Lviv, Ukraine is striking in its furious, youthful energy, medieval mysteries and local flavor. Picture an ancient city with a rich and diverse history that’s swarming with university students: in Lviv there is always something to see and do. Here are just a few things that you may want try to during your visit.
For Every Tourist
1. Stroll Around Lviv’s Rynok Square.
Rynok Square is the heart and soul of Lviv, the starting point of any city tour. Every building is an architectural gem, part of a unique open-air museum that’s recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
2. Try the Specialties of Ukrainian and Galician Cuisine.
You may already be familiar with Ukrainian foods like borshch and varenyky. But in Lviv you can try regional specialties of Galician cuisine like banosh, pampushky, zavyvantsi, deruny, and many more. You can taste them at several places such as Seven Piggies, Kryjivka, Kumpel, Panska Charka, and Restoratsiya na Valoviy, or other Ukrainian restaurants.
3. See Lviv’s Opera House, the Shevchenko Monument and Other Sights Along Prospect Svobody.
Prospect Svobody is one of the most beautiful places in town and the epicenter of business and cultural life. Several sights and museums are located along this avenue, most notably the Opera House that is the pride and glory of Lviv and one of Europe’s most beautiful opera houses.
4. Have Coffee and Dessert at One of Lviv’s Sweet Shops.
Lviv’s cafés will entice you with their delicious coffee and rich Galician desserts. Even if you’re not a sweet tooth, you shouldn’t miss a chance to try strudel, makova rolyada (poppy seed roulette), syrnyk (cheese cake) or other plyatsky (Galician pastries). Veronika, Cukiernia, and Vienna Coffee are the most well-known sweet shops, but there are many, many more.
Music and Dance
5. Attend a Performance at the Opera House, Lviv’s Philharmonic or Organ and Chamber Music Hall.
Classical music aficionados will appreciate Lviv’s Philharmonic Hall or Opera House. Less well-known, but also worth visiting is the Organ and Chamber Music Hall in the Roman Catholic Church of Mary Magdalene, which features the largest organ in Ukraine.
6. Dance on Rynok Square at Café Diana
On weekend nights, Rynok Square’s popular outdoor café morphs into a dance floor. Master classes in tango and salsa draw crowds of onlookers. Feel free to join in the fun.
7. Attend a Music Festival
Lviv is Ukraine’s festivals capital. With its Music Academy and School of Arts this university town is a magnet for young musicians and artists, and it has launched several new art forms and performers. Each year Lviv’s music festivals draw international renowned musicians and thousands of guests. Highlights include Virtuosi, The Festival of Ancient Music, Jazz Bezz and Alfa Jazz Fest festivals.
Catch One of Lviv’s Best Views
8. Climb the Ratusha Tower
The lookout deck atop the Ratusha (Town Hall) on Rynok Square is a must-see for every tourist, who is searching for good view of the city. You will need to climb 408 steep and narrow steps, but you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with magnificent panoramic views of the city’s Old Town.
9. Walk to Vysoky Zamok (High Castle)
Vysokyi Zamok is the highest point in Lviv and sits on the Lublin Mound that was created to commemorate the 300-year anniversary of the union of Poland and Lithuania. High Castle offers you sweeping vistas of Lviv. And the nice wooded park below the lookout point is great for strolling and picnicking.
Do Something Outdoors
10. Shevchenkivsky Hai
Shevchenkivsky Hai is an open-air museum of folk architecture and rural life. It brings you up close with Ukrainian village traditions in a delightful rustic setting. Especially interesting are the ethnic festivals and fairs, including knight tournaments and crafts fairs.
11. Visit Lychakiv Cemetery
Lychakiv Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Europe. Each year this necropolis attracts thousands of tourists fascinated with the melancholic artistic beauty of its funeral monuments and its rich history. Many famous Lvivites are buried there and there are also several war memorials to Polish soldiers, Ukrainian resistance fighters and victims of the Soviet NKVD.
12. Take a Stroll in the Park
Lviv’s parks are among the city’s best-loved features. Most famous is Stryiskyi Park, founded back in 1876. Just sit by the swan pond or stroll along its many wooded hilly paths. Another pretty spot closer to the center is Ivan Franko Park, right in front of the University. Overlooking Ivan Franko Park is the Panorama Bar of Dnister Hotel, which offers a magnificent view of the city.
