Kiev: The City Inside A Huge Park


Tips On The Greenest City In Europe: KIEV


Hey folks! I have been currently studying Russian in Kiev for almost 2 months. Since I have been travelling and exploring different places every day, I thought that writing a detailed blog post about Kiev would be pretty cool! In this post, I will be giving heaps of information about this heavenly city; major sights, unpopular places, restaurants, daily life, transportation etc. I will try to write everything briefly so that reading will not become a cumbersome business for you.


Since 2014, Ukraine has been a rising economy and gradually becoming one of the popular tourist destinations in the world. As of 2018, Ukraine was ranked as the 23rd most touristic country in the world. In comparison with the other European countries, Ukraine is unbelievably cheap! I myself still can not believe how budget friendly Ukraine is. So why not discover this marvelous country! Have fun reading the post folks!

MAIN SIGHTS


1-GOLDEN GATE


Oldest remaining fortification of the Medieval Kievan Rus


Golden Gate also known as Zoloti Varota is literally the heart of the city! Regarded as the main entrance and one of the survived fortifications of the medieval city (a.k.a Kievan Rus).

The monument of the grand prince of Kievan Rus Yaroslav the Wise is erected right in front of the monument. The area is quite picturesque! There are many restaurants (Tre Branshe being my favourite!) and beautiful streets around the area.

When you reach there, you should definitely take a long walk around gate without checking Google Maps or any location providers. Here is also spot to connect to the other central areas of the city. Just get lost in the beautiful characteristic streets of central Kiev! 


Also there is a small cute cat statue near Golden Gate 🙂




2-ST. SOPHIA’S CATHEDRAL


One of the most impressive cathedrals I have ever seen!


When it comes to St. Sophia’s Cathedral, it does matter if you like history or architecture, this place definitely deserves a visit! This glorious 11th century cathedral stands at the heart of the city. Being located 10 minutes away by walk from Golden Gate, St, Sophia’s Cathedral awaits for you to explore it’s biblical depictions, paintings and carvings on the walls. This religious complex is the first heritage site in Ukraine which was recognized by UNESCO. It’s for sure that you will be amazed by the meticulous work on the walls!  If you want to get a pass for the enormous bell tower that abuts the churchyard, you will be paying a bit more extra. I personally recommend for you to pay a few more dollars and witness the marvelous view of Kiev from the top of the historical tower.

PRICES $

50Hr for for adults, 20Hr for children and students.

Entrance to the Bell Tower costs 10Hr/6Hr 


WORKING HOURS

Friday-Tuesday:10am-6pm

Wednesday:10am-5pm

Closed on Thursdays


Interior of the church. Full of marvelous Slavonic ornaments and wall paintings.


The watch tower laying the marvelous view of Kiev on your feet!



3-ST. MICHAEL’S GOLDEN-DOMED MONASTERY


Seeing the monks and witnessing the way they live takes you hundreds of years back in time!


This is an alluring monastery complex that is located 7-8 minutes away walking distance from St. Sophia’s Cathedral. By some people, it is seen as a lesser tourist attraction than St. Sophia’s Cathedral. Well I strongly disagree with that. In the monastery, you will get the chance to see the monks who have been living and maintaining their theological studies. For sure, it is quite interesting to witness these ascetics’ lives as well as visiting the golden-domed monastery. Golden Gate, St. Sophia’s Monastery and St. Michael’s Monastery can be combined in a single walking route. Since they are all located pretty close to each other, it is quite possible to cover these spots together.

WORKING HOURS

Open 08:00 – 19:00

Daily services at 08:00&17:00, Sundays at 08:00&10:00&17:00



4-ST. ANDREW’S CHURCH AND ANDREWSKY STREET


St. Andrew’s Church and the view of the beautiful Andrewsky Street!


In Kiev, there are numerous observation decks where you can have great views of the city. However, St. Andrews Church was my favourite. The church is located on top of the beautiful Andrewsky street which is another alluring spot of the city with many beautiful shops and stalls with traditional artworks of Ukranian artisanship and antique stuff! The observation deck, which is literally the platform surrounds the church, gives you a unique view of Podol Area and Dnieper river. Since the church is under restoration, you can only go up to the observation desk which costs 10 Grivnas (around 30 cents which is nothing!).

PRICES $

10 Ukranian Grivnas (around 0.30 Cents which is practically nothing!


WORKING HOURS

Open 09:00 – 18:00 everyday

Closed on Wednesdays!


Andrewsky Street with cool antique stalls and cafes!



5-AV FOMIN BOTANICAL GARDEN


It’s a bit neglected but still a marvelous spot.


My favorite park in Kiev! Once you enter, it makes you feel like you are miles away from the city! There are many different trees from different parts of the world. And there are many squirrels! It is a marvelous place to take walk! To me it really reminds of some sort of a Lord of the Rings set. The park is beautiful in every season however in autumn this place becomes epicly marvelous! Different shades of orange, decidious leaves covering the ground and cool autumn breeze in the air… Utterly mind blowing! One should not skip this place! The park is located right in front of the Universitet metro station.


I guess this must mean something in contemporary art



6-TARAS SHEVCHENKO PARK


Scenes from park and the pancake stall that you must check out! 🙂


This one is very close to A.V Fomin Botanical Garden. It literally takes 5 minutes by walk. Taras Shevckenko Park is located in front of the Taras Shevckenko National University. In the park, there is a traditional Ukranian restaurant named O’Panas which is one of the best in Kiev. However right know I will only be mentioning about the outdoors small pancake stall of this restaurant. One of my favorite things to do in Kiev is to get sweet pancakes and a cup of coffee from that stall and sit on one of the benches in the park. They have amazing sweet and salty pancakes which cost around 15 Grivnas (around 50 cents!!). Unbelivable isn’t it?


The pancake stall I was mentioning!




7-PODIL DOWNTOWN


You will run into unique street scenerios in Podil.


Podil is actually a big vicinity where there are many restaurants, cafes, minor sights, old streets etc. If you go to Andrewsky Street, it will connect you to Podil area as you go further. Grab some chocolate at Lviv Handmade Chocolate Factory located at the end of the Andrewsky street! 🙂 It is also so much fun walking around Podil and explore the old streets. Furthermore, there are numerous old buildings remaining from the Soviet Era which contributes to the cultural and architectural diversity of the city. The famous Chernobyl museum is also located in Podil!


Near the river.


Podil downtown!



8-CHERNOBYL MUSEUM


It is a small museum but the overall exhibition is actually pretty informative and cool!


This cool museum is in Podil. The exhibition and simulations are very professional and interesting but every single text and every piece of information is either in Russian or Ukrainian. So I would highly recommend you to make a quick research before you visit or ask for an English audio guide. The entrance is 10 Grivnas (30 cents). The 3D simulator of the Chernobyl Disaster is 30 Grivnas to watch which I recommend strongly! Even if you do not make a research about the disaster, more or less you will understand the story behind the displayed artifacts, since the exhibition is visually quite rich.

PRICES $

Entrance is 10 Ukranian Grivnas. 30 Grivnas extra if you want to take photos.


WORKING HOURS

10.00am-18.00 pm everyday

Closed on Sundays!


Many authentic artifacts from Chernobyl are displayed at the museum.


Uniforms and gas masks used by firefighters during the disaster



9- KIEV PECHERSK LAVRA


The church and the magnificent underground caves where monks still practice their daily rituals


Kiev Pechersk Lavra (also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves), is a historical Orthodox Christian monastery which is located on a large hilly area next to the Dnieper River. I find this place amazing and very intriguing. There are passes for the different parts of the territory and the prices differ depending on the areas you want to visit. I would personally recommend you to see three places: Uspenski Cathedral, Great Lavra Bell Tower and the most importantly The Pechersk Caves. The area is famous chiefly due to the underground caves where ascetic monks lived throughout the centuries. There are coffins with glass ceilings where you can see the parts of the mummified bodies of saints. The tunnels are quite small and frowsy. Also the air gets pretty stuffy as you do deeper. Long story short, when you go there, a spooky athmosphere will be waiting for you. However, words are really not sufficant to describe the experience. Walking through the tunnels where the only light source is candles and seeing the mummified saints were one of the most unforgettable experiences I have had in Ukraine so far.

PRICES $

Ассess to the territory 30 Grivnas

Access to the Cathedral of the Dormition Bell Tower 60 Grivnas

Access to the Cathedral of the Dormition Bell Tower 30 Grivnas (student discount)

Amateur photo shooting at the territory 200 Grivnas

Amateur video shooting at the territory 400 Grivnas

For all the prices go to: http://kplavra.kiev.ua/en/node/413


WORKING HOURS

09.00am-19.00 pm everyday! 


It is quite a big religious complex. I took me a couple of hours to cover all the spots.



10-THE MOTHERLAND MONUMENT AND THE MUSEUM OF GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR


The vast Motherland Statue. You can imagine the size of the statue by taking me as reference point.


