First time in Kiev – all a tourist needs to know

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12 July, 2017

Prepare for a trip to Kiev? Then this article will be of use for you. In it KievInsiders will tell in detail about the capital and largest city of Ukraine: how to organize accommodation and meals, what type of transport it’s better to use, where to exchange currency and in what language to address people. We’ll try and explain simple but very important nuances which will make your holidays in Kiev maximally comfortable and unforgettable.


City begins with the airport …

So, you’re in Ukraine. Welcome! Most probably, you’ll arrive at the airport called Boryspil. Generally speaking, within the boundaries of Kiev there is one more international airport – Zhulyany but it’s mainly used for charter flights and low-costers. While Boryspil is considered the largest airport of Ukraine by passenger traffic volume. About it we’ll be talking further.

Kyiv Boryspil international airport

It’s situated 37 km away from the downtown of Kiev. It has 5 terminals, 2 of which are closed for reconstruction. You can get from the airport to the city in several ways:

Sky Bus. They work 24 hours which is of no small importance if the flight arrives at night. They depart from the terminals B, D and F once every 15 minutes. The price of one ticket is 63 UAH. You’ll get to the downtown within 50-70 minutes. It’s worthwhile mentioning that the ticket bought on the website is valid during 48 hours.

Sky Bus in Kiev

Uber operates in Ukraine – the ride to the downtown will cost approximately 350 UAH. You can use the Sky Taxi service – the airport’s own service which works by advance booking. Or you can take a taxi ‘from the roadside’, i.e. get into the nearest taxi at the exit from the airport. Such a ride to the downtown will cost more, around UAH 500-600.

Uber taxi

Shuttle-taxi – it’s a relatively new type of transport. It represents a transfer by minibuses or minivans. The company consolidates the orders from several passengers, this way reducing the cost of transportation for each of them. At that the comfort level is practically equal to the individual transfer.

Also please don’t forget that KievInsiders will be happy to provide you the Transfer Service: we’ll pick you up with a name plate and drive to your hotel. You won’t have problems with understanding because our drivers speak English very well. For details please follow the lick: TRANSFER

KievInsiders Transfer Service

For well-off tourists the Boryspil airport will offer a helicopter-taxi. Such an extreme way of travelling is paid for according to the fixed tariffs: EUR 2,500 per hour. The payment is made individually. The average travel time is 15 minutes.


Money and everything that relates to it

The national currency of Ukraine is hryvnya (abbreviated to UAH). You can exchange currency at any bank or currency exchange office. Please note that the majority of banks have a five-day work week: from Monday to Friday. To withdraw cash it’s better to use an automated cashpoint, there are plenty
of them in the city. And at a hotel or a restaurant you can pay by credit card. Everywhere in Kiev Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted.

Hryvnya - the national currency of Ukraine


Transport in Kiev: to rent a car or to go by taxi?

The most cost effective way of travelling around Kiev is the public transport. The subway fare is one of the cheapest in the world – only 4 UAH. But for a tourist unfamiliar with the city it’s far from being the best option.

Public city transport

While taxi will suit ideally – it’s very convenient and the prices will pleasantly surprise you. The minimal price (for the first 4 km) varies between 20 UAH and 40 UAH; every next kilometer is paid on top of it in the amount of UAH 2-5 depending on the car class. Sounds good, doesn’t it? On average a ride will cost UAH 60-90.

We recommend using Uber. Their cars are newer and more comfortable than of other taxis. And most importantly, the service is always polite. The price is the same as in other taxi services.

There is an alternative Uber variant:

  1. Uklon
  2. Yandex taxi
  3. Hopin taxi

They work by the same principle: you download the application, enter the address, get the price, see the map with the travel route, link up the credit card or pay in cash.

ATTENTION: We don’t recommend getting into taxis standing around the city. Especially in those cars which you’ll see near the airport, the railway station or in the downtown! These taxi drivers count at taking unexperienced tourists as passengers and triple the price they charge them.

Of course, you can always rent a car. Such a service in Kiev costs around USD 30-40 per day. And this is for a middle class car.

But let’s weigh the pros and cons. For sure, it’s great to have a ride around the city at your own pace. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that Kiev is a very big city. At peak hours there can be long traffic jams and the roads (you must have already heard) leave much to be desired …

That’s why we recommend taxi – cheap and simple!


Apartment rent – where it’s better to take up a residence in Kiev?

In Kiev there is a wide choice of hotels for every taste and purse. The Premier Palace Hotel is considered to be one of the most expensive and popular. An overnight stay in this hotel will cost approximately EUR 200-220 for a standard double room. Here the exclusive service and luxury in all its forms will be waiting for you. No less respectable options are the following: Hilton Kyiv Hotel, Hyatt Regency, InterContinental Kiev and Opera Hotel. They will endear them to you by their exquisiteness and splendor.

