A Conference for Developers, Publishers and Distributors in Eastern Europe.
Travel guide prepared by Alla Khramtsova, Casual Games Association, Eastern European Developer Relations.
We are thrilled to have you in Ukraine and would like to make your stay in Kyiv as interesting and entertaining as possible.
We’ve prepared a short guide for kyiv, with useful tips that you won't find anywhere else, and we hope it will help you obtain a general idea about Kyiv and the "must see" places.
Important information for your travel to Kyiv:
1. Arriving to Kyiv
2. Getting to your hotel from the airport
3. General information for visitors:
Charging your electronics
4. General Information about Kyiv
5. How to get to the city center from the hotel
6. Must See: Historical and Cultural Sights
7. Night Life
8. Where to dine and feel Ukrainian
9. Got questions? Ask locals!
Arriving to Kyiv:
At the writing of this document EU and US citizens do not need to obtain a visa prior to traveling to Ukraine. So, a trip to Ukraine is just as easy as traveling to Amsterdam! For more info: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1053.html#entry_requirements
When you arrive at the Kyiv Boryspil airport (KBP) you’ll be directed to the Passport Control area. There are usually long lines if several flights arrive at the same time. Look for the “Non-Ukraine Citizens” sign and line up there.
The boarder control officer will ask for your international passport and will definitely ask you about:
It would be a good idea to have the invitation paper to Casual Connect Kyiv 2013 which is available from the travel page on http://kyiv.casualconnect.org/travel.html and your hotel confirmation ready to present to the officer. Not all the officers speak English well, so the papers will save you time.
Once your passport is stamped, you are free to continue on to the Baggage Claim area which is right after Passport control. Pick up your checked luggage or, in case you cannot see it, apply to “Lost & Found” to claim your belongings.
Once your luggage is picked up, please then proceed to the Customs Control area. There are two paths, a red and green one. You will want to walk down the green path as you won’t be bringing any weapons, goods for sale, chemicals, or other prohibited items, which is what the red path is for. Your laptop, camera, and other electronic devices are your personal belongings and should not be declared.
The customs officer will either let you pass by freely or will ask you what you are bringing in your luggage. Just say “personal things” and that will probably do. In some cases they would ask you to open your bags. Do not worry – you probably don't have anything to declare or pay customs on. The items that need to be declared, are in most cases, the same as in your home country.
Ok, now pass through the doors and you'll see a bunch of people whom are waiting for arriving passengers. If you sent a request for the Casual Connect Kyiv 2013 shuttle service and received a confirmation, look for a person holding a Casual Connect sign. They will take complete care of you. ;) If you don’t see anyone (which won’t be the case, but still.), just stand near the crowd and they'll find you. If you decided to go on your own and feel like a local, then turn right and get out of the Airport…
Getting to your hotel from the airport:
Right outside of Boryspil’s Terminal B (that’s where you arrive) to your right there are taxis and buses. Official shuttles say «Aтасс - Полёт» or Skybus on its side (schedule is here look at the lower one – from airport). The cost is 5 gryvnas ($5) and the ride lasts for around an hour.
The Skybus runs directly to the central railway station. From there you can take a taxi to your hotel. The Central railway station is 5-10 minutes from downtown by car. The taxi ride from there would cost you around $10.
Near Terminal B and inside the airport you’ll also see a lot of solicitors proposing taxi rides. They should be pretty secure, but they will try to charge you much more when they see you're a foreigner. Usually you can bargain down to $30-40 and even pay them in US dollars or Euro (they won’t give you change, so have the exact amount needed). You should select a car which has an orange sign on its top indicating it’s a taxi, don’t go with private drivers without an appropriate license.
Weather in October : pretty much like in New York City. It won’t be snowy. But it will get a little chilly at night!
Charging you laptop and cell: Ukraine has electrical current of 220 volts AC, 50Hz. All sockets require two round pins. Adapters for foreign devices are not easy to find in Kyiv, so bring your own. These are the same adapters that you will use when traveling to Amsterdam!
