Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Unsurprisingly, one of the top 10 things to do in Lviv is exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ukraine. Did you know that the entity of the Old Town of Lviv is included on the list? Moreover, most of the two thousand landmarks are free to visit. To start with, climb the High Castle, which is also called Zamkova hora. The highest point in Lviv has a spacious observation point, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions. The hill also has the ruins of the castle built in 1250 to protect the city. The access to the High Castle is free.
The heart of Lviv, Rynok Square, is also included in the UNESCO heritage sites list. The 14th-century square hosts Lviv Town Hall, one of the most-visited landmarks that is another nice observation point. The ticket costs UAH 30 or 90 euro cents. Besides, visiting the Town Hall itself is free for all visitors.
Numerous ancient cathedrals of Lviv are also noted by UNESCO and are budget-friendly. The 1749 Dominican Church, the 1493 Latin Metropolitan Cathedral with the famous Boim and Kampians' Chapels, the 1630 Baroque Bernardine Monastery, the 1363 Armenian Cathedral, the 1630 Jesuit Cathedral and the 1762 Saint George’s Cathedral are all free to visit.
Have a fiery cup of coffee
Western Ukraine and Lviv are widely-known for prominent coffee culture. An iconic coffee shop Lviv Kopalnia Kavy or 'Lviv Coffee Mine' takes serving coffee on a high level. To start with, Kopalnia Kavy has its own legend: Lviv coffee is a useful mineral mined from underground similarly to coal. The owners of Lvivska Kopalnya Kavy claim that their cafe is located right above coffee mine on the famous Rynok square.
That's why the coffee shop offers to put on a helmet, go down the “coffee mine” and try coffee from Brazil, Italy and other countries along with signature coffee drinks. Moreover, this coffee shop on Rynok Square is full of history. Kopalnia Kavy is located in a house where Iaroslav Stetsko declared Ukrainian State Act on the 30th of June, 1941. The Act essentially stated Ukraine's independence. You can enjoy coffee on a cozy and warm inner patio and even enjoy live music if you come in the evening.
Enjoy one of Europe's best beers
Exploring local beer culture always ends up on the "10 things to do in Lviv" in nearly every tourist guide. Sure enough, it's not accidental. Firstly, the city boasts the oldest still-functioning brewery in Ukraine. Lvivarnya was founded by monks at the request of count Stanislav Pototskyi in 1715. Nowadays it offers a degustation tour, where visitors go through the brewery's facilities and end the tour in a stylish degustation hall. The ticket costs UAH 60 or 2 euros.
Another location to check out is Pravda Beer Theatre, which was noted by The Guardian as 'one of the 10 best brewery tap-rooms in Europe'. The bar was praised for decent prices - to give an idea, a bottle of American-style IPA costs UAH 48 or 1,50 euros. The Guardian also named it “a great spot to enjoy Lviv's Renaissance architecture”. The bar occupies a corner building on Rynok Square, which used to be an upscale department store with over 200 years of history. Besides, Pravda Beer Theatre has live music performing every day except Mondays.
Explore Lviv art scene
Lately, museums around the world have worked on making art accessible, introducing the 'pay what you want' system or limited free visiting hours. Lviv also can boast free art galleries and museums that are not only simply budget-friendly but also the hottest boho scene spots of the city.
To start with, go on Virmenska Street and visit the iconic Dzyga Gallery. The gallery is a child of Dzyga art group that worked more than 20 years to have it opened. It was funded and supported by the local artists and enthusiasts and still stays their go-to place nowadays. Dzyga hosts exhibitions of contemporary Ukrainian artists and explores new art forms in live gigs, movie showings, and art lectures. The admission is free.
Zelena Kanapa is another free contemporary art gallery on Virmenska Street. It is located on the ground floor of the medieval Armenian courthouse. This gallery displays contemporary Ukrainian art and cooperates with famous artists like Yevheniia Hapchynska, Oleksandr Voitovych and Mykhailo Demtsiu. Every three weeks the gallery presents a new temporary exhibition.
Two of the Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum buildings are also accessible for tourists on a low budget. Located in the city center on Svobody Avenue and Drahomanova Street, the museum expositions feature more than 140 thousand unique items, including 12th-century sacral art like icons and ancient books. The gem of the museum is the Bohorodchansky Iconostasis, a prime example of Ukrainian Baroque style. The admission ticket is UAH 30 (around 1 euro) for adults. The guided tour will cost UAH 50 (1,5 euros).
Try Galician cuisine
One of the best things to do in Lviv is shamelessly indulging in its unique culinary scene. Ukrainian cuisine is mostly known for borshch, varenyky and babka but Lviv proves it's much more. We've named the 5 traditional dishes to seek out in local restaurants.
