Last Updated May, 2020
If you are visiting Kiev (or perhaps living there) during a longer period of time, I highly recommend to get out of the city at some point and explore what’s there nearby. And there are quite a few cool cities and places to discover.
I spent 8 years in the capital of Ukraine and went on many day trips from Kiev during each season. Today, I would love to share some of my favorite ones.
All the destinations I am talking about below are in very close proximity to Kiev. To get to most of them you need to spend somewhere between 1 and 2 hours of your time one way. I do not recommend any other places that take more than 2 hours to get to them (except for one place which is the last one on my list.) The reason for that is the waste of time. You’ll end up spending more time on the road than actual sightseeing.
Also, keep in mind that Ukraine is a big country. It may seem like everything is close to each other when in reality distances are long.
So it is better to go to one place instead of trying to cover a few of them in just one day. And, with some destinations, I advise turning a one day trip into a weekend trip (you’ll see that mention.)
To make it easier for you, look at this table of contents.
Kyivs’ke Reservoir (or Kiev Sea)
Kiev Sea was artificially made in 1964. Today it is a huge reservoir with the area of more than 900 square kilometers and depth up to 18 meters. In order to create this reservoir, 52 villages were resettled and flooded. Until this day workers, who clean up the lake, keep finding strange objects on the bottom of this reservoir.
For example, some time ago they found a tank which was used during World War II and it made the news. Taking into account how big the area of the reservoir is, we can imagine how many other war objects have survived in the muddy waters. The most dangerous are unexploded shells and mines.
A few years ago Kiev Sea hosted water Formula 1. But after the outbreak of hostilities in the country, the competition stopped.
Environmentalists do not recommend swimming in the Kiev Sea. But this is not the reason why I include this place on the list of the day trips from Kiev.
On the shores of this reservoir, you can have a really nice recreation day and watch unrealistically beautiful summer sunsets. Also, get a very informative and interesting tour.
From Vyshgorod side the reservoir is shackled in concrete, so don’t go there. But if you approach it from the side of the villages, you’ll find clean white sand, pine forests, and sandy cliffs.
How to get to Kiev Sea:
Either by car towards Lyutizh (here are some of the coordinates) or by marshrutka from “Heroiv Dnipra” metro station to Vyshgorod. From there catch local marshrutka to nearby villages on the right or left bank.
Another spot is to go to Stari Petrivtsi village. For that, also go to the last metro station of the blue branch – “Heroiv Dnipra,” go outside and hop on a marshrutka taxi #902 in the direction of Guta Mezhygorska. Get off in Stari Petrovci village on a bus stop. From there walk a bit more towards the water. Here are the coordinates for one of our favorite spots. But you can walk wherever you want.
Tip: Make sure to download Google Maps if you won’t have the Internet and you.
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National Museum of Folk Architecture “Pyrohiv”
A trip to Pyrohiv can be one day or a half-day trip from Kiev. This place is more than just a museum. It is a huge territory of 150 hectares, lined with old Ukrainian houses.
During the long seven years old huts one by one were brought here from all over the country. The founders of this museum, first of all, were eager to preserve the architectural heritage, and second, they wanted to show people how their ancestors lived.
Here, you will even find the oldest house in Ukraine, built in the 15th century.
The coolest thing about this park (or museum) is that all the houses on the territory are placed in the way that you can learn about different regions of Ukraine. Near the entrance, you get to see a wooden interactive map which directs you through the park and explains about the regions.
Among the interesting exhibits, there is an old church, a school, beehives made from solid pieces of wood, and a mill.
You can go inside of most of the houses. They have real furniture from those times when they were built. If the hut is from Western Ukraine – inside you will find a lot of icons, dried herbs and a hanger made of hooves. Houses from the southern part of the country still have a lot of icons, but also embroidered towels and home-made wooden furniture.
