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While there don't seem to be many obvious tourist attractions, we went exploring and found some fun, delicious, cool and local things to do in Kiev (Kyiv) for you. Digging a little beneath the surface, we discovered that Kiev was a vibrant, bustling city with a unique blend of Western European and Russian culture.

Surprisingly underrated Ukraine is a seriously cheap country that won't blow your backpacker budget even if you try.

Pechersk Lavra

A must-visit place for everyone. This huge complex of Cave Monasteries is over 1000 years old and is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Since its founding, it has been the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church in that part of the world. The monasteries are incredibly beautiful, with golden domes that shine in the sun.

But the interiors are even better! The rich ornaments make them look like they are from a fairy tale. When walking around the Pechersk Lavra, you get the feeling that it is a special place for Ukraine, as the atmosphere is definitely alternative to anything we have ever experienced.

To admire the grandeur and enormity of Lavra, it is best to go to the other side of the Dnieper River, from where the view is stunning. Walking around the Lavra and visiting all the monasteries, museums and bell towers takes a good few hours, but it's definitely worth all the time and money.

We attended an Orthodox mass in the main cathedral in Kiev, we discovered that you can only enter with your head covered and the entire mass is held with people standing, there are no chairs in the cathedral. The choir is wonderful, the mass itself seems very ritualistic.

Rodina Mat Statue

Some locals hate it and some locals love it, but everyone can agree on one thing: the Rodina Mat statue is huge!

Standing 102 m high, the shining statue of stainless Rodina Mat or “Mother of the Nation” can be seen almost everywhere in the city.

Deepest metro station in the world

Now, if you cross the road from Rodina Mat to the Arsenalna metro stop, you can see the deepest metro station in the world. At 105m deep, it would make for a large nuclear bunker or just a good place to set up a very long escalator. It takes almost 5 minutes to reach the bottom and with some very sterile walls the walk down is a great opportunity to have some deep thoughts.

Again, the best part is that a metro ride costs just €0.30 in Kiev!

Is Kiev safe?

Unfortunately, when we tell people we're in Ukraine, they inevitably ask, "Is Kiev safe?" or "Isn't there a war in Ukraine right now?". Well, the answer is yes and yes.

Yes, Kiev and most of Ukraine are safe.

Yes, there is a war going on, but only in the Far East of the country.

The only thing that will remind you of the war are the recruitment posters that can be found throughout the city. Furthermore, Kiev is a very safe, fun and cheap backpacking destination.

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