04.03.2013


Kiev City Information:
What you need to know about staying awhile

Table of Contents (jump to)

  1. Transport
  2. Medical
  3. Groceries
  4. Phones, Internet, Post
  5. Theatres and Music
  6. Museums
         Must Sees!
         Quirky but Interesting 
         History 
  7. Other Entertainment

 

1. Maps          (back to top)

  1. Google Maps has a map of Kiev.
  2. TouristMap.net has a Google map that includes monuments, museums, and other things to do.
  3. 200Stran.ru has a good printable map of downtown Kiev.

2. The Weather          (back to top)
The climate in Kiev (moderate continental) is similar to what you would experience in the Northeastern United States or eastern Canada. Winters are cold and summers are warm, while spring and autumn are mild. Expect to see snow from late November to the end of March. There is not usually a big difference between night and day temperature. 

3. Transportation          (back to top)

  1. Airport: SRAS students arriving to Kiev will be met by a driver from the program. For anyone arranging their own transport, the main international airport, Boryspil, is located 18 miles SE of the city. You can take a taxi for about $30 (you’ll get a fair deal if you arrange it with the official taxi stand, otherwise if you are up for it you can try to negotiate with the drivers hanging outside of baggage claim). If you are on a budget or simply would like the experience you can take the SkyBus for about $3 (25 UAH). The SkyBus departs from Terminals B and F every 15 minutes, unless you arrive before 5 am or after 10 pm (Terminal B), or before 5 am or after 7 pm (Terminal F), in which case the bus departs every thirty minutes. It runs 24-7, but be sure to check the bus schedule for the most up-to-date times. The bus takes you to the Harkivska metro station (third to last stop south on the green line) or to Kiev Central Railway Station (see below).
  2. Train Station: Kiev Central Railway Station is several miles west of downtown, at Vokzal'na Square. The nearest metro stop is Vokzalna on the red line (two stops west of the intersection with green). International tickets can be purchased in the Pivdenny Terminal of the Central Railway Station, at booths 42 and 43, but beware lines are often long. You can also purchase tickets through various agencies, or at Kiev’s Central Ticket Office, located at Tarasa Shevchenka Str., 38/40, just one stop east of the Vokzalna metro stop, at Universytet metro on the red line. There are also many ticket offices throughout the city, including in the Boryspil Airport. The train station has a baggage storage room that’s close to the metro station. It’s underground down some steps and not difficult to spot if you’re looking for it.

    This is a good map of the train station layout (baggage storage, ticket counters, and the metro). The official site is here. Before making any major trip, especially international, make sure you ask about possible visa restrictions!
  3. Public transport: the fastest way to get around is on the metro (underground subway). It’s also extremely cheap by Western standards – one ride costs about 25 cents (2 UAH). The signs and announcements in the metro are made in both Ukrainian and English. If you plan to use the metro frequently, you might consider purchasing a monthly pass for about $13 (95 UAH plus 7 UAH for the re-usable plastic card). See the official site for up-to-date prices and packages.

    The metro is open from about 5.45 am to midnight every day. Click here for a map (in Russian) that estimates the time between stations (it slightly underestimates times, especially when you have transfers. See this site for a map of the metro in English.

 

4. Medical          (back to top)

The following clinics are recomended by the insurance provided to SRAS students:

American Medical Centers
Berdychivska St, 1
+380 44 490 7600

Medikom Clinic
8 Kondratiuka Street
+380 44 503-77-77

Municipal Clinical Hospital #18
Tarasa Shevchenko Blvd
+380 44 235 4056

 

