Kyiv (Kiev) is the birthplace of Russia. Modern day boundaries aside, the capital of Ukraine is the birthplace of Russia. So that you don’t offend your Ukrainian friends remember that there is no definite article “the” in the name of Ukraine. Just as odd as it would be to say “the France” or “the Canada” this is a country with a one word name, Ukraine.
A beautiful country with beautiful people, closely tied to Russia as sharing a common birth place. Kyiv is one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world, and the locals call it “Keev.”
Often spelled as Kiev, (Kyiv-Ukrainian) and (Russian: Kiev) this is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. Official municipal estimates place the population of Kiev at about 2.7 million.
Kyiv is not only the capital of Ukraine, it was the first capital city of what would become the Russian nation. As the birthplace of modern day Russia it holds a place of honour both in Ukraine and in Russia. Due to the huge number of orthodox churches it is called sometimes the Gold-Domed city.
Visa and passport information can be found here.
Most likely you are flying into the main airport, Borispol International AIrport . Taxi service is plentiful at the airport or one can use the Skybus, a comfortable bus service to the city. This runs every 15 minutes in daytime hours and every 30 minutes at night.
Taxis in Kyiv tend to be expensive if you are a foreigner. Most visitors are better off using the Metro underground but for the more adventurous, every car is a potential taxi. You’ll find this to be true in most neighboring countries as well. Stick out your thumb and soon a car will stop. State where you are going, negotiate your price and off you go. (Note that this is now illegal in Moscow.) Wait to pay until you’ve collected all your things out of the car.
tel.: +38 044 234-4444, 247-0000
tel.: +38 044 451-0021, 423-4540
tel.: +38 044 238-8284, 495-1919
tel.: +38 044 531-9977, 238-8-238
tel.: 246-1036, 249-4040
tel.: +38 044 239-1515, 495-1414
Public Transportation around Kyiv:
Public Transit is excellent in Kyiv from the trams and trolleybuses to the underground metro, city buses or by long distance trains to other cities, Kyiv offers many transport options.
Metro stations are marked with a recognizable M logo.
The Kyiv Metro system consists of three lines which cover approximately 66.1 kilometres (41.1 miles) and 51 convenient stations. About 1.439 million passengers ride the Metro daily.
Two additional Metro lines are under construction and stations on those lines will open once completed. The Kyiv Metro fare is 2.00 UAH or about $0.25 cents.
Here is a map of the Kyiv (Kiev) Metro subway system:
Electric Trams: “tram-viy” (трамвай) are electric trams that run around the city on tracks. You’ll find these, mostly with older wagons, in almost every former Soviet city you visit. They are economical and an excellent way to get where you’re going while enjoying a view of the city as you go.
Marshrutka vans: (Маршрутка) are mini-buses, typically yellow or white in Kyiv. City buses are also yellow so size does matter, the longer are city buses and taker longer to reach your destination because of frequent stops. Marshrutka minivans however drive a set schedule hour after hour with fewer stops. Most of the time you can find one going your direction so ask the driver if necessary. Prices are much less than taxis and they get around a lot faster than a city bus. Last prices we checked were 2.5 UAH (approximately 25 cents) a trip and you pay by passing your fare from passenger to passenger up to the driver or the person sitting next to him. If change is needed, it will be sent back the opposite direction.
Driving: Most international driving rules apply in Kiev. However, beware that most locals fail to follow many driving laws – Ukrainians are some of the worst speeders in the world – they love to step on the gas. Officially, speed limits are 60 kph/37 mph in cities, 90 kph/56 mph in unpopulated areas, and 120 kph/72 mph on highways. You can turn right on red lights, wherever there are signs. Parking in Kiev is as difficult as in any other major European city. In downtown Kiev, many motorists park their cars on the sidewalks.
Driving into Kyiv:
Traveling outside of Kyiv to other regions:
Train tickets: most region to region travel in Ukraine is done by train and you can view schedules and purchase tickets at this link.
- Electric trains: called Elektrichka (электричка), from the outside at first these look a lot like normal long distance trains but they’re not. First off, they run from electric supply (not to be confused with city trams) and go around a region or city to city short distances. The Kyiv system covers 51 kilometers with 14 stations.Kyiv region electric train. (photo above: Holy-Mozart, LiveJournal)
Dobovo (apartments in Kiev and other cities)
tel.: (+380 44) 221-55-11
Euroapartments (hotel alternative)
Short term apartment rentals in Kiev
Offering: Airport transfers, Translation services, Visa Assistance, Excursions
1 Sofievskaya St, office. 29
Tel : 38-093-685-0076 or + 38-044-361-8326
Kyiv Hotel Services (Apartments)
In the center of Kyiv for short-term rentals
Hot breakfast, Daily maid service, transfer to/from the airport
tel./fax +38 044 253-2068 or 253-3130
UKR Apartments (Short-term rentals)
2 Hospitalna vul., office 105
4 Heroyiv Kosmosu St., Tel: +38 044 407-2797
2 Raisy Okipnoi St., Tel: +38 044 568-4477
1 Malyshka St.
Tel.: +38 044 559-7788
1/2 Khreschatyk vul.
