Yanna is our local ambassador for the wonderful city of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. She has lived in Kyiv for over 10 years and absolutely adores her city. We asked her to share some insider info about the city she calls home.
When is the best time to visit Kyiv? In summer because it’s warm outside and you can enjoy lots of outdoor activities.
What are three things every visitor should see or experience?
1. Visit the world-famous Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) and Khreshchatyk Street with it’s hidden passage full of luxury boutiques – Kyiv Passage. Khreshchatyk Street is one of the widest streets in the city showcasing some good examples of Soviet-era architecture.
2. Try some local food such as borshch, vareniki, uzvar and golubtsi. And you must taste perepichka and Kyiv cake! Keep in mind that while Ukrainian cuisine is very nutritious, it’s also packed with calories.
3. Communicate with locals! You’ll get to know our city better and get an insight into Ukrainian culture. Just remember that even in the capital it’s not an easy task to find someone who can speak English well.
What’s your favourite hidden gem? Landscape Alley because it really brings out the child in you with its sculptures, fantastic creatures and play equipment. Also, the busy historical district of Podil is situated nearby. The most famous sight in Podil is, of course, Andriivskyi Descent (which isn’t hidden at all).
Photo credit: Polina Bogdanova
Where can I enjoy amazing views? The best places for amazing views are Slavy Park (Glory Park) and the Trukhanov Bridge. They’re both near the city centre and are free to visit.
What should I take home as a souvenir? Practical handmade items such as combs, pots and pans, shawls and towels, which can all be found at Andriivskyi Descent.
What do you like to do when the weather is bad? I love to hang out with my friends somewhere cosy like Druzi Cafe where you can not only drink flavoured tea and grab an Italian burger, but also play a variety of board games.
I want to try authentic local cuisine. Where should I go and what should I order? Go to Puzata Hata and order borshch accompanied with salo on fried black bread. You can find a comprehensive list of local dishes to try here.
What’s the best way to get around? The metro. We only have three lines, so it’s unlikely you’ll get confused. You can easily get to the Left Bank by metro, but I recommend exploring central Kyiv on foot.
If I want to get out of Kyiv for a day, where should I go? Depending on your interests, you could visit either Chernobyl or the Gardens of Mezhyhirya – a very beautiful landscape park.
Photo credit: Raphaël Vinot
What’s your favourite breakfast/brunch spot? Cup&Cake – they make really tasty sandwiches and serve amazing hot chocolate.
Can you recommend somewhere for a tasty budget meal? Visit the ”Totya Klara” pasty shop. They sell a wide range of pasties at more than reasonable prices.
I’m vegetarian/vegan – help! Vegano Hooligano is a local favourite. Even though there are still not enough vegetarian and vegan eateries in our city, I know that in nearly every café and restaurant they have something that’s meat-free – just ask the waitress for suggestions.
Where should I go for a classy night out? Eat at Eshak (the owner, Sergey Svetlakov, is a locally famous actor) and then head to Divan for some drinks. Eshak is a high-end restaurant, so be prepared for really high prices and government officials sitting nearby.
Where to go for cheap drinks? Porter Pub – it’s a local pub chain serving locally brewed beer for just €1/litre. They also host rock concerts and other events.
What are some great local nightlife spots? Buddha Bar is a fantastic nightlife spot that’s very popular among local bohemians. Also check out Apelsin Café – several times a month they host shows with performances by locally known stars.
What are some places history buffs shouldn’t miss? If you like history, you must visit the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life of Ukraine in Pyrohiv. It’s an open-air ethnographic museum containing over 300 pieces of folk architecture acquired from all over the country.
What’s your favourite green spot? It would have to be Mariinskiy Park! It’s centrally located, very cosy and has a beautiful old fountain in the middle.
Photo credit: Jennifer Boyer