Kyiv: we visit the Podil District, Dnieper River and many interesting places

In the previous post of IaniWorld I showed you the main places to see in the center of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

But there is much more to visit, so be prepared because we will see more interesting sites that will surely surprise you.

We already knew the main street of the city, the Khreshchatyk, and attractions near it. Now we move to the Podil District (Podilskyi) and start our tour there.

Podil is located near the center of the city, so much so that we can walk towards it from the most central point of the city, the Independence Square or also known as Maidan Nezalezhnosti.

Kyiv downtown streets

The avenue that descends to Podil is named Volodymyrs’kyi. On the east side of it we had the park and the People’s Friendship Arch, which we saw in the previous publication. From there you get magnificent panoramic views of Podil, the Dnieper River and the northern area of Kyiv.

To the west of the avenue we have the monument of Prince Volodymyr. This monument dedicated to Vladimir the Great, founder of Kievan Rus, was built in 1853. The monument is inside a large park with the same name.

A few meters further on we reach Podil. To our right we find a park with water fountains, sculptures and gardens. It was built a few years ago next to the Church of the Nativity of Christ and on the great Naberezhne Avenue that borders the Dnieper River.

Church and avenue, entrance to Podil
Church of the Nativity of Christ and Volodymyrskyi Street, Podil District.

On the banks of this park is the Kyiv Fluvial Port. From there, many tourist boats leave, allowing us to get to know the city from another perspective and to live incredible experiences.

A catamaran trip to admire the landscape of Kyiv from the waters of the Dnieper River lasts an hour and takes us sailing 5 kilometers (3.10 mi) to the south, to the Patona Bridge, and then return to the starting point.

From the boat we can get views of the famous buildings of the city such as the St. Michael’s Monastery, the monuments to Prince Volodymyr and the Motherland, the Podil District, the Dnieper River islands and much more.

The service works every day between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.. The price of the trip is 150 grivnas (4.70 euros) on weekdays and 180 grivnas (5.60 euros) on weekends and holidays. Children between 6 and 12 years old only pay half of the ticket and children under 6 travel for free.

Also in this river port we can choose boats that offer other experiences such as music on board, disco, special excursions for children, yacht rental and more. All the information is found in the official web site.

Podil from Dnieper river
From the waters of the Dnieper we can see the Podil neighborhood, the hills that are located west of the river and many buildings built on the heights.

On the Dnieper River coast, next to the port, there is a long boardwalk that in summer is full of food stalls, ice creams and small bars where people spend relaxing moments in a pleasant environment.

On Volodymyrs’kyi Street, opposite the park and the river port, is one of the two stations of the Kyiv funicular. This transport, quite frequented by tourists, is one of the biggest attractions of the city. Its route is of 200 meters in which it ascends by the hill towards the other station, located a few meters from the St. Michael’s Monastery.

The funicular has two wagons (while one climbs the hill, the other descends) and the trip takes almost 3 minutes. The price is 8 grivnas (0.25 euros), as in most of the transport in the Kyiv.

We continue our tour of Podil. From the point where the park that we visited is located moments ago, Volodymyrs’kyi Avenue changes its name and is renamed Petra Sahaidachnoho.

This street extends for 500 meters (0.31 mi) until ending in the park of the same name, a few meters from the metro station Kontraktova Ploshcha.

Petra Sahaidachnoho street, Podil
Petra Sahaidachnoho is one of Podil’s most socially active streets.

Small park in Podil

Along the Petra Sahaidachnoho street we find many bars, restaurants and clothing stores, which make this road one of the places with more social life of Podil.

From the park where the street ends, we can take a few steps and visit the Pirogoscha Bogoroditsa Church, or head west along the Andriivs’kyi Street to see the famous Andrew’s Descent.

The slope is a historical street linking Podil with the central area of ​​Kyiv. Along the same walk through a cobblestone street with several attractions and where it is common to see sellers of crafts and various products in it.

The Mihaila Bulgakova museum, the Podil and Koleso theaters, the Karas and Triptych galleries and the Ivan Kavaleridze museum are some of the places we can find on its sides.

It also highlights the Castle of Richard the Lionheart, which has become one of the most famous and mysterious buildings of Kyiv. Its name comes from the fact that writer Viktor Nekrassov called it that because of its resemblance to medieval castles, but it has nothing to do with Richard I of England.

The castle is neo-Gothic style and is known for the noises and apparitions that frightened its guests and for the unfortunate events that its multiple owners lived.

It is currently under renovation to be converted into a hotel.

St. Andrew's Church
The St. Andrew’s Church is located at the top of the hill, dominating the view of Podil.

At the top of the hill we find the imposing Church of San Andrés. This great temple that is sometimes called St. Andrew’s Cathedral is one of the most iconic buildings in the city of Kyiv.

