Arrive in Kyiv. Our adventure through two fascinating countries begins in Ukraine's capital city, which is on the banks of the Dnieper River. The city has been inhabited for almost 2,000 years and was once the capital of the Kyivan Rus State, from which all later Russian states descended. Although Ukrainian nationalism is stronger than ever, you will still hear Russian spoken widely here today.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 8pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Kyiv at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Kyiv Boryspil International Airport (KBP), which is about 35 minutes' drive, depending on traffic. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to explore the city on foot or using metro. The nearest metro station is five minutes' walk from our hotel. The city is filled with attractive architecture, wide shopping boulevards with coffee stands every few metres, parks where the locals stop to feed the squirrels and play chess, and a mix of high-end department stores and a warren of underground malls selling everything from hot corn on the cob to traditional ceramics. Kreshchatyk is the capital's main street and stretches from the traditional food market of Besarabsky to Maidan Square, where the 2014 revolution took place, which resulted in the country's president Viktor Yanukovych being overthrown and fleeing to Russia.
You'll find a selection of good restaurants and bars to choose from this evening. Ukraine is well known for its dumplings, called varenyky that come with a range of different fillings such as mutton, cabbage or sweeter varieties like cherry. You should also try nastoyanka, which is a Ukrainian liqueur made from honey and herbs and comes in a selection of fruit flavours and even horseradish! Potential dining spots include Spotykach Restaurant, which is a retro Soviet style canteen cellar or for something quicker, you could try the local fast food at Kyivska Perepichka, which specialises in fried dough encased sausages.
During this trip, we have packed in as many highlights of Kyiv as we can, but there is very little free time in the city, so if you wish to spend some time discovering more on your own, we would recommend extending your stay for a night or two. If you choose to do this then we'd suggest visiting the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, which is one of the largest in Ukraine and tells the story of the German-Soviet War in iconic and Brutalist style. It has over 300,000 items on display and the memorials here are spread over 25 acres. It's here that the Mother Motherland statue is located and although we will see this from a distance during our city tour tomorrow, you might like to get up close and go up to the observation platform.
Please note that many of Kyiv's museums are closed on a Monday/Tuesday, so if you wish to visit a particular attraction then please check that it is open on the day you are want to visit on.
Accommodation: Hotel Rus