How to get to Pyrohiv:
You can easily get to the museum by public transport. A trolleybus No. 11 departs from the “Lybids’ka” metro station, marshrutka 156 from the Bessarabian market, No. 172 from “Druzhby Narodiv” metro station, No. 576 from “Akademmistechko” metro station, No. 496 from “Luk’yanivska” metro station.
Don’t underestimate this place. The territory is really huge and it definitely makes a great one day trip from Kiev. Grab some snacks or even lunch with you to have a picnic in the garden near the houses. It will feel very authentic.
Kytayiv – The Center of Antiques and History
This place is located in the Goloseevsky region and is a center of antiquities of the X – XIV centuries. Here you’ll find the burial grounds of the times of Kievan Rus, cave cells of the same period, and even the remains of the whole city.
Almost the entire area is one huge system of various caves and passages. Above it, there is a Kytayiv Monastery, erected back in the XIV century. Coordinates for this place are here.
In addition to church architecture, this entire area is one of the largest and most picturesque parks in Kiev – Golosiivsky Park.
In fact, if you wish, you can combine this trip with a visit to Pyrohiv and nearby Feofaniya Park. There are multiple walking trails in Kytaiv and it takes around one hour to walk to Pyrohiv. In my opinion, though, it is better to have two separate day trips from Kiev if you are interested to visit both of these places.
Kytayiv merges with Sambfurky and then Holosiivskyi Park which is full of various ponds, picnic areas, trails and even has a monastery.
How to get to Kytaiv:
From Lybidskaya metro station you need to hop on a bus #20 or #52 to and go to Kytaivska stop. Here is a link with coordinates to this stop. From there, it will take another 15 minutes on foot to get to the Kytayiv. Or, go to Vydubychi metro station and take bus #43 or #65 to get to the Korchuvatskyi-KBM or Nauki Avenue stops.
Dendropark “Oleksandriya” and Bila Tserkva Town
In the city of Bila Tserkva, an hour’s drive from Kiev, a beautiful park “Oleksandriya” offers a place for relaxation and interesting walks.
This trip can really entice you for a whole day and not only walk you through the alleys of the majestic ancient trees, vast glades, and picturesque ponds, but also show the architectural heritage of the 18th century.
You’ll find here a seasonal residence, summer pavilions, man-made lakes, bridges and various types of plants. Also, there is a large magnolia garden and a huge rose garden. In the most unexpected places among bushes and trees expect to see bronze sculptures. Oh, and by the way, the oldest tulip tree of Ukraine also grows here.
But the park is not the only reason to travel to Bila Tserkva. The town itself is also an interesting place to spend a day in.
First of all, I recommend visiting the historical center of Castle Hill. It used to be one of the first cities of Kievan Rus – the city of Yuryev. An incredible panorama of the Ros’ River opens up from the top of the Hill and is one of the most picturesque places in town. By the river, there is a cycling/walking path, so you can get down and walk by the water.
A few other places I encourage you to take a look at are Spaso-Preobrazhens’kyy Cathedral, BRUM (shopping arcade,) the building of the National Agrarian University (where you can sneak in and walk inside) and Church of St. John the Baptist.
How to get to Dendropark “Oleksandriya” and Bila Tserkva
From Kiev, marshrutka departs from “Lybidska” metro station (top pic because it is the least crowded place,) from “Vokzalna,” “Palats Ukraina” and from the shopping center “Magellan.”
Travel time is around 1.5 hours and it costs 25 UAH to get in. Excursions cost 70 UAH per person.
Buki – Uman’ – Zhashkiv
I decided to combine these three places in one day trip from Kiev because they are really located not far from each other. If you prefer to travel to one of them, you are welcome to. However, when/if renting a car, the drive is pleasant and easy and you can really see all three destinations in just one day.
Another option is to combine Buki or Zhashkiv with a visit to Bila Tserkva, mentioned above.
So, first of all, let’s start with Buki in Kiev Region. There is another village Buki in Cherkasy region but in this post, I am mentioning the one not far from Bila Tserkva and Kiev.
