1. Climb the High Castle
The High Castle, also called Vysokyi zamok or Zamkova hora, is the highest point in Lviv known as one of the must-visit tourist attractions. Firstly, the hill contains ruins of the castle built way back in 1250 to protect the city during the Halych-Volhynia period. Secondly, the hill is a challenge for those who aren’t used to climbing but is incredibly rewarding once you’re on top — the majestic panorama shows off the whole Lviv. It’s best to visit in the early morning or during sunset to get the best pictures and avoid tourist crowds.
2. Get on the Top of Lviv Town Hall
If you are not the one for climbing high hills but still want to capture the city panorama, it may be a good idea to try Lviv Town Hall. Located in the heart of the city, this 1835 building is a part of UNESCO World Heritage. The 65-meter tower, which is currently the highest in Ukraine, offers a view of Eastern part of Lviv, Rynok Square as well as intricate interior such as centuries-old tower bells. The admission is free.
Read: Attractions in Lviv
3. Explore Lviv Churches
Roaming in downtown simply calls for visiting numerous churches with incredible history and interior. Among the notable landmarks are Baroque Dominican Church with four-tier bell tower, the 14th century Neo-gothic Latin Cathedral, as well as the first Baroque building in Lviv — the Jesuit Church built in 1630. It’s easy to incorporate visiting cathedrals into the trip schedule even without trying, as they are abundant in the historical downtown Lviv.
4. Visit Olesko Castle
Located on the 50-meter hill above the Olesko town, the castle belongs to so-called “Golden Horseshoe”, made up by three castles in Zolochiv, Pidhirtsi and Olesko. Often unrightfully overlooked, Olesko nevertheless is one of the most beautiful castles not only in Lviv but in Ukraine. Built in the 13th century, it served as an important landmark throughout history as a defense structure and even a birthplace of Polish kings. The castle is still in good condition and the slope it is located on hides an Italian park with wondrous sculptures.
Read: Places to Visit around Lviv
5. Explore the House of Nobleman — Potocki Palace
Built in 1880, the grand French classicism-styled Potocki Palace was intended to be the residence of the former minister-president of Austria, Count Alfred Józef Potocki. During the times of the early USSR, the palace was dilapidated and mostly used to hold wedding ceremonies. However, contemporary history brought it back to the public — now rich interiors with colored marble and stucco are opened to visit. Moreover, a small chapel with the oldest icon in Ukraine located in the palace also welcomes all guests.
6. Roam around Lychakivske Cemetery
Lychakiv cemetery with intense Gothic aura is often referred to as Père Lachaise of Eastern Europe. Originally laid out in the 18th century, the cemetery nowadays is one of the most visited Lviv landmarks. Here lie many West Ukraine's famous persons, including the nationalist poet Ivan Franko and the singer and songwriter Volodymyr Ivasyuk. The cemetery is easily accessed from the downtown by tram #7 or #2.
7. Attend Lviv Opera House
The Lviv Opera, located in a UNESCO World Heritage Site Lviv Old Town, gives a chance to enjoy the beautiful architecture and live music at once. The building was built in the classical style with the elements of the Viennese neo-Renaissance style visitors can observe nowadays, a hundred years since its construction. The repertoire has 22 operas and 3 operettas, all performed in the original language. The Lviv Opera performances have been the often reason to visit Ukraine ever since its opening, and now it’s even more convenient due to the abundance of hotels in Lviv Old City district.
8. Discover the House of Legends
One of the most well-known Lviv restaurants, House of Legends has seven floors, each dedicated to a particular Lviv legend. Visitors can learn about city lions, see the etalon of Lviv pavement stone and other intricate details. The highlight of the place is a summer terrace on the rooftop, where guests can take a photo in the small car parked right on the roof and throw a coin into the hat of bronze chimney-sweeper sculpture. The latter is said to make wishes come true. The restaurant offers delicious meals of Ukrainian and European cuisine.
9. Take Pictures in the Italian Courtyard
The popular photoshoot spot lies right in the heart of the city on Rynok Square. Italian Courtyard is a part of the 1580 palace, built by Italian architects. For more than a hundred years the palace serves as a home to the Lviv Historical Museum. In summer the cozy courtyard is filled with flowers and hosts an open-air café. The admission is UAH 10 for adults and UAH 5 for kids.
Read: Travelling from Lviv to Bukovel: Top Places
10. Experiment in the Pharmacy Museum
«Under the Black Eagle» is the oldest operating pharmacy in Ukraine. The tiny shop is located on the corner of Drukarska Street and Rynok Square and reminds of the traditional old European pharmacies. Ever since 1735 the drugstore has been operational and the city dwellers can buy medicine here up to this day. The museum offers to examine over 5000 historic items including an ancient weighing device, various pharmaceutical equipment, a large collection of books on pharmacy and alchemy, samples of medicine, including terrain - a rare universal antidote. Make sure to explore the building’s dungeon that used to be an alchemy lab. Here guests can learn how the lab was equipped back in 16th-17th centuries.
