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Kiev in Winter

Winter in Kiev can be very hard, and long. The temperature averages between -5 and -1 °C (between 23 and 30 °F) in the coldest months of the year, which are December, January, and February. In most years, snow falls between mid-November and the end of March. Despite the seemingly harsh weather conditions, Kiev if often magnificent when covered by a thick white powdery layer. The golden domes of the St. Sophia's Cathedral, the St. Michael's Monastry, the St. Andrew's Church, and Kiev Pechersk Lavra reflect in the snow and vice versa. When the sun shines, the whole city beams in rays of light and strolls in the Mariyinsky Park or the Fomin Botanical Garden seem like walks in a winter wonderland, given that you are dressed appropriately. Waterproof boots, a thick coat, gloves and the traditional ushanka (typical Russian fur cap) should keep the cold away and let you enjoy the spectacular all white scenery.

If the sky is covered and grey, and the cold moist air chills you to the bones, it may be time to explore Kiev's vast cultural and historic heritage. Museums like the National Museum of Ukrainian History or the Bulgakov House, a literature memorial in honor of Kiev-born writer and playwright Mikhail Bulgakov, can easily keep you busy for several hours. Art museums like the Kiev National Museum of Russian Art or the various art galleries scattered around the capital, but first and foremost the PinchukArtCentre, will keep your body warm and cozy while your mind steams with admiration for the overwhelming number of stunning masterpieces it will be presented with. By the way, each year in November, Kiev hosts Art Kyiv Contemporary, an international art fair that welcomes tens of thousands of visitors to enjoy high quality contemporary art.

The best way to warm yourself up in Kiev's cold winter is to socialize with the locals and expats in one of the many animated bars. Have some hot coffee at Art Club 44, smoke a hookah and drink some tea at the Marrakesh Restaurant, or simply do like the locals, try a homemade vodka and a good Borscht at Spotikach — a restaurant with a nostalgic feel reminiscent of the Soviet era. The Ukrainian cuisine with its simple yet solid dishes is the best way to keep warm inside when it's cold and chilly outside.

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