Kiev in Ukraine totally took me by surprise! I had initially decided to go there last minute from Amsterdam for just a few days, as I was not sure where to travel to next.
I found a cheap flight and figured it would be interesting to pay a visit to the nuclear disaster area of Chernobyl and Pripyat nearby Kiev, to see the ghost city and then leave after a night or 2.
Travel to Kiev!
I hadn’t heard much about Kiev before coming except for what I had seen on the news about the revolution, and no-one had recommended the place.
It turns out it’s a really chilled out city packed with cool people, loads of history, and a vibrant bar and nightlife scene.
Naturally what really makes anywhere great is the people. After just a few days I had made friends with a bunch of locals and had barely been at the hostel, having crashed in their apartment and going out all the time, and being taken to parts of the city I would probably never have seen.
Kiev is also off the beaten path as far as cities in Europe go. Most of the other travellers in the hostels are Ukrainians seeing their own country.
So if you want to escape the crowds of the popular cities in Europe like Amsterdam, Prague etc then this is the place to come.
Kiev is a really old city and the centre is perfect for getting lost in, with some of the best church architecture I have seen anywhere.
The other great thing for the visitor is the cost. It’s obviously bad for the locals but as a foreigner it is dirt cheap to travel around.
I spent hardly anything and had a great time. For $15 a day you have somewhere to sleep, eating out, having drinks, and transport around. I could easily spend even less. If I had a lazy day then $10 no problem, which is on par with cheap destinations in Asia etc.
I loved wandering through the great parks where people grab a few beers from the supermarket and sit around playing guitar and having a laugh. You can see the locals dancing away to some swing music in the park.
There’s a good youthful vibe going on.
Speaking of having a good time there is a hell of a lot of different local beers to try. Happy days.
One of the things I enjoy in life is a good cup of coffee and Kiev has you covered on that front. There are loads of portable vans serving up delicious coffee everywhere you go. Heaven.
There’s also amazing street art spread around between the old historic streets.
Despite the conflict in the east of the country there is optimism in Kiev that things will get better. I hope so, as the Ukrainian people deserve it.