Buki is famous for Landscape Park that is not so old. It was founded in 1996 by one local entrepreneur. He bought 2.7 hectares of land, which at that time was a landfill and spent around 20 thousand dollars on his project. He was able to turn the landfill into a wonderful landscape park with beautiful countryside and beautiful views. No one is ever able to tell that the nowadays park used to be a dumpsite.
People usually come here to enjoy nature, see the fountain which used to be on the Independence Square in Kiev, go to the bell tower of Daniel and the Church of St. Eugene. There is a restaurant where you can have lunch and enjoy the panorama or have a cup of coffee or tea in one of the summer cafes.
Another place Uman’ is famous for Arboretum “Sofiyivka.” The arboretum was a gift from the Polish magnate Stanislav Potocki to his beloved Ukrainian lady Sophia back in the 18th century. During six years the coolest architects of that time were building the park. And today it makes a great place for a day or weekend trip from Kiev.
It has everything what park can have – a cascade of lakes, a fountain in the middle of a pond, an underground river with a mysterious tunnel (take a boat ride), gazebos, stone grottoes, sculptures and more than 3000 species of plants.
You can rent a mini boat or when it’s too hot to swim in the lakes. There are also available excursions to explore the caves and hear the history of this beautiful place.
Summers in Sofiyivka get pretty busy and crowded, so probably that’s not the best time to visit. Come to the park in the spring to breathe the freshest air and contemplate thousands of blossoming flowers. Visit in the fall to witness hundreds of shades of yellow and red with a few people around. And yes, winter is an amazing time to visit too, especially if the park is covered with snow.
Winter is the only season when entrance is free.
Tip: Take snacks and food with you to Sofiyivka park. There are no restaurants around.
The main attraction Zhashkiv is famous for is a Horse Farm. If you love horses, travel to Kiev with kids, want to get a lesson on horseriding, watch a competition then Zhashkiv Horse Farm is a fancy place to go to. All horses are very well taken care of. Seven people look after each horse.
Besides horseriding and horse-related activities, the complex has the main building with three bowling lanes and a bar. There is a wonderful summer restaurant with reasonable prices, delicious food, and excellent service.
For complete relaxation, guests have access to a sauna, so after horseriding, you can relax. The complex also has two lakes where you can go fishing for an extra payment.
In the summer, for example, almost every weekend, the complex organizes all-Ukrainian shows and competitions.
For more details, visit their website.
How to get to Buki-Uman’-Zhashkiv:
The best way to visit all three places would be by car or on a tour.
What else to know: From April to November the entrance fee to Arboretum “Sofiyivka” is 50 UAH, each additional excursion also costs 50 UAH. Besides Russian and Ukrainian, excursions are available in English, French, Polish and German languages. Park is open from 9 am to 6 pm every day.
Interested in going to Sofievka with a guide? Don’t miss out on this recommended tour!
- Full-Day Private Sofievka Park in Uman Tour from Kiev: The magnificent Sofievka Park in Uman is one of Ukraine’s most visited attractions and a private tour means you can explore at your own pace
Another popular place for a day trip from Kiev is the residence of former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich. After his home and surrounding territory was turned into a public park, it started to make many lists of the best things to do in and around Kiev.
This is a huge park area with a kilometer-long embankment, a 50-meter landing stage, a zoo, a garage with retro cars, golf courses and the house where Yanukovych lived. And where, according to rumors, a golden loaf of bread was found.
For the best experience, rent a golf car, open-top car for six people or a bike near the entrance. Exploring everything on foot may be exhausting. There is a lot to discover. Bike rental costs 50 UAH ($2) per hour. Also, feel free to lay down on the lawn to have a picnic, read a book (about Ukraine, ha) or just relax.
A visit to Mezhygirye can be a solid one day trip from Kiev. However, you can always spend half a day there and combine it with a trip to nearby Kiev Sea which I mentioned above.
