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Is Kiev Safe? Kiev Ukraine Travel Guide – Kiev Food, Attractions, and Chernobyl Radiation Zone

Kiev, Ukraine is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited. There’s been a bit of unrest over the past few decades, but I felt safe when I visited in 2019. After touring the city with a few locals, I put together this Kiev Travel Guide so that you can enjoy your trip to the fullest!

On the tour of the Chernobyl zone, you can use Geiger counters to see how radioactive the sight still is

Is Kiev Safe?

Overall, I felt safe in Kiev (also spelled or known as Kyiv, Ukraine). Our local guides didn’t need to take any extra precautions or measures, and we freely walked around during the day and at night. That being said, I don’t recommend that you leave your wallet or passport hanging out of your pockets – it’s still a city!

And as of 2019, radiation is not a major concern either. The water in the city is safe to drink, the air is safe to breathe, and the food is most definitely safe to eat.

Kiev Attractions

You can visit all kinds of breathtaking architecture in Kiev!

The Golden Gates in Kiev stands where the original entrance to the city once stood

Golden Gate

The Golden Gate was originally constructed in the 11th century, but the structure that exists today was built by Soviet authorities in 1982. No one really knows what the first gate looked like because, like many walls and gates, it was damaged in multiple battles.

St. Sophia's Cathedral in Kiev is a beautiful church, even in the fog!

St. Sophia Cathedral

St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev was the first UNESCO site in Ukraine, and it’s easy to see why! Designed in Kievan Rus style, it towers over Sofiyivska Square. You can still see some of the original mosaics and frescoes inside the Cathedral.

St. Andrew's Church in Kiev is a beautiful example of Ukrainian Baroque architecture

St. Andrew’s Church

St. Andrew’s was built in the mid-1700s by Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, but in the Ukranian Baroque style. It was originally constructed to be a personal place of worship for Empress Elizabeth, which is why there aren’t any church bells or parishes. I highly recommend walking up to the church for some beautiful views of the city!

St. Michael's Gold-Domed Monastery is a beautiful site in Kiev!

St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery

The Monastery is named after the patron saint of Kiev: St. Michael the Archangel. In the early 1930s, Soviet authorities ordered its demolition to make room for administrative buildings. But after the fall of the USSR, its reconstruction started and the Monastery reopened in 1998.

The Lavra in Kiev holds over 100 sacred relics from saints in its caves

Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra

According to my local guide, this is the holiest site in Europe! (Don’t @ me) Holiest or not, it’s certainly one of the most beautiful structures in Kiev.

My local guide in Kiev told me the Lavra the holiest site in Europe. Want to know why (or why not)? Check out my Kiev Travel Guide at dtvdanieltelevision.com

Reverend Anthony decided to settle in one of the caves and founded the Lavra in 1051. And “the incorruptible relics of more than 120 saints” reside in those caves. You can tour the monastery or simply explore on your own.

The Motherland Monument is 62 meters tall (203 feet) and made almost entirely out of stainless steel

Motherland Monument

The USSR commissioned the Motherland Monument war memorial in the 1970s to be built almost entirely from stainless steel. While it’s definitely magnificent, it’s caused controversy over the years. Many people want it disassembled so that the steel can be repurposed.

Kiev Food

After all that touring, you’ll be ready for a delicious meal – and there’s no shortage of good food in Kiev. As soon as we arrived, our local guides greeted us with Salo, which is just cured pork fat. Delicious when paired with bread!

Ukrainian salo is cured pork fat. Our local hosts made us bites with salo and bread - a perfect welcome treat!

And that was just the beginning of our culinary adventures in Kiev…

Korchma Taras Burba in Kiev is a great place to try authentic Ukrainian cuisine!

Korchma Taras Burba

Our first restaurant stop was quite an experience. Before we even sat down, we saw people dancing and singing in Ukrainian garments and headdresses.

Luckily, our locals ordered a ton of food for us to try, some of which we never would have ordered ourselves! We tried a variety of dishes like cabbage rolls, pork fatback with garlic, and vrenyky (stuffed dumplings).

meat in gelatin is common in eastern Europr. For an authentic Ukrainian dining experience, try the Kholodets!

I definitely recommend ordering the deruny, which is essentially a potato pancake (and who doesn’t love potatoes?). And if you feel adventurous, you should try the kholodets, which is cooked meat suspended in gelatin. The aspic jelly trend disappeared in the U.S., but it’s alive and well in Europe!

These pancakes made with cottage cheese are some of the best treats you'll eat in Kiev! Learn more about Ukrainian cuisine in my Kiev Travel Guide: dtvdanieltelevision.com

Kanapa

Before you start touring the city, treat yourself to a hearty (and affordable) breakfast at Kanapa! They have classics like oatmeal and eggs benedict, or you can treat yourself to a platter of pierogis.

