Lviv Ukraine: 10 Things You Have to Do in Lviv

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10 reasons you should visit Lviv, Ukraine. #1, it quickly became one of my favourite cities to visit in Europe.

And not just in Eastern Europe, but all of Europe. If you like Budapest or Prague, you’re virtually guaranteed to enjoy travelling to Lviv.

But first:

Is it Safe to Visit Ukraine?

That was the first question I asked Google when I was considering a visit. According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), as of Jan 10, 2016, travel is not advised to  Donetsk Oblast, Lugansk Oblast, or Crimea. The rest of Ukraine is considered safe.

I travelled to Lviv as a solo female traveller and felt very safe during my visit. Check the website above for the most up-to-date information.

Is it The Ukraine, or Ukraine?

I had no idea. It’s a good question. Even President Obama messed it up.

According to Time, Ukraine is a country,” says William Taylor, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009. “The Ukraine is the way the Russians referred to that part of the country during Soviet times … Now that it is a country, a nation, and a recognized state, it is just Ukraine. And it is incorrect to refer to the Ukraine, even though a lot of people do it.

I still sometimes catch myself referring to it as The Ukraine, but now that I know the history, I make an effort to say Ukraine.

10 Things You Will Love To Do in Lviv, Ukraine:

Rynok Square, part of Lviv's historic city centre which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Rynok Square is part of Lviv’s historic city centre which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

1. The Historic City Centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

In other words, it’s gorgeous. It reminded me a bit of the Old Market Square in Poznan, Poland, which I also loved.

Top Tour: Medieval Culture and History Walking Tour

Taking a walking tour of a city is one of the best ways to see and experience it. This walking tour is recommended as it will lead you through the cities most important streets and monuments. Learn all the mysteries and secrets of this wonderful city. 

Top Pick: BANKHOTEL

Guests can enjoy an onsite restaurant, fitness center, a bar, and a garden. The BANKHOTEL offers spacious, elegant rooms and a great location, perfect for exploring. 

Lviv is famous for its architecture and is home to 50% of all architectural sites in Ukraine.

2. The Architecture. Lviv is home to 50% of all Architectural Sites in Ukraine!

It was on a major trading route. As a result, it attracted the best architects from all over Europe for over eight centuries! You’ll find gothic, Baroque, Renaissance and Classicist styles.

Top Tour: Walking Tour of Austrian Architecture 

To get the full impact of Lviv’s amazing architecture, I recommend this amazing tour. Take a walk back in time and experience the architectural wonders of the Austrian empire. You will take a closer look at the important inventions from that time as well as the House of scientists, which was once a regal casino, and the Polytechnic University and Polotski Palace. 

Top Pick: FERENC Hotel & Restaurant 

This wonderful 4-star hotel offers air-conditioned and contemporary rooms as well as an onsite restaurant and bar. The FERENC Hotel has a 24-hour front desk and also offers great family rooms. Each of the rooms has a modern bathroom and a work desk. 

Lviv has over 60 festivals each year, including a chocolate and a coffee festival!

3. Lviv is a Festival City.

There are 50+ a year! And some sumptuous ones at that. I.e. the Wine and Cheese Festival, or the Have a Cup of Coffee in Lviv Festival. Don’t mind if I do!

Top Tour: Gourmet Tour “Walk and Drink”

If you’re travelling to Lviv but there aren’t any festivals at that time, I recommend doing the “walk and drink” tour. This tour will have you enjoying the best cuisine and drinks that Lviv has to offer while you learn about the history and culture of the city. Visit sites such as the Rynok square, the Black Mansion, and the Korniakt Palace and make stops at some of the best restaurants and bars that Lviv has to offer on your way. 

Top Pick: PANORAMA Lviv Hotel

The PANORAMA Lviv Hotel is a top pick in Lviv and offers you everything from a terrace restaurant with fantastic views to comfortable and spacious guest rooms. Guests can enjoy scrumptious meals that are accompanied by live music on request. 

Lviv is famous for both its coffee and its chocolate.
Lviv is famous for both its coffee and its chocolate.

4. Lviv is famous for its Chocolate and Coffee.

It was a rich history with coffee, dating back to 1683. It became a paradise for chocolate lovers in the late 18th century. As a result, there is a significant cafe culture. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring.  I especially loved the Zoo Cafe, a cat cafe!

Top Tour: Chocolate and Coffee Culture Private Walking Tour

Explore the rich and delicious history and culture of chocolate and coffee in Lviv on this wonderful tour. Indulge in the best-handcrafted chocolates while you hear all about the rich traditions of Ukraine. Stop at some of the most stylish coffee houses in the city. 

Top Pick: Taurus Hotel & SPA

Located just 5-minutes from St. Georges Cathedral, the Taurus Hotel features a relaxing spa and wellness center. You can also enjoy the indoor pool, a hot tub, and a sauna. It is the perfect setting for some relaxation after a day of indulging in everything that Lviv has to offer. 

Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet was built in the Viennese neo-Renaissance style.
Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet represent the Viennese neo-Renaissance style.

5. Culture. Lviv is the Official Cultural Capital of Ukraine.

It has 60 museums and ten theatres. The Skarbek Theatre was the third-largest theatre when it opened in 1842.