11. Walk the Path of Lviv Murals
Tourist agencies often offer free walking tours to discover the Lviv Old Town but not many focus on the contemporary history of the city. In 2018 Ukrainian murals have been included in the world top rating, which certainly proves there’s much more to explore than the ancient churches. Destinations has a guide on Lviv murals that can be found during the long strolls in downtown. Many have been created as a part of the urbanist initiative ‘Maisternia Mista’ festival, aimed to make Lviv more colorful and modern.
12. Explore the Lviv Dungeons
Lviv is often called the most mysterious city in Ukraine for a reason — numerous underground labyrinths have been preserved well since the old times. One of them is a network of dungeons of the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Throughout the years of its existence, the dungeon labyrinth was used as a prison, shelter, infirmary and food warehouse. Archeologists still explore this mystical spot and discover intriguing artifacts — for instance, a 600 kg whole stone sarcophagus, where the 18th century Bishop of Lviv Mykolai Vyzhytskyi is buried. The access to dungeons is free.
13. Try Liquor in the Gas Lamp Museum
Гасова Лямпа (Gas Lamp) museum-restaurant was opened on the 155th anniversary of the first kerosene lamp in Lviv, the birthplace of this invention. The museum is located right near the Dominican Church. The shtick of the museum is homemade Ukrainian liquor nalyvka, which has creative names: A-95 (mint), Fosforivka (grapes) and Naftivka, which is a word play on "gas" (based on cognac, coffee and pomegranate juice). Instead of usual kitchenware, guests are offered dishes and drinks in lab devices like test tubes.
Read: 10 Unusual Restaurants in Lviv
14. Taste the Famous Lviv Coffee
Lviv is a city famous for its incredible coffee culture and many cafés pride themselves in having unique recipes passed down by generations. While it’s possible to try the real deal almost on every corner, locals advise to visit Svit Kavy café to enjoy the cup of steaming drink on an open-air terrace with the view of Boim Chapel. Lviv Coffee Manufacture located on Rynok Square is another go-to place recommended by locals as well.
15. Try Sweets in Lviv Handmade Chocolate
One of the most visited Lviv cafes in 2018, Lviv Handmade Chocolate lures in thousands of tourists thanks to its cozy atmosphere and delicious sweets. Guests can easily find sweets up to their taste: from dark and bitter to a sweet white chocolate base made of the best Belgium chocolate, with additional flavors like nuts, fruits, marzipan and truffles. A dessert specialty is Quark — a cake made of cottage cheese jelly with chocolate or cherry jam topping. The Lviv Classic hot chocolate with cinnamon, cloves, syrup and amaretto is an especially popular pick during winter.
16. Have a Shot of Ukrainian Nalyvkas
While Horilka is by far the most well-known Ukrainian alcoholic drink, homemade liquors nalyvkas are the sure runner-up. Traditionally made of berries, nowadays the flavors advanced to surprise tourists — for instance, Doctor Faust restaurant serves guelder rose & ginger in a skull-shaped glass, the Drunken Duck pub produces nalyvkas based on Sambuca and Mojito, and the legendary Lviv Under the Blue Bottle offers a classic cherry. Destinations has a guide on Ukrainian nalyvkas in Lviv.
17. Take the Traditional Ukrainian Syrnyky for Breakfast
Syrnyky or cheese pancakes are a popular breakfast option in all regions of the country and especially in the West. That’s why many cafes and restaurants in Lviv offer this dish of Ukrainian cuisine in its classic variant and modern spins. Druzi café has syrnyky with berries and exotic chia pudding, Green Art café has a sour cream topping and a famous Bilka confectionery offers the dish topped with homemade jam.
18. Have a Portion of the Lviv Strudel
The traditional Austrian strudels are one more popular breakfast pick in Lviv. These filled pastries, paired with a hot drink, are served in many restaurants like Centaur, Svit Kavy, and, of course, Lviv Cheese Cake and Strudel Bakery or Львівські пляцки.
Read: Where to Have Breakfast in Lviv
19. Sample Craft Ukrainian Beer
During the recent years, Ukrainian craft beer has experienced a rise — now you can easily find a bottle of famous Carpathian Tsypa even in the capital’s restaurants. The go-to place to try Ukrainian beer in Lviv is the oldest still-functioning brewery in the country. The museum offers a tasting tour which runs roughly every 1½ hours through the main underground facilities. One of the old storage vaults has been turned into an atmospheric beer hall where you can try even Lvivske Beer, one of the most popular brands in the country.
20. Find the Secret Kryivka Restaurant
The iconic Lviv restaurant Kneipp ‘Kryivka’, is located in the basement of the medieval house on Rynok Square without any sign on the door apart from the peephole. While it may be challenging to find, the search is certainly worth it — the restaurant provides a unique atmosphere. Kryivka is dedicated to the Ukrainian Rebel Army UPA that fought for Ukrainian independence during the WWII, that’s why the place is filled with war artifacts and traditional Ukrainian food is served in metal plates. The restaurant is opened 24/7.
21. Take a Walk in the Night Lviv
One of the best things to do in Lviv is to watch the city bloom during the night — while distant streets turn silent and desolate, life in the downtown still bustles with tourists and locals that enjoy the long night walks. Lviv Old Town, including Rynok Square, is lit up at night that lives the best memories and pictures.
