Guest writer and local guide Victoria shares her list of the best and most unique things to do in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Kyiv is one of the most amazing cities in the world, a long history has left its imprint on it. In the capital of Ukraine, you can see many interesting sights that are known all over the world and which are visited by every tourist, but there is also an unknown Kyiv – an off-radar, striking, miraculous, and if not – a shocking city. There are places in Kyiv that are not included in the excursion programs, but this doesn't make them less interesting.
7 Unusual Things to Do in Kyiv
For native Kyivans, these places won't be a discovery: they have surely heard about them. Though, not many of them have seen it all first-hand. Kyiv is full of amazing places, that hold centuries-old history – here your belly won't be filled with fair words, you must see and feel it!
Temples, cathedrals, museums, parks, theaters … The majority of tourists, coming to the capital of Ukraine for the first time, walk all day along Khreshchatyk Street and Independence Square, and in fact, this is only 1% of what you can see in Kyiv. In this article, I prepared for you 7 alternative, not typically touristic places that are worth visiting. Save for yourself this list and see the most of the sights this year!
1. Have Fun in the Museum of the Toilette History
Hygiene in the context of history. This is a very unusual, interesting and cute museum, filled with a history of hygiene and sanitation from the ancient world till the present time. It has the largest toilet collection in the world according to the Guinness 2015 book of world records. This is particularly an experience that everyone needs, so don't hesitate to go!
2. Bar “Malevich”: Coffee and Wine Happiness Hidden in the Kyiv Yard.
A cozy little place in the small yard of Kyiv central area, known only for locals. There you can drink high-quality coffee and get acquainted with delicious local wines, as well as cheeses from Ukrainian farmers.
The tiny size of the bar creates a chamber atmosphere, classical music, interior in the avant-garde style, the main color is black, every single detail will not remain unnoticed.
I would definitely recommend trying latte macchiato with author's salty caramel, browny with nuts, and of course, Ukrainian wines and cheeses plate. If you decide to go there in the evening – be sure to book a table in advance, Malevich is never empty.
3. Get Your Fabulous Emotions in the Anti-cafe “Four-legged House”
Who does not like cats? These fluffy soft-skinned creatures have won hearts of people around the world since ancient times! Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to keep this fluffy miracle in his house – someone doesn't have enough living space, someone has family members with allergy…
But there's always a way out! Kyiv anti-cafe houses not only cats but a real mini-zoo. There lives a fancy African hedgehog of white color, fluffy rabbits, chinchilla and a terribly curious raccoon. Come and enjoy – aromatic tea or coffee, delicious cookies, coziness, and family warmth. The owners care for the nerves of the pets, so book your visit in advance, not more than 4-5 people at once are allowed to the anti-cafe.
4. Pump Iron at the Most Hardcore Outdoor Gym in the World
This unique open-air gym was founded by Polish gymnast Kasmir Jagelsky and maths professor Yuri Kuk in the early 1970s. The equipment, some of which looks more like torture machinery and alien creature, is made mostly from old machinery and scrap metal. We, Kyivans, call it “Kachalka”, the name comes from the Ukranian word ‘kachat' which literally means ‘to pump'.
Rusted tank chains and marine salvage parts have been roughly forged together to create the most primitive and basic of strength and resistance machines. The equipment is chained to the ground so that it isn't stolen. Come and pump the iron! And, by the way, it's free.
5. Embrace the Mystique of the City in the Witch Bar “Lysa Gora”
Kyiv is the mystical capital of Europe, there are 13 bald hills where witches can gather. The Inquisition has never got here. According to the ancient legend, the Earth is surrounded by a snake biting itself by the tail, the place where the head and tail meet is located on a bald hill, and the hill is located in Kyiv.
To get into the mystical spirit of the city it's not necessary to climb the hills – there is a much more comfortable place for it – a witch bar. At the entrance to the bar, there are brooms. Above them is a sculpture of a witch with a cat. On the stone walls hang paintings with witches, on the shelf near the wooden casket lies the bird's skull. Runologists, astrologers, numerologists, and psychics are common guests of the bar, give all sorts of master classes, and you can always do Tarot reading while drinking some exquisite witch cocktail.
6. Be Amazed at the Unique Museum of Scythian gold
There is no other Scythian collection anywhere else like in the Kyiv Historical Treasures Museum. American President Bill Clinton was impressed by the treasures of the museum, especially by the gem of the collection – the famous “Golden pectoral” (chest decoration of a Scythian king). It is ornamented with the scenes from the life of the Scythians.
The ancient Kingdom of Scythia had existed in the territory of modern Ukraine between 700 and 200 B.C. Scythian Gold artifacts found in hundreds of ” kurhan” burial mounds are made of exquisite gold. The greatest mystery remaining today about the Scythians is whether there is any relation between the ancient Scythians of 2,500 years ago and modern Ukrainians. Don't miss the opportunity to see it all with your own eyes when in Kyiv!
7. Fly High Above the Dnipro River
This courageous ride is definitely a well worth the experience. A 532-meter-long (1745 feet) and 62 meters (203 ft) above the water trolley has stretched out from the right to the left bank of the Dnipro River. It enables “passengers” to enjoy a bird's eye view of Kyiv and its riverfront. And it takes 40 seconds to fly to the sunny beach on the Trukhaniv Island, which is located opposite the amazing Podil area.
Moreover, the Arch of Diversity, the starting point of the ride, is a beautiful place to view the sunset on the picturesque Left bank of the river. So take your friends and have lots of fun and unforgettable experience with a great view over Kyiv!
Have you been to Kyiv? What suggestions do you have for things to do and sites to see in Ukraine's capital city?
Victoria is a passionate tour guide in Kyiv, writer, and blogger. Being deeply interested in the history, culture, and traditions of her native country, she shares this knowledge and passion with tourists who come to discover Ukraine.
Visit her blog www.bestkievguide.com for more on Kyiv and Ukraine.