This weekend, Kiev, the beautiful capital of Ukraine, will be flooded by thousands of football fans with their red and blue shirts. Spain and Italy will meet in the final of Euro Championship and the city is waiting with their open arms to these visitors that spend only a few hours in the city and who dream of making history.
For them, we have prepared this guide to Kiev in one day, so that in addition to football, they can enjoy the city without missing any of the main landmarks and attractions.
The city is built on green hills on the right bank of the Dnipro River. The original core was fortified and it is the Upper Town, where still stands the Golden Gate, the ancient and historic gateway to Kiev and therefore to the fortress of the Ukrainian capital. Now it is a museum and can be found on corner of the street Volodymyr with Yaroslaviv Val. Nearby, you can walk along the stunning Independence Square, a key role in the 90`s revolutions. It has a large number of bronze sculptures and under it, several underground complexes which form a large and hidden market.
In the same area, we can find the impressive Cathedral of St. Sophia, one of the most famous landmarks of the city and the first Ukrainian monument inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO, as well as the Monastery of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed , originally built in the Middle Ages. It is notable for its architecture, its golden domes and its indigo walls.
Descending to the Lower Town, we came across Andriivskiy Uzviz (Andrew’s Descent), a historic road that connects the top of the city’s with Podil and today, it has become a real open-air museum by the large number of artists who have worked in this area.
From the Upper City, you can get wonderful views of Podil, which centuries ago was the most commercial hub of the city. The city’s main port, it is also located in this area and it is currently one of the most beautiful and tourist districts.
If we go down to the new area of the city, we find the Olimpiysky National Sports Complex, the stadium which will hold the final match of Euro 2012. It was inaugurated on August, 1923 and it was renamed in honor of Leon Trotsky for the first Olympics in the Kiev region.
On the west bank of the Dnieper River on a hill forested area, one of the wonders of Kiev lies: the Monastery of the Caves, the oldest monastery in Ukraine and one of the shrines of the Eastern Orthodox religion. In 1990 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Nearby, it is the statue of the Motherland, a monumental sculpture of Mother Russia of 62 meters high.
On the outskirts of Kiev, we can visit an interesting outdoor museum, the Pirogovo Museum that occupes the site of a former rural village. In it, you can see all kinds of original buildings dating back hundreds of years and therefore know the architecture and life of Ukraine.
There are two airports in Kyiv: Boryspil (KBP) and Zhulyany (IEV). Most International flights operate to and from Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv. The Central Bus Station is 3 miles south of downtown, and it offers longer and cheaps connections to the rest of the venues for Euro 2012. You can take a look to these Kiev flights, where you can also find direct flights.
Public transportation includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and a wide network of metro. It runs from 6:00 to midnight.
Where to stay
You can choose cheap hotels in Kiev as the Russ Hotel, located near the Olympic Stadium, where the final will be played, it has an excellent value for money. For those who can afford it, the Opera Hotel is a high quality establishment located close to the major monuments.
Where to eat
If you want to taste the delicious Ukrainian cuisine based in meats and fish, you can go to one of the most recommended local restaurants such as Pervak. For tight budgets, it is best to seek a self-service restaurant, in which you can eat well for less than 5 euros.