This Orthodox church is of Baroque style and was built between 1747 and 1754.

The Andrew’s Descent, known in Ukrainian as Andriivskyi Uzviz, is also surrounded by many studies of painters and sculptors and has always been a famous meeting point for artists from Kyiv. Some exhibitions, concerts and outdoor festivals also take place in this way.

St Andrews Descent
The Andrew’s Descent is a quiet way to enjoy a good walk in Kyiv.

As we ascend from Podil along the Andrew’s Descent, we reach the upper area of the city, near the St. Michael’s Monastery, places we had visited in the previous post of IaniWorld.

We now return to Podil to continue our tour of that district.

The area of the Kontraktova Ploshcha metro station is a popular place for its number of markets and multiple bus stops. From this busy place in Podil we walk 200 meters to the west until we find the Florovskiy Convent. In the vicinity we have several churches and markets that we can visit if we want.

Continuing a few meters towards the north we reach the Verkhnii Val street. This road is divided into the middle by a central space with trees in a row and a pedestrian path.

Streets of Podil

Verkhnii Val Street, in Podil District, Kyiv
Verkhnii Val street with its many shops and cafes.

The street is another of the busiest points in Podil. Throughout its 1,300 meters we find restaurants, bars, coffee shops and many decoration stores. The Kyiv tram has part of its route along this street.

In the upper area of Podil, southeast of the Verkhnii Val street, is the Florovskaya Gorka park. It is a wild space with abundant vegetation. From the top of it you get good views of the Podil neighborhood.

Bridge near Obolon
View towards the north. On the left is Podil and on the right is Trukhaniv Island. The bridge we see is the “Podilsko-Voskresenskyi”, which is under construction and will house a road and railroad tracks. It is expected to be completed in the year 2021.

A few kilometers further north is the port of Kyiv and the Obolon District, mostly populated by large apartment blocks.

We leave Podil and cross the waters of the Dnieper River to continue our tour in Kyiv.

Dnieper River and its islands

In the center of the river there are several islands, where the summer months gather hundreds of people in search of sandy beaches and green spaces.

From the park located behind the People’s Friendship Arch, in the center of Kyiv, there is a pedestrian path that descends the hill and leads to the Parkovyi Bridge.

Stairs in park, near Dnieper River
From the Peoples Friendship Arch we can go down the stairs to the Dnieper River and cross to Trukhaniv Island.

This bridge links the mainland with Trukhaniv Island. While we cross it we can admire the city and the river from a new perspective.

The Parkovyi bridge is pedestrianized and in its center it has a bicycle lane painted in red. The Trukhaniv Island is almost 12 kilometers long and a width that varies between 300 and 2,000 meters.

Parkovyi Brige in winter, over Dnieper River
Parkovyi Bridge in winter.

In its 4.5 square kilometers we find green spaces with lots of vegetation, rugged and flood-prone areas, beaches with beautiful sands, bars, cafes, restaurants and some other things.

The beaches attract a large number of visitors in summer. Some places on the island are very good for cycling and in winter for skiing. At the southern end of the island is a nudist beach.

Park in Trukhaniv Island
Swamp area of Trukhaniv Island.

Another island of the Dnieper River is the Venetian, located a little further south. You can access it by the Metro Bridge by vehicle, bus or also by metro, that it has a station (Hidropark) on the island. Just north of it is the Dolobetsk Island, linked by the Venetian Bridge. Both are part of the called Hidropark.

Venetian is famous for its many outdoor attractions. There are fields for sports such as soccer, tennis, paintball, cycling and much more. We can also find bars, casinos, restaurants, water attractions and boat rentals.

The Venetian and Dolobetsk islands have several white sand beaches that summon thousands of people during the hot months. There are also spaces for beach sports such as volleyball, special beaches for children and a small port.

Hidropark: Venetian island and Kyiv Downtown in the background
In the image taken from the bridge that connects the islands of Venice and Dolobetsk, we see some boats moored in Venetian dock and in the bottom, the west bank of the Dnieper River. On that hill, to the left of the image, is the Slavi Park
Dolobetsk Island, Hidropark
And if we look to the east we see the beach of Dolobetsk Island and to the right the Venetian Island. In the background you can see the turquoise dome of the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, the International Exhibition Center and the Dnipro District buildings.

On Dolobetsk Island there is a large outdoor gym dating back to Soviet times.

Venetian Island is linked to the eastern part of the city of Kyiv by the Rusanivka Bridge. If we cross to that area we will enter the Dnipro Raion (raion means district in Ukrainian). This district is mostly made up of residential buildings and some shopping centers.

Here, on the banks of the river, is the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ and the International Exhibition Center, where the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest was held.

