Discover Kiev, a city of gold-domed cathedrals and churches, well-kept and welcoming parks, and friendly, helpful people. This lively, culturally rich city is still a relatively undiscovered destination, with plenty of opportunities for exploration and surprises. Visit this ancient and historic city, whose landmarks date back to the eleventh century.
- It's Included:
- Accommodations: for 4 nights in Kiev at the superior, first-class Radisson Blu Kiev
- 6 meals: 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 1 dinner
- Included tours: Kiev, St. Sophia’s Cathedral, Cave Monastery
- Exclusive Discovery Series event: Present-Day Ukraine discussion
- Exclusive services of an experienced Grand Circle Program Director
- All transfers
Depart the U.S. today on your flight to Kiev.
Arrive today in Kiev. Ukraine. A Grand Circle representative meets you at the airport and directs you to your hotel.
Enjoy the balance of the afternoon at leisure to relax after your flight. You are invited to join your Program Director for a short walk around the neighborhood of your hotel. Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, is a fascinating ancient city with some remarkable buildings that date to the eleventh century. Built along the Dnieper River, Kiev is both a modern gateway city to Ukraine and a historic town that blends commercial streets with narrow byways in its Old Town. Kiev also supports some fine urban parks and gardens, which are great for walking. Among these, Shevchenko Park in the middle of the downtown area is worth a visit. You may want to visit the famous Maidan Square, where the recent Orange Revolution took place, or wander along Kreshchatik, the city’s main street.
This evening, meet your fellow travelers before dining on your own tonight.
After breakfast, join your group for a Welcome Briefing. Then, set off to tour the ancient and magnificent city of Kiev, often called the city of golden domes because of the great number of Orthodox churches with that striking feature.
We will see the St. Sophia Cathedral, one of the city’s great and historic landmarks. Built in the eleventh century, this majestic 13-domed church is considered one of the most remarkable structures from the Kievan-Rus period. The Cathedral was built in 1037 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise (who is buried inside) to commemorate the victory over the Pechenegs (Asian nomadic tribes) and to glorify Christianity. The church is actually a small complex with two churches, a bell tower, a school, and monks’ cells. The church was renovated and expanded right up to the 19th century, mostly in the Renaissance and Ukrainian Baroque style. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Note the ancient icons and frescoes, as well as old columns that retain the scribbling of people who visited the church centuries ago.
You conclude your tour with a visit to the bustling Andreevsky descent. You’ll have some free time to browse and have lunch on your own, before returning to the hotel.
In mid-afternoon, you have leisure time to continue your explorations independently. Then, in late afternoon, you are invited to an exclusive Discovery Series discussion on Present Day Ukraine that will enhance your understanding of this Slavic nation’s situation in these first years of the 21st century.
This evening, join your fellow travelers for dinner at a local restaurant, during which you’ll enjoy live folk music.
After breakfast at the hotel, enjoy an included tour of the Cave Monastery. Spread over two rolling hills southeast of the center of Kiev, and located along the banks of the Dnieper River, the Monastery of the Caves (Kiev Percherska Lavra) is an active, functioning monastery compound containing restored churches and towers, as well as a printing works and miles of maze-like underground tunnels where ancient crypts hold ecclesiastical treasures.
This was for many centuries the most famous monastery in historical Kievan-Rus and the former Russian Empire. Here, Orthodox Christians from throughout Europe traveled on pilgrimages that led many to compare Kiev to Rome as a religious destination. The monks Antony and Feodosiy founded the monastery in 1051 with the goal of spreading the Christian religion. Monks worshipped and lived in the caves and were buried there. The mixture of the cool cave temperatures and humid atmosphere left many of the dead monks mummified. Today, visitors to the caves and museums can view several of the mummified monks. After an included lunch, you return to the hotel.
This afternoon, join us for an optional tour to the Chernobyl Museum, which depicts the catastrophe that occurred at the Chernobyl atomic station in 1986, and get a firsthand account from one of the survivors. You’ll also visit the Babi Yar Memorial, which honors the Holocaust victims of World War II and marks the site of the worst one-day Holocaust event of the entire war. Afterwards, share your impressions of the day over an included dinner.
Or you can set out to explore more of Kiev on your own. Kiev has some wonderful, distinct sections and you may want to start with a stroll through the Podil District. This is Old Kiev with narrow streets and small shops—the heart of the city many years past where merchants and craftsmen worked and lived and often spent a lifetime in the same small area. While you are strolling the Podil, be sure to explore Kontraktova Ploshchad (Contractor’s Square). The Hostinny Dvir shopping arcade, built in 1809, is nearby. At the northwest corner of that building, stop to see the Fountain of Samson, dating back to 1749 and with many legends connected to the fountain. One legend has it that a person who drinks the fountain’s water will never live anywhere else but in Kiev.
Dinner is on your own tonight.
Take another day to discover Kiev at your own pace. The city’s main business district, Khreshchatik, is a popular spot for people-watching. The main boulevard is quite striking—lined with large old trees and grand monumental buildings interspersed with small shops. There are many restaurants and stores nearby. Lunch today is on your own. You could also consider a visit to the Bessarabsky Market, located at the southern end of Vulitsya Kreshchatik, one of the busiest shopping streets in Kiev. Here you will find the locals shopping for fruits, meats, and caviar, and stocking up on kvas, a fermented bread-based beverage that is a favorite on picnics.
Or, join an optional excursion to the Mamaeva Sloboda Open-Air Museum of Folk Architecture and Lifestyle. One of the largest open-air museums in the world is located within a picturesque area of Kiev. The landscapes and wooden buildings—including peasants’ homes, mills, and farms—reflect the styles of different Ukrainian villages and regions. You’ll see folk art, traditional household utensils, clothing, and tools from the 16th to 20th centuries used for crafts including weaving, pottery, and barrel making. The museum also includes a church that is still used for services.
Dinner is on your own tonight.
This morning, you’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight to Moscow to join your fellow travelers on Russia Revealed.