Kiev is a big and busy city with lots of things to do regardless of the season. But while the standard Ukraine travel itinerary for many will include two to three days in the capital, and then heading to Lviv and Odessa, we strongly encourage you to stay in Kiev for longer, and over the weekend, take a break from the city and venture into adventures in the region.
So, what is there to see near Kiev?
Whether you like exploring the castles, spending time outdoors, or wandering the small and cozy towns of Ukraine and exploring its history, here’s what you can count on within a two to three hours drive away from the Kiev. This list, though it has 25 weekend break ideas on it, barely touches the surface. However, it will still have lots to offer to diverse tastes.
Also check out: The best time of the year to visit Kiev and things to do in this city in winter, spring, summer, and fall.
Nature and Hikes
Marvel at Bakota
428 km (265 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: free
When standing atop a hill and marveling at the boundless waters of Bakota it is almost hard to believe the dramatic history buried under these waters.
Bakota was once a valley of some 20+ small villages. All of them were evacuated within a matter of weeks when the Soviet government decided to build a hydroelectric power plant. The valley was flooded, and the water covered not only numerous houses, but ancient pagan mounds and a monastery in the caves.
Today’s trip to Bakota includes hikes to the remains of the monastery, as well as to the small secluded beaches. You can also plan for kayaking and swimming in this area. The best idea is to head to Bakota from Kiev over a weekend and use both days for this break. The best place to stay for the night is in the nearby Kamyanets-Podilsky, or just camp in th area.
What is the best way to get there? By car or with a guided tour is the fastest way to get to Bakota.
Vytachiv and the beauty of Dnipro
68 km (42 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: free
There is a place not far from Kiev where the hills rise above the clean waters of the Dnipro River, and this place is Vytachiv. Once an ancient settlement, it now has only a couple of reminders of civilization. These are a small wooden church and a windmill.
The views from atop the hills are jaw-dropping. In this area, the Dnipro River is particularly broad.
If you want, you can hike to the water, rent a boat and buy a cruise, or simply sit on any of the benches facing the river and munching on the delicious cherries that the locals sell. You will need to have some local cash on you, though. Plan at least four hours for this place.
What is the best way to get there? Renting a car would probably be the best idea for a trip like this one.
The Waterfalls of Steblevo
160 km (99 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: free
This village will hardly ever be marked on the map as a place to see near Kiev, and yet, it is amazing. Scientists discovered the remains of the ancient cultures dating back to the 5th century BC.
Based on the scenic hills of the river Ros, the village is home to the house-museum of the Ukrainian writer Nechui-Levicky, a beautiful monastery on an island, and you will need to use one of those hanging wooden bridges to get to it. Finally, the road leads to the granite canyon with small waterfalls and clear waters of the river Ros. You can even grab a swimsuit and swim just like the locals here do.
What is the best way to get there? Renting a car will be the only option, although there is a bus heading to Stebliv from Vydubychi metro station.
96 km (58 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: free
If possible, come here in late spring or early fall to truly enjoy the peace and quietness of the pine forests surrounding the canyon. A former granite quarry becomes quite a busy place during summer, especially on weekends. People come here to camp, swim, hike, dive off the cliff, and practice rock-climbing.
Located a bit further from the canyon and its lake is the second lake with houses for rent. this may be a convenient option if you decide to extend the stay.
What is the best way to get there? This is a trip perfect for those who have or rented cars. It would be too much of a hassle to go by a public bus.
Beaches and nature of the Desenka River
41 km (25 miles) from Kiev.
Entrance fees: Public beaches are usually free of charge.
While we are on the topic of where to go near Kiev, spending a day on the beach should be among our recommendations. The Kiev Sea is the first thing that comes to mind because it is an artificial reservoir with lots of villages around it, and many of those have well-equipped beaches. Lebedivka and Khotyanovka are among them.
But lately, most of the Kiev Sea beaches are very crowded, so we would rather direct you to the Desenka River. Explore the beach near Khotyanivka village. In addition to the public beach, you might also want to consider quite a few comfortable resorts by the water, including Sosnovel and Sobi Club.
