Kiev is an eclectic city complete with ornate churches, UNESCO World Heritage sites, buzzing local markets and vibrant late-night spots. There is something happening everywhere you look in this city!
Ukraine’s capital is a green city on the banks of the Dnieper River. It has a history stretching back centuries – illustrated in the historic buildings and cobblestone lanes nestled amongst modern streets. Thanks to its affordability, the great things to see and do as well as the fact that Kiev is a gateway to Chernobyl, this fascinating city is growing in popularity each year. However, Kiev remains quiet compared to other tourist-centric cities in western Europe.
Kilesso Vladyslav (Vlad) and his team of talented young professionals decided to start Kiev Walking Tours in 2015. This decision followed the Kiev independence revolution in 2014. In the wake of the revolution, Vlad saw an opportunity to bring travellers back to the city and refocus on all of the great things Kiev has to offer. Today, they are a major tour company and share their amazing city with visitors from all over the world!
Learn more about Kiev Walking Tours, Ukraine, and all of the city’s quirks and attractions below…
1. Could you provide a brief history of Kiev Walking Tours?
We started Kiev Walking Tours back in 2015 after the horrible revolution that took place back in 2014. Following the revolution, many people were too scared to visit Kiev. However, we saw this time as a burnt-out forest where new plants could start growing. In the beginning, it was difficult as we didn’t have enough clients but we kept working hard and now we are one of the biggest tour companies in Kiev. We love our city and our main goal is to make all the visitors fall in love with it too!
2. What made you decide to co-found a travel and tourism company?
I started working as a tour guide at the age of 16. Right away I fell in love with my job and didn’t want to do anything else. I love meeting different people from other countries, sharing emotions and experiences and making new friends.
That’s why when we saw an opportunity to start a tourism company – I did my best to achieve our goal.
Following the revolution, many people were too scared to visit Kiev. However, we saw this time as a burnt-out forest where new plants could start growing.
3. Why should people visit Ukraine and Kiev?
Ukraine is the biggest and one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. Rich history, amazing landscapes and lovely local people. Recent events have also made Ukraine one of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe. As cheap as Vietnam and Thailand! That’s why it’s a perfect destination for people of different ages and with different budgets.
4. What can travellers expect from a guided tour of Kiev?
We will show them the best sights in Kiev and tell the most interesting stories.
They will see Independence Square and learn about Revolution of Dignity, visit St. Michael’s Cathedral and Lavra Monastery to learn about the religion of the local people, explore a market at Andrew’s Descent overlooking amazing St. Andrew’s Church, discover some hidden places such as Landscape Alley and finish the tour near the Golden Gates.
We’ll also take our guests to the Motherland Monument, the biggest monument in Eastern Europe, where they’ll have time to take photos.
We love our city and our main goal is to make all the visitors fall in love with it too!
5. What makes Kiev a unique destination?
We have a huge variety of sights and activities so everyone will find something interesting. This includes ancient churches and monasteries for the guests who love history; and kayaking and shooting tours for those who love adrenaline. There are also lots of restaurants for people who like to eat delicious food and drink cocktails for $2-3!
6. Why should travellers choose to do the:
In my opinion, all these places are the must-visit sights in Kiev.
The Museum of Corruption excursion visits the palace of our ex-President. He spent $2,5 billion to build it!! Inside of it you’ll see some incredible stuff and learn how insane corruption was and is in Ukraine. There are no places like this in Europe and what makes it even more interesting is the fact that our government hasn’t done anything to run this place as a museum. It is still run by local activists.
Pirogovo Museum is the biggest open-air museum in the world after Skansen in Sweden. If you want to learn more about Ukrainian history and see how our forefathers used to live, you simply can’t miss it. Our guide will give you a detailed tour and while there, you’ll enjoy a traditional Ukranian lunch with the best local vodka!
I could write a 5-page article about why everyone should visit Chernobyl, but I’ll try to explain it in short: It’s the biggest nuclear catastrophe in the history of the world. Pripyat was designed as a perfect city. Today, it is abandoned and no one has lived there since 1986. It is an incredible place to see in person. Currently, it’s totally safe to visit it if you follow the guide all the time. If you are already in Kiev – how can you miss it?
7. What are your top 3 favourite destinations to see in Kiev?
1) Landscape Alley, because it’s amazing and not many people know about it. It’s home to many art pieces and you can enjoy beautiful views of Kiev from here.
2) House with Chimeras. There are no other buildings like that in Kiev. This Art Nouveau building has statues of many animals and mythical creatures on its walls which makes it a very interesting and mysterious place.
3) Khreshchatyk Street. Kiev’s Main Street with many bars, shops and restaurants. I believe everyone should have a walk there at least once.
8. What are your top 3 experiences to have in Kiev?
1) Try local $1 vodka and salo (white pork fat) with borscht (beetroot soup). It’s the most traditional dish in Ukraine.
2) Experience a local market and try to negotiate with our babushkas in Ukrainian! (A babushka is a grandmother or old woman).
3) Visit the old town and simply get lost there. That’s how you’ll see the most beautiful streets and some hidden courtyards.
Rich history, amazing landscapes and lovely local people. Recent events have also made Ukraine one of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe
9. What are useful Ukraninan phrases for visitors to the country to know?
Dyakuyu – thank you
Budlaska – please
Budmo! – cheers!
10. Do you have any fun facts about Kiev? Something visitors to the city wouldn’t know?
11. What do you hope that travellers take away from their time with Kiev Free Walking Tours?
Like I previously mentioned – our main goal is to make you fall in love with Kiev. After visiting our city and spending time with Kiev Walking Tours – we want you to come back with all your friends and relatives!