Security: Kyiv is a rather safe place. As in most major cities, flashing large amounts of money could cause trouble. Be aware of pickpockets in public transport or crowds. Being very drunk and/or loud on the street is always a good way to attract unwanted attention, sometimes from the police. Always carry your passport or other ID with you.
Tipping: no general rule exists; most people will leave 10% as a tip. But your wait staff will expect more from you as a foreigner. Some places include a service charge of 10% already included into the bill.
- Exchange rate is around 1USD=8.10 hryvnas (UAH), 1 EUR= 10.5 UAH. All banks have a currency exchange service ( 9AM – 6PM). The Airport and Railway station have the most unfair rates. For the most current rate, check out the National Bank’s site (http://www.bank.gov.ua/control/en/index).
- Plastic Cards: in most places on Khreschatik you can pay with Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. But always have some cash in hryvnas incase the card machine doesn't work. Ukrainians are more comfortable with cash.
- ATM's can be found in banks or on the streets. Banks typically charge a small fee for withdrawing money in hryvnas or US dollars. The fees are typical to US banks.
Transportation: It is better to use taxis because they are cheaper than in the US or Europe. But you can also go by Metro (subway), it’s very cheap (25 cents), but usually very crowded.
General Information about Kyiv:
Kiev is the Russian spelling of Kyiv most commonly used for English translations.
Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine, its administrative, economic, scientific, cultural and educational center. It’s one of the biggest European cities with a population of over 4 million people.
Kyiv is famous for its invaluable historical and cultural heritage. There are many beautiful churches, cathedrals, and other architectural sights and monuments, which attract tourists from all over the world.
It’s not only the administrative and cultural center of Kyiv, but also one of the major industrial and commercial centers of the country as well. Ukraine has a fast growing economy that results in huge business activity. More and more office buildings, banks, trade exhibitions and other commercial enterprises are appearing in the city.
Not only will you be able to enjoy the views, but also take a tour around numerous boutiques and shopping malls. The biggest shopping centers are located underground on Kreschatik St. This is a huge chain of different kinds of shops, stores, restaurants and fast-food, all constructed underground in order to save the historical city center.
Although the conference schedule is very full, we hope you’ll get the chance to take a tour around Kyiv.
How to get to the city center from the hotel:
It will take you less than 10 minutes to get to the main street (Khreshatik), full of boutiques, restaurants, cultural sights and tourists from all over the world.
The RUS and President hotels are located on Hospitalnaya St. To get to the famous Khreschatik you'll need to go up the street till it intersects with Lesi Ukrainki Blvd . Turn left and go along the Blvd. all way to Basseinaia St. It’s a short street at the end of which there is Krutoy Spoosk (Descent). Simply go across it and here you are on Khreshatik, which is the perfect place to start your tour around kyiv. We will provide you with the map if necessary.
Must See: Historical and Cultural Sights:
Kyiv is often called the mother of Slavic cities. It is more than 15 centuries old and during this time kyiv has come a long way from an ancient settlement of nomadic tribes to one of the largest cities in the world.
Here is a short list of potential areas we can arrange for you to visit, please let us know if you would like more details or help in preparing a tour.
Kreschatik is not only the central street of Kyiv, but also its one of the most beautiful and famous places. It is the widest and one of the leafiest streets of the city. The first construction on the street took place back at the end of the 18th century. Nowadays Kreschatik is among the major attractions of Kyiv. Not only to tourists, but also the citizens themselves adore this street, because of its beauty and charming atmosphere. Most of the administrative constructions, such as City Council, Central Department Store, National Philharmonic, as well as various stores, hotels and metro stations are all concentrated in this street.
Andreevsky Spusk is also one of the most famous streets in Kyiv. It was once a place where merchants and craftspeople lived. But nowadays it’s the city’s art center, where most concerts, art festivals and city holidays are arranged. It is sometimes compared to Montmartre, because kyiv artists display their work, and singers and actors give their performances.
