It is so easy to fall in love with the relaxed atmosphere of Kiev. Despite being the capital of Ukraine and a busy metropolis, narrow streets with petite bakeries will seduce you into taking a break for coffee. La Boulangerie Artisan is a family-type café that serves the lushest syrniki in Kiev. Order the dish, topped with strawberry jam and sour cream (smetana), and a cappuccino. Sit down on the terrace on Lyuteranska St., and watch people hurrying to work.
In five minutes’ walking distance, there is an administrative quarter of Kiev called Lypky. The splendor of the buildings and green alleys around are sure to pique your interest. The district is the location of the major institutions: Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (the Parliament), the Presidential Administration and Government, and the Supreme Court.
From the Verkhovna Rada, head down Bankova Street. The paved road will lead to the European Square, which is at the crossroads of the Khreschatyk and Podol areas. Rush over to Ukrainian House – an international hall for exhibitions, festivals, and forums. Unlike the Old Town buildings, it impresses with its grandeur.
Continuing further leads to Podol and Vozdvizhenka, which usually attracts tourists with its beautiful architecture and bohemian ambience. Visit souvenir shops and showrooms of Ukrainian designers. They offer reasonable prices and good quality for unique pieces. One of the yards of Vozdvizhenka has a hidden restaurant, Lyubchik. It specializes in the cuisine of Odessa and has a variety of fish dishes with southern flavors. A fish soup will most certainly warm you up.
After having a good lunch, make your way to Golden Gate Square and listen to the live music of local musicians. Take a walk to the National Opera of Ukraine, the main building of the Kiev National University and Taras Shevchenko Park. Grab a pancake to go at O’Panas, and spend some time reading a book on the bench.
The second 24 hours will be more serene. On Shota Rustaveli St., pop into Milk Bar for eggs Benedict and a smoothie. Behind the café, there is a shopping center named Gulliver. It has a lot of major brand shops and a beautiful terrace where you can see Kiev from another angle. Football fans can also visit Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, which has 70,050 seats and also a museum of trophies.
In the afternoon, visit the Kiev Pechersk Lavra complex, which was built in the 11th century. There are 14 Orthodox churches, a monastery, seven museums, and one of the first publishing houses in Kievan Rus. The caves are of special interest, as they are 293 meters (961 feet) long. Spend at least three hours here to truly understand this historical place.
To have a glorious evening, head over to the Venice of Kiev. The Rusanivka district is on the left bank of the city, but it has some great locations to recommend. Every day, except for Monday, there is a show of fountains with illumination on the embankment. Stroll the riverside, and then head to Smorodyna restaurant for dinner. Order one of their meat dishes and house-made currant wine, and enjoy yourself.