5. Restaurants         (back to top)

  1. Budget meals: If you’re on a budget in Kiev, you’re in luck – it’s not difficult to find cheap, fairly tasty, filling meals. Check out one of many Puzata Hata restaurants, a chain serving a range of traditional Ukrainian dishes – including lots of fresh-tasting salads – cafeteria-style. The restaurant at 24 Sahaidachnoho St. (metro Poshtova Sq.‎, blue) was a department store in Soviet times, and it’s spread over three floors in a cheery atmosphere. The dishes are labeled in Ukrainian and English, making it easier than at some of the other cheaper cafeteria-style cafes. Price range $4-10. Another good budget option, also cafeteria-style serving Ukrainian food, is Drova (Golden Gate Square, metro Zoloti Vorota, green line).
  2. Belgian beer! If you’re craving a Belgian more exotic than Hoegaarden, the only place to find it in Kiev may be Le Cosmopolite, at Volodymyrska 47 (metro Zoloti Vorota, green line). While only four-five Belgians are on tap at any given time, it’s about all you can hope for in Kiev. Le Cosmpolite has a lovely terrace you can sit at during warmer months. Also serves a range of Belgian dishes. Price range $25-35.
  3. Bon appetit: you’re likely to walk by MAFIA at some point (Kreschatik 6, metro Maydan Nezalezhnosti‎, blue line), but it’s really only worth stopping in if you can’t decide between Italian and Japanese – both are served here, in a low/mid-range price. Food is decent but not amazing. You have a buzzer right at your table to call the wait staff. Price range $15-$40. Otherwise, if you have more time and more money, we advise you go to go where the Italians go for a taste of home – Walter’s (Sofiyska 10, metro Maydan Nezalezhnosti‎, blue). While a bit pricier, the service is much better, the wine list extensive, and the quality of the food much higher. You can make a reservation on their website.
  4. Pizza: Pizzas fairly common to find in Kiev, in a very wide range of qualities (if you can avoid ketchup as “pizza sauce” you are already in good shape). For a quick and tasty pizza similarly priced to an American fast-food pizza joint, try Vezuvio at Reitarska 25  (metro Zoloti Vorota, green). It’s on a quiet side street, but still conveniently located, and some say it’s the best pizza in Kiev. The crust is home-made, and most pizzas come with special “Vezuvio sauce.” They also deliver if you need a night in. Price range: $6-8 for two slices, or $18-22 for a large pizza (8 large slices).
  5. Vegetarian/organic: The Organic Café (40/2 Volodymyrska‎, metro Zoloti Vorota, green line) is wonderful for a healthy and refreshing option, though the service isn’t always the greatest. The salad with salmon, grapefruit, and avocado is quite good. The ingredients definitely taste fresh. Price range: $15-35.
  6. Microbrewery: Pyvnaya Duma  (2 Dmytrivs'ka Street, metro Vokzalna or Universytet) makes their own beer, mostly lighter styles, and the entire restaurant/bar is smoke-free, which is unusual in Kiev. You might consider stopping here before or after a show at the circus, which is across the street. Price range: $15-25.
  7. Hearty American breakfast: well-known among expats for possibly having the best nachos in Kiev, Arizona Steak House (25 Naberezhno Khreschatyska street, metro Kontraktova Sq.‎, blue line) also serves a good American breakfast for about $10 that comes with free coffee refills. Other items are a bit overpriced and generally not recommended. Price range: $15 - $25.

6. Groceries          (back to top)

There are lots of small stores (produkti) around Kiev - including a few not from from NOVOMOVA, where SRAS students study.

Large supermarkets – if you’re tired of the smaller food stores you can find a comprehensive list (including addresses) of larger supermarkets here.

Wine and Cheese - GoodWine (9 Mechnikova, metro Klovska, green line)is a large wine and liquor supermarket which also sells food products to accompany a nice wine party or evening. You can drink the bottle of wine you purchased downstairs at the restaurant on the second floor.

7. Internet, Phones, Post        (back to top)

  1. Mobile phones: You can easily purchase a cheap phone and a pay-as-you-go SIM card at one of Kiev's many mobile phone stores. Mobilochka, for instance, has more than 30 stores in Kiev. Protoria is an Internet-based store that is known for having lower prices. Phone plans are inexpensive by Western standards – incoming calls/texts are free, and outgoing calls cost about $0.50 per minute or less. With some carriers calls are free if you’re calling someone who uses the same phone company you do. Texts are usually only a few cents to send, and free to receive. Some of the main ones are Kyivstar, Life, and MTC (formerly UMC).

    You do not need to sign a contract or show your passport/documents to buy a cell phone plan in Ukraine.

