Ukraine is quite possibly Europe’s last travel frontier and the city of Kiev (Kyiv) doesn’t disappoint. Sometimes a little chaotic, with a mix of beautiful and Soviet architecture, friendly people, great food and cheap accommodation, you won’t be short of things to see and do.
Despite hitting the headlines for a violent revolution in 2014, the only visible scars are at Maidan square, where there is a memorial for those who were killed. Kyiv is also far away from the conflict zones with Russia.
As well as the common attractions listed in most guidebooks, you should check out the zip line over the Dnipro river (from the friendship arch), an underground urban exploration tour and taking a ride on the metro. Thanks to its Soviet past, public transport is incredibly cheap and a one way journey on the metro costs around £0.10! You need to buy a small plastic journey token from the ticket desk and pop it into one of the barriers (which weirdly , rarely have actual barriers on them). When walking through the stations look out for the giant steel blast shutters, which I’m reliably informed still work in the event of a nuclear war.
For a very cheap, yet tasty, traditional Ukrainian meal, head to one of the Puzata Hata restaurants. They’re self service and are always full of locals. It’s also one of the few places in Kyiv where you can get a chicken kiev (apparently McDonalds also do one but I can’t confirm this). If you see a dish called ‘lard’ on the menu, give it a try. It’s more like a pâté than what we would think of as lard and it’s actually delicious. It goes down very well with a traditional horseradish vodka!