Coast of river, and Dnipro Raion
Ships in a small dock, Dnipro District.

History and culture in the hills of the Dnieper River

We cross the Dnieper River again to return to the center of Kyiv because now we will see what awaits us in the south and west of the city.

The Slavi Park is about 2.5 kilometers (1.55 mi) southeast of the Independence Square. In it we can see the monuments to Ivan Kozhedub and the Unknown Soldier, the Holodomor Genocide Museum, the Church of the Savior at Berestove and the Perchersk Gate.

To the north of this park is the Cultural Center, surrounded by some restaurants and bars. This park gives us very good views of the Dnieper River, the islands that make up the Hidropark and the north of the city (Dnipro Raion).

About 400 meters north is the Askold Tumulus, a site with gardens and buildings linked to different legends. Meanwhile, south of Slavi Park we have the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Gallery.

Baseina Street Kyiv

Another of the great attractions of Kyiv is the Monastery of the Caves. This site, also known as Kiev Pechersk Lavra, receives thousands of annual visitors who come to make a pilgrimage to the convent or simply to visit a place of great cultural richness.

Monastery of the Caves was born in 1051 when the monk Antoniy settled down in the hills on the banks of the Dnieper River. At that time they occupied underground cells. The community of monks grew and, when they did not fit, they decided to build the buildings on the top.

The main temple is the Cathedral of the Holy Dormition (Sviato-Uspenskiy Sobor), the first stone building of the convent. We can also see the Gate Church of the Trinity (Troitska Nadbramna tserkva), which stands out for its altar and imposing frescoes.

The Monastery of the caves is divided into two parts. The upper Lavra, which is composed of buildings of great historical and cultural value, and the lower Lavra, where the convent of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church operates.

In 1990, the monastery and the neighboring Church of the Saviour at Berestove were declared World Heritage Sites by Unesco.

Monastery of the Caves
Many churches and buildings you will find inside the Monastery of the Caves.

In addition to admiring the buildings, the Monastery of the Caves surprises us with panoramic views east of the city. The Dnieper River, the neighborhoods of Dnipro and Darnytsia and the hills where the Monument to the Motherland is located, are some of the places that we can observe from this height.

Here we also find a unique museum in the world: It is the Museum of microminiature, composed of works of art of tiny size. They are contemplated with powerful magnifying glasses and were made by the prestigious artist Nicolái Siadristy.

The entrance to the lower Lavra is free and runs between sunrise and sunset, while the entrance to the caves is from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m..

The entrance fee to the upper Lavra is of 20 grivnas (0.62 euros). Tickets to museums are paid separately. This section of the monastery is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. hours between the months of April and September, and from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. hours between October and March.

Guided tours are available in both sections of the monastery for an additional price. To enter the site, women must cover their heads.

It is time to leave the Monastery of the Caves and walk about 1 kilometer (0,62 mi) south to the Museum of the Great Patriotic War.

Located at the top of the hill, this huge 10-hectare site is dedicated to World War II and the contribution of Ukraine to defeat the German fascists.

In this place we can see sculptures, exhibitions of military techniques and weapons, the majestic cup of the Eternal Flame, the square, the hall of the hero cities and much more.

National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War
National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War.

Its biggest attraction is the 62-meter-high (203 ft.) monument called Madre Patria (Batkivshchina Mati). This imposing statue is the largest in Ukraine and one of the largest in the world. If we include its pedestal, the total height reaches 102 meters (334 ft.).

The Motherland is visible from a good part of the city and has two elevators that raise visitors to two observation terraces, one at 36 meters (118 ft.) high and another at 92 meters (301 ft.).

Aerial photo of Kyiv, with Monastery of the Caves and Motherland (Photo Andriy155)
Aerial image that shows us perfectly the southeast of Kyiv. The churches of the Monastery of the Caves are in the foreground and behind we see the colossal monument to the Motherland. We also have the bridges Patona (left of the photo) and Darnitskyi (in the background). Beyond the Dnieper River is the Darnytsia District, which extends to the horizon. (Photo: Andriy155)

The museum operates from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday, while the exhibition of military techniques and weapons works every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m..

The prices are: 10 grivnas for the museum, 2 grivnas for the weapons exhibition, excursions 10 grivnas individually or 30 grivnas for groups.

Ascend to the observation terraces in the Motherland monument costs 50 grivnas (terrace at 36 meters high) and 200 grivnas (terrace at 92 meters).

Park in Kyiv

Two kilometers south we can visit the National Botanical Garden, which has 130 hectares and 11,000 flowers and vegetables, as well as a large greenhouse. The best time to visit is between May and August.

On the banks of the botanical garden is the Vidubetsky Monastery, a famous convent declared an Architectural and Historical Monument of Ukraine.