Top Tour: Guided Walking Tour

Visit the best opera houses in Lviv on this 3-hour walking tour. Discover the opera and ballet theatre, the casino of the nobles and the Galician Parliament. You will also learn the secrets of what lies beneath the most magnificent opera houses in Lviv. End your tour at the oldest municipal park in Europe and the art gallery of the Potocki Palace. 

Top Pick: Nobilis Hotel

Located in the heart of Lviv, the Nobilis Hotel offer stylish and luxurious accommodation. Guests can enjoy a modern fitness center, wellness is and a fantastic breakfast buffet. Enjoy traditional and elegant decor as well as live music and cocktails in the lounge bar. 

Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Life in Lviv, Ukraine. I really enjoyed this open air museum showcasing traditional Ukrainian buildings.
The Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Life. I enjoyed this open-air museum showcasing traditional buildings.

6) Churches.

There are 100 operating churches of all different denominations. That includes  Armenian, Orthodox, Greek Catholic, and Roman Catholic. The diversity reflects the various people brought together by the trading route.

Although I’m not one to spend a considerable amount of time in churches, I did enjoy popping my head in a few and comparing the different styles.

Top Tour: 2.5-Hour Small-Group Walking Tour

This wonderful tour starts at the Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet and explores the narrow streets and fantastic architecture of Lviv. Discover the many monuments and churches of the city including the Church of the Jesuits, the Dominican Cathedral and the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary among many more. 

Top Pick: Rius Hotel

Located in the city center of Lviv, The Rius Hotel offers modern rooms with panoramic windows with wonderful views of the city. The rooms come either with a balcony or terrace as well as flat-screen TV and air conditioning. 

Lviv has 110 operating churches of numerous denominations. It's worth visiting a few of them to compare the different styles.
One of Lviv’s 110 operating churches of numerous denominations. They’re worth having a peek inside.

7. Lviv’s Cuisine.

Within one block you’ll have a choice of Ukrainian, Polish, Jewish, Hungarian and Austrian cuisine! My favourite meal in Lviv was at Seven Piggies, a traditional Ukrainian restaurant.

The food was incredible. And the design reflected that of a wealthy Ukrainian family. I’ve never seen anywhere like it. I can’t recommend this restaurant enough for a traditional, authentic Ukrainian experience!

Top Tour: Ukrainian Cuisine Food Tour

If you want to explore the many different cuisines that Lviv has to offer then this is the tour for you. This scrumptious tour will give you the opportunity to taste dishes of the four major ethnic groups of Lviv; Jewish, Ukrainian, Polish and Armenian. Learn more about the many traditions and stories related to Galician food culture. 

Top Pick: Astoria Hotel

Set in a historical building, the Astoria Hotel offers guests an on-site restaurant which serves great European cuisine. Guests can enjoy air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms that offer free toiletries, bathrobes, and slippers. There is a 24-hour front desk as well as a laundry and dry cleaning service on-site. 

Seven Piggies Restaurant is designed to make you feel like you're in a well-to-do traditional Ukrainian home. This was my favourite restaurant in Lviv.

8) Lviv is a Walking City.

My favourite way to experience any city is on foot. That way I can smell the aromas from coffee baristas and check out what people are eating at the city’s many outdoor cafes. I feel that you notice the little things that you would miss if you were driving.

Top Tour: Walking Tour with a Private Guide

Discover the best of Lviv with this private walking tour around the city center. This is perfect if you want to experience the city on your own with just your guide. On the tour, you will be sure to learn more about the ethnic Ukrainians, Poles, Germans, Jews, and Armenians who call Lviv their home. 

Top Pick: LH Hotel&SPA

This newly built hotel is located in the heart of Lviv and offers free wifi, an indoor pool, and a gym. The LH Hotel & Spa offers guests warmly decorated and offers modern amenities. Enjoy some rest and relaxation after a long day out and about at the Spa and indulge in traditions Ukrainian and Italian cuisine at the on-site restaurant. 

Lviv is a great city for discovering on foot - in fact many of the streets in the Old Town are pedestrian-only streets.

9) Lviv is Often Called the Paris of Ukraine.

How can you not love a smaller scale of one of Europe’s most iconic cities?

Top Tour: 3-Hour Romantic Tour with Food and Coffee Tastings

Enjoy a romantic tour of Lviv while indulging in some of the best food and coffee that Lviv has to offer. Enjoy walking through narrow cobblestone streets, passing beautiful old houses and enjoying cafes and restaurants. Hear all about the famous love stories of Lviv and much more. 

Top Pick: Grand Hotel Lviv Luxury & Spa 

Enjoy high-end modern comfort with a touch of the refined and classical atmosphere at the luxurious Grand Hotel Lviv Luxury & Spa. Enjoy a daily breakfast buffet as well as the onsite restaurant. Guests can enjoy the spa and fitness center which offers saunas, a swimming pool, hot tub, massage services, and a gym. 

You get a fantastic view over Lviv if your legs can take the steep climb up to the Town Hall Tower.

You get a fantastic view over the city if your legs can take the steep climb up to the Town Hall Tower.