The Motherland Monument is an enormous statue which is dedicated to the national heroes. The Museum of Great Patriotic War is underneath the statue. When it comes to the uniqueness of the exhibition and the way the artifacts are displayed, I have rarely seen such a cool museum! Moreover, there is a big and a elaborate exhibition about the war that has been going on in Eastern Ukraine since 2014. However, the museum is chiefly about the 2nd World War and Ukraine’s resistance against the Nazi’s. One important point about the museum is that there are detailed information cards in English at the entrances of every hall which help you to understand the stories of the artifacts and themes of the halls.

PRICES $

Аdult 20 Grivnas

Students 5 Grivnas

Audio Guide 50 Grivnas

Excursion 100 Grivnas


WORKING HOURS

10.00am-18.00 pm Monday-Friday

11.00am-19.00 pm Saturday-Sunday 


From 2. World War to ongoing Crimea dispute you can find amazing exhibitions in the museum!


Old artisanal statues representing the Heroic Defense by Soviet Army.


Remains of the wreck of a Soviet war plane



11-MAIDAN NEZALEZHNOSTI AND KRESCHATIK STREER


In evenings, Kreschatik is only open for pedestrian traffic so you can take very fun walks.


Kreschatik is perhaps the most popular street in Kiev which abounds with restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, mini coffee kiosks. At the end of the street the famous Maidan Nezalezhnosti  is located where the 2014 Protests took place. Maidan is vast and it is pretty fun to walk around, take photos, drink coffee etc. 

One quick reminder! Beware of the scammers who approach tourists and use different tricks such as the wallet trick. If someone hands you a wallet full of money and tells you that you dropped your wallet. Don’t ever get the wallet. Just ignore them. It is a very common scam which will make your trip quite unplesant when 4-5 other men come and tell that it is actually their wallet and you stole them. Do not pay attention to them and keep enjoying the city!


Grab yourself a cup of coffee along the way from one of the small coffee stalls.


The square is also picturesque but beware of scammers who target tourists.


HIDDEN GEMS OF KIEV

Upon finishing the main tourist attractions in 2 weeks, I started to explore the different vicinities of the city. I have been to countless breathtaking places! If you are planning to stay in Kiev a bit longer, you may also consider to see the places that I have mentioned below.Undoubtedly, these places will give you something far more interesting than a classic tourist experience. 

1-M.M HRYSHKO BOTANICAL PARK


Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Nepalese gardens and many other different plants…


This park literally blew my mind! The biggest one in Kiev! It takes minimum 2 hours to see all of the park properly. One additional suggestion from me to you would be to visit the Trinity Monastery of Saint Jonas in the park. While I was wandering, I witnessed an unforgettable preeching in the monastery, accompanied by the choir consisted of the brothers of the monastery. It was truely a unique experience! In the garden, there are information boards in English as well. 

PRICES $

Adults 40 Grivnas

Students 20 Grivnas


WORKING HOURS

8.30am – 9pm everyday


It is not very crowded so you will be amazed with how tranquil the place is.





2-MARINSKY PARK & MARINSKY PALACE


There are also a bunch of small coffee stalls where you can get pretty tasty coffee and snacks!


The park is located on a hill near Dnieper River. Marinsky Park does not have many visitors even though it is right in the centre. Most of the time, it is very quiet and tranquil. Also it is very clean. The park is followed by the enormous Marinksy Place; currently a vacant structure which is the offical ceremonial residence of the Ukranian Presidents. Moreover, there a few coffee stalls where you can get some beverages and enjoy the park.


Especially in winters the park becomes very beautiful




3-THE RAINBOW ARCH & TROLLEY ACROSS DNIEPER RIVER


The famous rainbow arch lit at night.


Friendship of Nations Arch dedicated to the unification of Russia and Ukraine within the Soviet Union. The colors of the arch illuminate as a rainbow at nights. Furthermore, there is a huge observation desk where you can witness the alluring view of the vicinity of Podil. However, the most fun thing to do is to zipline across Dnieper by the trolley which is located on the right side of the observation desk. It costs 200 Grivnas per person (7.5 dollars). I highly recommend it to the ones who like visceral experiences!

PRICES

Crossing the river with zipline costs 200 Grivnas per person


The view is amazing here! Moreover crossing the river with zipline is quite a visceral experience!




4-PISHOKHIDNYY BRIDGE & EXPLORING THE VAST ISLAND


This place is perhaps one of the most unknown areas of Kiev.


Pishokhidnyy is a pedestrian bridge right in front of the Rainbow Arch observation deck. If you decide to cross the river by the trolley, you will be seeing the bridge below. It connects western Kiev to the biggest island on Dnieper River.

This vast island is covered with a dense forest which feels like a fantastic film set while you are wandering it. Upon crossing the bridge, the road will bifurcate, however you should keep going stright and follow the main road. You will be walking through one of the most fascinating walking trails in Kiev. As you go further in the forest, it gets a bit hard to believe that you are actually in a huge city with the population of 5 million. Going back is pretty easy too; you can either walk back the way you have walked or keep going straight until you see the big Moskovsky Bridge where you can cross back to the mainland.


It feels like you are walking around a vast forest.


It gives you so much peace to walk along the path and listen to the nature.



5-PINCHUK ART CENTER


I am not a fan of contemporary art myself but I loved this museum!


Pinchuk Art Center is a contemprory art exhibition center that is located at the end of Kreschatik Street, right near the Bessarabsky Market. It is a pretty popular place in Kiev so in case you can’t find it; ask anyone and they will show you where it is. Personally I am not a big fan of contemprory art, nonetheless I think this place is a must see. The content of the exhibition is very interesting and intriguing. The entrance is also free. It literally takes less than an hour to finish the exhibition. On the 6th floor, there is an amazing cafe with delicious food and coffee named One Love Coffee. Do not leave here without having a cup of coffee in One Love Coffee!

WORKING HOURS

12pm – 9pm everyday

Closed on Mondays.


The works and projects created by modern Ukrainian artists are actually very intriguing.





6-VSTAVKOVYY CENTER


Do not leave here without trying out some street food at stalls! 🙂


Vstavkovyy Center is a big park complex with many facilities in it. It is one of the most picturesque areas of Kiev. In the park, there are many buildings used for different purposes such as fairs, exhibitions, conferences, movie screenings, various other events etc. Since the paths are very wide in the area, you can rent bikes at the entrance and see the area while cycling. My favourite thing in the park is the food stalls. I would recommend you to go there feeling a bit hungry so you can have a small feast. From traditional Ukrainian to Georgian, from American to German, you can find various types of food for reasonable prices. Park is connected with a vast forest area which feels like a film set while you walk in it. When you are done with the main area, just get a cup of tea/coffee and take a short walk in the forest 🙂


There are many places for barbecue



7-FOUNDERS OF KIEV MONUMENT


All hail the glorious Vikings! The founders of Kiev!


This fascinating monument is right near the Dnieper River. It literally takes 8-9 minutes from the back exit of Pecherska Lavra to the monument by walk. The monument looks glorious with Dnieper River in the background. For the ones who love taking photos (like I do!) this place is a great spot to take cool photos. Upon visiting the monument, I would recommend you to take a walk by the river towards the Dnieper Metro station where you can take a metro back to downtown.


It is also a popular spot for couple to have their wedding photo shoots. Two couples came here during my visit. A bit odd tough!


View of the river



8-MUSEUM OF HISTORY


This museum was surprisingly very cool!


This is a small museum with a unique exhibition about the history of Kiev starting from the early ages of humanity. Moreover, there is proper English information which helps you to understand everything! The entrance is 40 Grivnas for adults and 25 Grivnas for students. Completing the exhibition takes 45 minutes-1 hour. I think a short visit to this museum would be cool!

PRICES $

Adults 45 Grivnas

Students&Children 30 Grivnas


WORKING HOURS

11am – 7pm everyday 

Monday 11am – 4pm


Old relics remaining from the different eras of Kiev.



9-DREAM AQUARIUM


The aquarium is in the Obolon District which is pretty fun to explore!


This is a huge aquarium that is located in Obolon area which is quite far from the center. However, it is right next to the Minsk metro station so it will not be hard for you to go there. The entrance fee is 250 Grivnas for adults and 150 Grivnas for students. For sure, it will be a different experience for you!

PRICES $

Adults 250 grivnas

Students 150 grivnas


WORKING HOURS

11am – 10pm everday!


Also it is always worth exploring malls so you should also check out this cool place!



10-PARK LANDSCAPE ALLEY


Old authentic Soviet blocks abutting the cool artsy park.


Damn, I love this place! It is a charming public park with some cool local artwork, including abstract sculptures & mosaics. It is open 24 hours. It does not require a lot time and the park will surely amaze you!


This hidden spot is very beautiful.