38/40 T. Shevchenka St.
Tel.: +38 044 239 8995
2A Velyka Zhytomyrska Street
Reservations: Tel: +38 044 219 1919
14 Khreschatyk St.
Reservations: Tel: +38 044 596-8000
5 Lipskaya St.
Reservations: Tel: +38 044 255-8888
53 B.Khmelnitskogo vul.
Reservation: +38 044 581-7535
12 Hospitalna vul.
Tel.: +38 044 256-3256, Fax: 256-3253
Podol Plaza Hotel
7A, Kostyantynivska vul.
Reservation: Tel.: +38 044 503-9203, Fax. 503-9220
Radisson SAS Hotel
22 Yaroslaviv Val vul.
Reservations: Tel: +38 044 492-2222, Fax: 492-2215
4 Instytutska St.
Reservation: Tel.: +38 044 229-0266
60 Vozdvyzhensky St.
Reservation: Tel.: +38 044 531-9900
More accommodations and hotels can be found here.
Banking and Business in Kyiv and across Ukraine.
Click here for currency exchange, money and Bankomat (ATM) facilities.
The hryvnia, sometimes called grivna is the national currency of Ukraine. To understand currency exchanges we recommend the us of the currency conversion tool at www.xe.com.
Bars, clubs, and other forms of popular entertainment are listed here.
Food and cultural opportunities in Kyiv.
Barsuk offers a tastefully presented European and local dishes. The menu features a carefully chosen selection of salads and fresh pastas smothered with your choice of signature sauce and you’ll enjoy delicious steaks and seafood.
Dykanka: From casual dining to formal this venue offers 3 different banquet halls for weddings and parties too at 4A Andria Malyshka Street.
Karavan: Take the caravan from Kyiv to Uzbekistan without leaving Kyiv! Great Uzbek food at Klovsk Uzviz 10.
Korchma Taras Bulba serves traditional Ukrainian food with a menu in 36 languages, including English. Located at Pushkinska 2-4/7 near the heart of the city.
Kozats’ka Vtikha is centrally located in the heart of the city at Khreschatyk 44, the main street of Kyiv. It serves Ukrainian food in a comfortable atmosphere with live music each evening.
Kureni at Parkova doroha 4 is one of the oldest restaurants in Kyiv and is located in the centre of the city with a breathtaking view of the Dnipro river.
Pervak: Old world European dining in a historic setting makes this a fantastic date or dinner meeting spot. At Rognedinskaya Street, 2.
Varenichnaya #1 became a favourite of local residents with great food and atmosphere. Address: Esplanadna 28 and near the Metro station named Palace of Sports.
Veranda on the Dnieper: Dine on the river’s edge and relax on Ukraine’s most famous river while enjoying great cuisine. Location: Navodnitskiy Park n.a. Primakov (near the Paton bridge and Lybid’ monument)
Fast food recommendations:
Coffee House (Кофе Хауз) has good coffee, desserts and light meals. They are a bit overpriced but have several locations around Kyiv and free Wi-FI. A good spot to meet someone for a meeting, etc.
Coffee Time (Кофе Тайм): Some say that this is the best coffee chain in Kyiv with prices that are reasonable and lots of locations.
O’Panas (formerlyTaras) serves traditional Ukrainian food and is located in the Shevchenko Park at 10 Tereschenkovskaya Street.
Pechera: casual but serves great food from salmon to steaks and Ukrainian favourites, too. Address: Urkovskaya Street, 40/5.
Puzata Hata (Пузата Хата) literally means Belly Hut and these restaurants serve tasty Ukrainian food for cheap and are all over Kiev. Take a tray and fill it with national dishes. If you go away hungry, it’s your own fault. There are 3 convenient locations and the closest to the city centre is at 15/4, Khreshchatyk St, (Passage).
Shynok Restaurant is an interesting typical Ukrainian as an interior and cuisine restaurant opened in 2007 and situated in the central part of Kiev nearby the Perchersk metro station, 28v Lesi Ukrainki Blvd.
Zheltok (Желток) is an American-styled diner serving classic American food with a Ukrainian twist. Staff speaks English.
Arizona BBQ: You’ll do a double take when you spot the Arizona BBQ smack dab in the middle of Kyiv, Ukraine. There it is at Naberezhno-Khreschatyts’ka, 25.
Buddha-bar Kiev has three levels: restaurant, lounge-zone (Mezzanine) and VIP-zone for 50 persons with an incredible view of the other levels. Khreschatyk Street, 14.
Golden Gate Pub: As the name says, this is in the Golden Gate area of Kyiv, 40/2 Vladimirskaya Street which is right across from Golden Gate Metro station.
OK Bar & Restaurant: don’t let the name fool you as this is upscale. The food is great and great bar atmosphere. At 4, Krasnoarmeyskaya Street.
Slavutych Shato Brewery: The only 24-hour micro brewery in the centre of Kyiv is at 24 Khreschatyk Street. Great food, too.
Solemenka (Соломенка) Sports Bar. Address: Uritskoro Streetу, 38.
Swing: The name itself tells you that jazz is served here, as well as great food and drinks. 11 Vladimirskaya St., Kyiv.