But you definitely need to get the syrniki! Made with quark or farmer’s cheese, these delectable little pancake clouds of heaven go perfectly with a little sour cream and jam.

When you visit Kiev, you have to visit the Drunk Cherry! They pour the wine and then add cherries to your glass

Drunk Cherry

Based in Lviv, Drunk Cherry makes a delicious cherry liqueur that you can drink on its own or mixed into cocktails. It’s called a liqueur, but you can easily enjoy it like a glass of wine. Stop by any of the three locations in Kiev for a quick drink!

How many platters of ribs do you think you can eat at Rebernia? Read more about where to eat in my Kiev Travel Guide: dtvdanieltelevision.com

Rebernia

I know this might be a controversial statement, but I’m saying it anyway: these are the best ribs I’ve ever had! Watch the ribs smoke over an open fire and dine with just your hands.

If you love ribs, you have to visit Rebernia in Kiev! They're the best ribs I've ever had #Ihavespoken

That’s right – they don’t have utensils! (Sound familiar?) They bring the ribs over and chop them for you. I definitely recommend that you accept the bib, because you’re going to make a (delicious) mess!

I highly recommend visiting the Kyiv Food Market for a modern dining adventure! Food Halls offer a variety of cuisines, with dishes that are usually more affordable than at a restaurant

Kyiv Food Market

Most European cities have a food hall with kiosks serving up all types of cuisines, usually at more affordable prices than traditional restaurants. And Kiev is no different!

The Kiev Food Market has a variety of cuisines! Cooper Burgers, Santos Tacos, Milk (waffle dessert), Bao Nam (pho bowls), Senpai sushi, and Thai Sabai

We tried dishes from Cooper Burgers, Santos Tacos, Milk, Bao Nam, Senpai Sushi, and Thai Sabai. While I enjoyed most of it, I definitely recommend the burger, the Thai noodles, and the sushi. And if you have a sweet tooth like me, you have to try the dessert waffles at Milk!

Chernobyl Zone

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Kiev, but visiting Chernobyl may be a highlight. If you haven’t already watched the HBO series, here’s a quick summary:

In April 1986, a nuclear reactor exploded during a safety test, which caused a fire that burned for days. It released dangerous levels of radiation throughout the area, even registering in Sweden and Germany. In 2017, the New Safe Confinement was completed, and the nuclear clean-up is supposed to be finished by 2065.

As of 2019, you can visit the Chernobyl zone with a tour

You can visit Chernobyl today as part of a tour group. The Chornobyl Tour will safely take you around Pripyat and the Chernobyl zone to learn more about the incident and the lasting effects of the nuclear disaster. I highly recommend you dedicate an entire day to this visit because it’s 90 minutes outside of Kiev, and there’s a lot to take in from the tour.

FAQs about Visiting Kiev

Now that we’ve covered sites, food, and Chernobyl in this Kiev Travel Guide, I’ll answer some of the most common questions about visiting Kiev.

Kiev, Ukraine is a beautiful city with incredible architecture and views. The Motherland statue is just one of many Kiev attractions!

Is Kiev worth visiting?

Absolutely! The city is gorgeous, the people are friendly, and there are plenty of things to do in Kiev. You can easily spend a long weekend in the city and still not experience everything it has to offer.

And if you don’t agree after reading this guide, let me know why in the comments!

Budmo is the Ukrainian equivalent of Cheers or Prost! Learn more about visiting this incredible country in my Kiev Travel Guide at dtvdanieltelevision.com

Is Kiev safe to travel to?

Yes. As I mentioned above, I felt safe in the city. But as of 2020, Russia still occupies the Crimean peninsula, so I recommend checking the news for any protests or incidents before going on your trip.

Visit the Lviv Handmade Chocolate shop to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Chernobyl today: Is it safe to visit Chernobyl now?

Yes, but be smart while you’re there. Don’t take any rocks home with you or lick any doorknobs (which is a good rule of thumb anyway). You’ll learn on the tour that, while it’s safe for you to walk through the sites, it’s dangerous to consume anything grown in the area or swim in the water.

In early 2020, forest fires broke out near the Chernobyl zone. The government reported safe levels of radiation throughout the area, but any after effects remain to be seen.

Kiev (Kyiv), Ukraine is a beautiful city that you need to see! Check out my Kiev Travel Guide to learn more about what to do when you visit: dtvdanieltelevision.com

Kiev Travel Guide: Poyekhali!

When you visit Kiev, I highly recommend connecting with a local so that you can fully experience the city and the culture. It’s safe, affordable, and delicious! What more could you want from a travel destination?

Kiev is one of the most beautiful cities I've visited. Plus, it's safe! Learn more about visiting Ukraine in my Kiev Travel Guide at dtvdanieltelevision.com

If you like my Kiev Travel Guide, be sure to bookmark it, Pin it, or send it to your travel buddy! And for more travel guides and information, subscribe to my Youtube channel and follow me on Instagram.


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