13. Go Ice Skating on Rynok Square
Open-air ice-skating on Rynok Square is a good wintertime option. Rent your skates, enjoy the scenic view and then warm up with hot chocolate or glintwine (spiced wine) at a nearby café.
Art and History Lovers
14. Lviv Art Gallery at Potocki Palace
The imposing Potocki Palace in French Neo-Renaissance style, itself an architectural masterpiece, houses the collections of the Lviv Art Gallery. You can see European art from 14th-18th centuries including works by Marco Basaiti, Sebastiano Ricci, Jean-Étienne Liotard, Francisco Goya and others.
15. Pharmacy Museum
Lviv’s oldest operating drugstore in was founded in 1735 by a military pharmacist; in 1966 the Pharmacy Museum opened up in an adjacent building. There you will find exhibits with over 2000 items of antique pharmaceutical devices, prescriptions and medicines of different ages. Don’t forget to explore its underground chambers.
Churches and Religious History
16. See the Icon collection at the National Museum
The National Museum in Lviv houses some of Ukraine’s greatest cultural artifacts. In particular, its prize collection of icons dating from 12th to 18th centuries including the Bohorodchanskyi Iconostasis is not to be missed.
17. Tour Lviv’s Beautiful Churches
There are over 100 operating churches in Lviv representing a rich diversity of architectural styles and historical epochs. Highlights include: the Armenian and St. Yuriy (George) Cathedrals, and the Dominican and Bernardine churches.
18. Visit Lviv at Christmas or Easter
Ukrainian Christmas and Easter are both private and public celebrations. As Ukraine’s cultural capital, Lviv is the best place to witness this holiday pageantry. Families and friends gather to prepare and share traditional dishes. The festive spirit soars in every Lviv place of worship and on old public squares. Streets come alive with holiday markets, exhibitions, churches and theaters fill with worshipers and concertgoers.
Drinkers and Partyers
19. Tour the Beer Museum and Continue the Fun at Robert Doms Medieval Beer Hall.
Ukraine’s first Museum of Brewing invites you to explore the history of beer production and consumption. You can taste beers from the nearly 300-year old Lvivs’ke Brewery, one of Europe’s oldest breweries. Continue the fun next door at Robert Doms medieval beer hall and with more beer and some live music.
20. Try Medovukha or Other Homebrews with Friends.
Medovukha is a strong drink steeped in honey and herbs that has been produced according to the same basic recipe since the 18th century. This traditional brew was a favorite beverage of Ukrainian Cossacks and Striltsi (Riflemen). Visit Medivnya or Vulyk for medovukha and honey beers, or sample home brews at Gasova Lampa or Kryjivka.
21. Tour Underground Lviv
Touring Lviv’s cellars, crypts and dungeons allows you to touch the legends and underground mysteries of this ancient town. The Dominican Cathedral, Jesuit Church and Pharmacy Museum a just a few of the places, where you can descend and explore dark subterranean chambers.
22. Make a Lyalka-Montanka Doll
Old folk traditions come alive in the hands of Lviv’s skilled craftsmen. The lyalka-motanka (reeled doll) is an old Ukrainian toy and was also talisman for warding off evil spirits. You can make a your own doll at workshops that are often held during festivals and fairs, or contact the creative workshop Woolyk for an appointment.
23. Take a Night Tour
If you’re having trouble sleeping, or out late at night, you may see people strolling by with lanterns. Don’t be afraid, they are Lviv’s night guard. If you want to join them, then look for Night Guard of Lviv twilight tour. Unexpected meetings, eerie legends, ghosts, secret rituals, all these await you on your nighttime trek. Brave nighttime tourists may also want to try the Lychakiv Cemetery tour.
24. Tour the Castles of Lviv Region
The castles of Lviv region are popular tourist attractions that draw visitors with their mysteries and legends. There are enough fortresses in Lviv region for several day trips. Try the day-long tour “the Golden Horseshoe of Lviv region” and explore the most prominent castles near Lviv: Olesky, Zolochivsky, and Pidhoretsky.
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