    If you're from Europe and have an unlocked cell phone, you may be able to buy just the SIM card, which is very cheap, and insert it into your phone from home. If you are from the US or Canada, though, you’ll want to check if your phone will work in Ukraine, since cell phones in Ukraine use a GSM network, while many mobile phones in US or Canada use CDMA.
  2. Internet: The city of Kiev offers free WiFi along the central Khreshchatyk Street and the nearby museum district. Most McDonald's in the city also now offer free WiFi as do many other cafes. You’ll find it practically everywhere around the city. “Internet cafes” are a dying breed in Kiev, due to increasing use of personal laptops and mobile devices. If you really need access to a computer with Internet you can find it at a smattering of Internet cafes in the city center, or in the Central Post Office (see below).
  3. Central Post Office: Kiev’s main post office (Poshtamt) is on Kiev’s central street, at Khreschatyk 22, right on the corner of Maydan Nezalezhnosti‎. The 24-hour Internet café is on the second floor. The post office also sells stamps, envelopes, fax services, and telegraph services.

8. Theatres and Music        (back to top)

Note: Those entries in red are "clickable" to the venue's site.

Classical and Folk Music:

The Taras Shevchenko National Opera House of Ukraine (site in Ukrainian; there is an English option but it’s not comprehensive)
(50 Volodymyrska, metro Zoloti Vorota, green line)
This theater is Kiev’s main venue for opera and ballet performances, from local artists as well as abroad. You can get a ticket with a decent view from the balcony for as low as $2.50. The box office is open every day except Monday from 11 am until 7.30 pm.

National Philharmonic of Ukraine
(2 Volodymyrs'kyi descent, metro Maydan Nezalezhnosti‎, blue line)
The Philharmonic hosts all kinds of concerts, including folk, classical, chamber, and choral. They have concerts almost every night. When buying your ticket, if a decent view is important to you, make sure you clarify with the staff you don’t want to sit behind one of the prolific columns in the balcony area (so many seats are blocked from any sort of view that they have TV screens for some areas). Note tickets for the Philharmonic can only be obtained inside the Philharmonic – tickets are not sold at the kiosks around town.

Kiev National Academic Theatre of Operetta
(Located 53/3 Velyka Vasylkivska – formerly Chervonoarmiis'ka St., metro Ploscha Lva Tolstogo, blue line).
This is where to go to see an Operetta, which combines vocal and instrumental music, dance, ballet, and elements of pop art.

Other places to look for classical music: National House of Organ and Chamber Music, The House of Scientists, and Kiev Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre for Children and Youth (not the official site, but provides some info).

Contemporary Music:

Kiev Palace of Sports
(Sportivna Sq. 1, metro Palats Sportu‎, green line)
In addition to pop concerts, the venue hosts sports, exhibitions, fairs, and other performances.

Centre Of Culture & Arts
(1 Prospekt Kosmonavta Komarova, National Aviation University, metro Shuliavska, red line)
Contemporary music concerts are hosted here, including rock and pop. It’s not recommended to walk from the metro – it will take at least 25 minutes.

Freedom Concert Hall
(134 Frunze St.)
Tickets pricier here then you’ll find at other pop (and other music) concerts. The venue is also a club and restaurant.

Theatres

Theater of Plastic Drama in Pechersk
(7a Shovkovychna, metro Arsenalna, red line)
If you don’t understand Ukrainian, you won’t have any trouble at the Theater of Plastic Drama, where the actors do not speak at all. Pantomiming is used instead to express the actors’ thoughts and experiences.

Lesya Ukrainka National Academic Theater of Russian Drama
(Bogdana Khmel'nitskogo 5, metro Teatralno, red line)
Dramatic productions in both Ukrainian and Russian are put on here.

Kiev National Academic Theatre of Drama and Comedy
(25 Brovarskoy Prospekt, metro Livoberezhna, red line‎)
A relatively young theater (founded in 1979), innovative dramas and comedies – in both Russian and Ukrainian – are put on here.

Kiev Marionette Theatre
(3 Ivana Franka Sq., metro Hreschatyk, red line)
Here you can see a puppet show, while each production is aimed at children, the shows (which combine traditional Ukrainian drama with elements of modern European theater) can be enjoyed by anyone.