What is the best way to get there? Renting a car would probably be the best idea for a trip like this one.
Old Castles and Mansions
442 km (274 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: The entrance ticket costs 2 USD.
We’ve traveled to quite a few castles in Ukraine, and this one is by far one of the most impressive. An old medieval fort is scenically placed by the river, and if you climb the nearest hill, you’ll have a gorgeous panorama.
Inside the castle, there are rooms with ancient weapons, torture equipment, expositions about the castle’s owners, and its history. The castle is conveniently located in the Kamyanets-Khotyn-Bakota triangle, close to a lovely city of Kamenets-Podiclsy and the stunning lake of Bakota, so you can book yourself a day filled with adventures.
What is the best way to get there? By car or with a guided tour is the fastest way to get to Khotyn.
The Tarnovsky residence in Kachanovka
203 km (126 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: Visiting the park is free. Parking costs 0.80 cents. Entrance to the museum and a guided tour cost 11 USD.
One of our favorite escapes from Kiev, the Tarnovsky residence is well worth the journey. An old residence of one of the most influential families (who were also the Maecenas of the arts in the empire) still has that romantic and creative atmosphere to it.
From the parking, the route will lead to a small but cozy park in front of the estate. This is where many prominent writers came to read fragments of their books-to-be in front of the educated guests of the residence.
The residence itself is a white building with the green domes and the colonnade. Inside, there is now a museum of the era of the Tarnovsky family. One of the wings of the house turned into a hotel. Nothing fancy, but might be a good idea if you decide to stay for the night.
The house stands on the hill, facing the beautiful lawn of its big backyard, as well as a breathtaking panorama of the lake.
Walking, having a picnic, exploring the area, and educating oneself about the times that passed are among the recommended activities for this place. Plan at least four hours for a visit.
What is the best way to get there? The best way to get to Kachanovka is by car, although there are a few public buses. It will take longer, and you might need to either hop on a taxi from the bus stop or walk.
The Palace in Korsun-Shevchenkivsky
146 km (90 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: Free.
Korsun-Shevchenkivsky is a small town with a big history. During the times of World War II, it was a major battlefield resisting the attack and eventually winning one of the biggest battles in the conflict.
Standing on the small and cozy island on the bend of the river Ros is a park, which once used to be a prosperous estate of one of the richest families in Europe. It was a family of Lopyhiny. The mansion is in a neogothic style, with several pavilions spread across the territory. Today, the buildings are occupied by the ministry of culture, but the territory is opened for visits.
If you walk further into the park, you will also find an old wooden chalet-style house, which is currently a gallery. During summers, the locals use the banks of the river to relax by the water. Some even go for a swim.
What is the best way to get there? Reach the town by car, or book a tour.
99 km (61 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: 6 USD
A very noteworthy place not far from Kiev, the castle stood abandoned for the longest time. It is almost hard to believe that this beautiful architectural gem would’ve ceased to exist if not for the initiative of one local businesswoman. She bought the castle and invested millions of hryvnias in renovating it.
Today, the castle offers a museum, restored typography where you can take a masterclass on making paper and using and old typography machine, and a lovely garden. In summers, the live orchestra plays here from time to time. The castle also includes a mini-hotel if you decide to stay and spend a night in the medieval architectural gem.
What is the best way to get there? By car or by a guided tour.
The Galagan Manor in Sokyryntsy
183 km (113 miles) from Kiev.
Entrance fee: free.
In Ukraine, you will find a lot of old castles and manors hidden in the lush parks just a bit off the main motorways and roads.
The Galagan Manor in Sokyryntsy is a good example of such placing. A small asphalted alley off the road H07 leads into an old oak park surrounded by the massive fence.
This is where the Galagan family lived in a luxurious house of 60 rooms. Barely any of the rich interiors survived till these days, as during the era of the USSR, the manor was turned into a college. So while we do not recommend going inside and paying for the tour, a park surrounding the house, and the house itself look quite dashing.
The park has a pond and alleys, and there is also a gazebo perfect for a picnic.
What is the best way to get here? By car.
Ethnic and History
Ethnic village in Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky
103 km (64 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: The ticket costs 2 USD.