Many artworks, cool mosaic portraits covering the walls


As expected you can find many small coffee stalls along the walk



12-HOLOSIIVS’KYY PARK


Sviato-Pokrovskyi Golosiiv Monastery


So far, I think it is very clear for everyone that Kiev is an amazingly green city. Surrounded with parks, botanical gardens, lakes etc. Holosiivs’kyy Park is one of them! The park lies beyond the exit of the Holosiivska Metro station. The area is quite vast and harbors small and big lakes in it. For me, one of the most picturesque and interesting places in the park is Saint. Pokrovsky Monastery. The entrance is free and it takes less than 45 minutes to see the whole area very properly. Upon visiting the complex, you can give a small break at the cafe which is located in front of the entrance. You can eat various homemade pastries and have beverages there. I got a big donut and a latte and they all costed 26 Grivnas (a dolar). Pretty cool isn’t it?40 Grivnas


There are bunch of old ponds in the park




RESTAURANTS & CAFES

The restaurants and cafes which I will be mentioning below are the ones I have been to in person.


Moreover, on TripAdvisor they are well rated as well. I wrote very briefly about the main facts and observations to not make it boring for you to read. I hope you will enjoy!

1-O’PANAS


Get yourselves a crepe from the stall and enjoy the beutiful park while having your crepe!


This amazing restaurant is in Taras Shevhekno Park. The food is great and they serve one of the most delicious pancakes I have ever had in my life. Moreover, their Borsch is very tasty as well. The prices are average. The staff speaks English. Also on Saturday evenings they have live Ukrainian music! You should also stop by and grab yourselves a delicious crepe at the small stall on the right handside of the restaurant


WORKING HOURS

Mon – Fri : 9am-12am

Sat – Sun: 10am-12am


Pancakes are so delicious


Upon request, that’s how they serve borsch.



2-PERVAK


The staff of Pervak serves in traditional Ukrainian folk clothes’


Traditional, tasty and affordable! The staff dresses in traditional Ukrainian clothes which makes the place cooler! Pervak is also the place if you want to have tasty borshch. The prices are also affordable but slightly more expensive compared with O’Panas.


WORKING HOURS

Mon – Fri : 9am-12am

Sat – Sun: 10am-12am


Interior of the restaurant


Platter of cold meat and some shots



3-KANAPA


The interior resembles traditional Ukrainian wooden huts


Blew my mind! Amazing gourmet food, unique presentation of food, professional English speaking staff and alluring wooden interior design. They serve Borsch in a huge cabbage. You must also try their dumplings. Kanapa is located on the Andrewsky Uzviz.

WORKING HOURS

Everyday : 10am-12am


Anndd the Oscar goes to Borsch in cabbage!




4-CHACHAPURI


Check out that place if you want to some authentic Georgian cuisine!


My favorite Georgian restaurant. Their main courses, soups and salads are amazing! Additionally, they give a small complementary plate with a shot of vodka and some sort of a Georgian meatball as the starter. One of my favorite places in Kiev! The prices are between average and expensive.


WORKING HOURS

Everyday : 10am-12am


Chachapuri, the traditional Georgian pizza


They have also have a traditional Georgian oven



5-PUZATA XATA


Puzata Xata is a very wide spread chain and the prices are unbelievably cheap!


Puzata Xata has a different concept. It is more of a cafeteria than a restaurant. There is always a big selection of food. The dishes are tasty and the food is good quality. There are more than a dozen of Puzata Xatas in Kiev. It is a very wide spread chain. An average meal would cost around 100 Grivnas which is around 3 dolars.

WORKING HOURS

Everyday : 7.30am-11pm



6-UNDER WONDER


One of the cool spots for fine-dining in Kiev


Puzata Xata has a different concept. It is more of a cafeteria than a restaurant. There is always a big selection of food. The dishes are tasty and the food is good quality. There are more than a dozen of Puzata Xatas in Kiev. It is a very wide spread chain. An average meal would cost around 100 Grivnas which is around 3 dolars.

WORKING HOURS

Everyday : Open 24 hours





7-IL MOLINO


The best pizza place I have ever been to in Kiev!


Il Molino is a small but a popular pizza restaurant right next to Zoloti Vorota. Their pizzas are quite tasty. I am personally fond of their pizzas. Prices of the pizzas change between 120-180 Grivnas (6-8 dolars).

WORKING HOURS

Everyday : 11am – 11pm




8-CAFE DRUZI


This place resembles European style cafes. The prices are average and food is so tasty!


Concept-wise, Café Druzi resembles the European Cafes. High quality food for average prices, nice environment, creative interior design would be enough to describe this place. They have delicious food and cocktails. I personally find the presentation of food very successful. Moreover, the staff is very friendly and they speak English as well! Definetely do try the Bruschetta with Fig.


WORKING HOURS

Everyday : 9am – 11pm


Pumpkin soup and fig bruschettas



9-KHARMS


A perfect place to study! I was addicted to this place! 🙂


I am regular customer of this café. Kharms is more of a book&studying café. I would definitely put it in my top 5 restaurants&cafes in Kiev. They have very different types of food. I can say that they have a very creative menu in terms of the combination of the different ingredients. You must try their soups and sandwiches. Annnddd their HOT CHOCOLATE WITH MARSHMELLOWS! I love it so much and I have rarely tasted such a delicious hot chocolate.  Do not leave the place without trying their hot chocolate. Price wise, a meal would cost around 120-150 Grivnas (6-7 dolars).


WORKING HOURS

Everyday : 10am – 11pm



Kharms is a great spot for breakfast as well



10-TRES BRANCHE


Right behind the Golden Gate! This place has amazing food and the interior is so unique!


It is a French Café right next to Zoloti Varota. You should definetely have breakfast here! (Breakfast is served until 12pm! Do not miss it!) I see this place as one of the best cafes in Kiev. The prices are a bit higher than the average so let’s say that a meal would cost around 150-250 Grivnas. It really depends on what you eat, however I am just saying an average price according to my observations.


WORKING HOURS

Everyday : 8am – 11pm


Havin’ breakfast near the Golden Gate! Well that’s something 🙂



11-VARENYCHNA KATYUSHA


They have a lot options in the menu but I am especially fond of their dumplings!


This place is also a small chain. They have the biggest variety of food in a menu I have ever seen in Kiev. Does not matter what you order, your food will definitely be amazing! Additionally, it is a perfect place to eat Vareniki (Traditional Ukranian Dumplings). Because the Varenikis are properly handmade and if you decide to sit upstairs, upon climbing the stairs you will see the staff  who will be making Varenikis on your left side. Price-wise the place is average. A meal would cost between 100-180 Grivnas.


WORKING HOURS

Everyday : Open 24 hours!


Ukrainian dumplings “Vareniki”




12-BORSCH


Their food is amazing! Especially pork schnitzel blew my mind!


Borsch is a small restaurant with cool interior design. It is located pretty close to Maidan Nazelezhnosti. The food is pretty cheap and the atmosphere is very nice as well. They indeed have one of the tastiest Borsches in Kiev. A meal will cost around 90-120 Grivnas (3-4 dolars) which is pretty affordable.


WORKING HOURS

Mon – Fri : 9am-11 pm

Sat – Sun : 11am-11 pm


They serve one of the tastiest borsch in Kiev.



13-ONE LOVE COFFEE


I would say this place is the best coffee place in Kiev! The interior design is beyond words!


One Love Coffee is a café chain in Kiev which is literally fantastic! Their coffee is mind blowing and desserts are pretty delicious as well. If you are seeking for a calm environment to study or read, this place would be perfect for you! My favorite One Love Coffee is the one in Pinchuk Art Center. In comparison with many other cafes in Kiev, the prices are slightly higher here, however you should definitely stop by or perhaps stay a bit longer and enjoy the magnificent atmosphere.


WORKING HOURS

Everyday : 10am-11 pm


Try their coffees with different varieties of milk



SOME USEFUL INFORMATION

Upon mentioning the places to eat and visit, I want to touch upon some useful information about the daily life in Kiev.  

Kiev is one of the most amazing places I have ever been to! Just enjoy this alluring city and have unforgettable memories!

Here is some brief information to make your time worthy in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe! Enjoy folks!



DAILY LIFE

Life is generally slow. People are not in rush which creates a tranquil environment all over the city. According to my observations, women have a strong influence in daily life, perhaps stronger than man. More than %50 percent of the labor force consist of women in Kiev. For me it is a quite respectable thing to see that, women are so active and they drastically contribute to the country’s economy.

SUBWAY

It is quite easy to describe the metro in Kiev with a single word: AMAZING! First of all it is extremely cheap. A ride costs 5 Grivnas which is 15 cents. Moreover, the metro is so fast and efficient. There are 3 lines and more than 50 stations in Kiev subway network. The metro is quite wide spread which makes it very easy to go between places. Additionally, Kiev officially has the deepest metro station in the world which is Arsenalna Station. I made a small experiment in which I saw that it takes 5 minutes to reach the top from the moment you get off from the metro. Pretty amazing! One of the most important facts is that in Kiev every single metro station has the Pay&Pass service which allows you to pay by your credit card in seconds while passing through the tourniquets. For the tourists who do not know Ukrainian or Russian, this service removes the cumbersome work to go and get tickets from the kiosks where no one really speaks English. The monthly-unlimited metro card costs 390 Grivnas (14 dollars, 2017 November Price) which is also quite convenient for the ones who will be staying a bit longer. Working hours of the subway are between 5.45 am and 12 am!

