Built around the Dnieper River in northern Ukraine, leafy Kiev is Ukraine’s capital city, and the largest metropolis in the country. It’s also one of Europe’s oldest cities. Indeed, it was from here that European civilisation spread to other parts of Eastern Europe.
Kiev is a modern and dynamic city, with excellent dining and drinking options, interesting historic monuments and world-class museums. Its streets are also lined with various architectural treats, lending an eclectic flair to the city’s urban landscape.
Locals here are generally friendly and hospitable in nature, although English isn’t widely spoken. Still, Kiev is a fascinating stop on any cruise itinerary and shouldn’t be missed.
Cruise ships dock at the Kiev River Port right in the heart of the city. From there, passengers can walk straight into town or hail a taxi to other points of interest in the city.
Alternatively, some cruise ships may provide a shuttle service into town.
The cruise terminal built at the Kiev River Port and the surrounding area contain a number of facilities to help passengers make the most of their stay in the city.
- Internet access
- Cafés and restaurants
- ATMs and Foreign Exchange
- Tourist Information Centre
- Car hire offices
Taxis abound in the heart of Kiev, although it’s best to agree on a price first. There are also car hire offices throughout town for passengers that wish to explore the outlying regions.
Kiev has plenty of accommodation options to suit most budgets.
How To Get Around
Kiev has an extensive public transport network. However, most tourists explore the city on foot or by taxis, which are readily available and cheap.
Travel times from the cruise port:
- It is a 24 minute journey to St. Sophia's Cathedral.
- It is a 12 minute journey to the Central Botanical Gardens
- It is a 20 minute journey to the Pirogovo Open-Air Museum
- It is a 12 minute journey to the Bohdan & Varvara Khanenko Museum of Arts.
Currency – The local currency in Kiev is the Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH). Coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 kopiyok (100 kopiyok equals 1 hryvnia) and 1 hryvnia denominations. Notes come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 hryvnia denominations.
Time Zone – Kiev is on Eastern Europe Time (EET) and is 2 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Weather – Kiev enjoys a humid continental climate, with moderate summers and cold winters. During summer (June to August), average daytime temperatures hover around 20 degrees Celsius. In winter (December to February), daytime temperatures are often below zero, the average being just -2 degrees Celsius. The city receives around 650mm of rainfall each year, with most of it falling in June and July.
St. Sophia's Cathedral – With original mosaics and frescoes dating back to the 11th century, St. Sophia's Cathedral is Kiev’s oldest church and is an iconic landmark of the city. Built to celebrate Prince Yaroslav’s victory over the Pechenegs, the cathedral is a World Heritage Site and definitely a must-see attraction whilst in Kiev. The cathedral is open daily from 10am to 6pm, with shorter opening times on Wednesday.
Central Botanical Gardens – Easily the best spot if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, these botanical gardens are meticulously maintained and are dotted with various hidden viewpoints and old churches. Spread out over a hill overlooking the Dnieper River in the south east corner of the city, the Central Botanical Gardens are an ideal place for a leisurely walk or picnic.
Pirogovo Open-Air Museum – Spend half a day learning all about Ukrainian folk architecture at this fantastic open-air museum, located south of central Kiev. Sprawled out amongst the grounds are 17th century churches and old cottages, farmsteads and windmills, transporting visitors to another point in time. The Pirogovo Open-Air Museum is open daily from 10am to 9:30pm and costs just AUD$2 per adult and AUD$1 per child.
Bohdan & Varvara Khanenko Museum of Arts – Marvel at works by such European masters such as Bosch, Velazquez and Rubens at Kiev’s premier art gallery cum museum. This Ukrainian institution contains pieces from both the East and West, including ancient Greek sculptures, Buddhist relics and Islamic art. The Bohdan & Varvara Khanenko Museum of Arts also contains four rare religious icons from the 6th and 7th centuries. Opening hours are from 10:30am to 5:30pm daily, with shorter operating times on the last Wednesday of the month. Entrance costs around AUD$2 per person.