What do you know about Chernihiv?
Not that much probably. Maybe you’ve seen this town’s name somewhere suggesting the day trips from Kyiv. Maybe there can be a confusion with Chernobyl or Chernivtsi. This city in Northern Ukraine is not the first destination that comes in mind of the international travelers that are going to this Eastern European country. And it’s a pity. Because it definitely should be on everybody’s Ukrainian itinerary.
Look, I’m guilty too. Living in Kyiv for almost my whole life I’ve just visited Chernihiv a few weeks ago. Even in Ukraine it’s still not a hot destination and is mostly visited by the people from Kyiv (that frequently tend to have their own car). There are different reasons for that starting from getting there (which I’m going to cover in this post) and ending with people just not knowing what gem of a town Chernihiv is because of the lack of promotion (that hopefully will change in the following years as the city has just got a brand new Tourist Information Office).
Let’s dive in all the practicalities that will lead you to having a great one day in Chernihiv.
Best things to do during your one day in Chernihiv
- For Scandinavian flair, high-quality coffee and tasty things to accompany it all – Fika (Menu – here)
- For the urban cafe breakfast experience in a cool ambiance – Tsapa
- For a quick croissant break – Lviv Croissants
To start your Chernihiv day efficiently be sure to head to the newly opened Chernihiv Tourist Information Center that will give you all the maps and info you need about maximizing your one day visit.
Visiting the Chernihiv Ramparts (Val)
Start from the most sights-packed part of the city – the Detynets or fortified Old Town dating back to the medieval times.
Pay a visit to the spectacular Transfiguration Cathedral, one of the oldest churches in Ukraine incorporating the ancient Kievan Rus architecture with the Ukrainian Baroque. Proceed with visiting the Chernihiv Collegium building nearby housing a small but soulful collection of the city history until the beginning of the 20th century. It is there that you can find out more about the magnificent wooden architecture of the city.
Gaze at the amazing old Borys and Hlib Cathedral right in the middle of the latter two. And, finally see the pretty Lyzohub’s House, a remarkable piece of the Baroque Chernihiv.
The passage will lead you to the most iconic place of the city – the Val (Ramparts) with the cannons boasting the fantastic green panoramas of the surroundings. Be sure to take a traditional pic of a cannon and the St. Catherine’s Church.
If you’re into museums, the Chernihiv Regional Historical Museum is your pick. Be aware, though, that it may be a little bit scarce on English-language material. The museum features a great set of exhibitions telling the history of the city from ancient times up until the beginning of the 20th century.
Finally, be sure to see the Pyatnytska Church – one of the main symbols of the past and the present of Chernihiv. Almost completely destroyed during the WW2, this church rose from the ashes having been reconstructed to its former medieval glory.
If you’re in Chernihiv you just have to go with the traditional Ukrainian cuisine.
The dishes you might want to try are:
- varenyky – the filled dumplings
- borshch – a legendary beetroot soup
- mlyntsi – crepes Ukrainian style
Even if you’re not into the local dishes, you’ll find a good variety of restaurants of different cuisines here.
The places where you can have a great meal include:
- Baluvana Halya – a stylish yet traditional eatery serving well-made Ukrainian dishes. That’s the place where you come in Chernihiv to try the local cuisine in a great setting. The prices are nice too
- Khryak – one of Chernihiv’s finest, a classy steak restaurant in a fantastic setting of a renovated end of the 19th-century wooden house. A paradise for all the grilled meat lovers and gourmands alike
- RiverSide restaurant – offering a fine dining-like experience and having the spectacular river views, this restaurant led by the talented young chef Vyacheslav Popkov is the place you go to have a superb meal in the city. The prices for what they offer look shockingly low, the quality of food is among the highest not only in Chernihiv, but in the whole Ukraine
Continue your city tour with going to the area called Boldin Mountains. It is a set of ancient kurgans (burial mounds) combined with an old cemetery. It is here that you find a pretty looking Illinska Church with gracious green onion-shaped domes and a whitewashed facade. A modest doorway leads into the mini-underground kingdom of churches.
It is here that you find the unique St. Anthony’s Caves, a 4 level deep, 350 meters long system of subterranean passages. Not only it is unusual for the city but for the country as a whole. The only other sight of this kind can be found in the UNESCO-protected Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. Mystical and bizarre, the caves conceal Baroque underground churches, remains of dead monks, bunker-like passages and lots of darkness. Definitely a must-visit.
After exploring the caves head up to one of the most famous masterpieces of Ukrainian Baroque architecture – the splendid Trinity Cathedral. Awe-inspiring with scale and forms, this church is a picture-perfect sight best to be enjoyed from the height of the bell tower.
If you still have time and a zest for church exploration, be sure to pay a visit to another Baroque gem, the Yeletsky Monastery. Dating back to the far 1060, it was rebuilt in the Baroque style in the 17th century to stun the generations of Chernihiv visitors.
Extra tip – pretty wooden architecture
One of the trademarks of Chernihiv is wooden architecture. Pretty colorful houses are scattered around the city forming one of the most unique and original architectural ensembles in Eastern Europe.
You can learn more about the wooden houses here including their history and location – https://demer.cn.ua/
Getting to Chernihiv from Kyiv
To buy tickets for a bus from Chernihiv to Kyiv use https://bus.tickets.ua/en. You can pay online and the whole process is hassle-free. So just use it.
If you’re looking for some alternative, there is https://busfor.ua/. But it’s only either in Russian or Ukrainian so you’d have to use the Google Translator. But once you’ve got it figured out it gives you a possibility to buy tickets online too.
But there is one major lifehack. Let me share with you some transport wisdom of how to get from Kyiv to Chernihiv. Usually, people go to Chernihiv on a weekend from Kyiv. That’s how you get there in the best way possible on Saturday.
Busfor sells tickets for the company called Bussline that operates the route from Kyiv to Saint Petersburg each Saturday. They depart from Vydubychi Bus Station at 10:30 arriving to Chernihiv at 12:30. You ride in a modern bus with WiFi, spacious seats and AC. That’s your best option when going to Chernihiv from Kyiv and spending one day there.