COFFEE

I thought, mentioning about coffee under a separate title would be more practical. Because the coffee concept in Kiev is worth being touched upon properly. I was very surprising for me to see that coffee is big part of the daily life in Ukraine. The city abounds with small coffee shops and coffee stalls. Coffee consumption is unbelievably high. For me the coolest thing is that the coffee prices are so cheap. At the stalls, a cup of coffee would cost around a dolar. However, if you prefer to try the coffee shops, prices differ between 1.5-2 dolars. Unbelievably cheap prices for such high quality tasty coffee! The funny thing is, being in Ukraine made me such a staunch coffee addict. If you are a coffee lover, Kiev will become a heaven for you! Walking around the historical streets and beautiful parks while sipping my coffee, is one of my favorite things to do in Kiev. I would highly recommend to you to do the same! Additionally, Starbucks has not entered the Ukrainian market yet. They have a substitute chain named Aroma Kava which is quite wide spread all over Ukraine.

TRAVELING IN UKRAINE BY TRAIN

It is a great experience to travel by train in Ukraine. A few years ago getting tickets was a big problem for the ones who did not speak any Ukrainian or Russian. However, thanks to Ukrainian Railways, they generated a very user friendly website in English which helps you to get your ticket in minutes. Additionally the international railway company InterCity also entered the Ukrainian market with its clean and fast trains. When you are on the website searching for the time schedule, you will see the abbreviation of IC+ next to some train hours. These are InterCity trains. In comparison with Ukrainian Railways, InterCity trains are more comfortable, faster and cleaner which makes them more expensive. A second class InterCity train ticket will cost around 10-15 Dollars (one way) which is quite affordable I think. Aside from that, I would highly recommend you experience the 1st Class Deluxe Cabin of Ukrainian Railways in an overnight/sleeper train. I had this unique experience in which I went from Kiev to Odessa in a Deluxe Cabin for 2 people. It was one of the most fun things I have ever done in my life. The tickets are around 25-30 dollars but I think it is worth spending that much once in while.

Here is the link of the English website of the Ukrainian Railways: https://booking.uz.gov.ua/en/

This website is also pretty useful for getting tickets: https://tickets.ua/en

ONE IMPORTANT REMINDER!! DEFINETELY PRINT OUT YOUR TICKET BEFORE YOUR TRIP! NOONE REALLY SPEAKS ENGLISH IN TRAIN STATIONS. IF YOU FORGET TO PRINT YOUR TICKET,  GETTING THE HARD COPY OF IT AND COMMUNICATING WITH THE PEOPLE WHO WORK IN THE TICKET KIOSKS MAY BE EXTREMELY HARD AND TIRING.

THINGS ONE SHOULD AVOID DOING

Before I start, I want to openly say that I have been in Kiev for 2 months, I have taken many night walks alone (sometimes in the centre sometimes around the surrounding vicinities), went to countless places and NOTHING BAD HAPPENED TO ME. Perhaps I think, Ukraine is quite safer than most of West Europe. Most of Kiev is very very safe so I do not want to sound like a scaremonger. The information is solely to make your trip comfortable and safe for you.

1-I am not very eager to touch upon any political issues, but find it useful to say that DO NOT MENTION OR STATE ANY CERTAIN IDEAS ABOUT THE CONFLICT BETWEEN UKRAINE AND RUSSIA THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON IN EASTERN UKRAINE. LONG STORY SHORT, AVOID TALKING ABOUT IT. DO NOT MAKE ANY JOKES ABOUT THE CONFLICT EITHER! I do not want to give any wrong ideas in a way that Ukrainians get aggressive or something. Definitely not! Ukrainians are extremely civilized and respecting people, however everywhere in the world, there is a danger of running into bad tempered pugnacious people. I am just telling this to remove this possibility.

2-DO NOT EVER TRY TO GO TO THE CONFLICT AREAS! THE MAIN REASON IS NOT BECAUSE YOU WILL GET HURT OR EVEN MURDERED, BUT YOU MIGHT BE TAGGED AS A SPY (BY THE PRO-RUSSIAN SEPERASISTS). On internet, there have been dozens of warnings about foreigners going to the conflict areas. Being tagged as a spy may sound like an urban legend, but it is actually a plausible possibility considering what is happening in eastern Ukraine.

3-IF YOU DECIDE TO GO OUT AND TAKE A WALK AT NIGHT TIME, DO NOT CARRY A BIG AMOUNT OF CASH WITH YOU. IT WOULD SAVE YOU FROM A BIG AMOUNT OF MONEY IN CASE SOMEONE ATTEMPTS TO ROB YOU. This personally never happened to me or to someone I know. But it does not mean that it can never happen.

4-Actually this is not a thing to definitely avoid but one should always adapt the essentials of daily life. IN METRO, BUSSES, PUBLIC AREAS PEOPLE GENERALLY DO NOT TALK VERY LOUD. SO AS A TOURIST YOU ARE EXPECTED TO ADAPT IT. I HAVE SEEN PLENTY OF TOURISTS YELLING IN METROS, PARKS AND THEY STAND OUT AND DRAW TOO MUCH ATTENTION. ADDITIONALLY, DO NOT SIT ON THE ESCALATORS IN METRO. EVEN THOUGH SOME UKRAINIANS SIT REGARDLESSLY, IT IS NOT WELCOME. FINALLY, WHILE GOING DOWN IN METRO, ALWAYS STAND ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE ESCALATORS. I ADMIT THAT SOMETIMES IN RUSH TIMES, NO ONE REALLY CARES ABOUT IT. HOWEVER, SOME PEOPLE MAY BE GETTING LATE TO THE PLACES THEY ARE GOING AND SINCE THE METRO STATIONS ARE LOCATED VERY DEEP UNDER THE GROUND, IT WILL PREVENT THEM FROM GOING DOWN QUICKLY.

PLACES ON GOOGLE MAPS


Restaurants are shown in purple

Places to see are shown in orange


IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO READ MORE ABOUT UKRAINE, CHECK OUT MY CHERNOBYL POST!


THANK YOU FOR READING!



Follow Me On Instagram

Advertisements

6 Best Places for Dessert & Coffee in Rome


TOP PLACES IN ROME TO GRAB DELICIOUS DOLCES


Upon completing my 5th month in Rome I decided to make a short list of my top 6 places for dessert&coffee in Rome. Gelato, croissant, tiramisu, coffee and many other heavanly food that will made you addicted!

1-GELATERIA LA ROMANA

PRICES

2 Scoops 2,20€ – 3 Scoops 2.70€ – 4 Scoops 3.20€ – 5 Scoops 4.00€ – Crepes from 3.00 €

WORKING HOURS

Monday-Friday         12:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Saturday-Sunday     11:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Gelateria la Romana is a small gelato&dessert chain in Rome and they have the best ice cream I have ever had in my life! For me their ice cream is artisanship, it is pure art! Also the interior of the shop is very elegantly designed.Gelateria La Romana has 3 branches and for sure they all have the same quality! However, I kinda feel more hooked on the one that is on Via Cola di Rienzo.

If you go to the one on Via Cola di Rienzo, just take a long walk on that street while eating tour gelatos. But if you want to sit somewhere while eating your gelato, I suggest you to go down to the canal through the stairs which at the point where the bridge ends. You will be amazed how quiet and peaceful is the canal. The variety of flavor will surprise you! My favorite ones are banana, pistachio, dark chocolate and mango. You should definitely try out these. If you are not a gelato person, you might as well try out their other desserts. Okay, even the name says a lot about their experty on ice cream, however they also have pretty tasty crepes, crumb cakes and pies.

Banana, Pistachio, Mango and Dark Chocolate combination is amazing!

The interior of Gelateria La Romana.



2-SANT’ EUSTACHIO IL CAFFE 

WORKING HOURS

Sunday-Thursday        8:00 AM – 1:00 AM

Friday                          8:00 AM – 1:30 AM

Saturday                      8:00 AM – 2:00 AM

The best espresso I have had in Italy! Among locals, this small shop is considered to be serving the tastiest espresso in Rome. Frankly, the espresso I had was super smooth taste-wise.

Having been located only 5 minutes away by walk from the ancient Roman temple Pantheon, Sant’ Eustachio Il Cafe is a pretty popular spot among tourists. Don’t be surprised if you see a long line of people waiting in front of the shop. If you prefer to sit outside and ask for service, you will be charged 2.5 Euros per person. Personally I would recommend you to have your drink while standing at the bar for it gives you a more authentic Italian espresso shop experience.

Inside the shop. You might as well get packed coffee to take it back to your country.

That’s how the shop looks like. Look carefully so it would be easier for you once you are there to discern the place amongst the tourist crowds.

This is the most up-to-date menu I could find. Anyways just check it to have an idea about the prices 🙂



3-TWO SIZES

WORKING HOURS

Friday-Saturday 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM

Sunday-Thursday 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Yummiest tiramisu ever! Two Sizes is rated as the best tiramisu place in Rome on Internet. Which means that it is seriously dope! 🙂

The funny thing is, even though they are rated as the best tiramisu place, their prices are the cheapest 🙂 Two Sizes is very small, literally a hole in the wall but it is always packed! 

