If each city was a star in the sky, Kyiv would be one of the brightest ones in recent years. But let's leave the sky aside, and see Kyiv's scattered beauties on earth.
You become a local in Kyiv the moment you step on Independence Square (Nezalezhnosti). You can mingle with the crowd to enjoy your trip, gazing at the famous Independence Monument. And the best way to do that is to join one of the concerts and pool shows here. It's also the perfect opportunity to take a picture with the blue-and-yellow "I Love Kyiv" sign to immortalize your love for Kyiv. You can also explore the cafés and shops lining Khreshchatyk Street, closed to traffic on weekends.
The golden domes of the Monastery of the Caves (Pechersk Lavra) are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. You can walk around the beautiful open space scattered with trees but the real treasure is underground. Under some of the Orthodox churches are caves once inhabited by secluded monks. Walking around the candlelit caves, you will hear the strange stories of the mummies in the glass coffins. It's surprising how the bodies have survived without any chemical processing.
In the Evening
It's time to try the traditional Ukrainian dishes at Puzata Hata on Khreshchatyk Street. After trying borsch soup made with vegetables and boiled meat, you can move on to chicken kyiv. Make sure to also try varenyky, dumplings made with mushrooms, potatoes, or meat. Have a great end to your night by watching a Nutcracker ballet or Aida opera performance at the gilded and elegant boxes with red velvet furnishing at the glamorous National Opera of Ukraine.
In the Morning
Wake up to an early alarm and hit the road for Pyrohiv Outdoor Museum, which will take you back to the Ukraine of the 16th to 20th centuries. You'll feel as if you're in a black-and-white movie. The personnel wearing traditional clothes may add a little color to your movie when they greet you in one-story petit houses with thatched roofs. As the wooden windmill turns towards the past, it also carries the smell of a nalysnyky cheese crepe. Make sure to stop by souvenir shops as you follow the delicious smell!
There are boat tours along the Dnipro River that last for one or two hours and will leave you feeling amazed at the beauty of Kyiv. You can glide like a swan under the crown-like bridges with boats leaving from Podil. With its giant size and raised sword and shield, the Motherland Monument will become one of the best pictures you take in Kyiv. If you feel hungry on the way back, you can eat grilled meat, chicken, or mussels at the buffets in the harbor.
Before You Leave
For a perfect ending, nothing is better than visiting Andriyivskyy Descent, the most artistic street in Kyiv. Make some room in your luggage for the handmade Ukrainian dolls, amber accessories, colorful glass vases, and modern oil paintings that depict the streets of Kyiv sold in the stalls lining this lightly sloped street. Don't forget to try the delicious, handmade chocolate with praline, almonds and strawberries at Lviv Handmade Chocolate Café. How about buying some for your loved ones?