If you want to try a bit of everything in a pleasant atmosphere with live music, Baczewski is the go-to place. The Baczewski family became largely popular in 1782 when they opened the world's first mass-production vodka distillery. Nowadays, the family's fame lives on in the Baczewski Restaurant. Chefs collect and preserve the legendary recipes of Halychyna, which embrace Galician, Ukrainian, Polish, European and Jewish cooking traditions. Make sure to book a table beforehand as the spot is quite busy. A classical Western Ukrainian dish, Banusz served with bryndza, costs UAH 68 or 2 euros. You can top it off with a traditional Ukrainian digestif, nalyvka, for UAH 22 or around 60 euro cents.
At the Golden Rose restaurant is one of the best places to discover Jewish traditions of Galician cuisine. The menu comprises classics like forshmak, hummus, shakshouka, and cholent. A peculiarity of the restaurant is the absence of the bills: you actually have to haggle with the waiter. For those guests who don’t want to engage in this entertainment, the waiter will bring a conventional bill on request.
Finally, sweet tooth might be interested in Tsukernia cafe and Nad Tsukerneyu restaurant. Tsukernia cafe is famous for its delicious cakes like Schwarzwälder, Prague and Napoleon. Besides, visitors often come here for a glass of rich hot chocolate. Nad Tsukerneyu restaurant is located right above the cafe and proves that Galician cuisine is not just pies and trout but also schnitzel, goulash, lazanki and much more. To give an idea, the classic Galician Schnitzel with Carpathian mushrooms costs UAH 245 or 7 euros.
Roam in the open-air Museum of Folk Architecture
Lviv is definitely an urban city but it carefully preserves its most ancient architecture. The prime examples of it can be explored in a spacious Museum of Folk Architecture also called Shevchenkivsky Gai. This open-air museum displays different samples of regional architecture like houses, windmills, churches and schools.
The territory of Shevchenkivsky Gai is divided into six small villages according to the regional architecture they display: Boykivshchyna, Transcarpathia, Lemkivshchyna, Lviv Region, Bukovina, Pokuttya, Hutsulshchyna, Polissya, and Volyn. The park often hosts festivals on numerous holidays like Christmas and Eastern. Admission costs UAH 20 (around 62 euro cents) and a guided tour costs UAH 50 (around 2 euros).
Buy authentic western Ukrainian souvenirs
Stocking up on local souvenirs is definitely one of the inexpensive things to do in Lviv. The souvenirs can range from small trinkets like magnets or cups to traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirt vyshyvanka or even works of art. The number one place to go for souvenir shopping is Vernissage market located right near Lviv Opera House. It is full of handmade souvenirs and gifts as well as vyshyvankas with embroidery that differs from region to region.
Accessories to finish the look can also be found here: ladies often buy gerdan, traditional Ukrainian jewelry created in authentic beading technique popular in Western Ukrainian region. Local artists showcase their works here as well. The market works daily from 8 A.M. to 6 P.M.
Another spot to shop for authentic souvenirs is Museum of Ethnography and Crafts located in the city center. The art salon on the ground floor of the building showcases decorations, interior design elements, ceramics, embroidery as well as numerous art installations made of wood, metal and glass.
Go ice skating
A fun way to spend time in Lviv is ice skating. While the open-air rinks are usually available in winter time, an indoor rink works all year long in King Cross Leopolis shopping mall. The admission ticket price varies depending on the weekday.
Thus, on Mon-Fri adults can skate for UAH 80 (2,5 euros) per 45 minutes and kids can enjoy the rink for UAH 70 (2 euros). On Sat-Sun and holidays, the price goes up to UAH 110 (around 3 euros) for adults and UAH 90 (2 euros) for kids. Skates renting fee is included in the price.
Visit Lviv Opera House
There are plenty of things to do in Lviv at night: go to the local pubs to enjoy live music, sign up for a walking tour or simply have a walk in the ever-awake city center on your own. If those don't sound appealing, Lviv Opera House might be the go-to option. The luxurious building is located in Lviv Old Town and gives a chance to enjoy the beautiful architecture and live music at once. The Opera is a prime example of the classical style with the elements of the Viennese neo-Renaissance style.
The repertoire currently has 22 operas and 3 operettas, all performed in the original language. Lviv Opera also regularly hosts festivals of classical and contemporary music that gather world-famous artists. The ticket prices are pretty affordable: the cheapest usually start at UAH 50 (1,5 euros) and prices for sits with the best view reach UAH 200-300 (6-9 euros).
...or travel from Lviv elsewhere
Finally, Lviv is not only a major tourist spot but also a pretty big transportation hub between Eastern and Western Europe. We've talked about the 10 most popular tourist destinations from Lviv that you can reach thanks to the numerous opened flights.
Besides, Lviv is also a major railway center. You can go to neighboring cities, small towns or even all the way to the Carpathians by train. The ticket price usually depends on the destination and compartment type and start at UAH 70 or 2 euros.
Enjoy the trip!
Photo sources: depositphotos.com, shutterstock.com, Facebook pages of businesses mentioned above. All images belong to their rightful authors.