Lviv is not only the cultural capital of Ukraine, AND one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, but it’s also where I live. You may have noticed that by just how much content I have about this great city. This ever expanding list of things to do in Lviv Ukraine will be useful to anyone looking to visit Lviv, either for a city break or a long term stay.
The most popular thing in Lviv for tourists is definitely a visit to the top of the Lviv clock tower. Also a bell tower, this viewpoint is 65 meters tall and is one of the places to get the best view of Lviv. To get inside you just have to enter the town hall building and walk to the fourth floor. Don’t worry, there are signs everywhere.
On the fourth floor you’ll find the entrance and stairs to the top. It costs 40 UAH (about $1.30) to climb up, but the view is well worth it. In fact, from the top you have a 360 degree panorama of the entire city of Lviv.
Address: Rynok Square, 1, Lviv, Lvivska olast
In my opinion, the Lviv Opera House is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. It is located at the top of Svobody Avenue which was built over the hidden river of Lviv, and has beautiful details all around the building.
To enter the Lviv Opera House is actually free if there are no shows going on. This is a great way to spend an hour seeing some beautiful gilded halls and theater. However, I do recommend you spend one evening attending a show here. I personally try to catch a show at least once a month. The arts are subsidized in Ukraine so tickets can be found for as little as $2.
Believe it or not, Kryivka is actually the most popular single restaurant in Europe. They serve over 1,000,000 people! Well, at least that’s what they say on their website. Even so, every tourist to Lviv should have one meal at Krivka just because it is one of the best themed restaurants in Lviv.
You enter through an unmarked door after giving the password (Slava Ukraini) and are immediately handed a shot of honey vodka. Down some steep stairs you will find this restaurant is huge. All the food is traditional to this region and prices are quite fair. Of course, being in an old bunker you’ll recognize the theme of Kryivka: Ukrainian Independence Army. Don’t try to speak Russian or they’ll parade you around the restaurant at (fake) gunpoint.
Unlike in America, making your own homemade alcohol is a major past time for Ukrainians. While Drunken Cherry is a proper bar (well, they serve one drink) it does remind me of the cherry liqueur that my Grandmother would make.
There are a few locations around Lviv (and some in other cities in Ukraine) but the most popular one is right in Market Square. With only cherry liqueur on the menu you only have to decide one thing: to drink it hot or cold. Either way, make sure you get the alcohol soaked cherries in your glass for a nice Lviv treat.
The Italian courtyard of Lviv is one of my favorite places in the city and one that many tourists seem to miss out on. Located in a small palace, the building was originally commissioned by a Greek trader and later owned by King Jan III Sobieski of The Kingdom of Poland.
You’ll recognize the Venetian style right when you enter, and luckily there’s a cute cafe on the ground floor. I do recommend getting a coffee and just enjoying your time. On the second and third floor balconies you can take great pictures with statues and columns.
People in Lviv have a saying that coffee, beer and water are consumed in the same amounts. Beer culture is quite long in Lviv. It comes from medieval times when beer was made by monks in the cellars of the cathedrals and monasteries.
Nowadays, beer in Lviv is made in proper factories with all of the quality controls. There are many places that serve craft Lviv beer in the center of the city as well. However the most famous out of them will be Pravda Beer Theater.
This place is massive and it has a great selection of internationally award winning beer. There are three floors and if you’re fortunate you can place yourself in a cozy spot by the windows overlooking Rynok square and enjoy a glass of beer and some good beer snacks.
One of the oldest pharmacies in the country is Lviv’s Apteka Museum. There is still an operating corner that sells medicine and where you can get a ticket to check the back rooms and the dungeon of the museum. The museum contains lots of old instruments that were used to make medicine, along with storing and selling it.
The entrance to Apteka Museum costs 30 UAH ($1.1). This museum is also on my list of famous Lviv Dungeons. The museum will lead you through the back rooms of the pharmacy to the open courtyard as well as to the dungeons where some of the medieval medicines were made and stored.
Coffee is a big thing in Lviv. It goes all the way back to when Lviv was part of Austria and the region held a battle against the Ottomans. In fact, that same battle is what brought along Viennese coffee culture as well. There are a huge number of coffee shops and cafes that you can visit in Lviv. But one that you cannot miss is Lviv Coffee Manufacture.
