher than the cross of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, a renowned Orthodox Christian Monastery. She ranks 18th on the list of the world’s tallest statues. For a bit of comparison, The Statue of Liberty ranks about 42nd.
Held in the statue’s left hand is a shield with the State Emblem of the Soviet Union. For a small fee, you can go up to the height of the shield for a breath-taking view of the Kyiv skyline.
Kyivo-Pechers’ka Lavra, the monastery which made Kyiv the “Rome” of Orthodox Christianity and received pilgrims from all over Europe continues to attract droves of visitors today. It was the Ukraine’s first world heritage site.
Its territory of 28ha contains not only churches, towers and an underground cave system but also some of Kyiv’s most interesting museums.
Monks worshipped, lived and were buried in caves, where a cool and humid atmosphere enabled their bodies to mummify naturally. This apparent miracle further enhanced the monastery’s reputation. The monks’ bodies have been almost perfectly preserved to this day, a fact you can see yourself by descending into the caves with a candle to lead the way.
One of the world’s best microminiaturist, Nicolaï Siadristy displays his lifetime of tiny creations in this museum.
Widely considered the world’s best microminiaturist, Nicolaï Siadristy has a lifetime’s worth of tiny creations on display in this museum. What does a microminiturist create? A tray complete with a wine bottle and glasses, all set on a grain of salt, or the human being at various stages of life, represented on a gold thread 400-times thinner than a human hair.
Churches – Andriyivski Uzviz, Sophia Cathedral, St Michaels Monestry, St Volodymyrs Cathedral, St Nicholas
Arsenalna underground station
This 114 year old funicular is 238 metres in length and goes from Mykhailivska at the upper station down to Poshtova at the lower station in around 3 minutes. As you are travelling up or down on one of the two cars you’ll see wonderful views over the river Dnipro.
At the top you can visit Saint Michael’s Monastery and Saint Sophia’s Cathedral and are you are just 5 minutes walk to Andriivs’kyi descent.
Ukraine Museum WW2
If ex soviet sytle shooting ranges are your kind of fun then spend some time at a outdoor shooting range in Kiev with a variety of weapons.
Keep your head clear and your arms steady as you navigate your way through a Kalashnikov, Glock-17 pistol, Steyr AUG, sniper rifle, Beretta 92 FS and Mosin-Nagant plus many more.
You will receive instructions for safe operation from an expert instructor.
State Aviation Museum
Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti – Square)
At the top of Khreschatyk, you will find Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Independence Square. This is where many of the city’s protests have taken place.
Independence Monument stands in the square, celebrating the country’s independence in 1991.
It is worth visiting Independence Square area at night because the water fountains light up and dance to Queen.
The Mezhyhirya Residence
Journey to the Mezhyhirya Residence in the village of Novi-Petrovtci, 25 kilometers from the city centre. Explore the former country residence of President Yanukovych and get better acquainted with the history of Ukraine and its controversial ruler.
Discover a collection of expensive works of art and architecture, privately owned by one family and paid for by the taxpayers. Gaze in wonder at the opulent interior of the main house and find a huge amount of gold and crystal. See the large icon of the Mother of God, emphasizing the sanctity of its ostentatious former owner.
Avail of optional extras, such as a visit to the Honka club house or rent a bike and explore at your own pace. Discover a collection of vintage cars owned by the president, along with other features such as a bathhouse, bowling alley, underground shooting range, heliport and zoo with kangaroos, emus and peacocks.
Sightseeing (Bus, Hiking, E-Scooter, Mountain Bike
Dnipro River Cruise
Perfect for a summer’s evening with the breeze in your hair and the sun setting in the background are the Dnipro river cruises. Throughout the summer months, the boats set sail throughout the day and on evenings and weekends.
There are various boat trips available, but the best one is the 1 and a half hour Kyiv Panorama cruise which takes you under the pedestrian bridge, past Kyiv Pechersk Lavra and the Motherland Monument whilst seeing the beaches of Trukhaniv Island and Hyrdropark. On the left you’ll also see Kyiv’s floating hotel Bakkara which has romantic views of the river.
On weekends you can book a “Disco Boat” to party the night away like you’ve never done before.
Best visited on a summer’s evening or warm spring daytime, this delightful park will brighten up your day. It only takes around 30 minutes to walk from end to end, but along the way you will be greeted with many different and unique sculptures.
It’s hidden away behind some residential houses and not on the tourist path, but well worth a visit to uncover this little gem.
Peizazhna Alley, Kyiv, Ukraine
Urbex Adenture Tour
Visit the city’s underground river and drain tunnel system.
This will involve 1.5 to 3 hours of walking through underground tunnels, equipped with special flashlights and gum boots. With your experienced guide, you will learn everything there is to know about Kiev’s underground world, feel what it’s like to be in absolute darkness, and experience the city in a totally new way.
Then, for the second part of this combo tour, explore one of the abandoned Cold War bunkers, forgotten since the USSR times. Get the chance to open a massive Soviet hermetic blast door in an abandoned fallout shelter, and feel what it would be like to live in an era in which people live in constant fear of a nuclear attack. In this 1-hour guided tour, you’ll touch one of the hidden pages of Ukrainian history, see real civil equipment frozen in time, and learn about survival after a nuclear war.