44 Art Club: If you want to hang out with famous musicians, writers, artists and simply creative people, who have an eye for art and ear for good music, welcome to 44 Art Club at 44-B, Khreschatyk Street.
Guide to the historic old and magnificent Kyiv churches.
Here are the Squares, Plazas and Streets of Kyiv that you don’t wish to miss!
One cannot forget the historic and beautiful monuments of Kyiv.
Media and Communications in Kyiv.
Here is a listing of the most popular Kyiv cinemas.
Kyiv Art Galleries with addresses and phone numbers.
There are excellent museums in Kyiv.
Kyiv (Kiev) Parks includes the beautiful Mariynsky Park, just across from the Presidential Palace and dates back to 1874.
Embassy Addresses in Kyiv
4 A.I. Sikorsky St. (formerly Tankova)
04112 Kyiv, Ukraine
(Nearest metro: Beresteiska). The new main Embassy telephone is (+38 044) 521-5000
18 Komminterna St.
31 Yaroslavov Val St.
21 Turgenevskaya St.
27 Povitroflotsky Ave.
9 Desyatinnaya St.
The US Embassy in Kyiv (Kiev) moved into a new home in January 2012, bringing together Embassy functions which were formerly spread across 6 different buildings in Ukraine’s capital city. The new location at 4 Aircraft Designer Igor Sikorsky Street (formerly Tankova) is expected to be more efficient for Embassy operations and more convenient for those conducting business at the Embassy.
Ambassador John F. Tefft presided over the groundbreaking ceremony in May 2009 and the expected opening was autumn 2011 but bad winter weather delayed the opening to early 2012. The total cost for a new Embassy building was $209 million dollars.
U.S. Embassy in Ukraine
4 A.I. Sikorsky St. (formerly Tankova)
04112 Kyiv, Ukraine
(Nearest metro: Beresteiska). The new main Embassy telephone is (+38 044) 521-5000
Visa operations are now at the new location. U.S. citizens with questions may contact the American Citizen Services unit at email@example.com or: Telephone: (+380 044) 521-5566
After-hours emergency line for U.S. citizens: (+38 044) 521-5000
Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Klimkin noted that the new embassy is symbolic of the building of a stronger strategic partnership between Ukraine and the USA.
A celebration of 20 years of diplomatic relations between the United States and Ukraine took place in Kyiv’s October Palace Hall on Jan. 20. Entertainment was provided by The Odesa Philharmonic Orchestra, the BFF Crew, Gaitana and Druga Rika.
(Photos by Kostyantyn Chernichkin)
Alcohol: Ukraine is a Zero Tolerance country, so please do not drink and drive. The penalties are severe and you are never sure what may happen in such incidents involving the Militia (as the local Police, is known). It is highly advisable to purchase liquor in the better shops rather than small kiosks; this reduces the risk of weak, fake or dangerous products.
Business Hours: An 8-hour day is considered a standard work day. Most offices and institutions operate on this schedule Monday through Friday. A lunch break is taken between 1 and 3 PM. Most banks are open without breaks Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM. Many shops now stay open until 8 PM and later.
Personal Safety: While traveling in Ukraine protect yourself as you would in any other foreign country. Be sure to place your passport, declaration form, airline tickets, any other official forms and cash in a safe place, if one is available, or carry them in a money belt under your clothing but not in a pouch on the outside of your clothing.
Be sure to make a copy of your passport and airline tickets and keep one copy in your luggage and one copy on your person. Do not flash large amounts of money in public and try not to go out at night alone, rather go out with another person.
Health Information: According to the US Embassy in Kiev, levels of radiation in food items and in the air are very minimal and do not pose a threat to your health. DO NOT drink tap water. Bottled water is easily available in most stores. Once boiled, as for coffee and tea, the tap water is fine.
Electricity: Electricity in Ukraine is 220-260 Volts/50Hz and appliance plug tips are of the smaller round European type. If you plan on taking any electrical devices, you will need a voltage converter (transformer) of sufficient wattage. Electric razors, hair dryers and appliances not rated for 50 Hz will fail to operate properly even with a transformer. Some 60 Hz devices may even burn out. ALL devices rated for 110 volts will burn out if used without a transformer.
Local Etiquette: Here are a few simple rules of local etiquette that may help avoid embarrassment when visiting someone in Ukraine:
- If invited into a family home, it is traditional to bring a gift, such as a bottle of wine and a cake. A bouquet of flowers is also customary. Make sure it is an uneven number of flowers (even numbers are for funerals). If there is a child in the house, it is appropriate to provide him/her with a small gift, such as chocolate.
- Do not shake hands across the threshold of a door. It is considered bad luck.
- When shaking hands, in winter, take off your gloves!
- Be prepared to remove your shoes upon entering a home. To keep apartments or homes clean, most hosts will provide you with a pair of slippers called “tapochki”.
- Be ready to give toasts at dinner, for guests are often asked to do so.
- If you smoke, offer to share your cigarettes with those around you.
- Be prepared to accept all food and drink offered you when visiting. Ukrainians are known for their generous hospitality when it comes to feeding others. Turning down food may be considered rude.