If your stay in Kiev allows for an extra day, definitely spend it in Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky. It has a unique ethnic village, which is basically an open-air museum with old historic buildings gathered here from around the area. Old wooden churches, thatched huts, the healer’s hut, schools where the peasants studied, as well as rich mansions of the wealthy merchants, and even a cossack’s fortress are all gathered here.
What’s really great about this museum is that it has a unique and cozy touch to it. It is as if someone transported you back in time to the 18th century, to the life the way it was back then. You can easily enter the courtyards, sit on the benches, and taste cherries from the trees growing by these benches.
Walking, bicycling, taking lots of pictures, and having a picnic is among the activities recommended for the ethnic village. Plan at least three hours for this location.
What is the best way to get there? Its an hour’s drive by car or you can consider joining a guided tour. Public transportation is available, too, but it may be too authentic.
Pirogovo, an open-air museum
21 km (13 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: The entrance fee is 1.80 USD for adults and 1 USD for children.
An alternative to Pereyslav, this is one of the easiest Kiev weekend breaks, as it only takes a quick bus ride from Demiivska metro station. One moment you are in a loud and busy city, and just 15 minutes later you find yourself in a peaceful open-air museum.
Pirogovo is a big piece of land in the suburbs of the Ukrainian capital, and it displays historic architecture from the villages. You will find yourself wandering among old thatched huts, wooden churches and windmills, local pubs (called “shynoks”), and schools.
Adjacent to the exposition is a big food court with lots of local foods. You can also bring your own blanket and a food basket and have a lovely picnic. Bike rental is just by the entrance, so you can have an active day, too. Plan at least three hours for this location.
What is the best way to get there? By car, there is free parking. By a public bus, many head to Pirogovo from the Demiivska metro station.
Baturin, the hetman’s Capital
238 km (147 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: 1 USD for the citadel and the museum.
Ukraine’s democracy dates back centuries ago and is based on the hetman’s ruling. Hetmans were the leaders of cossacks, self-government military squads. By far the most prominent resident of Baturin was Bohdan Khmelnitsky, one of the founding fathers of Ukraine’s democracy and a person you will find references to throughout many episodes of our history.
Back in the 1600s, Baturin was a prosperous citadel with wooden fortifications. In the 1700s, the place was burned to the ground by the troops of the Russian Empire. That ruthless massacre still echoes in the history of the area, and a museum on the modern territory of Baturin put together a good exhibition about the events.
The place today is rebuilt and restored as it was during the times of its glory, with the hetman’s palace, an impressive wooden fortress, cannons, terraces, and a chapel inside the citadel. Plan at least three hours for a visit.
Best way to get there: By car, it is a 3-hours drive one way. Intercity buses also run between Kiev and Baturin. Also, you can join a guided tour.
Eco-farm “The Stack of Hay” (Kopytsa Sina)
90 km (55 miles) away from Kiev
Walking barefoot on hay, gathering some of the most delicious strawberries you have ever tasted, eating homemade food, and breathing the fresh air – these are some of many things to do on a farm. If you are looking for a Kyiv-with-kids-friendly destination, this is definitely it!
The farm is located in the village Parkhimov just an hour or so away from Kiev. Proper GPS navigation is 51.000703,30.979074.
This is one of many eco-farms currently booming in the Kiev area as more and more locals are looking for the country escapes and authentic experiences.
What is the best way to get there? By car, as there are neither any convenient public bus commutes nor any guided tours.
Cities and Towns
The Dutch Winmill at Pustovity
119 km (73 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: Free
It’s a hole in the wall, really, but it has a nice element of discovery to it, plus a charming story. Back in 1902, a peasant named Kuzma Dryga, returned home, to his village Pustovity, from the Netherlands, where he had a part-time job.
Kuzma was smart and curious. Back home, he was determined to make a difference, so he drew plans of a windmill. He used his knowledge, as well as the Dutch standards, and invited the village to participate. Following Kuzma’s initiative, the villagers contributed to the construction. They would come here int he evenings, after working in fields, and would all participate in building a windmill. It became the local pride, as well as a popular service for many towns in the area. People would come here from nearby villages and cities to use the windmill.