Its oldest construction is the St. Michael’s Church, wich dates back to 1070, while the key building of the monastery is the St. George’s Cathedral, built in 1701 with a clear Baroque Cossack style.

From the Vidubetsky Monastery you can see the Dnieper River and much of the east and southeast of Kyiv.

Since these attractions are far from the center, to reach them we can use the M3 metro line (to the station “Druzhby narodiv”) or the trolleybus line 14 that from the metro stop “Vokzalna” brings us directly to this site.

South of Kyiv

Discovering the south of Kyiv

Now I propose you to visit the south of the city: We can still see much more.

Walking south from the center of Kyiv, along Velyka Vasylkivska Street we can visit the Church of St. Nicholas and if we continue another 1,500 meters we arrive at the Ocean Plaza, one of the largest shopping centers in the country.

This important mal has more than 400 stores, 40 restaurants and an aquarium with 350 tons of water and a large amount of fish. In the place we can also arrive by bus or by metro (the Lybidska station of the M2 line is just in front). Few meters south of the Ocean Plaza is the main bus station of Kyiv.

Ocean Plaza Kyiv

Ocean Plaza and Holosiiv District
The Ocean Plaza shopping center and behind the Holosiiv District.

We now move about 6 kilometers (3.72 mi) south of the city center to know the Zhulyany Airport. It is the second airport in the Ukrainian capital, used by several airlines, some of them low cost. But we came here to visit the Aviation Museum.

This unforgettable place in our tour is adjacent to the airport. It started its activity in 2003 with about 30 aircraft on exhibition. Today, its 20 hectares have more than 70 pieces on exhibition: from airplanes, to aerial weapons and unmanned vehicles.

To get to the place the most convenient is to use any transport that arrives at the Zhulyany Airport and then walk the 1,000 meters (0.62 mi) that separate it with the Aviation Museum, or take the bus line 220, which has a stop at the entrance of the museum.

Zhulyany Airplanes

About 3 kilometers (1.86 mi) east of Zhulyany Airport, and next to the Vidradnyi Park, is the Mamaeva Sloboda open-air museum. This site that you can not miss in your visit to Kyiv, perfectly recreates the ancient Cossack settlements of the 17th and 18th centuries.

You can get there by taking bus 433 line (Marshrutka) from the Taras Shevchenko Park in the center of Kyiv. Also taking the 427 line that starts at the Sports Palace.

Path and trees Tarasa Shevchenka Boulevard.
In the middle of Tarasa Shevchenka Boulevard, there is a long path that invites you to walk it from end to end.
Tarasa Shevchanka Boulevard in winter, entrance of Ukraina Mall
Ukraina Mall in winter.

To the west of the city we find more places to visit. On the Tarasa Shevchenka Boulevard, 2 kilometers (1.24 mi) from the center of Kyiv, we have the Ukraina Mall, a large shopping center. The Mistu-Heroyu Kyyevu Obelisk and the National Circus of Ukraine are located nearby.

If we continue west on this road, which now takes the name of Peremohy Avenue, we find the Kyiv Zoo and the parks of the Polytechnic Institute and Pushkina.

Obelisk Kyiv

Ukraina Mall Kyiv

In the northwest of the city are the Monastery of the Protection of the Mother of God of Kyiv, the arboretum Syrets and the Church of St. Cyril.

If we have more time we can see other interesting attractions located in the Kyiv metropolitan area, such as the Exhibition Center of Ukraine, the Museum of Popular Architecture and Rural Life in Pirogovo, the Park Rus of Kyiv (in the town of Kopachiv), the Alexandria Arboretum (in Bila Tserkva) and the Kyiv Reservoir.

Tarasa Shevchenka Boulevard, west of Kyiv
The Tarasa Shevchenka Blvd. stands out for its grove and is one of the main arteries to go to the west of Kyiv.

If you want to take advantage of your time in Kyiv to pay a visit to Chernobyl, you can hire the service in the travel agencies of the city.

The tour lasts one day and is available only for those over 18 years old. The prices vary according to the company, date and duration, but can start at 75 euros and reach 500 euros for more complete and customized excursions. It is recommended to contract the service several days in advance.

Here ends this great tour of the beautiful capital of Ukraine. In case you have not seen it yet, the first part of the visit to Kyiv is here. In it I give you, in addition, the useful and basic information of transport, gastronomy and accommodation that will serve you as a guide if you wish to make a trip through these lands.

Kyiv church

Kyiv downtown and Podil attractions
Near the Independence Square, Kyiv’s most central location, the Podil District and the Dnipro River with their islands are located.
Map of Attractions in east and south Kyiv
Here the rest of scattered sites in the east and south of the city that we were also looking at today.
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