How to get to Mezhygirye Residence:
By marshrutka 355 or 792 from the subway station “Heroiv Dnipra” to the stop “Polevaya”. From there, walk 20 minutes.
Interested in a private tour of this residence? Check out this one!
- Mezhyhirya Residence Private Tour: Discover the luxury residence of the former Ukrainian President V. Yanukovich in Mezhyhirya with a guide
The northernmost regional center of Ukraine is famous for its numerous beautiful ancient churches, built in the XI-XII centuries. But that’s not the only reason why I advise to travel to Chernihiv. This city also has an old railway station, the famous Collegium, interesting looking Theater, and Philharmonia. I talk in detail where to go, what to see, how to get there and get the most of your visit in my guide to Chernihiv. Give it a read!
All tourists, after arriving in Chernihiv, first of all, go to the historic part of the city, located around Dytynets Park. This is the area where you can find most of the attractions and restaurants.
When the weather is warm, stroll along Desna river and hop on the old ferry to see Chernihiv from the water. For some of the best food go to one of the cafes along Myru Avenue. I would say that in every cafe the food is tasty, fresh and cheap. The average bill per person should be around 100-150 UAH ($4-$5.50.)
If you like to collect souvenirs from your travels, then visit one of the local breweries to get a bottle of ale.
How to get to Chernihiv:
Going to Chernihiv by train is not convenient, choose marshrutka or bus. The best way is to go to Lisova metro station and catch a marshrutka which stops near the subway entrance. A ticket costs around 100 UAH and marshrutka departs every 30 minutes.
On the way back from Chernihiv to Kiev, marshrutka stops near McDonald’s and goes to Lisova metro station.
If you can rent a car, I highly encourage you to do so. The road from Kiev to Chernihiv is new and in excellent condition. It will take you 2 hours to get there. Plus, if you decide to stay overnight, there are a few other attractions not far from the city. Having a car will help you see them all.
By the way, for the car rental, I personally recommend Easyrentcars. They have some of the best prices and good features like automatic rebooking if the price goes down, great customer service, a bonus system that helps to save money, etc.
Interested in Chernihiv but want to book a private tour? Check this option out:
- Full-Day Private Chernihiv Trip: Visit beautiful ancient Chernihiv with a private guide and enjoy a comprehensive tour of this cozy city
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One hundred fifty kilometers away from Kiev there is a unique interesting town Nizhyn in Chernihiv Region which became famous throughout the country for pickled cucumbers. Besides that, travelers like to visit it for a cozy atmosphere, quiet old streets with ancient buildings, many churches, unique museums, and monuments.
Many people also know Nizhyn as the city of treasures. In 1852, 200 silver coins from the era of Kievan Rus were found in Nizhyn, and in 1873 the largest Ukrainian treasure of Roman silver dinars of the 4th century was found there too.
Nizhyn was at the crossroads of the most important trading routes of the 17th-16th and early 19th centuries. Its market area was the largest among similar ones on Left-Bank Ukraine, covering about 4 hectares. The city was one of the richest in that time Kievan Rus and one of the richest in the annexed territories of the Moscow kingdom, and then the entire Russian Empire.
Interesting Things You Can Do in Nizhyn
The town is small (around 15,000 people live there) but there are quite a few things to do that will keep you busy for one long day.
First thing you can do is to walk around the town, visiting Mykolayivs’kyy Cathedral, a complex of Greek churches, an Old Museum of the Post Office, the world’s first monument to the great writer Nikolai Gogol, see the Monument of Cucumber and the National University of Gogol.
The Nizhyn National University of Nikolai Gogol used to be a High School of Higher Sciences. The most famous university graduate is Nikolai Gogol. But there were a few other well-known Ukrainian poets who also studied there. The University has three museums – Museum of the History of Nizhyn Higher School, the Museum dedicated to Nikolai Gogol and the art gallery.