They have 3 different sizes: Big 3.50 €, Medium 2.50 €, Small 1.50 € (literally the small one is 2 morsels).  Classic, Caramel, Pistachio, Peanut Butter and Strawberry are the flavors they have. But I always go with the classic one 🙂

I just grabbed a tiramisu and took a night walk in downtown Rome. Try it sometime! 🙂

Oh it looks like heaven! <333



4-FARO

WORKING HOURS

Monday-Friday 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Saturday-Sunday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

In Faro I had the best cappuccino! Unlike the places that are mentioned above Faro is not really like a small shop where you get stuff for take away then leave. It is a proper cafe where you can sit for a long time and chill as you wish.

I am not a fan of their food but I really am fond of their coffee and desserts. Apart from the stuff on menu, they often prepare different desserts like some sort of “dessert of the day” 🙂 However they don’t do it everyday so just name it yourself 🙂 Ask the staff if they can recommend what has been made that very day. You will not be disappointed I assure you 🙂

Faro has some great desserts like pumpkin cheesecake and strawberry crumb cake in flowerpot. The staff is very friendly and they speak English. Don’t forget to have cappuccino in Faro! Hope you like it folks! 🙂

Chicken Sandwich, Cappuccino, Americano and Strawberry Cheesecake 🙂

Interior of Faro. Pretty cosy 🙂



5-POMPI

WORKING HOURS

Everyday 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Indisputably Pompi is the first place that comes to mind when you think of tiramisu in Rome! It is not my favorite but I still like it very much. 

Pompi has 7 branches in Rome, however the most popular Pompi is the one near Piazza di Spagna. Many people sit on the stones on the abutting street and have their tiramisu very uncomfortably. Not very fun ain’t it? Grab yourself a tiramisu, walk towards the Spanish Steps and have your dessert there 🙂 No rush no hurry! Just enjoy your time :)) The scenery is amazing there. It will definitely make you feel like a Roman 🙂  In addition you can also opt for the branch near Trevi Fountain. But I think that area is always so packed and it is not very fun to try to find a place to sit and have tiramisu while hundreds of people are walking in chaos. I would opt for the first one, but of course you are the boss of your trip 🙂

I personally like the classic one the most for it has a very balanced taste between bitter chocolate and sweet cream, however you should also try the one with banana! The prices vary between 4.00-5.00 €.

Classic Tiramisu and Spanish Steps <3

Apart from classic, you can also have tiramisu with strawberries, banana or berries 🙂 Opt for banana I would say :))



6-LA CASA DEL CAFFE TAZZA D’ORO

WORKING HOURS

Monday-Saturday 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Sunday 10:30 AM – 7.15 PM

Sant’ Eustachio vs. Tazza D’oro. I always hear this debate when people start speaking about which place has the best coffee in Rome. After some time it fells like Roma vs. Lazio rivalry 🙂

Tazza D’oro is literally right near Pantheon. It is one of the places that has managed to maintain their quality and consistency despite the fame. Doesn’t matter when you go, you will always find this place full of people! I love the coffee there! One small suggestion: before you go to Tazza D’oro, get yourself a small pack of Ferro Rocher and have it with your coffee. Blends together so well 🙂

Before going to Pantheon just stop by Tazza D’oro and recharge your energy with a cup of tasty coffee! Or you might as well come here to get some rest after covering the major spots around! As you see fit! In the end, your vacation is a movie which you star in! 🙂

Tazza D’oro has such a cool exterior. Vintage fonts and pine trees. It draws attention at first sight 🙂

That is how the interior looks like. Again I recommend you to have your drink at the bar. It feels more authentic! 🙂 You can also chat with the staff. They are pretty friendly and chill people 🙂


IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN POSTS ABOUT ROME – ITALY, CHECK OUT THE DAY TRIP TO THE ITALIAN SEASIDE TOWN OF OSTIA POST AS WELL!


THANK YOU FOR READING!



Follow Me On Instagram

Get Away From Rome! Day Trip to Ostia!


DAY TRIP TO THE SEASIDE TOWN OF OSTIA, ITALY


ENJOY THIS guide TO the small seaside town of Ostia, located 30 minutes from Rome! Easily accessible by train, Ostia consists of two parts, one being the ruins of the ancient Roman city Ostia Antica and the second one being the modern seaside town of Ostia Lido.

The small town of Ostia consists of a wide palette of colors

Summary Of The Day Trip

Ancient City of Ostia Antica & the Modern Seaside Town of Ostia

5-6 hours, including train rides

Adult tickets to ancient city: €8 Train rides: €4.5 Personal spendings €5-10 TOTAL: €17.5-22.5!

STOP 1: THE ANCIENT CITY OF “OSTIA ANTICA”

Ostia Antica is one of the most attractive albeit under-appreciated ancient sites in Italy. It was founded in the 4th century as a military base. However due to its advantageous strategical location, in subsequent years this beautiful town grew quickly and became an important port city for trade. At its peak, it is presumed that the city had 50,000 inhabitants. It is assumed that the name of the town is derived from the word “ostium” which means mouth in Latin. According to some historians, the city was named that way because it is built at the spot where Tiber River meets the Mediterranean Sea.  

This huge ancient city, once an important port city during the Roman Era, accommodated 50,000 inhabitants

Many ancient slabs were discovered with carvings and texts on them

This ancient city is HUGE! When I got there I thought I would cover all the spots in an hour but it actually took me 3 hours to see the ruins! If you are a history enthusiast like I am then you might even spend more time but, in normal circumstances, 2 hours should be enough for an elaborate visit.

Old, beautiful, intact cobblestone roads take you around the city

I stumbled upon many unearthed intact statues in the city. Many of them are carved very meticulously. Blew my mind!

The Main Sights At Ostia Antica

Ostia Antica is a very impressive archeological site! However, surprisingly, the tourism organization is disappointing. Due to the lack of sign boards, I will write down the major spots of this ancient town that you should not skip! Google Maps links are attached!

The big ancient theater at the center of the city

STOP 2: THE SEASIDE TOWN OF OSTIA

Upon visiting Ostia Antica, what you should do is to freshen up at the seaside town of Ostia. As mentioned above, it is only a 10 minute train ride from the Ostia Antica Station. There are two stations in the town, however, the convenient one is Lido Central. Do not get off at Lido Nord! Once you get off at Lido Central, it is easier to access the beach.

The marvelous coastal line of Ostia is full of beautiful homes!

First thing I would recommend is for you to give a short visit to St. Maria Regina Church. The size of this church surprised me quite a lot for I was not anticipating to stumble upon such a big religious complex in a small town like Ostia. Italians are staunch Christians! If you are planning to chill at the beach (and you should definitely do that) you can get some snacks and beverages from Carrefour which is on the right side of the exit of the train station. They have the most varieties and most reasonable prices.  Then, just go and have a picnic alongside the sea.

St. Maria Regina Church

The coast of Ostia

It was an unforgettable walk along the coast! Don’t forget to grab some coffee along the way!

The beach area is quite lively and you will love it! Piazza dei Ravennati is at the center of the beach and the view is very picturesque from that point. Go all the way to the tip of the coast Pontile di Ostia! Watching the sunset from this pier can not be described in words! You have to experience it!

The most convenient entrance to the beach is on the sides of Piazza dei Ravennati. Also, I think that the sand is better and the area is cleaner there. The sound of the waves, seagulls and wind really gives so much peace.

Here is that alluring building I was mentioning. Perfect place for Instagram! 🙂

After chilling at the beach, you can take a walk on Via Dei Masenati. This is my favorite street in Ostia where you can find many small cafes, gelato shops and authentic Italian seafood restaurants. Even if you are not stopping by anywhere here, just take a short walk along the street and witness the relaxing atmosphere. If you get hungry, I suggest you to stop by Toastamore Lido di Ostia which is a small sandwich shop. Sandwiches and toasted breads are their specialities and the prices are pretty reasonable in comparison with the alternatives around.

Scenes from Via Dei Masenati

People walking their dogs, Italian families enjoying their time…

The menu at the sandwich shop, Toastamore

And of course, coffee! You should not leave here without having a cup of delicious Italian coffee! I would recommend the café Osteria Toscanelli for that. Right near the beach they have a very cozy outdoors area. For me it was pretty fun to sit outdoors and slowly sip my coffee while feeling the cool spring breeze.

Feels like heaven to sip your coffee while feeling the cool breeze! 🙂

HOW TO GET AROUND?

The commuter line you have to take is Rome Lido which is shown with grey line on the Rome Metro Map below. In order to get in the Rome Lido commuter you have to go to one of 3 stations on the Blue Metro Line: Piramide, Basilica St. Paolo or EUR Magliana. Once you reach one of these stations, just follow the signs and they will take you to the Rome Lido commuter. Transferring between the Blue Metro Line and Rome Lido is free! Depending on the station you transfer from, it takes around 30-40 min to get to the Ostia Antica Station. Once you reach the Ostia Antica Station, just follow the signs and they will take you to the entrance of the ancient city!

Train and subway network of Rome. Ostia Station can be seen on the lower bottom right.