This place has everything. From a nice shop where you can find everything you’ll ever need for your cup of coffee, a nice glass terrace where you can enjoy a rainy day, as well as a coffee museum and coffee mine.
The legend of this place is that here coffee lays underground and that miners have to work hard to get it to the surface. There is the entrance to another famous underground where you can get the special flaming coffee. This coffee is cooked in front of you with a large blow torch. I strongly recommend trying a cup of this coffee since there is no place that makes coffee the same way.
Lviv has many nice viewing spots and one of the most popular is High Castle. Although I must warn you, there is no castle there. High Castle is just a tall hill in the center of the city with a nice viewing platform. There are just a few remaining walls of the ancient castle that once stood there.
The walk from Rynok square to the top of High Castle will take around 40 minutes. It is not a difficult walk, but still better to wear something comfortable. The view is very rewarding and it will give you time to digest all that delicious food.
Address: Lviv, Lviv Oblast, 79000
Speaking about delicious food, don’t forget to visit “Ribs Under Arsenal”. This is one of my favorite places in the city for four reasons. First, the food (pork ribs) is illegally delicious here. Second, it is always very fast service, even if there are a lot of people. Third, the food is quite affordable. And last, the atmosphere of the place is just great!
For everyone who enjoys old weapons, you also can visit the museum “Arsenal” on the upper floor which contains a collection of ancient weapons from various countries.
The Chapel of the Boim family was built between 1609 and 1615 and it is a beautiful example of the late Renaissance. In fact, I don’t think there is another chapel like this anywhere else in Europe. The chapel is located in the very center of old town Lviv, right behind the Lviv Latin Cathedral. Not many know that at that time this area was a city cemetery which was later moved outside the old city.
Inside the Boim Chapel there are 14 members of the Boim Family who were buried here. However the most interesting part of this structure is the black facade that looks like it was recently on fire. The facade is split into two parts. The upper has many small details and sculptures that will attract your attention. The lover one is divided by six columns that separate two windows on each side of the main entrance.
For those who have a sweet tooth there is another place in the center of the city that you cannot skip. The Handmade Chocolate Factory is like a place from a fairy tale, starting with their facade and ending with a charming shop and a cafe inside.
The place offers a variety of chocolate products. You can find bars of chocolate topped with nuts, fruits, spices. There are also many chocolate figures that you can get as a souvenir for someone or just a treat for yourself. The most interesting one in my opinion is strictly for adults. It is a cast relief of the positions from the Kama Sutra made in chocolate (they are hidden of course so that kids won’t see them).
On the upper floors there is a cute cafe where you can try a cup of hot melted chocolate or a delicious sweet milk cocktail. Don’t forget to get to the roof terrace of the Lviv Handmade Chocolate Factory and enjoy the majestic view of the old town.
Lychakiv Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Lviv. And I must say that it is not just a cemetery but also a museum. Just like with the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, Lychakiv cemetery is the final resting place of many famous people, at least for Ukrainians.
You can visit the cemetery by yourself or with a tour guide. The ticket for one person costs 40 UAH ($1.4). It is an extremely beautiful and at the same time sad place, full of charming statues that create this special dramatic atmosphere.
Did you know that masochism started in Lviv? A famous nobleman, Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch, was born in Lviv when it was a part of the Austrian Empire. He is the first person who was diagnosed with masochism syndrome. The word “masochism” comes from Leopold’s last name.
Many years later, in one of the old Austrian buildings in the center of Lviv, Masoch Cafe was created. Of course it is dedicated to Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch. It is a very unique place that offers a glimpse into Masoch’s life. Everything from the interior to the waiter’s uniform creates a special atmosphere.
Masoch Cafe is actually a very fun place to visit with friends. By the way they serve delicious cocktails at this place. If you don’t want to put on display, just stay away from their “special” menu.
One of the places that I think everyone should visit is Gasova Lampa, or, “Gas Lamp”. It is part museum and part restaurant. This place has more than 500 different kerosene lamps and they are all over the place. You can see these old lamps on the tables, walls, and ceiling.
The place tells the story of creation and use of this invention in the city and is also dedicated to two people who invented the kerosene lamp – Jan Zieg and Ignatius Lukasiewicz. “Gas Lamp” is not just a place of history, but a great restaurant as well. Here they serve traditional Ukrainian dishes like Solianka (soup), Salo (spiced and salted pork fat) and others.