Independence Square, also called Maidan Nezalezhnosti, is the central and the most beautiful square in Kyiv. This is the most famous place for arranging concerts, festivals, Parades, and other city events that attract lots of locals. It contains six fountains, Independence Statue, artificial waterfall, and other attractions. It’s the birthplace of the so-called Orange Revolution.
Sofia Cathedral is another world famous historical and architectural monument built early in the 11th century. Its name comes from the Greek word "sofia", meaning "wisdom". It was built in the times of Yaroslav Mudry’s rule and served as a social, political and cultural center of Kyiv Rus. Address: 24 Vladimirskaya St.
Golden Gate is an architecture monument. It was constructed in 1017-1024 and used to be the main entrance into Kyiv. The huge tower delighted visitors and protected the city from enemies. The Golden Gate in kyiv reminds people of the famous entrance into Constantinople, it’s not a simple coincidence as Yaroslav Mudry wanted to underline that his country was as powerful as the Byzantine Empire.
Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra with its beautiful golden arch's is a large Christian complex located on the high hills of the right Dnepr bank. According to legend, Apostle Andrew, blessed the hilly bank of the Dnepr River and said: "On these hills the great city and many churches in glorification of Holy God will be".
The House with Chimeras was always surrounded with numerous legends starting with the first days of its existence. One of them says that the architect constructed the house after the death of his daughter who drowned in the Dnepr. According to this legend, the poor architect went crazy and decided to decorate the house with the terrifying river inhabitants.
10 Bankovaya St.
There are many clubs in Kyiv. They very by size, music style, interior design and prices. We are going to describe just a few of them in order to demonstrate the variety and describe the most popular ones.
Please let us know if you would like to visit a club – so we can assign a guide who likes to go to clubs as well.
This is the best known club in Ukraine. Ukrainians from all over the country come a long way just to get here. The main idea of the club’s owners was to create a club with very high standards. If you get tired of dancing you can go to the bowling, restaurant, beer pub. This club has too many things to mention and describe, it’s easier to visit it and see everything yourself. It has got one big advantage – it’s the closest club to the hotels.
Entrance fee: Mon - Thu $10
Fri - Sun $20
Address: Basseynaya St. 2А
It’s something really fascinating and beautiful looking. This club is very popular among young and progressive youth as well as grown-ups. Organized parties range from RnB to Country. If you want to spend some time apart from the crowded dance floor, 6 various private rooms are available for your private parties. They can hold 2 to 20 people and you'll be able to observe the dance floor on a large screen and order drinks and food by the phone.
Entrance fees: Mon-Thru $10
Fri-Sun $15 - $20
Address: Muzeyniy Lane 10.
Ganesha is a very cozy club decorated in an Eastern style. There is a large statue of Ganesha (An Indian God) that seems to watch the visitors. Music in the club is loud at all. Along with the popular lounge style, clubbers may also dance to the sounds of modern dance compositions performed by local DJs. European DJs regularly come and play in the Ganesha too
The people that attend the club are mainly young, progressive and creative people. Anyone regardless his or her financial situation, will enjoy the cheerful and friendly atmosphere of the Ganesha. Prices in the bar are more than reasonable for the club of such a level.
Address: 11 Artema St.
Entrance fees: Mon-Thur $10
Maximum is one of the biggest entertainment centers of the whole country. It’s a bit farther from the center, but it’s not simply a night club. The club includes dance floors, restaurant, as well as bowling, billiards, casino, and striptease bar.
The club is famous for fascinating shows and various music styles at each of their parties. Not only the best Ukrainian and European DJs play in the club, but also many famous Ukrainian and Russian singers give their concerts here.
Entrance fees: Mon-Thur $10
Address: 1 g Saksaganskogo St.
The name of the club is a true symbol of the club’s atmosphere. It guaranties privacy and absolute safety to its guests. The Safe Club meets the highest European standards of entertainment and service.
This club is one of the most desired places to go both by kyiv citizens and foreign guests.
The club decoration starts with a huge metal door looking like a very big safe.
The stairs take the guests of the club downstairs, to the main hall, decorated in a high-tech style, creating an impression of being in open space or in the future. The dance floor is located in the center of the main hall, however, when music starts people are free to dance everywhere, including tables, bathrooms and bar counters. There is also a VIP zone and chill out rooms that offer perfect individual service attention.
