Explore Kiev's historic centre on foot, from the tombs of the Kievo-Pechersky Lavra monastery to the boutiques of the Old Town's Andriyivsky Uzviz side street. You'll be lured back to Kiev's picturesque tranquillity by the classic buildings of the historic Lypky district. Enjoy the tumbledown charm of the flower and food stalls of Bessarabsky farmers' market, and sundown-to-sunrise nightlife everywhere.
Kreshchatik Street divides Kiev's key sites into north and south; most are concentrated in the leafy hills of the northern aristocratic Old Town. Soviet monuments and an ancient monastery line the River Dnieper in the historic Lypky and Pechersk districts in the south. Kreshchatik's Stalinist architecture takes on a carnival atmosphere at weekends when cars are banned and everyone is free to walk up and down, ice cream or beer in hand. Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), home of the Orange Revolution, when Russia-backed candidate Yanukovych was rejected for Viktor Yushchenko, comes to life after dark.
Dodge the crowds with an early start at the catacombs of Kievo-Pechersky Lavra, the still functioning Monastery of the Caves. Then pay your respects at the Rodina Mat (Motherland) memorial nearby. Take a funicular ride up to St Michael's Golden Domed Monastery and admire the frescoes of the 11th-century St Sophia Cathedral. Find unique gifts among the stalls of Andriyivsky Uzviz street in the Old Town before heading back to the centre via the recently restored Golden Gate. Unwind in one of Kreshchatik's elegant restaurants, or a shaded pavement cafe.
Lose yourself among the former aristocratic mansions of the Lypky area - don't miss the 1755 Mariinsky Palace, or the surreal modernism of the 1903 Horodetsky House. Savour the old-world atmosphere of the Bessarabsky farmers' market, selling country-fresh fruit, vegetables and abundant flowers. Discover the darker side of Ukraine's history at the Chernobyl Museum or Babi Yar site of the worst massacre of the Holocaust. Wander through the monuments of Kiev's five riverside parks, before relaxing with a well-earned sundowner.