This city, some 140 kilometres north of Kyiv, is some of the best ones I've been to. Seldom have I felt as relaxed as during my week in Chernihiv. It's a lovely city that combines provincial charm with a bit of a big city feel. Friendly people and excellent restaurants, beautifully restored parks and squares, singing fountains and a charming countryside and even beach nearby. It was just perfect for me and I left with a bit of pain in my heart.
You may visit the Chernihiv Tourist Office right next to the Krasna Square, the 'Beautiful Square'. I was helped there by a lovely lady who told me more about the city. Also, you may check out this page to learn some more about this city's surprisingly relevant history. Admittedly, Chernihiv is not as relevant nowadays as it once was. It's off the radar for basically anyone who doesn't know about Ukrainian and Russian history. And I must say that I only saw it was near Kyiv, looked up some pictures and decided it was nice enough. Only there did I become baffled by the importance and significance of this historical city. There's a few churches you must see and a small cave complex underneath, which is basically more of a catacomb. If you look at Google Maps, you'll see all churches and these are indeed all you should see.
In fact, I was planning to travel to more towns, but stuck around in Chernihiv for a full week. That's how much I loved it. I rented a bike, hitchhiked to Kozelets, hung around on the beach and swam in the Desna river. I just had a grand time. For your information, it's quite rare to find tourists here and not everything is yet put out for you. Even though they are working on that very hard! So, you'll have to find your own way to the bike rental, where also they didn't speak English but I managed in basic Russian. It's in the block of Preobrazhens'ka St, 6, just look it up in Google Maps hoping it will still exist.
I took the pedestrian bridge just south of the center to the other side and biked all the way to Pisky city. I spoke to some people and they were baffled to see a Dutch guy on a bike coming out of nowhere. It was a ride back in time, basically straight back into the Soviet Union. Nothing seems to have changed in the villages. About the beach, it's called Zolotyy Bereh and is at walking distance from the center. There's a few bars and sports courts, all newly renovated. You can get beers or just grilled meets and excellent coffee. It was just fantastic but full of mosquitoes and the water is dirty as well. Yet I still had a swim which was fine.
One day I took a bus to Kozelets to see the magnificent church there, which was closed. I had to hitchhike back because there was no bus coming, even though it was scheduled. I got a ride and made it back to Chernihiv. All in all I greatly enjoyed myself here. I would definitely come back and would be thrilled to one day combine it with Gomel in Belarus and/or Bryansk in Russia. I love Chernihiv!
Pictures of Chernihiv Beach, the bike trip and Kozelets may be seen below the main album.