Newest 4-Day Itinerary to Kyiv City
According to most historians, Kyiv was founded in 482 AD, which makes it one of the oldest Eastern European cities. It derives its name from Kyi, who is considered one of its four legendary founders. Being more than 1500 years old, it successfully combines its ancient history with a vibrant lifestyle of modern megalopolises. Almost 3 million people live in Kyiv, making it the 7th most populous city in Europe. And it’s no wonder that it is included in many lists of must-see European cities. There are so many things to do in Kyiv, Ukraine and so much to feel here that even a week will not suffice to see all of its sights.
Since spending two days in Kyiv is too little, and only a few travelers stay in one city more than a week during their first visit, here’s the newest 4-day itinerary for Kyiv city. Why the newest? Because Kyiv is developing every year and there are many more places to see now than it was even five years ago.
Want to know what to see in Kyiv? You’ll get plenty to explore. Consider having comfortable shoes because there will be a lot of walking!
Newest 4-Day Itinerary to Kyiv City
4-Days in Kyiv:Day 1
You’d better start the first day early because there will be a lot of things to see! Day 1 begins at the Arsenalna metro station.
What’s so spectacular about a metro station you may ask? Arsenalna is the deepest metro station in the world (105.5 meters (346 ft)), and you will have your chance to evaluate its depth while riding two escalators to get to the top. Once you reach the top, walk to Mariinsky Park. It’s a beautiful 130 years old park with lush greenery and plenty of beautiful space for walking. The park received its name from the nearby Mariinsky Palace which is highly recommended to explore. This baroque palace is the official ceremonial residence of the President of Ukraine in Kyiv.
You can also opt for a 3-hour Private sightseeing tour with a local guide.
Stop number three is the central street of Kyiv – Khreschatyk. To get there from Mariinsky Palace, you need to walk along Instytutska Street and then turn to Bankova and Liuteranska Street. As you walk these streets, you will see the monuments to the fallen heroes of Maidan. Instytutska str., Khreschatyk str., Bankova str. and Maidan Nezalezhnosti are the places where fights between protesters and armed forces presenting the political power of those times took place at the end of 2013, beginning of 2014. After the victory of protesters, everything was reconstructed, and now only monuments remind tourists about those notorious events.
Khreschatyk becomes a pedestrian street during the weekends, and it’s the best way to experience it. When you reach Maidan Nezalezhnosti (which means Independence Square) you’ll see the central square of Kyiv. Majestic buildings, fountains, both busy and relaxing people, fellow tourists and numerous monuments is what you should expect to see there.
Lunch: there are plenty of food options near Khreschatyk metro station and close to the fountain area on Maidan Nezaleznosti. Whether you’re a carnivore, a vegetarian or a vegan you will find something that suits your diet. Just make sure not to overeat because other attractions are waiting.
When you finish your lunch, go up for about 10 minutes along Sofiivska Street until you reach another beautiful square between two majestic cathedrals. Thousands of people gather here to attend the Christmas fair and celebrate the New Year’s Eve during the winter holidays. The square completely changes during Christmas time, and you can see plenty of smiling people, Christmas handicrafts, grilled food and hot mulled wine in every corner. No matter when you attend Kyiv, visiting St. Sophia’s Cathedral and St. Michael’s Cathedral is highly recommended. St. Sophia’s cathedral is one of Kyiv’s best-known landmarks and an outstanding architectural monument of Kyivan Rus. It was the first Ukrainian heritage site to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. In the meantime, St. Michael’s Cathedral is considered to be one of the most venerated places among pilgrims.
You can climb a bell tower there and see a beautiful panorama of the square from above.
Our next stop is one of the coziest and most beautiful places in Kyiv – Andriyivsky Descent. It’s located not far from St. Michael’s monastery. You just need to walk along Desyatynna street until you reach it. It’s a historic, 720 meters (2,360 ft) long descent connecting Podil (Lower city) with Old Kyiv (Upper city). The Andriyivsky Descent has many historical landmarks, such as the 18th century baroque Saint Andrew’s Church, the Castle of Richard the Lionheart, the house of famed Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov, and the Museum of One Street.
They are all worth visiting, but what’s really essential is Saint Andrew’s Church. The observation deck around it gives you one of the best panoramas on Kyiv city that you can find.
If you still have time and stamina, you can take a look at the beautiful Vozdvyzhenska Street located very close to the Andriyivsky Descent.
