Kyiv Forest Tram

Top 10 Unusual Kyiv

Alternative and different things to do whilst at Eurovision

With Eurovision just around the corner, if you’re lucky enough to be coming to Kyiv, Ukraine you’ll be looking for things to do whilst here. Searching on other sites for things to do mostly comes back with a list of the many wonderful churches of Kyiv (which you shouldn’t miss), but here’s my alternative list if you’re looking for something different or a little bit unusual.

Eurovision, Ukraine 2017

1. Enjoy a Tram Ride Through the Forest

Kyiv has a small network of trams, mostly travelling through the city, but this one is very different in that it’ll take you through the forest to a quiet neighbourhood called Pushcha-Voditsa. There’s only a few houses along the way and you’ll see lush forest on either side and in front as far as they eye can see. You can either take an official excursion where a special tram comes and picks you up from Kontraktova Ploscha and a Babushka (old woman) will tell you about the history of Kyiv and the trams in Russian and serve you tea or alternatively, you can take one of the public trams on Line 12 from the same place.

Cost: 4 UAH / 12 Pence (Public Tram), 180 UAH / £5 (Excursion with Tea)
Website: https://www.interesniy.kiev.ua/excursion/progulka-na-tramvaychike-v-pushhu-voditsu/ (In Russian)

2. Climb Ukraine’s Taller Version of the Statue of Liberty

Climbing Rodina Mat / Mother Motherland

Climbing Rodina Mat / Mother Motherland

Have you dreamt about climbing the Statue of Liberty but without the crowds and going slightly higher up than the New York version via a ladder in her arm? Then this is for you. This monument, Mother Motherland/Rodina Mat is impressive from the outside, but take a trip up to the top “Observation Deck Extreme” to get a totally different perspective. You should be fit and healthy as you are required to wear a harness, crawl through tight spaces, but then you are rewarded with being able to pop your head out of the shield she is carrying for a selfie or two.

Cost: 200 UAH / £6
Website: http://www.warmuseum.kiev.ua/_eng/visitors/time/index.html

3. Have Coffee at Gara Concept Store

I recently visited and wrote about this only a few months back. It’s a concept store in which you have to make an appointment online and are given a password to come at a certain time. You’ll likely be the only people there and will be treated to free coffee and biscuits and showed a wide variety of weird and wonderful goods, none of which you are expected to buy. Perfect afternoon out for a rainy day. Read my review here.

Cost: Free
Website: http://gara.com.ua/

Dragon Backpack at Gara Concept Store

Dragon Backpack at Gara Concept Store

4. Feel Alone in Chernobyl & Prypyat

Everyone’s heard of the world’s worst nuclear disaster that happened in Ukraine in 1986. The area is tightly controlled and there is still a very large exclusion zone surrounding the reactor, but you actually take a day trip to get up close and also visit the nearby abandoned city of Pripyat which is very eerie. Don’t worry about the radiation as you’re given a geiger counter to check radiation levels and you’ll probably receive less radiation then you would travelling on a commercial flight! Read more about my experience on this Chernobyl tour.

Cost: $100 / £80
Website: https://chernobyl-tour.com/english/

Pripyat Amusement Park

Pripyat Amusement Park

5. Visit the World’s Deepest Metro

Kyiv is home to the world’s deepest metro station in the world at 105.5 metres deep called Arsenalna. Whilst it’s not so spectacular inside, you’ve just got to visit to say you’ve been there. It takes several minutes down an escalator to reach the bottom then you can take a metro to the centre or alternatively take a metro from the centre to here and walk to Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves) or the Mother Motherland monument above.

Cost: 4 UAH / 12 Pence
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arsenalna_(Kiev_Metro)

6. Walk Along an Alice in Wonderland Themed Landscape Alley

Peizazhna Alley, Kyiv

Peizazhna Alley, Kyiv

On a nice sunny day, there’s a hidden landscape park called Peizazhna Alley which consists of several themed areas including an Alice in Wonderland children’s playground and various random statues for you to look at. There’s nice views over the Podil area with the Dnipro river in the distance. In Summer there are also bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a cold beer.

Cost: Free
Location: Peizazhna Alley

7. Buy Socks at a Vending Machine

Sock Vending Machine

Sock Vending Machine

I’m not sure if this is a world’s first, but it’s quite unusual. In the Globus shopping centre under Independence Square there’s an inconspicuous vending machine which sells a wide variety of socks. It’s worth a look for the novelty value, but you’re probably best buying from the neighbouring shops which are often much cheaper.

Cost: 100 UAH / £3
Location: Globus Shopping Centre

8. Visit a Secret Restaurant

Whilst you are in Globus, find the elevator at the other end of the centre and press the button labelled OB. You’ll be taken up to a secret floor and enter what seems like a normal looking shop. If you tell the password to the cashier: “Boritesya-poborete!” which means “Fight, and you’ll win”, she will open a secret door and let you inside to the restaurant called Ostannya Barykada (Last Barricade) . First you need to find another secret door yourself before you are given a short tour of the restaurant area, it’s history and if you are lucky taken to a further secret room on moveable bar seats! Prices are a little higher then you would normally pay in Ukraine, but the food and atmosphere is very good.

Cost: 200 to 500 UAH / £6 to £15 (Each)
Website: http://borisov.com.ua/en/ostannya-barykada

Gastronomic Delights at Ostannya Barykada

Gastronomic Delights at Ostannya Barykada

9. Ride on a Railway Operated by Children

Children’s railways originated from the USSR and have persisted to this day in many cities in Eastern Europe. A good example of this is in Kyiv where they have a short circular track through a park using almost full scale trains. The younger children tend to operate the passenger carriages checking tickets and making announcements whereas the older children get to actually drive the train, under adult supervision of course.  The journey lasts about 15 minutes and is open throughout the Summer months, usually on weekends and holidays.

Cost: Approx 60 UAH / £2
Location: Syrets’kyi Park

Kyiv Children's Railway

Kyiv Children’s Railway

10. Ride in a Marshrutka

A marshrutka in Myrhorod

A marshrutka in Myrhorod

This unique form of transport is quick and very cheap. It consists of what looks like a converted transit van in which up to 50 people are crammed inside. If you are lucky, you’ll get a seat, but most likely you’ll be standing which adds to the fun. If you are seated/stood at the back you can pass your fare to the the passengers in front of you who pass it forward and place it on a carpet next to the driver. Marshrutkas are not so comfortable, but are a very useful method of travel for those places not reachable by metro.

Cost: 4 UAH / 12p
Location: Everywhere!

Final Thoughts

There are many more things to do in Kyiv than you’ll find in the Tripadvisor Top 10, so take some time away from the crowds and venture off the beaten path to explore some of these unique and wonderful experiences.

Kyiv is like my second home, so if you’re here for Eurovision or any other time, feel free to contact me. Hopefully Britain will win Eurovision this year and we’ll be next to host it in London (no chance!).

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Published on April 30, 2017 in Top 10's, Travel by Jason and tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

2 Comments

  1. Olena Redchuk says:

    Hi Jason, I remember you and I like your blog. I enjoy reading your stories about Ukraine. Your adventures made me start my own ones. Recently I visited Kachanivka, Trostyanets and Sokyryntsi in Chernihiv region. And just yesterday I visited the House with Chimaeras, the President of Ukraine’s office and the House of the Weeping Widow (the tour was free!).
    Thank you!

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