Also, visit churches. You’ll find lots of them in Nizhyn since it was a Greek city. Bogdan Khmelnitsky invited Greeks to Ukraine in 1657 to revive and support international trade, which fell into decay during the war. They established not only trade but also crafts and services. Greeks built many churches and opened the first pharmacy in the city which works as a museum today (and is located on Moskovska street, 4.)
For the churches, the most remarkable are Mykhaylivs’ka Church, Trinity Church, Blahovishchens’kyy Monastery, All Saints Church, and Church of St. John the Divine.
To have the most complete experience, I recommend hiring a guide. A few hours long excursion around the city will cost you between $4-$6. For the best guide, I suggest getting in touch with Chernihiv Information Center (they’ll help you make arrangements) or on spot in the Museum of Old Post Office (Coordinates are here.)
For food, check out ‘Solo’ cafe (Hoholya Square, 2-a) and for coffee ‘Hey Bro’ (on Shevchenka, 2)or ‘Klub Kavy’ (Brativ Zosym Str, 9/1.)
How to get to Nizhyn:
The most convenient way (in my opinion) to go to Nizhyn is by train. The train station is centrally located, the early train departs at 7:21 am and arrives in Nizhyn at 8:55 am. If you prefer to go later, there are 5 more trains during the day to hop on. Check the schedule on the official website of Ukrainian Railways.
Zhytomyr is not a truly remarkable city but it probably has the best museum in Ukraine. And that is a Museum of Cosmonautics.
It features unique exhibits that Soviet Space Program used – satellites, capsules, in which astronauts returned to Earth, space suits, food and various gadgets. Here, for 30 UAH, you can join an interesting tour or just listen to the sounds of outer space for free.
If traveling with kids or simply wanting to walk around, visit a City Park, named after Yuriy Gagarin.
To get the best panorama of Zhytomyr, go to the Castle Hill Park or the observation deck of the Water Tower. The latter one is considered one of the oldest buildings in the city.
How to get to Zhytomyr:
By any bus or marshrutka from “Zhytomyrska” metro station or “Dachna” bus station. Buses depart every 20-30 minutes. It will take around 2 hours to get to Zhytomyr.
Korostyshevsky quarry is located less than 100 kilometers from Kiev, off the road towards Zhytomyr. Getting here is easy and quick. It is surrounded by the dense coniferous forest, has clean fresh air and an artificial lake formed on the site of a flooded granite quarry.
Rocky shores up to 10 meters high surround the water which has an unusual, turquoise hue. People usually come here to swim, sunbathe, rock climb and just spend time in nature. Even if the weather is not the best for swimming, still come to visit. Walk around, have a picnic and get a breath of the freshest air filled with the scents of pine trees.
In fact, you could visit Zhytomyr and the Quarry during one day trip from Kiev. If you can leave very early and don’t mind returning late, visit two places in one day. However, if you are eager to run away from the city life then plan to spend one long day here. Just don’t forget lunch and snacks.
How to get to Korostyshivsky Quarry:
The easiest way to get to the quarry is by car or by “marshrutka.” The departure point would be the same as for a trip to Zhytomyr. Go to “Zhytomyrska” metro station and wait for a marshrutka towards Zhytomyr on the same side of the road where the “Dachna” bus station is.
However, with the quarry, you need to make sure that the driver is going to make a stop in Korostyshiv. Some marshrutka buses go straight to Zhytomyr while others make this stop. This is what you need. You need to hop on a marshrutka to Zhytomyr which stops in Korostyshiv. I suggest asking a local to ask a driver for you. The ticket price will be between 80-100UAH.
Once in Korostyshiv, it will take you 15-30 minutes to walk to the Quarry (depends on where the driver stops.) Since the quarry is located at the entrance to the city, it is best to ask the driver to stop in front of him.
The best way to return to Kiev is to go to the bus station in Korostyshev, two kilometers from the quarry. There is also a supermarket and cafe-restaurant if you need to buy anything. If time permits – you can walk around the city where everything reminds of granite – even the curbs are made of granite.