Read: Mysterious Legends of Lviv
22. Explore the Hidden Lviv Yards
Downtown patios and yards sometimes hide as many mysteries as the tourist spots. One of them is Something Interesting art gallery, where local artists present their works to the open public. The space also has a handmade shop with numerous trinkets to bring home as a souvenir. One more popular location is a Lost Toys patio founded by Vasyl Hlushkovskyi for his grandchildren. Hundreds of plush toys, transformers, garden dwarf figures, kid bicycles, globes and even a rusty merry-go-round all make up an exhibition of a local childhood. Tourists sometimes add their trinkets to curious art-object.
23. Find All Lviv Lions
The symbol of the city can be found almost on every corner and sometimes even in the most unexpected places. Huge and tiny, cast-iron or carved, Lviv even managed to break the Guinness World records. While you can notice many without trying, we have a guide on how to find every notable sculpture in the City of Lions.
24. Take a Tram instead of an Excursion Bus
While Hop On-Hop Off buses might be a tempting idea, there’s a cheaper and more authentic option for a tour in Lviv. Most trams navigate through the whole city and bring to the faraway yet magnificent places like Lychakivske cemetery. Ticket costs UAH 5 and can be bought right in the tramcar. One of the most popular routes is riding a tram #2 that goes from the railway station to the Lviv Old Town.
25. Visit Local Art Galleries
Tourists who come to Lviv are often overwhelmed by the number of museums and art galleries the city has to offer. The most authentic place is Dzyga — not merely an art gallery but a spot of bohemian parties and get-togethers. Located in a quiet corner in the Lviv Old Town, the gallery is a result of more than 20 years of work of Dzyga art group, founded by the local artists and enthusiasts. The gallery hosts exhibitions of contemporary Ukrainian artists and explores new art forms in live gigs, movie showings, art lectures, and literature readings.
Read: Discovering Lviv Inside Out
One more interesting art spot to visit is the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Center of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU). The modern building is, in fact, a grand library with over 160 thousand books ranging from ancient pieces to most recent editions in various fields. The Center hosts multiple lectures and workshops, exhibitions of digital and traditional art of young Ukrainian generation of artists. Admission is free to most art expositions.
26. Take Pictures and Visit the Photo Museum
Lovers of photography might be interested in a café-museum Фiксаж / Fixage, located near the Bernardine Church. The small coffeeshop has an impressive collection of retro cameras, as well as retro and contemporary photos of Lviv hanging on the walls. The menu here consists of dinner options, as well as dessert classics like Strudel and coffee. Every month Fixage holds retro movie showings to introduce public to the hits of the 1930-60s.
27. Attend the Famous Lviv Festivals
The heart of Western Ukraine is traditionally an often host of festivals — for instance, in 2018 Lviv hosts the International Leopolis Jazz Fest for the 8th time. From June 25 to July 1 visitors will be able to witness performances of local and international stars of jazz in various locations of the old city. Those visiting Lviv in winter enjoy the traditional Christmas market on Rynok Square, filled with vendors selling hot chocolate and mulled wine.
Read: Best 4 Stars Hotels in Lviv
28. Buy Unusual Crafty Souvenirs
Sure enough, there are numerous options to buy classic souvenirs like magnets and T-shirts on the numerous stalls in the Old Town Lviv. Those who seek more authentic gifts might drop by Vernissage market located behind the Lviv Opera House. Here visitors will find everything from customary-made vyshyvankas and carved wooden trinkets to works of art by local artists and clay beer glasses.
29. Enjoy Lviv Nightlife
Lately, more and more stars of international music scene visit Lviv to light up the local scene. One of the most popular clubs, Malevich, often hosts rock and electronic music concerts. Another popular Lviv nightlife venue is HiresH Karaoke Club, which has a separate VIP hall for festive celebrations. A high-rated Split club located in Lviv downtown offers karaoke hall with 50 thousand songs, exquisite dishes from Pan-Asian cuisine and unforgettable partying experience.
30. Listen to Live Music
Finally, one of the best things to do in Lviv that is almost involuntary is listen to musicians, who perform literally everywhere: from the central Rynok Square and the small patch near the Diana monument to restaurants and cafes like Baczewski Restaurant, Kumpel and Theater of Beer ‘Pravda’.
We hope you have a great experience in Lviv in 2018!
Photo sources: Ruslan Lytvyn, Ruslan Kalnitsky, Inspired By Maps, Andrei Bortnikau, S-F, Sun_Shine, Fortune-stock, Marc Venema / Shutterstock.com, prolviv.com, travel9life.livejournal.com. All images belong to their rightful authors.
30 Things to Do in Lviv in 2018
For many years Lviv has kept the strong position as one of the most tourist-visited cities in Ukraine. It’s not hard to see why the City of Lions attracts Ukrainians and guests from abroad — exquisite architecture, delicious Galician cuisine and unforgettable unique vibe are merely three of many more factors. Destinations has made a comprehensive guide on things to do in Lviv to have the best traveling experience of 2018.