The mighty Dnieper river is by far Kyiv’s most monumental feature. Not only does it act as a gigantic air conditioner that channels fresh air through the city, but it defines so much of Kyiv city life. Kyiv and the Dnieper are inseparable.

Thanks to the Dnieper, there are said to be 120 kilometres of beaches in the city which includes 16 developed beaches. There are numerous islands between the left and right bank of the city which are accessible yet refreshingly undeveloped, and whatever time of year it is, Kyivians will be doing something with ‘Big D’ …fishing, swimming, BBQing, sunbathing, partying – it all happens along the river.

Ukrainians enjoying some Tuesday afternoon beach time

Opinions vary on how clean it is, but two things are clear – the Dnieper is big and it’s beautiful.

North of the city it gets even bigger.

The Kyiv reservoir, known locally as the Kyiv Sea is vast. It’s massively-huge and so wide, you could probably see it from the moon even if you had the eyesight of a mole.


The Kyiv Sea looks like a sea, you see.

So big you can see it from space

On Wednesday, with the sun blazing in the sky, I set off by bike to see for myself.

Here’s what I found

Outside of Kyiv, there are many many large, ugly and mostly empty mansions. There are even whole estates of large ugly mansions that are surrounded by large ugly concrete fences and guarded by large ugly security guards. The large ugly egos that build and live in these estates drive large ugly cars.

Thankfully, the chances that you’ll have to converse with any of them is slim, especially if you’re on a bike.

Getting to your fishing seat can be tricky if you don’t have waterproof boots

Filling the gaps between the concrete fences and the concrete walls you find old village houses and relaxed but exhausted looking Babushkas.

Soon you arrive in Vyshgorod.

According to Wikipedia, Vyshgorod  is a ‘town of sport and healthy way of life‘, where ‘one of the most favourite holidays for every dweller is, without a doubt, the Day of the City‘.

The festive program is ‘so various and spectacular that will satisfy even the most exacting audience‘.

That has to count for something! …but sadly, today was not City Day. It was Wednesday May 23rd 2012.

Modern Vyshgorod is younger than me

Ukrainian Hippos

In Vyshgorod there are many wild animals which relax by the sea.

Picturesque lakes and trees

…and many ‘not so wild’ trees.

The dam that keeps the sea wet and Kyiv dry.

There is also a hydro-electric dam.

Getting there and escaping

Surprisingly, I managed to get almost all the way to Vyshgorod by bike without travelling along any main roads. Almost the whole route goes either along side-walks or along small pathways.  It’s also difficult (almost impossible) to get lost because you keep the river on your right and stick as close to the water as possible. Go left only when you have to and as soon as possible get back to the water’s edge.

As you can see from the pictures here and below, a trip to the Kyiv Sea makes for a great day out, especially in the sunshine and if you have a car I’m told that all the cool kids in Kyiv head there to party.

Vyshgorod obviously had quite an effect on these three girls…

One can only imagine how excited they get on City Day.

and finally, here’s a weird video about Vyshgorod.