Don’t leave home without Travel Tramp’s Top Things To Do In Kiev! From the crazy to the dark, here are the most insane and awesome things to do in the capital of Ukraine!
Ukraine is a country that’s technically at war. There’s conflict on the borders and separatism in Crimea. Yet Kiev is still a safe city to visit.
I went to Kiev, I survived. You can find out more about that HERE.
There’s no reason not to as well, and as soon as you take a stroll down Khreshchatyk street and hit up a few bars you’ll never want to leave.
From radioactive fall out zones to towering communist statues, here are the craziest and darkest top things to do in Kiev.
Survive The Radioactive Fallout Of Chernobyl…
Are you crazy? Insane? Suicidal? Probably all three.
But no trip to Kiev is really a trip to Kiev without a short jaunt into the Exclusion Zone of Chernobyl.
It sounds mad, but it’s actually quite safe these days. Just don’t eat any radioactive moss while you’re there or go inside the reactor’s sarcophagus.
If you’re daring enough, you’ll see the abandoned villages, schools, supermarkets, even swimming pools that used to be lived in before the nuclear reactor exploded in 1986 and caused a mass evacuation. You’ll even see the remains of the reactor, although you won’t get too close to the decaying isotopes.
It’s a surreal, deserted and disturbingly beautiful place to visit.
You have to visit on a tour (officially). I can personally recommend Solo East Travel. Be sure to book in advance so they can sort out the documents.
You can read more about my exploits in the Exclusion Zone of Chernobyl HERE!
The Great Patriotic War Museum
This is an insightful place to visit to really learn what happened in Ukraine during World War II and to see what is happening to the country now in the east on the Russian border.
Alongside the World War II era displays, you’ll find captured ‘Russian’ tanks from the separatist conflict in Donetsk that’s still ongoing, as well as a painful display of weapons, pictures and memoirs from those who are currently fighting for Ukraine.
And you can see the enormous Statue of the Motherland which towers above the city and is part of the war memorial, as well as countless examples of socialist ‘artwork’.
By artwork I mean giant statues of course.
That’s Ukrainian talk for Independence Square. It’s the main plaza in Kiev, right on Khreshchatyk Street, which happens to be the main thoroughfare through the centre. Yeah, it’s a pretty central point.
Aside from the bars, restaurants and strange people who try to make you hold a pigeon and then charge you money for the privilege, it’s an iconic part of the city. This is where people protest, this is where the infamous events of the 2013 Ukrainian Revolution went down, and where things turned bloody.
Across the street from the Independence Monument, you can still see the ghastly remains of the burnt out building were many perished during the protests, and across the square and in the surrounding streets, are memorials to those who protested and those who died.
The Creepy Caves of Lavra
Possibly the strangest thing to do in Kiev, is to go underground with the priests and pilgrims to the cave monasteries of Lavra. This is a holy place for worshippers of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and above ground, on the site, there are elaborate cathedrals.
Below ground, in the cave monastery, in the darkened tunnels, lit only by candlelight, you’ll be surrounded by the mummified remains of holy monks. It’s strange, bewildering and if I’m honest, a very creepy experience.
This is as dark as it gets. Darker than Chernobyl. This small, discrete, underground museum is a memorial to the Holodomor. This dark event in Ukrainian history is largely overlooked, but the dire and deliberate policies of the Soviet government resulted directly in the deaths of millions of Ukrainians in a country-wide famine that ravaged the population between 1932-33. It was genocide by famine.
The museum is a poignant memorial to, and explanation of events. It’s not really a well-known event outside of Ukraine, but that doesn’t make it any less horrific. It’s worth the time to pay your respects and to learn more about this defining era in Ukraine’s history.
The Deepest Underground Metro Station In The World
Yeah, it’s deep. Real deep. Over 100 metres below the surface is the Arsenalna Metro Station. The escalator ride alone is ridiculous enough to warrant this being a tourist attraction. At 4 minutes long it’s perfect for people watching the mad and infinitely interesting people of Kiev.
Kiev Shooting Range
Museum of Miniatures
Near to the creepy Lavra Caves is this bizarre Museum of Miniatures, a collection of the tiny, tiny works of art created by artist Mykola Syadristy during the Soviet days. You need a microscope to even see the objects on display, and they are intricately and carved and detailed. Everything from a chess board on a pin head to portraits on needles.
President Yanukovych’s House
Yanukovych is the former President of Ukraine, the man who was overthrown during the Maidan protests a few years back. He fled to Russia, and his mansion has been opened up to the public, so Ukrainian’s can see his opulent lifestyle first hand. It’s a bit of town, on the banks of the river, but there are lots of tours going there if you can’t make it by public transport.
Bars, Bars, Bars
Kiev’s night life is insane. It’s crazy. It goes on and on. It’s cheap. Need I say more…?