10. Lviv is Close to the Carpathian Mountains.

Although I do enjoy exploring cities, my heart lies in the mountains. I loved exploring the Carpathian Mountains. It’s a 1500 km long mountain range. And the second-longest in Europe. It’s even longer than the Alps. And they’re only two to three hours away from Lviv.

Citadel Inn, a hotel in Lviv Ukraine.
Citadel Inn

Top Pick: Citadel Inn 

One of my favourite hotels in Lviv was Citadel Inn, Lviv’s only five-star boutique hotel. Besides some of the best views of the city from its panoramic restaurant, the building itself has a unique history. It was originally built as a fort in the 1850s by the Austrian government and still retains a lot of its originality. It is an amazing place to stay and the service was fantastic. 

At the time I did not know the full extent of the history of the building though. During my stay, I found out that it had once been a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. It was known as the Tower of Death, where over 100,000 prisoners.

When investors purchased the property in the early 2000s to convert it into a hotel, there were a lot of controversies. Many people thought it should be a memorial, rather than a 5-star hotel.

Had I known this before my visit, I would have chosen to stay at another hotel. But without this knowledge, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay.

Where to Eat in Lviv:

  • Seven Piggies. For traditional Ukrainian cuisine and an interior that’s unlike any, I’ve ever seen. It was love at first sight, followed by love at first bite for me and Seven Piggies. Address: S. Bandera St., 9.
  • Zoo Cafe. Although there’s a cat cafe in Munich, I will never turn down the chance to cuddle with other kitties. When I’m away from home, it takes a bit of the sting away of how much I miss my own two rescue cats when I travel. Address: Kopernika St., 11.
  • Green. Lviv’s only vegan and vegetarian restaurant. I enjoyed my lunch. The vegetarian meatballs were delicious. Address: Brativ Rohatyntsiv 5 | Behind Mitskevich’s Square.
  • Atlas. You can’t beat the location on Rynok Square. Each section has different decor reflecting Atlas’ long history. They serve Eastern European cuisine and great coffee! It’s an excellent spot for people-watching. Address: Rynok Square, 45.
10 reasons why you should travel to Lviv Ukraine


Note: I flew to Lviv with flyUIA, a Ukrainian airline. My trip was made possible by Lviv Tourism. As always, all opinions are my own. 

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14 thoughts on “Lviv Ukraine: 10 Things You Have to Do in Lviv”

  1. I love Lviv! It’s one of my favourite cities and every time when I’m there I’m so surprised that it’s not discovered yet! I dare to say it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Europe! I’m not surprised you enjoyed Lviv so much 🙂 But there’re so many more great and safe places to visit in Ukraine, like Chernivtsi (just today I published a post about it) or Kamyanets-Podilsky. I just wish more people would believe it’s not a dangerous place to visit as the country really needs tourism now!

    Reply
    • @Kami – I can’t believe it’s not more well known either. I love it too! I’ve only been to Lviv, but will have to check out the two places you recommended – thanks. Agreed, Ukraine is safe, and it’s a great time to go now with the exchange rate.

      Reply
      • I am heading to Lviv to meet some friends in a week! I am flying from Vienna to Lviv. Do you know if I can check a bag all the way through into Lviv??? one of my local friends said he thought you could, and that you got one 23 kg checked bag, and one 7 kg carry on?/ just wanting to make sure before I pack and head out!!

        Reply
  2. Lviv is one of the most beautiful cities in Ukraine, having escaped both the devastation of WWII and the Soviet influences prevalent in Eastern Europe. The Old Town is well preserved and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The bulk of Lviv’s Old Town architecture, built during the 16th and 17th centuries, is heavily influenced by the Italian Renaissance. This is the center for people watching, restaurants and shopping. It was my second time in Lviv and the second time I was living in the same apartment and everything was perfect again 🙂 The place was big and super comfortable for single travelers or couples who want to explore Lviv. There was a big supermarket in about 150m away from the place; you can easily make your daily purchases from there. It only takes 10-15 minutes to reach the city center by walking. Never needed to take a taxi or bus. Finally, Oksana & Dmytro (burak.dmytro@mail.ru) are wonderful hosts!

    Reply
      • Fred …laurel i want travel to Ukraine because i have girlfriend in Kiev but now is came winter i live in USA in Bend Oregon are small and beautiful city and clean nice people,,,i saw pict, Lviv and i loved i liked so much. i hope some day you came here….see crater lake in oregon i know you liked

        Reply
  3. I was there two weeks ago. I visited both Lviv and Chernivtsi. Ukraine seems to be safer and much more beautiful than I could imagine.

    Reply
  4. Hi Laurel. Your blog is absolutely fantastic. I love it. I am a teacher in Mexico and my 7th grade students and me are doing an investigation about specific local communication techniques of Ukranians. Could you help us, please? We need to know more about Ukrainians personality traits or specific body language communication signals… you know very particular local ways of communicating. Help!! Please!!

    Reply
  5. I have been to Lviv 3-4 times during my one-month stay in Ukraine to visit family and friends and missions work in Polonne (western Ukraine). Lviv is a must see

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