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Kiev - where should I stay 2-3 nights?

Ok. I’ve got my trip down to Vienna - Budapest and Kiev for a short trip.
I’ll do a salt water soak getaway and a few nights btwn vienna and Budapest < Bratislava>?

Posted by
10681 posts

Well, lets begin with the fact that Kyiv isnt in Bulgaria.

Now your question. I've only been to Kyiv a few times so I'm no expert, and my travel style and accommodation preference may not be like yours. On my trips I have stayed at the Senator Maidan https://senator-apartments.com/ and on one occasion i stayed at the Hyatt Regency for a night on a one night lay over (not impressed). Again, my experience in the city is pretty limited. I could spend weeks there and not have a great understanding. Its that interesting and that varied.

For the next trip (probably in the fall) I will either stay at the Senator again or draw a line from The Hotel Ukraine to the Hyatt Regency and then find something one or two block on one side or thee other. The area is full of recent and ancient history and you could spend several days there alone.

Another place that interests me for accommodations is along Khreschatyk St at, and just south of, Maidan. (Maidan Nezalezhnosti, in English Independence Square). Lots of restaurants, clubs, nigh life. Weekends sometimes they close the street and make it pedestrian. The area has great Stalinist Imperial Architecture (not to be confused with Soviet concrete block houses). Did you know that there are 3 types of communist architecture and some of the best of each is in Kyiv. The Hotel Ukraine is a perfect example of what happens when a building is in mid construction when views on architecture change (Stalin's Imperial style to Khrushchev's brutal minimalism). Great building if you are into architectural history.

Before you go you have to watch on Netflix "Winter on Fire" and "Servant of the People". The first a tragic documentary, the second a comedy worth seeing for the opening scene where the oligarchs are standing on the roof (or a balcony) of the Hotel Ukraine looking down on Maidan. Its hilarious too..

You dont sound like a guide sort of person, but if you need one I know an amazing one.

A quick spelling lesson. Kiev is the Russian spelling for the city. Naturally while under Russian occupation, Russian was pushed as the language of choice and Kiev became the norm. To this day if you go to Google Flights for instance you had better put in Kiev if you want to search. The preference in Ukraine at the moment is to adopt the Ukrainian spelling; Kyiv. Odessa is Russian, Odesa is Ukrainian. The Ukraine government and the US government now recognize the spelling as being official. This is interesting https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-kyiv-kiev/28478117.html

Okay, it's not a big thing for a tourist, but I love little facts about the places I am going.

Posted by
10681 posts

A couple of other good movies to get you started
Breaking Point: The War for Democracy in Ukraine
Bitter Harvest

Both i think you can find on Amazon.

Posted by
10681 posts

AND, if you want to spend some time in Budapest again there are direct flights for well under $100. Actually the last time I went to Budapest i found it cheaper to fly to Kyiv spend a few days and then go to Budapest. Dont know why.

Posted by
10681 posts

Oh and you asked about safety in Kyiv. I wont tell you "I felt safe" cause that's sort of meaningless, but there are some sources you can check out.

https://www.numbeo.com/crime/region_rankings.jsp?title=2018-mid&region=150
And the State Department says that Ukraine is as safe as Western Europe (the cross hatch is for the Russian invasion zone and I think for exploding Russian dissidants) The war zone is no where near Kyiv and the exploding Russian dissidents only occur once or twice a year. Remember this is a country larger than Texas.) https://travelmaps.state.gov/TSGMap/ The State Department says is safer than Russia but not as safe as the rest of the old Russian occupied states - which the State Department ranks as safer than most of Western Europe. Sort of interesting.

Posted by
316 posts

Personally, I would check out bnb offerings in the general Khreschatyk area, which is indeed a cultural/night life centerpoint, with other points of interest easily within reach.

Also, a short aside with regard to spelling variations and other related issues, if I may -
it's a great idea to use the preferred Ukrainian spelling out of respect for the hosts. At the same time, unless you have a profound understanding of the region's history and mentality and clearly understand where your interlocutor stands, I would try and avoid using politically loaded language for fear of making a fool out of myself. For instance, using the term "Russian occupation" may raise some eyebrows if you are talking to a native of Odessa - a city founded by Catherine the Great, a Russian empress (of German origin) in late 18th century :-)

Posted by
42 posts

James-
Omg- I don’t know where I said Kyiv in Bulgaria unless I shortened it from Sofia Bulgaria and Kyiv Ukraine. I’ll check out all of the movies! I’ll likely be In Budapest 10 days at least so I may end in Vienna or have Budapest my main spot with train to Vienna after starting in Ukraine!

I feel I finally have my trip in order- at least the main emphasis! Thank you so much for all of your support. Who knows maybe this time I’ll do the Russian tank in Budapest! The price seemed ridiculous last year so I did not do it! But it still sounds fun!