Entrance fee: from $10 to $20
Address: 23 Bolshaya Vasilkovskaya St.
It’s not really a club, it’s more of a cozy western style pub with a pleasant atmosphere and live music. But still if you have a free night and has already seen most of the other kyiv sights and crowded clubs, this is a perfect place to go with your friends and relax with a glass of fresh beer and delicious food.
Entrance fee: None
Address: Bogatirskaya St. 9
Where to dine and feel Ukrainian:
Below you’ll find some places around your hotel that feature really good cuisine and nice service. Your hotel staff can give you exact directions how to reach any of the below places to eat.
At Panykovsky’s (restaurant)
Address: 8 Proreznaya St.
Phones: (044) 536-1717, (044)536-1710
Prices per lunch: 15-20$
Flash back to "The Golden Calf", the most popular novel of famous soviet writers Ilf and Petrov, and embodies an atmosphere of New Economical Policy of the 20th century.
The restaurant «Panikovsky» is a modern establishment that offers tasty dishes and a festive atmosphere. The first few decades of the 20th century is the design of the restaurant. The menu offers delicious dishes of Ukrainian and European cuisines.
Tsarskoye Selo (restaurant)
Address: 42/1 Sichnego Povsstaniya St.
Phones: (044)573-9775, (044)290-3066
Prices per lunch: under 40$
Located at the historic center of Kyiv, next to Pecherskaya Lavra. It became the first restaurant in kyiv specializing in Ukrainian cuisine.
Here dishes are cooked according to ancient receipts, enabling guests to taste the dishes the were popular a century or two ago. A wide range of Ukrainian traditional drinks as well as a good selection of European wines and strong drinks are offered to customers. A dining hall recreates a typical Ukrainian village of the 18th century. There is the "Hunters Room" for guests who prefer to dine in an elegant chamber hall where they offer you a menu for the grill.
For a group of people, the restaurant offers the "negotiations room" meant for 10 persons.
Address: 42/1 Sichnevogo Povsstaniya St.
Phones: (044)573-9775, (044)290-3066
Prices per lunch: under 30$
SSSR Restaurant (USSR) was open in 1998 for people, who want to remember the atmosphere of the Soviet Union or travel to the past.
The restaurant is divided into several thematic zones, corresponding to geographic regions of the former USSR. There is the Uzbek area, where each guest can enjoy all the delights of Chaykhana. In "Georgia" you can watch the process of baking a pita (lavash) or cook a mouthwatering shashlyk.
The idea of the restaurant is to not only preserve the immediate past but also to offer the customers delicious cuisines of the former USSR. The best items on the menu are shashlyk, Ukrainian solyanka and borshch, Russian okroshka and shchi. It is situated in the heart of kyiv near Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra.
Chain of Ukrainian fast-food restaurants "Puzata khata" (Big-bellied hut)
Addresses: 1/2 Baseina vul., Besarabka; 8AM – 11PM; 5 halls
15/4 Khreschatyk vul. (Passage)
Prices per lunch: under 10$
All these chain cafes are decorated in Ukrainian folk traditions. You can find Ukrainian items such as vishivankas(traditional shirt), glechiks (pots), tyn (fence) and many others. Convenient locations, moderate prices and unique national spirit have made these cafes one of the most frequently attended both by Ukrainians and foreign visitors.
Zamok Vidubichi (fish and oyster bar)
Address: 5, Naberezhna-Pechers'ka St.
Phones: (044) 286-2707, (044) 525-0793
Prices per lunch: under 40$
The interior of the restaurant is designed in the style of an ancient English castle. Their unique cuisine – river fish: sturgeon, cterlet, sheat-fish, carp, European carp, trout, white amur and even shrines. They are all in a pond where you can catch it and then they'll cook it in front of your eyes.
Ask locals! Viktoria will be more than happy to answer your questions(Time Zone: GMT+2):
Cell: +38 067 327 92 37