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Kiev is quite compact, but there is a lot of sightseeing to do. From 11th-century cathedrals and medieval monuments to contemporary art galleries and museums, restaurants and coffee shops, you’ll need to “switch on” the turbo mode to see all that the city has to offer in only 24 hours.
One of the most popular breakfast and brunch spots in Kiev is Milk Bar. The café offers American dishes mostly prepared with milk. Thus, you’ll definitely be able to get a yogurt with granola and berries, waffles with salmon and greens, pancakes with fruit and, of course, an invigorating cappuccino. And for the lactose-intolerant, there are fortunately some dairy-free options, too.
Once you’ve fueled up on breakfast, it’s time to head over to Kiev Pechersk Lavra, the monastery that is Kiev’s calling card. Its golden domes can be seen in every picture or postcard, as well as from almost anywhere on either bank (Kiev has two banks: Left and Right). It was one of the founding monastery complexes of Kievan Rus, the first mention of which dates back to 1051. On its territory, there are 12 churches and three bell towers, but the real gem is the caves of Kiev, where the burial place of many holy ascetics is located.
Pro tip: Get an Uber from Milk Bar to Kiev Pechersk Lavra in order to save precious time, since it is quite far on foot.
The walk around Kiev Pechersk Lavra will take you at least a couple of hours; therefore, the best solution is to have a hearty lunch and a good break. If you’re not acquainted with Ukrainian cuisine yet, Sho restaurant will surprise you with the variety of options and flavors. Have a feast and order these must-try dishes: borscht with smetana (sour cream), chicken Kiev (the eponymous dish that has conquered the best venues in London) and sweet vareniki (filled dumplings) for dessert.
Next, it’s time for a post-lunch stroll. Did you know that Kiev’s main street is the shortest in Europe? Khreschatyk stretches for only 1.3 km (0.8 mi), and is one of many excellent reasons to visit the city. Pass Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) and arrive at the Arch of Diversity. You’ll be amazed by the breathtaking view over Kiev’s Left Bank and the ancient area of Podol.
If you go up Mykhailivska Street, you’ll turn up near the two other impressive 11th-century cathedrals: Saint Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery and Saint Sophia’s Cathedral, located a two-minute walk from one another.
Pro tip: Do not forget to charge your camera or phone, as the beauty of the cathedrals should definitely be captured.
Andriyivskyy Descent in Kiev is often compared to Paris’ Montmartre because of its souvenir shops, cosy courtyards, and large number of eateries. You can find the street by the magnificent Baroque Saint Andrew’s Church, which also has a panoramic viewing point. As you descend, you’ll pass the Mikhail Bulgakov Museum, the One Street Museum, and Kanapa restaurant. Here, you can try a modern interpretation of traditional Ukrainian cuisine.
Kiev at night is no less interesting than it is during the day. If you came to the city in the cold time of the year, there are plenty of bars and nightclubs to check out. If you visit during the warmer months, though, you’re in for a treat – the greatest experience can be had at the locals’ favorite open-air nightclubs like Hangover or UBK Beach. Here you’ll listen to DJs, drink exquisite cocktails, and dance till dawn.
To feel like a true local in Kiev, you should go to The Burger after the party. At this 24-hour restaurant, you’ll quickly satisfy your hunger and realize that nothing can be better than a juicy burger and fries at 5am.
Pro tip: All burgers here are served with salad, fries and bottomless Coke.