Respectable hotel in Kiev

For those who don’t want to overpay there are plenty of middle class hotels. For example, Alfavito or Ibis Kiev City Center. The accommodation in them will cost between EUR 50 and EUR 100. For this money you’ll get good service and comfortable living conditions.

The most cost-saving option for accommodation is said to be a hostel. The choice of them is also huge. Cozy compact rooms with good furniture and other facilities will only cost EUR 10-20. We recommend
paying attention to
Dream House, Magic Bus Kiev, ZigZag Hostel and Like Hostel Kiev.

 City hostel


Kiev food and tips at restaurants

Here we can boast with every reason – in Kiev there are a lot of worthy establishments! In our city you’ll find a restaurant of any cuisine of the world. And, of course, Ukrainian cuisine deserves special attention!

As a matter of fact, tourists are most attracted exactly by Ukraine themed restaurants. Their special feature is big nourishing portions and natural home-grown foodstuffs. To cut a long story short, out of the traditional dishes they mark out borsch with pampushkas, varenyky, cabbage rolls and chicken Kiev. In more detail about popular dishes you can read in our article: All about Ukrainian cuisine.

Ukrainian cuisine

If you want to savor the tasty borsch quickly and inexpensively, go to “Puzata Hata”. It’s the economy class fast food restaurant which is called ‘Ukrainian McDonald’s’. 

For dinner we propose you to choose something worthy! For this purpose we have made a list of our favorite establishments in Kiev where we love to spend time and have tasty meals. Please read the useful article: Best restaurants of Kiev in the opinion of KievInsiders.

The best restaurant of Kiev

In restaurants it’s appropriate to leave the standard 10% of the total bill amount. Please note that some establishment s add tips to the client’s bill by themselves.   

And one more important point about which we’d like to tell – it’s the water.  You shouldn’t drink it unboiled from tap because its quality is very low. Be sure to buy the bottled water in a shop. 


Shopping and shops

Maybe you’ll be surprised but Kiev is the ideal place for a heartful shopping. Yes, yes, we mean it – ‘hearful’! Especially if you come here in May when the chestnut trees are in blossom … You’ll be greatly inspired by fantastic scenery of the city and for sure supplement your wardrobe with something exclusive. 

So, if you need expensive trendy boutiques, go to the very downtown – to such streets as Kreschatik, Grushevsky or Krasnoarmeyskaya. There the three-storeyed multi-brand Sanahunt and the network of luxury shops Helen Marlen Group will be waiting for you.

When it’s about fashionable shopping, Spazio located at Pechersk and, of course, the renovated TsUM at Kreschatik mustn’t be omitted.

Among the shopping and entertainment centers Gulliver and Ocean Plaza are considered to be the most popular. They are conveniently located in the downtown and are up to the standards of European shopping malls.

Ocean Plaza mall


National flavor of the Ukrainian capital which you can take home

Want to fall in love with Kiev once and for all? We’ll be happy to give you a hint how to do it. For a start go somewhat uphill from the Independence Maydan and walk along the Andreyevsky Descent.  Block paved and surrounded by beautiful buildings of the 19th century, it’ll surprise you by its atmosphere and help to take a particle of the city with you. It’s exactly the place where modern painters and artisans offer their colorful masterpieces. Painting, souvenirs, roushnyky, ‘vyshyvanky’ and many other things which can be bought as a gift for friends and family.

Andreyevsky Descent - souvenirs

Apart from nicely embroidered things, they often bring from Kiev ‘horilka” and diverse delicacies. At the Bessarabsky market you’ll find a tremendous abundance of all sorts of food and foodstuffs. But the prices here are pretty stiff to pay, that’s why you should mull it over whether it’s worthwhile buying.

Of the desserts we recommend a fresh Kievsky cake by the Roshen confectionary. A mug of tea with a wonderful delicacy will be an excellent memory of the trip to the Ukrainian capital.

And in the end a couple of words about ourselves…

The inhabitants of Kiev are very friendly people. Maybe we don’t smile all the time but our hearts are open to a pleasant communication and help to people around.

KievInsiders - your travel city guide

And the KievInsiders agency will be glad to conduct unforgettable excursions for you. We only offer private tours to give you our attention at the maximum! You won’t be bored because we’ll always advise where to go the best in order to spend your leisure time with pleasure. We’ll be your Kiev friend, go with you to the opera or a pub, for a walk in a park or to play bowling. Or conduct an excursion in a hot air balloon! Visit the TOURS rubric, there are a lot of things we can offer.

And please be sure that Kiev is unreservedly a European city which is happy to open wide the doors to foreign tourists. Come here and see it for yourself!

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