Movie Theaters (note that movies in Kiev are shown in Ukrainian)

Zhovten’ Theater
(26 Konstantinovskaya, metro Kontraktova Pl., blue line)
This is one of the only theaters that sometimes shows movies in Russian with Ukrainian subtitles.

Kiev Rus
(93 Artema, metro Luk'ianivska‎, green line)

“Florentsia”
(31 Mayakovsky Propspekt., metro Livoberezhna‎, red line)
It’s about a 20-minute walk from the metro.

Kinopanorama
19 Shota Rustaveli, metro, metro Dvoretz sporta (green line) or Ploscha Lva Tolstogo (blue line)

9. Museums          (back to top)
Note: Those entries in red are "clickable" to the museum site.

There are a multitude of museums in Kiev, though exhibits are usually in Ukrainian. A few include:

Must Sees!          (back to top)

National Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War
(24 Lavrska, metro Arsenalna, red line)
The museum focuses on the German-Soviet fighting during WWII, especially that which occurred near Kiev. You’ll also find an outdoor exhibit of Soviet war equipment from WWI to the Soviet-Afghan war.

Kiev Pechersk Lavra
(21 Lavrska – formerly Mazepy, metro Arsenalna, red line).
This is a historic Orthodox Christian monastery (still active), inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can tour the complex system of narrow underground caves that used to be living quarters and underground chapels, where you’ll find the mummified remains of Orthodox saints and their relics.

Quirky but Interesting          (back to top)

Kiev Museum of Wax Figures
(29 Peremohy Prospekt, metro Politekhnichnyi Institut, red line)
See the wax likenesses of a number of Ukrainian and Russian figures, including past tsars, famous authors, politicians, pop singers, and sports figures.

History          (back to top)

National History Museum of Ukraine
(2 Volodymyrksaya, metro Poshtova Ploscha, blue line)
With over 600,000 exhibits, this museum is home to the most extensive collection of Ukrainian artifacts. The museum tells Ukraine’s story from ancient past to present.

Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum
Learn more about the nuclear disaster in 1986 that’s still considered to have been the worst nuclear power plant accident in history. Photos of animal and human deformities as a result of the nuclear contamination are on display, as are relics from the ghost town of Pripyat and more technical information regarding how the disaster occurred. You can visit the actual site of the infamous disaster if you book ahead through a tour company.

For descriptions of many other worthwhile museums to visit, click here.

10. Other Entertainment          (back to top)

Circus
(2 Ploscha Peremohy, metro Universytet‎, red line)
The circus in Kiev is for both children and adults alike, with a lot of dancing and other artistic performances (in addition to the traditional clowning and animal theatrics, of course).

Hydropark
(metro Gidropark, red line)
Mostly a summer attraction, this is basically a (somewhat rundown) carnival park on an island on the Dnieper River with games, sandy beaches to relax on, children’s pools, cafes, and some small rides. It’s open all year but you won’t find many people during the colder weather, and really only worth visiting if you feel like wasting a bit of time.

Kiev Planetarium
(57/3 Velyka Vasylkivska St., metro Olimpiyska, blue line)
Kiev boasts one of the largest planetariums in the CIS. It has a star theater and educational and feature shows.

11. Other Useful Sites          (back to top)

Kyiv Post is Ukraine’s leading English-language newspaper.

Afisha and Kiev Today are great ways to see what's going on in the city, if you read Russian.

Kiev in Your Pocket Guide provides lots of recommendations for places to eat, sleep, drink, and shop.

For information on Ukrainian culture, architecture, and cuisine, this site is quite useful.

The US State Department’s page on Ukraine is here.

 


More About
Ukraine

A cafe decorated in traditional Ukrainian style
SRAS Travel
Services
 
SRAS Travel Services - Russia Your Way
Study Abroad
in Russia

Moscow State University is Russia's largest.

Find out more!

Ukrainian Encyclopedia
Ukrainian Folklore Project
The SRAS Newsletter
Journal for Students
SRAS Library on Eurasia
Health and Safety in Russia
More Free Resources!

 

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor.



« back to Student Guide to Russia archive