Years later, when Kuzma was dead, and it was his son in charge of the windmill, the Soviet government regarded it as a sign of wealth (a no-no for the communists) and signed an order to burn the windmill down. The village was able to protect it.
The windmill is still a working one these days, although nobody actually needs it anymore. So, it became a local museum. Plan about an hour for this place. It can be easily combined with trips to Vytachiv and Korsun-Shevchenkivsky.
What is the best way to get there? The place is not so popular, so the only way to get there is by car.
Chernihiv, one of the oldest Ukrainian towns
159 km (99 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: On-site, these will vary between 1 to 5 USD per chosen museums.
For the longest time, Chernihiv has been under the radar. This cozy town is filled with history, and its parks, small streets, great coffee shops, and a scenic bridge over the river make for a great day trip from Kiev to Chernihiv.
While following the link will allow you to get the itinerary and check out all the recommended locations in this town, we would only add that just two hours away from Kiev, you will find yourself exploring architecture dating back to the 1100s, and the wooden houses built here in the times of the Russian Empire.
The list of other activities includes climbing the old bell tower for the breathtaking panoramas, descending into the caves, relaxing by the river, and touring the first collegium on the left bank of Dnipro. Book a whole day for this adventure.
What is the best way to get there? By car, it is a fast and easy commute via road E95. By public transportation, it is a two-hours drive bu bys from metro Chernihivska (look for marshrutkas with “Чернігів” written on them), or you can also consider booking a tour.
A trip from Kiev to Chernobyl
128 km (79 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: Prices start from 45 USD depending on whether you prefer a VIP or a group guided adventure.
Probably one of the reasons why many come to Ukraine is to explore Chernobyl. Located just within a couple of hours drive from the capital, this trip shakes to the very core. This is also the only journey on this list that you will not be able to make on your own. The exclusion zone is a secure compound that lets in the guided tours, but not the solo travelers.
Leaving early in the morning and returning late in the evening, you will have a full immersion into recent dramatic history. The list of activities includes passing the checkpoint, exploring the city, heading to the Duga (the radar), visiting the power plant, eating in the local canteen, and visiting the abandoned city Pripyat.
What is the best way to get there? Look for a guided tour.
The Sunken Church in Rzhyshev
78 km (48 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fee: The boat ride boh ways costs 14 US
A small village of Rzyshev stands atop the hills facing the Dnipro River. And by far the main highlight of this location is the so-called sunken church. The church stands on a small island, and it is the only building remaining where an old village used to stand. Now it is under the water. The only way to get to the church is by boats. Tourist boats take visitors to the island twice a day. Or, you can also bargain with the locals for a private boat ride.
What is the best way to get there? By car, take route H01.
The Movie Set in Hurivshyna
33 km (20 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fee: free
Standing in the middle of nowhere is a massive decoration that reminds very much of a Disney castle in miniature. This is a private movie set, which is closed for visitation. But the facade – the castle itself, is also the gates to the set, so basically, you don’t even need to enter. It’s all there, right in front of you…
…the iconic chair from the GOT series that you can sit on and take a picture. That of course, given that you are a fan
What is the best way to get there? From Kiev, it is route E40 by car.
Kamyanets-Podilsky, a hidden gem
417 km (250 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: Entrance to the castle costs 2 USD
A shy brother to his popular sibling Lviv, Kamyanets-Podilsky is a very underestimated destination. This is something we are willing to fix. The main attraction of this cozy town is its iconic fortress, but the old town itself is worthy of mentioning.
It is a mix of cozy cobbled streets, clean and inviting parks, old and colorful buildings that makes this town such a treat. Plus, it’s got lots of great places to eat at. And if you are feeling like a day here is simply not enough, make sure to stay for the night. We highly recommend booking a room with the view of the stunning Smotrytsky Canyon.
What is the best way to get there? By car or with a guided tour. Kiev also has a convenient train connection with Kamenets-Podilsky.
Parks and Gardens
93 km (58 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: 0.80 cents.