Posted by
10681 posts

JetteTheRealtor, we are posting in the Bulgarian forum right now.

Like i mentioned, last year RT from Houston to Kyiv then a flight to Budapest and back to Kyiv was a few hundred cheaper than Houston, Kyiv, Budapest, Houston. But every time i book a flight circumstances change.

You will love Kyiv for the culture and for the ancient and recent history. Its one thing to visit a place 50 years after "it" happened, it a different feeling to be in the middle of "it". I'm a bit of a romantic so what i see is the birth of a nation and a national identity after hundreds of years of persecution and occupation. Do talk politics; but do it from a neutral perspective and you might learn a lot.

Oh, and another tidbit. What is western Russia today was once part of the Kievan Rus state that was a group of principalities sort of loosely ruled out of Kyiv. The czars traced their lineage back to the Kievann Rus. Fascinating and complex history.

Posted by
16591 posts

I would not subject myself to an extra flight for only 2 or 3 days (one of them jetlagged) in Kiev. To me it has about as much to offer as Budapest in terms of sights, especially right now since 2 or 3 key Budapest museums are closed--though perhaps the MFA will reopen before you get there. For ease of just hanging out (ruin pubs, etc.), Budapest is admittedly more accessible to westerners.

On such a short trip, I think you'll want to spend a lot of time outdoors, observing the architecture, if you get a break on the weather. If you do not, there are three very interesting 20th-century history museums in the city, all accessible (to varying degrees) to English-speakers. All have English audioguides and all are relatively modern in their presentation.

  • The Cherrnobyl Museum has the most comprehensive English audioguide. At the time of my visit there was additional information about the more recent Fukushima disaster.

  • The Famine (Holodomor) Museum is perhaps the most important for understanding the national psyche. There's an introductory film (either in English or subtitled) that the staff will run for you. Ask about it if they do not offer. Then you need to take advantage of the small screens scattered around the display area. They have survivor interviews (most subtitled, a very few in English, I think). Each is short and focused on a particular aspect of the experience, which will be obvious on the selection screen so you can choose a variety of topics. Just before my trip I had read a lengthy academic book about the famine, but I still found this museum shattering and very informative.

  • The WWII Museum is a bit less English-intensive. For example, the information about individual soldiers is not translated, so you miss some of the human impact. It's still worthwhile. This one is near the Motherland monument, beyond the Lavra.

Posted by
10681 posts

You mentioned you weren't much of a museum hawk, but the 3 that Acraven mentions are sort of broad in their impact and very tangiable and interesting.

Posted by
42 posts

Thank you all!
Yes not a huge museum buff but interested in a few to learn area! Ok ok it’s a week in Kyiv!

Oh- am I crazy or is there NO Ukraine forum- that’s why i stuck it in a nearby country/ lol!

I’m getting more and more excited about Ukraine!

Yes, returning to Budapest also.

I planned on Vienna, but I could just split Ukraine and Budapest.

Ruin Bars are cool, but not my thing to go alone.
But great salt hot spring above Eger that I want to return to unless something similar in Ukraine.

Posted by
42 posts

Is the general Khreschatyk area anywhere on that street? On air B.B. they have maps so if you can give me street names to stay inside these 4 streets for best if best area!

Posted by
16591 posts

A week sounds grand.

One other tip: Public transportation is dirt-cheap throughout Ukraine. I believe tokens in Kyiv were the equivalent of about 20 cents US. That means the buses and subway are extremely heavily used. You should expect a sardine experience during part of every trip. I think it would be difficult to manage luggage under such conditions. I didn't fly in or out of Kyiv so have no idea what your options are for airport transportation.

I bought all my transit tokens at subway stations. The machines take different coins and do not make change. If you want four tokens, see if there's a machine with a 20-gryvnia label. In one occasion when I used the staffed booth, the seller refused to sell me more than one token even though I had handed her exact change for what I wanted. Don't know what that was about.

Posted by
10681 posts

I would choose anywhere south of Maidan along Khreschatyk St. As close to Khreschatyk st and as close to Maidan as possible. But the whole length of the street south of Maidan is only about a 10 minute walk. Then my other choice as noted above is to go to google maps and draw a line from the Hotel Ukraine to the Hayat Hotel and look a block or two either side of that line; again, as close to Maidan as possible.

But keep in mind. I am no expert on Kyiv. Hopefully you get more good advice. Great place though. Check your PMs

Posted by
3 posts

I often go to Ukraine. I already know this country and some cities. If you have the time, be sure to visit Odessa. A very beautiful place.

In my opinion, the hotels on Khreshchatyk are very noisy. I'm not comfortable there. In Kiev, I preferred hotel on Shevchenko Boulevard. It is very close to Khreshchatyk, but much calmer.