Although “Gas Lamp” has great craft beer, they specialize in alcohol infusions which are served in chemistry phials. There are a few sets that you can order, depending on how big your group is.
If you are coming to Lviv around Christmas, you absolutely need to visit the Christmas market that is set in two locations. The main one is located next to the Lviv Opera Theater and the other one (smaller) you will find in the very center of the city next to the Ratusha (city hall).
The markets are usually great fun for everyone, no matter a kid or an adult. There are shops that sell chocolate and chocolate statues and shops with other sweets. There are also shops with warm winter clothes that you can get as souvenirs for someone, and shops with different Christmas things like homemade candles and beautiful pottery. And of course there are places where you can get mulled wine and hot delicious Christmas food.
In 2020 the city government decided to do a renovation of the square in front of the Lviv Opera Theater and to install new fountains. I was waiting for a great fountain in Baroque style to make the Opera Theater look even more grand. And God, I was disappointed to see just the holes in the ground where the water was coming from.
What I didn’t know is that the city plan was to make a dancing water fountain. So, now every hour the water\light show begins with musical (classic music) accommodation. The show lasts around 10 minutes and it is very nice to see. The best time to enjoy the dancing water will be the evening.
The Dominican Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Lviv. It is located just outside Rynok square (main square). There are two reasons to visit this cathedral. First, it is very beautiful, it has Gothic elements and it looks very dramatic and medieval. The second reason, the cathedral has a huge dungeon that is open to tourists.
To visit the Dominican cathedral is free, but to get to the dungeon you will have to pay 30 UAH ($1.20). You have to bring cash if you want to visit the dungeon, for some reason they still don’t accept cards here. The dungeon is located on the left side from the main entrance inside the cathedral’s courtyard.
There is one location that usually gets skipped by the tourist just because it is kind of in a random location. Behind the Dominican cathedral there is a statue of Ivan Fedorov and a book market right next to the statue.
Just to be clear I am not talking about some fancy market with new books, but about a market where old people are coming to sell some old books, old coins, old records. This is the place for collectors or for those who like to read old books. Once in a while I find something special like a Soviet pressing of a popular UK or USA musician. Next to the book market there is also a monument of the oldest tram car in the city.
The museum of Ethnography is one of my favorite museums in Lviv. It is located in the old bank building just 2 minutes walk from the Lviv Opera Theater.
The building of the old bank was made by a famous architect and he did a great job. Outside, on the roof there is a composition of statues that look amazing. By the way, one of the statues looks like a relief of the American Statue of Liberty.
Inside you will find a great hall with a charming staircase that leads to the second floor. The museum has many rooms filled with antique stuff. Pay attention to the entrance hall, there is a beautiful old carriage next to the staircase.
Just outside the city center there is a very unique park in Lviv – “Shevchenkivskyi Hay” or “Lviv Museum of Folk Architecture and Life”. It is an open-air park/museum that contains old wooden churches, schools, barns, and simple houses. All these buildings were found all around Western Ukraine and brought here to create a few different villages.
This place shows everyone how life was hundreds of years ago for Ukrainians. The park itself is just massive and it is divided into 6 ethnographic zones.
Pick a day with nice weather for your trip to Shevchenkivskyi Hay and enjoy walking among the lakes and trees along with learning the culture of Ukraine.
Between the Lviv Opera Theater and the main square “Ploshcha Rynok” there is an open market called “Vernissage”. This is a place to go if you are looking for something traditional to bring home.
The market is full of Ukrainian traditional clothes, headdresses, and pottery. There you will see traditional necklaces called “Korali” made of red wooden beads. You also will find toilet paper with Putin’s and Yanukovych’s faces. In the center of the market there are a bunch of beautiful paintings.
The Vernissage market also has a section with antique things.Cody even found a rare silver coin he wanted.
Lviv is a place with amazing architecture. There are beautiful churches, chapels, and cathedrals along with so many amazing Austrian buildings However there is also one place that does not look like anything else in Lviv – Potocki Palace.