Pripyat’ and Chornobyl
You’ve probably heard about these ghost cities in Ukraine near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. After the unfortunate event of an explosion at the station, the entire city was resettled. People had to leave their houses, furniture, clothes and everything else just to be able to escape.
Today, while the sarcophagus holds back the destructive force of the destroyed reactor, guided tours take place in Pripyat. They are by no means cheap, but so worth it (if you are an adventure seeker and history lover of course.)
During the excursion, you will see abandoned houses, take a walk through the surviving kindergarten, see the hospital where the first victims were brought. You will visit Chernobyl and look at the sarcophagus and the surviving reactors.
In the summer, if you are lucky, there is a chance to see giant catfish (that grew in size due to enormous levels of radiation.) On the way back you will pass radiation control and have dinner in the Chernobyl canteen.
How to get to Chornobyl and Pryp’yat’:
You won’t be able to get to Chornobyl by yourself, only with a guide on a tour. It’s going to be a long one day trip from Kiev because tours usually start at 7 am and end at 11 pm.
Check with a company if they provide food and if yes, how many times per day. In case there is only dinner offered, don’t forget to pack snacks with you.
Prices start from 2500 UAH.
Important note: don’t forget your passport.
Would you like to have an adventure? Then check one of these tours!
- Group Tour to Chernobyl and Prypiat with Lunch: See all the iconic locations within Chernobyl, Prypiat, and DUGA in one day and have a once in a lifetime Chernobyl experience
- 1-Day Group Tour to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone: Explore the abandoned city of Chernobyl on a 1-day group tour from Kiev and experience incredible emotions within the exclusion zone of a former disaster site.
Where To Stay in Kiev: The Best Hotels For Travelers
If you are planning to go on day trips from Kiev while staying there during a short period of time, I’d recommend looking into accommodation in those areas where infrastructure and transportation connections are great. You do want to stay closer to the metro station to be able to get places faster.
Kiev has an unrealistically high number of rental apartments, guest houses, and hotels. From the gilded VIP-luxury-elite-dwellings to beds for $3. Fortunately, there are plenty of various options in the center of the capital of Ukraine to choose from.
Here are a few ideas to help you start your search…
– MaNNa BOUTIQUE HOTEL: An absolutely gorgeous authentic boutique hotel in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Kiev surrounded by lots of quirky cafes and restaurants. Each room has a stylish decor, interesting and unique design, is clean and has all the amenities you may need, even the floor heating.
– BURSA HOTEL: A modern, clean and welcoming boutique hotel in the city center. A few minutes away from some of the most famous landmarks, one of them is Andreevskiy Spusk. In addition to the hotel, there is a rooftop bar “1818”, a cafe “Beliy Shum” and a gallery of modern art.
– 11 MIRRORS DESIGN HOTEL: Even the most price attractive room at this hotel is stylish, modern, exceptionally clean and comfortable. Breakfasts have a decent variety of food options, a rooftop bar offers world-class cocktails and a lot of rooms have a great view of the city. The hotel is close to the center and the main street.
Summary: The Best Day Trips From Kiev
- Looking to see one of the oldest cities in Ukraine, full of various churches of different eras and religions, underground caves and lots of parks? Head over to Chernihiv in Northern Ukraine.
- Thinking about spending some time in nature? Walk around the Korostyshivsky Quarry, near the Kiev Sea, Arboretum Sofiyivka or Dendropark “Oleksandriya.”
- Hunting for Soviet looking concrete buildings and history? Explore a lesser-visited city Zhytomyr.
- Want to see how a former president Yanukovych lived? Book a tour to Mezhygirye Residence.
This is all for now when it comes to day trips from Kiev. I have also a post on amazing things to do in Kiev in winter which, honestly, you can do during any other season too. Check it out.
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DISCLAIMER: You’ll notice that in some posts I link to some hotels, tours or services. If you purchase anything through one of those links, we may earn a commission (for which we will be mega grateful) at no extra cost to you.