A very meditative and quiet place, this park is truly an under-the-radar location for most of the travelers. This once used to be a big residence belonging to the Polish hetman Stanislav Ponyatovsky. Founded in the 18th century in honor of his wife Alexandra, the location still remains one of the biggest arboretums in Europe.
The area of Bila Tserkva was then one of the wealthiest regions, and Alexandra was a wise woman. She stayed in touch with the most powerful people in the empire, maintaining and expanding the family estate.
The park as it is today is numerous trails amidst the trees, many of which are unique to the region. There is also a peaceful promenade by the river, as well as a small waterfall near the lake. Here and there, former glory is still visible in the remains of old pavilions, a dancing pavilion that’s still standing, and in the old fountains.
Painting, walking, and bicycling are the activities recommended for Alexandria. Plan at least two hours for this place.
What is the best way to get there? By car, it takes slightly more than an hour to get to Bila Tserkva. By bus, it’ll cost around 3 USD one way, and the road will take about two hours.
Mezhygirya and the former residence of the exiled president
24 km (14 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: Tickets cost 2 USD
For years, Mezhygirya was hidden from the locals. A residence of the disgraced president, it was guarded day and night. Nobody was to see how the head of state lived. So when he got chased out of the country, and the Ukrainian gained access to the territory, it was a jaw-dropping experience.
Acres of land by the Kiev sea included gold courts, a zoo, a mini-farm, the master house and houses for personnel, a garage with vintage cars, promenades by the river, and a helicopter landing zone. That’s just to name a few.
Today, the residence is a public park with lots of things to do. This includes bicycling, taking guided tours, having picnics, and simply walking. Plan at least three hours for this destination.
What is the best way to get there? By car or by buses that leave from metro Heroyiv Dnipra
Uman and its beautiful park
212 km (131 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: 1 USD
This big and gorgeous park just a couple hours away from Kiev has a romantic story to it. The owner, the Polish magnate Stanislav Potocki, built it to honor his wife, Sofia Vitt-Potocka. hence the name – Sovyivka.
In those days, the park was not only a work of art, with its lakes, ponds, waterfalls, grottos, fountains, and exotic plants. It was an attraction unique to its times, and guests from many corners of the country came here to pay a visit and to marvel at the gardens.
Such a generous and affectionate gesture did not stop Sofia from cheating on her husband. Luckily for us, the jealous husband did not destroy the gardens in an act of revenge, and we can still enjoy them. Plan at least four hours for this place. It is big and takes quite a while to explore.
What is the best way to get there? By car, it takes about 2 – 2.5 hours. Public buses are headed to Uman on a regular basis.
20 km (12 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fees: 1 USD
A fairly easy trip from Kiev, Feofania are the recently renovated gardens not far from the city. Many local families come here with children for a day of rest at the end of the week. Scenic lakes, exotic plants, a church, places to go fishing, and bicycling make this place very attractive.
What is the best way to get there? Catch a bus #444 from metro Druzby Narodiv, or drive by a car.
75 km (45 miles) from Kiev
Entrance fee: 5 USD for a multi-ticket with a guided tour
Beremytsky is truly a breath of fresh air and a decent Kiev weekend escape and a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is acres of forests in a national park. It has all the eco-adventures there can be, from long hiking trails to bicycling, to horse-riding, and to camping. All the camping equipment is available onsite for rent. You can also rent a cabin and stay for the night.
What is the best way to get there? Renting a car or ordering the guided tour would be two of the most reasonable options.
Written by Inessa Rezanova
I am a Kyiv-based screenwriter with 10+ years of experience in producing scripts. I love my job, and no, I did not quit it to travel the world. I see different countries in my spare time. As a storyteller, I believe that it is the emotional journey that matters the most. This is why together with my sister I started this blog to encourage everyone to travel and to do so with a heart and mind opened to adventures.
Images by Natalie Rezanova
I am a photographer based in Kyiv, Ukraine. I am lucky to be able to do what I love the most for a living. Photography is an endless source of inspiration for me. My mission on this blog is to inspire by sharing some of the favorite captions from my journeys. I also provide professional photography tips to help the readers bring home some beautiful photo memories.