Potocki Palace is located 5 minutes walk from the Lviv Opera Theater. The Potocki Palace looks like someone took a piece of Paris and moved it to Lviv. In fact, the Polish noble family Potocki brought an architect from France to build their palace!
The palace is a museum and art gallery and it has many interesting exhibitions to show. You can get in the courtyard of the Potocki Palace and just walk around the grounds for free, but to get inside you will need to pay a small admission fee.
Yes, like in many metropolitan cities, there is a cat cafe in Lviv. Although, the way they manage this place is way different than I’ve seen in other countries. You don’t need to pay for the time you spend in the Cat Cafe in Lviv. Here you just pay for what you have ordered.
The Cat Cafe has 20 different cats. There is a beautiful Maine Coon, two naked Sphynx cats, and a stunning Abyssinian. All the cats are so friendly and constantly try to snuggle up to you or sit on your lap.
There is also a food menu in the restaurant if you are hungry, but be aware that cats won’t let you have your lunch in peace. And although for the most part the cats here are well behaved they are still animals.
This is one of the best places in Lviv for getting cocktails. The place is located in the very heart of the old town, but it does not have any signs. Therefore it can be tricky to find this bar if you don’t know where to look.
Once you are inside the bar you will notice that the whole place does look like a library in a rich mansion. The Libraria bar is in a way a speakeasy and if you are into this sort of thing, and love good cocktails, then this is a place for you.
Lviv is a place full of good restaurants. Some of them are also themed like The Fifth Dungeon for example. It is located in Rynok square and you can easily notice it, since in front of the restaurant stands a tall iron monk (by the way, you can put your face there and take a nice picture). This particular entry is a great place to check out if you are traveling with kids.
The restaurant is located in the dungeon (no surprise there) and has a medieval theme. The place has nice dark lights, heavy wooden tables and chairs, and delicious food, although the selection is not that large.
If you aren’t that hungry, you don’t need to get a whole meal, but try a snack or a glass of beer. While you are in the restaurant check all the rooms in there. You will find the sword in the stone, a prison, a kings chair with a hanging crown, and many other interesting things. Pay attention to the ceilings, in one of the rooms they did a nice composition of broken pottery.
Lviv is a nice historical city that can offer a lot for a tourist, but there is also an amazing part that is located outside Lviv – three beautiful castles. Not many tourists visit or even know about anything outside Lviv (including Ukrainian tourists). So, for those who spend more than just a weekend in Lviv, I recommend a day trip around Lviv to see three popular castles.
The excursion usually starts in the morning at 8 or 9 AM (depends on the season) and lasts until 5 – 6 PM. The excursion costs 400 UAH and it does not include lunch, so prepare some snacks and water for a day. You can buy food at various cafes by the castles if you want, although I wasn’t too impressed with the offerings.
There are many restaurants I have already recommended and you probably won’t visit all of them, but if you are up for something unexpected, you must visit “Pretty High Kitchen”. This is the restaurant that has no menu, but serves amazing food.
The restaurant is located in the same building as Kryivka, but on the top floor. It has a fantastic atmosphere and it does remind you of an old, but very luxurious, attic with different types of things like old books and antique furniture.
As soon as you will sit down, the waiter will come to you and explain that the restaurant doesn’t offer a menu and that the chef will talk to you to find out what you desire for a meal (don’t worry, everyone there speaks some English). They also will tell you the price before cooking the meal. I do want to mention that the prices there are not that high, except for the dried aged steak, for some reason it is super expensive. A main course will be around 10$ – 15$ a meal and cocktails are around 6$ – 7$.
There is a museum of glass in one of the Lviv dungeons. It is a very cute place where you’ll see some glass art work. Unfortunately there is no observation room where the glass master creates his glass figures as you might have seen in Italy, but there is a small shop.
The shop has mostly glass statues like birds, animals, and fruits. By the way, I have a few statues from there as well.
The museum won’t take long, just about 15 minutes and you can get a nice present for someone or for yourself.
Stryiskyi park is one of the largest parks in Lviv and if you are looking for a place to have a romantic picnic or a nice walk this is the place for you.
The park is located outside the city center, so you can get there by a 30 minutes walk or by a taxi. If you enjoy feeding birds, you can bring some seeds or bread for the ducks and swans that you will find in the pond in the park.
Address: Lviv, Lviv Oblast, 79000
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