If not, you can descend to Podil | Kontraktova Ploscha and see another beautiful square with a Ferris wheel. The view from that wheel differs from the other two which have already been mentioned, so you can take a look at the third panorama, if you want.
If you want to see just one panorama, choose Saint Andrew’s Church observation deck.
Hey, what about dinner? You can get dinner either as you walk down the Andriyivsky Descent or on the pedestrian Sahaidachnogo Street that starts not far from the Ferris wheel. Both of these areas offer plenty of options to choose from. One special recommendation is Lviv Handmade Chocolate located at the end of the descent (mind that they only serve deserts).
Congratulations! You did it! Good news is that the next day will be a little less intense.
4-Days in Kyiv: Day 2
Day two starts with the same deepest metro station in the world. But this time you will go in the opposite direction. Attractions 1-4 are all in the walking distance. As for the Botanical Garden, even though it’s not too far, it is recommended to take a taxi to get there.
First things first, you will reach a park with several monuments. The first monument will be the Monument to Unknown Soldier, and the second one – to the victims of Holodomor. Holodomor was a man-made famine in Soviet Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 that killed approximately 7 to 10 million Ukrainians. There’s a museum near the monument which you can visit to find out more about this horrible happening.
If you pass the memorial and go straight, you will reach a beautiful viewpoint where you can see the left bank of the beautiful Dnipro River. If you turn your back and look to the right, you will see Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. It’s the second UNESCO World Heritage site which you’re about to see. To get there, you need to get back to Lavraska Street and keep walking straight. But before you explore Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, spend some time in Mystetskyi Arsenal. This is a vast space dedicated to the development of Ukrainian art and culture. Throughout a year it organizes many exciting events and exhibitions, so make sure to check their schedule when you visit Kyiv.
Kyiv Pechersk Lavra is located across the road from Mystetskyi Arsenal. It was founded as a cave monastery in 1051, and since that time it has been a preeminent center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe. While it’s a cultural attraction, the monastery located there is active, with over 100 monks in residence. After the voting of experts and Internet community, it was named one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine. In addition to its size and beauty, one striking thing about Kyiv Pechersk Lavra is that it is home for a narrow cavern system with numerous living quarters, underground chapels and relics of the deceased saints.
According to legends, the catacombs of the Lavra stretched for hundreds of miles, reaching as far as Novgorod and Moscow.
Your next stop is The Motherland Monument. The sculpture is a part of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War. The monument and the museum pay tribute to Ukrainian heroes who fell in the Second World War. According to estimates, between 8 and 14 million Ukrainians were killed during these horrible events. In fact, it wouldn’t be possible to defeat the Nazis without the contribution of those people.
If you decide to visit the museum, most definitely you will have no time for the Botanical Garden. In any case, the statue is worth seeing. This stainless steel giant woman weights 560 tons and is 102 m (335 ft) tall (including the base). The sword in her hand weighs 9 tons and is 16 m (52 ft) long.
Lunch: Unfortunately, there are not many places to eat in this area. You can either go to New Bombay Palace, which is an Indian restaurant located on the territory of the museum, or visit Tsarske Selo restaurant which will require a little more walking. The latter serves traditional Ukrainian food.
It’s best to spend the rest of the day in the Botanical Garden. A 10-15 minute taxi ride will take you there. The garden is vast and beautiful, and it is recommended to spend no less than 3 hours there. One great thing about this place is whatever time of the year you choose for the visit, the garden will have something to offer you. Even during the colder months, you can visit greenhouses.
The recent additions to the garden are Korean, Tibetan and Japanese gardens that certainly made the visitor experience more diverse.
If you have a chance to see the sunset from the upper levels of the garden, it will be an unforgettable finale of your second day in Kyiv.
4-Days in Kyiv: Day 3
If you’re still eager to get an answer to the question ‘What to see in Kyiv?’, the third day has plenty of answers. It all starts with the Golden Gate. This attraction is located near the eponymous metro station, one of the most beautiful metro stations in Kyiv.
The Golden Gate is a famous historical landmark that demonstrates the ancientness of Kyiv. It was the main gate in the 11th-century fortifications of Kyiv, the capital of Kyivan Rus.
