Just a few days after this blog post is posted I’ll be making my way to Ukraine for the second time on my travel adventures.
This time I’ll be spending three months in Lviv in the western part of the country, but I’ve previously spent some time in the capital city of Kiev and I hope to visit again during this trip.
I get a lot of people asking me:
Is Kiev worth visiting?
The short answer is yes, it’s definitely worth visiting and in this post I want to share with you a few of the reasons why and whether or not it’s a safe destination.
The last time I was there I caught the tail end of the Maidan protests and even then it was a beautiful place to visit despite everything going on politically.
Kiev is becoming a more popular destination because of all the cheap flights with budget airlines such as Wizzair and Ryanair and it’s also pretty easy reaching Ukraine from Eastern Europe as well so there are a lot of people visiting the country that are just continuing their Europe trip and looking for less crowded destinations.
Is it Worth it to Visit Kiev?
Things to Do
Not only is Kiev the capital but it’s also the biggest city in Ukraine making it full of a wide range of different tourist sites, attractions, museums, galleries, and plenty of different interest to neighborhoods to check out.
When it comes to things to do in Kiev you could easily spend a week just wandering around and spending your days exploring but if you’re short on time you could get away with 3 action packed days or 4 days if you wanted to go on a day trip to Chernobyl.
The city has amazing public transportation, so it’s really easy to get around, and although the alphabet is different there are still lots of signs in English and most young people speak English as well so you shouldn’t run into any issues if you need to ask somebody for help.
Coffee culture has recently become quite popular in Ukraine and this has resulted in there being quite a few different specialty cafes in Kiev.
During the warmer months you’ll definitely notice that all of the outdoor seating areas are packed with people enjoying the weather and each other’s company while drinking some sort of coffee drink or beer.
Despite being a blend of Soviet style architecture and older, more historic buildings, Kiev doesn’t give off the same vibe that you would find somewhere like Warsaw where you can tell it’s a very business based and modern city.
Don’t get me wrong, Kiev is modern but it definitely has its own unique charm to it that makes it somewhere you’re definitely going to want to spend some time exploring.
Kiev constantly rates as one of the top Europe budget destinations. For travelers from the West, especially from places with a stronger currency, all of Ukraine is very affordable for a short-term trip.
Even compared to other popular affordable cities in Central and Eastern Europe such as Krakow, Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest, Kiev still comes in even more affordable than these cities and even travelers on the tightest budget and still enjoy themselves in the beautiful capital city.
When I was there just a few years ago, when it was actually more expensive than it is now, it was possible to get a full sit-down meal for anywhere between $3 and $4 USD and you could definitely find a great meal at a mid-range restaurant for around $7 to $10 USD including drinks.
Sticking to a budget, there are plenty of options for street food and even street vendors selling things like coffee, bagels, treats, kielbasa, and plenty of things that you can just grab on the go without having to spend a lot.
One of my favorite places to eat was Puzata hata, a cafeteria style restaurant where you could get a heaping plateful of Ukrainian food for just a few dollars.
Speaking of that, Ukrainian food is simply delicious, extremely hearty, and the desserts are absolutely to die for.
Not only is it very reasonably priced when it comes to the attractions and eating out in Kiev, but accommodation is also very cheap especially when you compare it to Western and Central Europe.
Yes, there are some nicer hotels that still cost quite a bit of money per night but you have a lot more options when it comes to mid-range and budget hotels as well as reasonably priced Airbnb apartments and super affordable hostels.
On a budget you could easily find somewhere with a good location for just $10 USD per night if you’re staying at a hostel.
For AirBnb there are plenty of options in the $20 to $30 range per night.
For those of you that want to splurge a little bit, you can really start to find some gems if you’re willing to spend $50 USD and up to $100 USD per night.
Just remember to double-check the map to make sure that you’re in a central location and you’re bound to find somewhere that meets your budget requirements and other accommodation preferences.
Transportation and Access
These days it’s pretty easy to get to Kiev, and also quite affordable, so this is just one more reason why it’s worth visiting.
There are overnight trains leaving from both of these cities that stop in Lviv before making their way to Kiev and for a more affordable option you can even take a bus or shuttle bus all the way to the Ukrainian capital.
For such a long distance, the prices are quite reasonable for transportation and it’s not even that expensive for first-class tickets either so you should definitely consider splurging if you have a little bit of extra spending money.
As for getting around Kiev, the taxis and Uber are both really cheap but public transportation is surprisingly good and can bring you all over the city for very little money.
In the city center you can use trams, streetcars, buses, and there’s even a subway network that will get you anywhere that you need to go as fast as possible.
The extensive public transportation system really allows you to explore all of the different areas and neighborhoods in the city without having to worry about walking everywhere.
When it comes to directions, I would definitely recommend writing down specific directions where you need to go or downloading the info to your smartphone so that you can access it whenever you need to.
In Kiev, you’ll quickly find that a lot of the signs and transportation information is in Cyrillic and this is an alphabet that most people are not familiar with.
Like I already mentioned, if you happen to get lost or if you don’t know where to go, don’t hesitate to stop a young person on the street and ask them if they can help you.
As for reaching the city center from the airport, Boryspil airport is located quite a bit of ways outside of the city center and it’s your best bet to take a taxi or Uber to get to your accommodation.
It will cost around $10 USD to get to the city center from the airport and should take about 40 minutes depending on traffic.
You Should Visit Kiev!
After reading this post, you should be a lot more convinced that Kiev is somewhere that you would definitely want to visit.
The city itself is beautiful, there are so many different things to do in check out, and for many Western travellers it’s a very cheap destination so there are very few reasons why you wouldn’t want to go.
As for safety, Kiev is a very safe city and the conflict that’s currently going on in the country is taking place hundreds of kilometers away much closer to the border of Russia and in the capital there aren’t any issues going on at all.
Just avoid traveling to the far Eastern part of the country and you won’t run into any problems at all during your trip to Ukraine.