After covering the ancient city, come back to the Ostia Antica Station and take the commuter to seaside town of Ostia. Get off at Ostia Lido! Many people actually get off at Ostia Nord which is once stop before Ostia Lido. So make sure you get off at the right station 🙂 It is actually pretty short and takes something like 10 minutes. If you want, you can also walk from Ostia Antica to the seaside town (it takes something like 45 min) but the road is not very suitable for walking. Of course it is your day trip so do as you see fit!


IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN MORE POST ABOUT ROME, CHECK OUT “6 BEST PLACES FOR DESSERT & COFFEE IN ROME”! GRAZIE 🙂



THANK YOU FOR READING!



Follow Me On Instagram

Ruderi di Galeria Antica: An Abandoned Town in Rome


HIDDEN ETRUSCAN RUINS IN THE WOODS OF SUBURBAN ROME


If you want to discover somewhere new and spooky in Rome, then this post is just for you! I really think that you are about to get to know one of the coolest places in Rome! Ruderi di Galeria Antica: an abandoned ancient Etruscan city in the woods of suburban Rome.

The main entrance of the town

– Ruderi Di Galeria Antica –

Be ready to meet Ruderi di Galeria Antica: ruins of an ancient town built by the Etruscans hidden inside a forest near River Arrone in Rome Metropolitan Area! Having been deserted for decades, the ruins of this ancient town have been reclaimed by nature!


Surprisingly NO ONE KNOWS that there is a huge ancient Etruscan town inside a forest which is located only 40 minutes away from Rome by car! So this intriguing place drew my attention quite a lot and I decided to go all the way there and check it out myself! I had an experience beyond my expectations. This marvelous place blew my mind!

– Where Is Ruderi di Galeria Antica? –

Many abandoned farms on the way…

Click to see it on Google Maps


It is accessible by public transportation. From central Rome it takes 1.5 hours


Once you reach the small Italian town of Osteria Nuova, walk down towards Santa Maria di Galeria. Upon passing it, take the first right you will be seeing after a couple of hundred meters. Then walk through the road that takes you to the abandoned farm. When you see the gate, take the dirt road on the right side of the road. As you follow the path, you will be seeing the ancient walls of the city on your left.


In case you cant find the way, here is the way to go to Ruderi di Galeria Antica from downtown Rome on Google Maps!


Ancient city walls start appearing after you diverge from the main road

– Brief History Of The Town –

Ruderi di Galeria Antica was founded in 5-4th century BC, by the Etruscans. The town reached its peak in Roman times. During the Germanic invasions of the 3rd century AD it was abandoned and repopulated in the Middle Ages. In the 9th century it was invaded and destroyed by Saracens. However in the 13th century the town was rebuilt by the famous Orsini family. In short, Ruderi di Galeria Antica was a settlement with a history full of upheaval and catastrophes.

During the mid-eighteenth century its inhabitants began to die mysteriously. Today it is assumed that the cause of these deaths was malaria, but at the time the unexplained deaths suddenly hit the city and the chaos resulted in uncontrollable disorder. 

What is striking is that the abandonment of the city did not occur gradually but took the form of a precipitous and chaotic escape at the beginning of 1800s. In the following years this town earned the label of ” Pompeii di Roma . By 1809 Galeria had been completely deserted. Just imagine how the town must have had looked after the abandonment. Pretty spooky isn’t it?!


The city is inside the woods and has many demolished ancient structures like this

– About The Town –

Ruderi di Galeria Antica is located on a cliff inside a forest 35-40 min away by walk from the small town named Osteria Nuova. THERE IS NO SECURITY SO ENTRANCE IS COMPLETELY FREE! THE TOWN IS HIDDEN INSIDE WOODS AND THE AREA IS UTTERLY ISOLATED FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD!

For me the most surprising thing was to see that many of the structures are still intact despite the fact that most of them were built more than 1000 years ago and witnessed countless wars. Two of the most important structures being the main entrance of the town and clock tower, most of the town is actually still well-preserved.

The town was actually bigger than I anticipated. Since the nature has reclaimed the area, many of the ruins and entrances of the underground caves are covered either by thick vegetation or bushes. I would say without a doubt this place is one of the most mysterious and mind blowing ancient sites I have ever been to!


This advanced Etruscan town had a complex network of aqueducts, through which water was once distributed

A narrow street between two buildings what was surely once a bustling road

– Exploring The Town –

The Main Gate and Intact Buildings

Right after you start noticing the city walls on your left upon passing the abandoned farm, you will be seeing a cobblestone path going upwards. Follow it to reach the glorious main gate of the city. The road and a surviving arch is covered with ivy and vegetation offer a picturesque scene! As you walk up, the mysterious atmosphere of the town starts embracing you!


The old cobblestone way leads you to the remains of this beautiful town

The main entrance of the ancient town

The building erected on the right side of the main entrance has a pretty weird and frankly spooky setting! There are random clothes scattered on the ground and burnt candles on the walls. Apart from that there are some gratifies on the walls but they are not very legible. Seems like it is regularly used by a group of people. Quite odd!


This is the view you see after passing the main gate of the town

The dilapidated multi stored structure is huge and it abuts the cliff. Blew my mind and gave me the creeps at the same time!


I THINK THE COOLEST THING ABOUT THIS PLACE IS THAT IF YOU EVER DECIDE TO GO THERE, YOU WILL BE COMPLETELY ALONE SINCE NO ONE KNOWS THAT SUCH PLACE EXISTS!



Frankly it was a bit creepy to see these burnt candles on the walls. Since I was exploring the area alone, seeing these made me feel a bit paranoid

There is a sharp stone erected in the middle of this mysterious structure

After entering the town through the main gate. If you keep to the right, you might see many small stone houses. Probably this place was the residential area of the town. This part mostly has deep holes covered by vegetation so the ground is not very strong.  Especially right behind the clock tower has a very weak foundation. Take your steps carefully.


Can you imagine how amazing it feels to wander around the ancient ruins claimed back by nature and there is utter silence!

The Clock Tower

It is not very possible for one to not spot the clock tower but just in case I am telling you to check it out! It is the most specific sight of the town! When you are roaming around the town, it really starts feeling spooky after sometime. Combination of utter silence, dilapidated ruins and hustling leaves blend in such a mysterious atmosphere!


Clock Tower, the most well-preserved structure of the town

Arcs and many walls are still intact

Dark Caves

On the borders of the town there are these man made caves carved inside the cliff. If you look carefully you can discern the crosses at the entrance. I took a glance inside and there were weird grafities on the wall. Unfortunately I didn’t have the guts to go all the way in 🙂


Here is one of the entrances to the advanced cave network that goes deep in the ground

It is said that some weird sort of things happened here in 1990’s. Lack of sources make these words only a bunch of urban legends however a photo taken during the police investigation that took place here arouses many questions in people’s heads. Here is that photo.


Pretty spooky and unaccountable isn’t it?

As I saw the caves are connected to each other through narrow tunnels that I could not dare going in. If you do not go alone then it would be safer to see around of course. Covering all spots of the town takes around 1.5-2 hours depending on your speed. I recommend you to come in the morning for the sun illuminates the area properly and it becomes more fun to see around!




WARNINGS REGARDING YOUR VISIT

  • Beware of the vegetation that covers the deep holes in the ground! There are many deep holes covered by fallen leaves, bushes etc. Therefore, moment you step on them, it wouldn’t be good I guess 🙂 
  • There fauna of the area accommodates many different types of animals including wild pigs. I myself saw a batch pigs from far away and for sure you would not want to have any sort of encounter with them. I do not mean to scare you, of course the area does not abound with them but just be careful!
  • Get hiking shoes! The slope towards the town is cobblestone so it is pretty easy for you to twist an ankle. Apart from that the town is also not suitable to be covered with any casual shoes!
  • On the borders of the town you might see bunch of man made caves carved inside the cliff. These caves go pretty deep inside the cliff and they might be inhabited by pigs or mountain cats and I do not recommend you to go all the way inside if you wander alone like I did!
  • The town is not guarded by any security or not patrolled by anyone so you go at your own risk! Just enjoy this marvelous place, however also be cautious at the same time!
  • Of course get water and some snacks before you come! It is not a very hiker friendly landscape you might get tired. As a result, you should boost your energy to not to get tired early!

Thick vegetation covering the ruins

CHECK OUT MORE OF THE CITY GUIDES AND TOP THINGS TO DO IN VARIOUS CITIES ON TRAVEL TIPS PAGE!


THANK YOU FOR READING!



Follow Me On Instagram

The Ghost Cities: Chernobyl & Pripyat


THE GHOST CITIES: CHERNOBYL & PRIPYAT


A stop-by-stop journal of our trip to the abandoned city of Pripyat, and the Chernobyl power plant. check out for more information!

Beginning Our Journey

7.00 am. We woke up to pack the essentials, like our GoPro, some snacks and plenty of water bottles. After that we left our hotel around 7.30am and made our way to the train station. Here, we grabbed some sandwiches and headed to the KFC behind Kyiv-Pasazhyrskyi Railway Station (also known as Pivdenny Station) where we met our small but awesome tour group with whom we were gonna be traveling with. In addition to us, there were five German adventurers who were also very eager to see the one of the world’s biggest exclusion zones: Chernobyl!

