Cheap and cheerful, this Ukrainian city is the ultimate destination for a budget-friendly break. With a compact city centre, sophisticated metro system and historical sights galore, there’s no better place to wander aimlessly and discover as you go. Bursting with churches, incredible street art, museums and more, visiting Kiev/Kyiv won’t burn a hole in your bank account. Here’s seven great things to do in Kiev/Kyiv on a budget.
Ridiculously reasonable and easy to use, Kiev/Kyiv’s metro is modelled on Moscow’s system and runs across three lines and 52 stations. Marked with a green ‘M’, each station is easily recognisable and eight UAH (which is approximately 20 cents) will buy you a token to anywhere you want to go in the city. Usually found in the series of underpasses, the actual stations themselves are worth checking out for their pretty architectural features. Make sure to visit Arsenalna, the deepest metro station in the world, where the escalator journey takes almost five minutes.
In a city where even the streets themselves are attractions, you don’t need deep pockets to see the sights. Get your bearings and spend your first day wandering the cobbled, historical squares and laneways. Stroll down Khreschatyk, Kiev/Kyiv’s main street that runs for 1.5 kilometres, and marvel at the imposing buildings that line either side of it. Walk up the hill to the old town and discover all the city has to offer. Round off your day of exploring with a walk down Andriivs'kyi descent, one of the city’s more famous streets and stop off in Podil for a coffee and a cake. Perfect for sight-seers on a budget, practically everything is within walking distance so there’s no need to worry about any extra Uber costs!
Potentially the most recognised attractions in the city, Kiev/Kyiv’s churches are a sight for sore eyes and will cost you next to nothing to visit. Start at Saint Sophia’s Cathedral in Saint Sophia’s Square. Pay a small fee and climb up its azure and white bell tower for fantastic views of the distant Saint Michael’s Golden Domed Monastery. Ideally located within a short walk from each other, continue your tour with a visit to the monastery’s cloisters which are free to walk around and go inside the church to witness the ornate detailing of the interiors. Wander across to Andriivs'kyi descent, where you’ll be met with the spectacular turquoise building of Saint Andrew’s Church. The stunning structure can’t fail to catch your eye. It’s worth paying the small cover charge to walk around its exterior. However you choose to do it, the churches of Kiev/Kyiv are a must see when visiting the city.
A hub for murals, the Ukrainian capital is full of intricate art works that cover the sides of buildings all over the city. Often hidden in older, less touristy parts of the city, you could spend your whole holiday tracking down the 150 plus pieces painted by both local and international artists. The open air gallery that covers most of the city’s streets is one of the best kept secrets in Kiev/Kyiv and better yet – it won’t cost you a penny.
Located in the heart of the city opposite Tsum department store, on Khreschatyk street, Bilyi Nalyv is a budget traveller’s dream. The bar was opened by famous restaurateur Dima Borisov and offers a menu of classic and vegan hotdogs, chicken and apple pies, oysters and cider, all for just one euro. Every order is prepared in three minutes and should be washed down with three options of apple drink – cider, punch or traditional Ukrainian nastoyanka (homemade liquor). Whether you eat in or take it to go, you’re guaranteed a deliciously satisfying feed for an equally pleasing price tag.
Whether you’re after a quick fix for the road or looking to spend some time cosying up with a cappuccino, Kiev/Kyiv’s coffee scene has a place for you that won’t cost an arm and a leg. Test out the kiosks that sit on every street corner or venture inside cute spots such as Madame Josy or Whitebeard Blackbird where coffee and a cake won’t break the bank.
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Flights to Kiev/Kyiv
- Lucy Norris