What’s the first thing you look for in a vacation? Is it tasty local food, stunning scenery or just something… different? Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine, while once a hidden gem is now rapidly becoming a crown jewel of Eastern Europe. Founded in the 5th century, Kyiv is one of the biggest and oldest European cities with an official population of 3 million people. Follow along for some real ‘pearls of wisdom’ about this sparkling city which stands on the Dnipro River.
Ireland may be known as the ‘Emerald Isle’ but you might be surprised at the lush greenery of this capital city. With more than 620 parks, gardens, squares, and even two botanical gardens in the city center – Kyiv could give Ireland a run for its money.
Move over Japan, Kyiv’s blossoming Kyiv chestnut trees –the official symbol of the city – are just as mesmerizing. Come visit in May for a fairytale feeling without having to travel all the way to Kyoto.
Breathtaking views of the Dnipro River can be found everywhere in the city, but are especially eye-catching at the city center. For example Peyzazhna (Landscape) Alley is a great sightseeing spot full of street art where you can admire the art and the view. Being situated on banks of the main Ukrainian waterway of Dnipro, Kyiv possesses spectacular sunsets that are sure to make your friends and family jealous on Facebook.
Sapphire Blue Skies and Gilded Antiquities
Did you know here are more than 200 churches and cathedrals in Kyiv? The first one is Saint Sophia's Cathedral, built in XI century by Kyiv Prince Yaroslav the Wise, whose father Volodymyr the Great, christened the territory that is now Kyiv. Saint Sophia's Cathedral is within a 5 minute walking distance from Radisson Blu Hotel, Kyiv. Kyiv Pechersk Lavra is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kyiv, that was built in 1051 year and whose architectural complex includes the Kyiv Caves Monastery.
If history isn’t your thing, stop by the Micro Miniature Museum where you can find the smallest book in the world or Ernest Hemingway’s portrait on a pear seed and much more. If you are fond of open air exhibitions, Pyrohovo Ukrainian Folk Architecture and Life Museum (with the total area 1.5 km2) is the best place for you.
Whatever you choose to see in Kyiv, you’re sure to work up an appetite. Chefs of Kyiv restaurants, like Kanapa at Andriyivskyy Descent, cook traditional Ukrainian dishes such as borsch with pampushky, varenyky (stuffed dumplings), homemade kovbasa (a type of sausage), and of course the famous Chicken Kyiv. Don’t worry foodies, the chefs in Kyiv aren’t content with the old recipes. Molecular gastronomy is becoming more and more popular and are resulting with some truly unique dishes that combine traditional flavors with futuristic techniques.
And don’t forget to try local beer, herbal liqueurs and, of course, Gorilka – the drink of the ancient Ukrainian warriors.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
Kyiv shopping has its own unique charm. You won’t find giant American-style malls here, instead cozy boutique arcades with all of the world’s most famous brands. For lovers of grandiose shopping, both sides of Khreshchatyk Street is teeming with different stores to visit. This main Kyiv street –– while one of the shortest among world capitals’ central streets, it is one of the widest and the most picturesque in Kyiv.
On the other hand Kyiv is a Mecca for relic hunters. Bibliopoles will be amazed at the amount of religious goods there are to find. What is really worthy of a sophisticated shopper’s attention though is Andriyivskyy Descent with its diversity of traditional souvenirs as well as rarities.
The suite life
Is there anything more enticing at the end of a busy day of sightseeing than a luscious suite? The suites at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Kyiv have recently been renovated and offer exquisite design in a central location. On top of their sleek design and furniture, they include a living area separate from the bedroom for ultimate comfort. They also offer a free deep sleep pillow spray and turndown service, which means you're set to enjoy a good night’s sleep to get ready for the next day's Ukrainian adventures. Or, alternatively, sleep in and spend the day lazing around. After all, you are on vacation. You're allowed!