We also got to meet our extremely pleasant and enthusiastic tour guide from ChernobylWel.com who took each of our passports to confirm our places and then led us to an adorable minivan where we all piled in and paid our fee for our trip. We each paid $129 for the one-dayretro tour (more information about the company and our tour is available below) and began our hour and a half long drive from Kiev to Chernobyl!

Along the way we watched an hour long documentary about the Chernobyl Disaster
In the van, our guide gave us a very cool newspaper which contained quite a lot of info about the Chernobyl Disaster

Getting Close to Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Dityatki Security Checkpoint

We stopped along the way for some snacks and drinks and got to know each other and talk. Our next stop was an hour away and in the mean time, our guide played an informative documentary for us in the bus about Chernobyl called The Battle of Chernobyl, which I would recommend anyone interested in the event to watch because it was not only incredibly educational but also very thrilling and well-directed.

As we watched our documentary, we headed to our first stop, at the Dityatki Security Checkpoint held by the military. Here they checked our passports and our tour guide confirmed our entry into the area which is strictly prohibited from entering without an official tour. We also got some neat Geiger Counters, devices which measure radiation, and immediately began measuring areas around us!

Dityatki Security Check, Photos were not allowed but I took one covertly

Inside Chernobyl

Village of Zalissya

10.30 am or so, we passed the security control and continued our trip. Our first main stop was an abandoned village of Zalissya. We walked around and saw several abandoned buildings, houses, a city hall and many cars. This was one of the many villages close enough to Chernobyl to have been evacuated swiftly right after the explosion and never inhabited again. It was very thrilling walking along the main path of an abandoned village that had been completely reclaimed by nature!

A small Soviet village old Zallisya which was deserted after the disaster
Skull and remains of an elk that had died some time ago.
An abandoned house in Zallisya
A Soviet governmental building

Chernobyl City Sign

​We then had a short stop at the Chernobyl sign, which indicated that we had officially entered the city. We took some photos wearing the cool breathing masks, marking the official start to the real Chernobyl adventure.​​

At the Chernobyl city sign

St. Elijah Church

We then headed to the St. Elijah Church, a beautiful blue, white and gold structure  still standing after 30 years in a pristine state.  It was the main place of worship before the disaster and legend has it that the people foresaw the disaster through a vision of the Virgin Mary carrying dried wormwood (which translates in Ukrainian to Chernobyl) 10 years before the disaster ever happened right above the church. It was a well-reported incident in the papers in around April of 1976. Therefore, this church has a great significance on Chernobyl incident.

St. Elijah Church

– Chernobyl Riverport and Alley of Memory –

After that, we headed to the Alley of Memory and Hope and the Woodworm Star Memorial, which was a monument marking the memorial site dedicated to all those cities effected by the disaster.

Hope and the Woodworm Star Memorial

We then had another quick stop at the Chernobyl Riverport still had some ships that some locals used as well as those remaining from 30 years ago. Our guide told us that although the water and soil was quite radioactive, the radioactivity has sunken below ground quite a bit, making it safer for a small number of locals who still inhabit the area and like to come and fish or picnic by the port.

Road to Chernobyl Port

We made two more quick short stops, one was at the Monument to “Those Who Saved the World”, a structure outside the fire station dedicated to all the firemen, engineers, miners, scientists etc. who helped prevent the disaster from becoming much more deadly and threatening for the rest of the world, despite the cost to themselves.

We also visited the Chernobyl Open Air Museum for Machinery, which housed various examples of the original machines and vehicles used in fighting the disaster. Although they were no longer radioactively dangerous, as we put our Geiger counters closer, they showed a slightly higher level of radiation than normal!

Heroic firefighters who sacrificed themselves to end the disaster, Monument to “Those Who Saved the World”
The equipment that firefighters used during the disaster still has high numbers of radiation

Lunch Break At The Canteen

We then headed to the small Chernobyl Hotel and Power plant Canteen, where many tourists stay overnight as well, and had our lunch there. Surprisingly, it was well above our expectations! It included some cold pork sausages, scrambled eggs, oranges, vegetables and some sweet Palmiers as appetizers. We had a chicken stock and potato soup and our main dish – a grilled chicken with a cheese sauce, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts and beans. We also had some sweet fresh cherry juice! The meal was excellent, fresh and hot from the stove! It was a great time to mingle with our fellow tour-buddies and relax with a delicious meal!

Dead Lands Between Chernobyl and Pripyat

Duga Soviet Military Radar

Right after the awesome lunch, we started heading for the enormous Soviet Over-The-Horizon Radar system called Duga, which was used from 1976 to 1989, and functioned as a early-warning system. Also known as the Russian Woodpecker, this giant metallic structure stretches endlessly far and wide in Chernobyl 2, the area nearby the main Chernobyl Power Plant. We also got to meet the famous Chernobyl dog, Tarzan!

The huge radar which is now a pile of metal
Ayesha with Tarzan, the radioactive dog of the area
You can see how big the radar was

– Elementary School –

Our next stop was one of the most excited and spookiest places we visited – the elementary school! This was a boarding school for the young children of the workers of the power plant and stood as a frozen piece in time. As we walked up the path towards the school building, we came across several discarded toys and dolls that have laid there for over 30 years now. Inside, books, clothes, toys and furniture lay strewn all over the floor, covered in dust.

The radiation inside the school was much lower than even that at the security check point miles away, since the radiation did not enter as much inside buildings. Upon leaving, our tour guide told us about the radiation hotspot that existed in this area, 90 times higher than the normal amount we were seeing. These hotspots exist in those areas were the soil remains exposed and is not covered by asphalt as are most other surfaces to suppress.​

A doll we discerned among the bushes and mud at the entrance of the school
Old cupboards remaining from 1986
Ayesha and I in the sleeping room of the school
In some places radiation levels were up to 500 levels higher than average
Books, dolls and toys left is they were in 1986
Around the school there were many small buildings and demolished cars claimed back by nature

Arriving At The Power Plant

– Chernobyl Railway Bridge –

As we left the elementary school, we gradually started to come into view of the giant shiny silver dome that now houses the infamous reactor number 4. This panoramic view of the power plant we got from across the Pripyat River was magnificent as we got to see the huge and wide-stretching power plant and the sarcophagus that now covers it. ​

We then drove to the entrance of the Chernobyl Power Plant where we headed to the famous railway bridge, now obviously unused, to feed the huge catfish that famously swim in the Pripyat river. Our tour guide had brought some bread along from the canteen we had eaten at earlier and gave some to us to throw to the catfish. They catfish were larger than normal and in such high numbers.

The infamous Reactor 4! Since the power plant was recently covered by a sarcophagus, the radiation level is not that high here
Feeding the radioactive catfish from the infamous railway bridge

Reactor Number 4 –

It was now time to go to the gates of the Reactor Number 4! Here we got to see the famous sarcophagus up close and took many photos next to the Chernobyl Monument. The radiation here was no longer extremely high after the construction of the sarcophagus had been completed with the help of French constructors. It was extremely overwhelming to stand so close to the site of one of the biggest human-made disasters in the world, and at a site where at one time such chaos and mayhem ensued.

With our German crew whom we took the tour with
Goodbye Reactor 4! Hope we never meet again 🙂

Inside The Town Of Pripyat

– Pripyat City Sign –

We were now headed for one of the most exciting part of the trip – the town of Pripyat! First, we stopped stopped shortly in front of the Pripyat town sign, and took several photos. Then we passed through the Red Forest, where the radiation level still remains higher than the rest of Chernobyl.

With the famous Pripyat city sign! Achievement unlocked 🙂
We passed along many old Soviet blocks like this along the way to Pripyat

– Pripyat Downtown –

We finally arrived in main center of the town of Pripyat! To our right, was a large apartment building where many of the residents once lived. It was one of the luxurious apartment buildings of the town in those times. Our exploration inside the town of Pripyat had finally begun!

Pripyat downtown
A dilapidated restaurant in downtown Pripyat

– Supermarket –

Our first sight was the ruin of a supermarket that was once a prime example of the modern Soviet constructions and facilities. Fun fact: after the evacuation of the town, it was only in 2001 when the next major supermarket was constructed in Ukraine! It was one of many modern and luxurious buildings the Soviet government built as part of their plan to make Pripyat a model city in the Soviet Union.

Some of the signboards in Russian were still legible
Exploring the supermarket and the dark rooms inside the building
Rusty old fridges and many demolished equipments

– Theather –

We then walked to the theater, now ruined and falling down but still possessing some remnants of the past. The theater chairs were still fixed upon the ground, and the overhead stage lights had fallen onto the stage but still remained intact. The wooden stage floor was partially collapsed and the wood decaying in many places. Many equipments had become rusty over the years but the environment was truly impressive and preserved the past so hauntingly.