The structure was destroyed in the Middle Ages and rebuilt by the Soviet authorities in 1982. Near the Golden Gate, you can find a bronze monument to Grand Prince of Kyivan Rus (from 1019 to 1054) Yaroslav the Wise. It is Yaroslav, who built the majestic St. Sophia Cathedral that you saw on the first day and the famous Golden Gate of the Kyivan fortress. If you were attentive at the Andriyivsky Descent, you might have noticed the same statue of a smaller size there. The statue was supposed to hold the city in its hands, but the result of sculptors wasn’t very distinct, that is why people of Kyiv jokingly call it ‘A man with a cake’.
If you’re tired of walking for two days, you can use metro or taxi to reach the second point, which is the Friendship of Nations Arch, and the newly build bridge opened in May 2019. The bridge connects the Arch with the Volodymyrska Hill. Both the viewpoints near the Arch and on the bridge open an exceptional panorama on the city.
Cross the bridge and take a walk up the Volodymyrska Hill. This hill is named after Volodymyr the Great, the ruler famous for Christianization of the Kyivan Rus. It’s a nice place to relax, sit in the shade of big trees and reflect on what you have seen during the last two and a half days. Don’t spend too much time on reflection though because there are several more exciting things ahead. One of them is a ride on the cable railway, also known as Kyiv funicular that will take you closer to the river bank you were recently observing from above. The funicular was opened in 1905, and it functions to this day.
You’ll have a lot of fun using this peculiar means of transportation. The ride is rather short, so make a video or some photos while you’re there.
Lunch and dinner: there are a lot of lovely places to eat on Sahaidachnoho Street, some of which you might have already explored on the first day. Another option is to find something on the embankment. Specifically, there’s a nice outlet called Kompot, or you can have some grilled food or snacks from the food stalls near the river.
The last stop for the third day is Dnipro River Bank. This place was renovated only several years ago and now it’s a great pleasure to spend the evening there, watching the sunset and endless flow of Dnipro river. You can also take a 1-hour boat trip from there, if you want.
Time flies! You’ve already made it to the end of the third day! In case you have some more energy, you can go left along the river bank until you reach the Mykola Chudotvorets Church. It’s a small church that stands on water, looks a bit otherworldly and has incredibly powerful energy.
Ready for the final day?
4-Days in Kyiv: Day 4
There will be no map for the final day because you’ll visit only one place. And this place is Pyrohiv Museum. Initially, it was a village south of Kyiv, but now it is home to an outdoor Museum of Folk Architecture and Life of Ukraine. It’s not too far from the city – a taxi ride will take you approximately an hour.
The territory of this place is enormous, and it will be difficult to see everything in one day. Pyrohiv has more than 300 traditional Ukrainian huts that were transported there from all parts of Ukraine and carefully reassembled. The territory is divided into different regions of Ukraine, so you will be able to spot the differences and identify which hut belongs to which region. This is an incredible place to visit at any time of the year. During spring and summer, you will see the lush greenery and hills filled with sunlight. Autumn will paint everything yellow and give Pyrohiv a dreamy and cozy feeling.
And winter will give you an idea of how it was like to live during freezing cold temperatures hundreds of years ago. The great thing about Pyrohiv is that throughout the year you can participate in open-air celebrations and theatrical performances dedicated to folk holidays. A lot of museum staff is dressed in the national costumes, which adds to the atmosphere of this place.
Probably, after three very active days, you will not want to see all 300 huts and 40 000 items of traditional culture and household. It’s totally fine because the territory of the museum is an excellent place for relaxation. You can find a peaceful meadow near the windmills or ponds and just relax for the whole day. There’s also a nice traditional place to eat called ‘Shynok’, which means ‘Eatery’, where you can get tasty traditional Ukrainian food.
If you’re not into visiting folk museums, you can spend the fourth day near the Kyiv Sea or go to arguably the most beautiful Kyiv park ‘Natalka’ located near the Obolon quay.
Day Trips from Kyiv
One of the popular tours to take is a day trip to Chernobyl and Prypiat. On this 12 hour tour you will see all the iconic locations within Chernobyl, Prypiat, and DUGA in one day. Book you this tour here.
After spending at least four days in Kyiv, you will probably agree to Honore de Balzac, who said:
“St. Petersburg is a young city, Moscow is an ancient city, but Kiev is an eternal city. This is the northern Rome.”
Kyiv is a city full of beauty and strength. A city that can steal your heart.
Click here to download the PDF version of this 4 Day guide to Kyiv City.
Other Ukraine Guides:
5 Guides in 1: The Ultimate Guide to Lviv City
The Lure of Carpathian Mountains: Top 10 Reasons to See Mysterious Mountains of Western Ukraine
Photo credits: Val Kornev