Veer off the beaten track, escape the throngs of camera-flashing tourists and explore the undiscovered corners of Kiev/Kyiv. Go searching for secrets in the city’s many nooks and crannies and surprise yourself with eclectic street art, hidden courtyards and vibrant villages. Leave the maps behind, let your feet wander and follow our guide to Kiev/Kyiv’s best hidden gems.
Insider tip: for a local’s insight, book a private walking tour with Ukraine To Go and see all the secret sights with someone who knows exactly where to find them.
Hidden behind the tall buildings of the city centre, Landscape Alley is a wonderland of abstract sculptures covered in mosaics in every colour of the rainbow. Connecting the historic part of Kiev/Kyiv, Lvivska Ploscha, the alley was created in 1980 by architect Abraham Miletsky and has been attracting visitors ever since. In the centre of the action, the children’s playground designed in the form of characters from Alice in Wonderland is potentially the most Instagrammed spot in the city, with tourists and locals alike posing for a picture in the giant teacup or sitting on Alice’s lap. Turn off from the crowded Velyka Zhytomyrska Street and walk round the corner to find the open air museum that leads on to Old Kiev/Kyiv Hill. A truly unique experience, you’re unlikely to ever see anything else like this in the city.
Created to replace the statue to Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, the ‘Middle Way’ giant blue hand is aimed at being a symbol of friendship and cooperation for the city. Located opposite Besarabsky Market, head down into the underpass and come up just before you reach the other side of the road. The contemporary sculpture was built by Romanian artist, Bogdan Rata and has caused some controversy amongst locals. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying it makes for a pretty cool picture and is most definitely one of Kiev/Kyiv’s best hidden gems.
Over the last few years, street art has been popping up across the city’s buildings at lightning speed. Kiev/Kiev has become a hub for public art hosting over 150 pieces hidden amongst its busy streets. With so much to see and so little time, here’s four of our favourites and where to find them:
Revival of Ukraine by French – Ukrainian duo Seth x Kislow – 33/6 Borychiv Tik Street
The Gymnast by Australian Fintan Magee – 12 Striletska Street
Lilly of the Valley by Australian Guido van Helten – 28 Striletska Street
Time for Change by Ukrainian Waone – 6 Striletska Street
Nicknamed ‘Billionaires Ghetto’, this hidden district has all the feeling of an abandoned film set. The luxury estate has no residents and is made up of candy coloured art nouveau houses in the brightest hues you could ever imagine. Just off the famous Andriivs'kyi descent, the area is a popular spot for wedding photo shoots and local blogger ‘outfit of the day’ pictures alike. Spend some time exploring the ghost town, snapping some shots and finish off your visit with an expertly crafted cappuccino at Whitebeard Blackbird café.
The ultimate hipster hideaway, the three ravens at Reitarska Street have been enchanting locals and visitors for over fifteen years. Kept in a large cage, the ravens are incredibly tame and will let you stroke their beaks and play games of fetch. Next to the Golden Gate, hidden behind metal gates, the yard also has a café to grab a coffee at and watch the birds as they interact with other customers. Another cool feature of this hidden gem is the suitably placed bird mural, Crows (Herald of Life) by Alexandr Britcev, on the tall building to your left as you walk in.
Bursting with their own hidden gems in the form of quirky, unique shops, the underpasses running throughout the city are an attraction in themselves. Designed for crossing from one side of the street to the other (and ideal shelters during rainy downpours), these are both functional and full of interesting finds.
An idyllic escape in the heart of the buzzing historic and business district, Volodymyrska Hill is most definitely one of the city’s best kept secrets. Home to the monument of St. Volodymyr of Kiev/Kyiv, the green oasis is a sacred space for locals. Come here for views over Podil neighbourhood, the Peoples Friendship Arch and the banks of the Dnieper River. Located behind Saint Michael’s Golden Domed Monastery, take the funicular down to the neighbourhoods below for a scenic, 3-minute journey.
Planning a trip to Kiev/Kyiv? Make sure to tag us in your photos of Kiev/Kyiv’s hidden gems using the hashtag #ryanairstories for the chance to be featured on Ryanair’s social media channels.
Flights to Kiev/Kyiv
- Lucy Norris