There were some old Soviet propaganda posters and pictures of prominent leaders piled at the entrance
Soviet politicans
Exploring the deserted theater where our geiger counter beeped a couple of times

– Pripyat Amusement Park –

The next stop was perhaps the most popularly advertised and well-known spot in Pripyat – the amusement park! True to it’s word, the place was a haunting picture of a once lively and joyful spot where children once played and families came together for recreation. We started by walking towards the bumper cars, seeing a beautiful mural on the wall painted almost 30 years ago, of a herd of reindeer grazing. The cars, which had sat in the same place for three decades now, were embraced by mother nature by now.

There were cool artworks and gratifies on the wall
In some parts, the levels of radiation drastically increased!

– Ferris Wheel and Bumper Car Field –

Next to it, standing tall and mighty was the Ferris wheel, with its yellow carriages flowing in the wind still holding onto the wheel. It seemed like any moment the wheel would open and queues would form and the park would liven up! Everything was in its place and untouched by anything except the years and the environment. Probably, this place had the highest level of radiation among all spots we covered in our tour.

The famous bumper car field
Me with the iconic Pripyat Ferris Wheel
Deserted bumpercars

– Culture Center of Pripyat –

We now moved on to the culture center of Pripyat, which included two very interesting locations! As we walked into the culture center and up stairs that were completely disintegrating, we first entered the large basketball court, with the hoops still attached to the board. The place looked half demolished as the years took a toll. We moved onto the next room through a small passage, to the swimming pool. The pool was one of the largest public pools I’ve seen! Around it, changing rooms for men and women separately were aligned next to each other. Both seemed damp and dark, however the structure had remained intact and you could still see the showers and the cabins inside for changing.

The famous pool of Pripyat. Now nothing but a demolished structure
Me at the dilapidated basketball court
A bench at the entrance of the Culture Center of Pripyat
1.22 am/pm since 1986
Creepy shower rooms abutting the pool
Another view of the pool

– Grammar School –

Next up was the grammar school! This was probably the most picturesque place of all! We entered through a large hallway that led us to a room on our right. This large common area was a dining hall and a study room. As soon as we entered, we were overwhelmed by the number of stimuli that hit us. 

A notebook with Russian handwriting in the school
In an abandoned classroom with books scattered on the floor
Some books with illustrations and and alphabet chart in a classroom

To the left corner of the room, a sea of gas masks piled up. Around the room, tables lay with various kinds of books and pages, and notes written from even before 1986. A cashier machine sat atop a table with its buttons coming out and the rust gradually creeping over the whole thing.

After exploring, we moved onward down the main hall, which led to the L-shaped corridors full of classrooms, most locked. We walked into an open one and were beheld by amazement. In other words, it felt as if I had entered a portal into 1986. Desks lined up in rows and columns still remained and shelves had fallen down along with the books they contained. The desks still had countless books and pages scattered around and projects made by students. The sight is difficult to give justice to in describing it in words!

Hundreds of gas masks piled on the floor. We were told not to touch!
Some dusty ragged clothes were left on tables
Another room with gas masks
A rusty cash registrar
Exploring the classrooms
Due to abandonment, many walls are about to collapse
Many parts of the ceiling has fallen down

– Pripyat Recreational Club –

After a long and weary day, we arrived at our last stop of the trip. As we walked up the stone path, our guide told us we were at the Pripyat Recreational Club. This building was cornered by the Pripyat River, which was overlooked by a large porch where parties and events were often held. Inside, plates, glasses and shelves and even vending machines lay broken and scattered everywhere. It was a haunting scene of a place once full of parties and liveliness. In a large room, which appeared to be a ball room, was a glass mosaic wall, painted with Soviet art, as we were told. We explored and walked around, taking in the lack of life in the place – the only sound of us walking around.

The building of the Pripyat Recreational Club
The façade of the structure with broken glasses
The artworks on glasses were intact in the grand hall
We stumbled upon an interesting statue while heading towards the Pripyat Recreational Club

Headed Back

We finally headed back. It had been a tiring day but that was not of the slightest concern considering the incredible and unique day we had just had. It was a two hour journey back to Kiev, and on the way we stopped at the security check point once again where the military officers scanned us for any radiation left on us. Upon reaching the Kiev central train station, we all said our goodbyes and parted our ways.

CHECK OUT MORE OF THE CITY GUIDES AND TOP THINGS TO DO IN VARIOUS CITIES ON TRAVEL TIPS PAGE!


THANK YOU FOR READING!



Follow Me On Instagram

In Photos: Rome At Night


ROME AT NIGHT


Streets, sights, storefronts and street settings of Rome are breathtaking! Walking through the alluring streets and exploring the main sights such as St. Peter’s Square, Piazza Navona, Castel Sant’Angelo, Trastevere, Spanish Steps is a marvelous experience! I LOVE YOU ROME! Scroll below for the photos of beautiful Rome! All photos are taken with Samsung S9+ smart phone! The camera of it is dope 

Storefront of a pizza place!

St. Pietro Square

Tiramisu from Two Sizes near Piazza Navona

Exploring the streets of Rome!

Castel Sant’angelo

Spanish Steps

Backstreets

Cool street art

Christmas market at Piazza Navona

St. Pietro Square

Fontana di Trevi

Tiber River

A marvelous storefront



IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE MY TRAVEL TIPS, CHECK OUT MY TRAVEL TIPS PAGE TO SEE INTERESTING PLACES FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD!


THANK YOU FOR CHECKING IT OUT!

Spend a Day In Copenhagen, Denmark!

A Day In Copenhagen


Got a day to spend in the beautiful city of spires, Copenhagen, Denmark? See what sights, eateries and activities you must check!

1-START THE DAY WITH AN AMAZING BREAKFAST AT GRØD!

GRØD is an amazing cafe with mind blowing sorts of porridges, pokes and coffee! The place is quite small but it is indeed very cosy. Portions they serve are actually quite filling so even you opt for small  portion, it will fill you up for a few hours for sure! For an amazing breakfast, stop by this amazing cafe and taste their yummy stuff!

2-WALK THROUGH THE BIGGEST CEMETERY OF THE CITY AND VISIT ANDERSEN’S GRAVE (ASISTENS KIRKEGÅRD)

Asistens Cemetery is the biggest one in Copenhagen and perhaps all Denmark! Hans Christian Andersen being the most famous one, the cemetery has graves of many famous people. To be frank the place feels more like a park than cemetery. So it is not really a depressing place 🙂 After Grød, you can take a nice walk around the old cemetery! 🙂

3-PASS THE QUEEN LOUISE BRIDGE AND WALK THROUGH THE CANAL 

Upon visiting the cemetery, walk towards south to downtown area. Pass the beautiful Queen Louise Bridge and walk along the Pebling So Canal! This part of the city is very tranquil and I loved it very much! You might as well see geese, ducks and many other sorts of birds in the canal!

4-VISIT THE HISTORICAL ØSTRE ANLÆG PARK  

Østre Anlæg which was once a part of the old fortifications of the city, is one of the most alluring public parks in Copenhagen. It is literally a forest inside Copenhagen! Upon entering the park you will run into different birds and see many small ponds, this place is indeed a must-see in this city. 

5-TOUR THE 17-CENTURY FORTRESS KASTELLET

This pentagon shaped fortress is one of the most well preserved structures in Europe! This citadel now also serves as a public park because of its beautiful architecture and unique natural elements. Kastellet, having been spread over acres, is a perfect place to take walks!

BONUS PLACE! If you have time, I strongly recommend you to check out the medieval St. Alban’s Church abutting the Kastellet zone!

6-CHECK OUT THE LITTLE MERMAID STATUE RIGHT NEAR THE COAST

Inspired by Andersen’s story, The Little Mermaid Statue was built 106 years ago. It has been one of the most popular attractions in Denmark. As you can see in the photo, the statue is near the sea and the view is very nice from there. After visiting Kastellet, you can stop by this statue for sometime and witness the beautiful view 🙂

7-WALK AROUND THE MOST POPULAR SIGHT: NYHAVN CANAL 

Nyhavn is indeed the most popular sight of the city. This 17-century canal is the entertainment and waterfront area of Copenhagen. Buildings with different colors, authentic boats, amazing restaurants and marvelous athmosphere! This place was also my favorite spot in the city! As a joke locals say it doesn’t count if you haven’t been to Nyhavn! 🙂

8-VISIT THE KING’S GARDEN AND ROSENBORG CASTLE

King’s Garden is an alluring and enormous botanical garden in the middle of the city. Remaining from the 17th century, Rosernborg Castle is the old residence of the Danish Royal family. It is currently serving as a museum with a massive collection of artifacts of the royal family line of Denmark.

9-CHECK OUT THE BEAUTIFUL ROUND TOWER

Round Tower is the oldest functioning observatory in Denmark as well as Europe.It is possible to see the tower’s core by standing on a glass floor, 25 metres above the ground. Moreover, the scenery from the top is mind blowing. Copenhagen lies in front of you! 🙂


THANK YOU FOR READING!


CHECK OUT MORE OF THE CITY GUIDES AND TOP THINGS TO DO IN VARIOUS CITIES ON TRAVEL TIPS PAGE!


Follow Me On Instagram