With access to many of the city’s most popular tourist spots, record-breaking stations, and some of the most ornate metro architecture in the former Soviet Bloc, Kyiv’s undeground transit system is worth the ride.
Red Line: Metro Line One
The city’s ‘red line’ or ‘line one’ – the city’s oldest and busiest – is a tourist draw in its own right. Taking 38.5 minutes to ride (according to plan), the 18-station route will take you from the city’s Sviatoshyn district to the left back, where there are plans to extend the line to the suburb of Brovary, giving the line the official name: the Svyatoshynsko-Brovarksa line. Opened in 1960, the Vokzalna to Dnipro stretch is the city’s oldest and features some of the region’s most exquisite stations. More than that, you’ll be able to visit many of the city’s most popular places – the Pecherska Lavra, the Motherland Monument, Hydropark, and Khreschatyk Street.
Transit Connections and Soviet Art: Akademistechko – Politekhnichniy Institut
While the line may be named after the Sviatoshyn station, it has since been extended to Akademistechko (in 2003). The seven-westernmost stations offer little as far as tourism goes, but they are worth visiting if you are into metro station design or looking to get out of the city. Known as October (Revolution) station and Bolshevik Factory station during the Soviet days, Shuliavska and Beresteyska respectively offer some interesting designs. The former used to feature a bronze bust of Lenin, while the latter still has a very cool mosaic of a Soviet worker. There is a train station at Sviatoshyn, which is useful if you’re looking to get away from the bustle of Vokzalna (central train station), while auto connections to western Ukraine can be found at Zhytomyrska station. To get to Zhuliany (Kyiv City Airport), catch bus #22 from Shuliavska. You can transfer to the Kyiv Urban Electric Train at Beresteyska (the rail station is called Rubezhivsky).
The Heart of Kyiv: Vokzalna – Dnipro
The six stations at the heart of the red line were the first to open and are wonderfully beautiful. Located deep deep underground to protect against ground water and to double as bomb shelters, this section of the line features the deepest metro station in the world – Arsenalna at 105.5m. It also features the two busiest stations – Khreschatyk and Vokzalna. Kyiv’s transport hub, Vokzalna, gives you connections to trams, trains, buses, and the urban rail. You can even get to Boryspil Airport by jumping on bus #322 from here. Be sure to stop at Universitet. Not only can you check out the famous Blood Red building of Shevchenko University and St Volodomyr Cathedral, the most important Ukrainian Orthodox church, the station itself is wonderful, with marble busts of famous poets and scientists. True to its name, the next stop – Teatralna, will connect you to the city’s biggest theatres, including Kyiv Opera and the Lesya Ukrainka. You can also transfer to the Green Line at Teatralna.
You’ve hit the centre of the city when you get to Khreschatyk station, which connects with the Blue Line at Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square). Hop out to take a stroll through the heart of the city. Be sure to visit Maidan to learn about the Revolution of Dignity. Pop over to Bessarabskiy Market if you’re hungry. And if you like to party, some of the city’s most popular clubs are in Arena City. At Arsenalna, you might want to take a video of the record-breaking five-minute escalator ride to show your friends. When you finally get out of the station, you can either head over to Mariinskiy Park and the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) or take a 10-minute stroll to Pecherska Lavra and the Motherland Monument. Mystetskiy Arsenal is also worth a visit, offering cutting-edge exhibits and art shows. At the Dnipro station, pop out for some beautiful photos of the river and check out the two impressive Soviet statues that still adorn the bridge.
A Dnipro Delight: Hydropark – Lisova
Much like the westernmost part of the line, the eastern part is more for commuters and offers little as far as tourism goes. The exception to this is Hydropark, a popular riverside park on the banks of the Dnipro River. While there are plenty of clubs and restaurants, and even an aging amusement park, the main draw are the beaches and the water itself. Boat rentals are available, and a popular activity is to find your own stretch of beach for a picnic. Some of the city’s trendiest clubs are also located here, giving the area a young and hip vibe. Located next to Kyiv’s International Exhibition Centre, home of last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Livoberezhna (Left Bank) was renovated just last year. This is your left bank transit connection, offering access to the Darnytsia train and bus stations (not to be confused with the Darnytsia metro stop) and the Kyiv Urban Electric Train. The last stops are generally not frequented by foreigners but are interesting if you’re looking for a different look at life in Kyiv. The popular Art Zavod Platforma, a factory transformed into an arts, entertainment, and culinary hub, can be found next to the Darynok Mall at near the Lisova station.