8 Places to Visit in Lviv5 mins read
Tourists come to visit Ukraine for its capital Kyiv, Chernobyl and Pripyat. A city many often seem to skip is the romantic European esque city of Lviv also commonly referred to as ‘The Little Paris’. It’s also been listed as a UNESCO heritage city and is the largest city in western Ukraine. You can also see a great deal of Austrian, Polish and Jewish influence here, due to it formerly being part of the Soviet Union.
Back in 2017, when I visited, Lviv wasn’t on my list for Ukraine either. It wasn’t until I did extensive research online about Ukraine that I encountered information about Lviv. Next, I looked up images I discovered the captivating contrast between Lviv and Kyiv. The architecture and the landscapes of the cities were entirely different. Immediately this caught my attention, and I allocated three days at the start of my travels to explore Lviv.
During those three days, I became hypnotised by the cities alluring architecture, showcasing many different European styles. Similarly, I loved the vintage old fashioned Lada’s which would pass by or that you’d find parked up against the side of a building. I’d soon later discover Lviv was the coffee capital of Ukraine, which would explain the old fashioned wooden coffee huts dotted around all over the city. Occasionally I would see a horse and cart pass by with passengers, ‘clip and clopping’ through its pristine streets. In comparison to other cities, I had visited it was like I had stepped back in time. This dazzling destination is one I will further return too, and I could write endlessly about how much I adore it. However, to save both of our time, I’d like to condense it down to the top8 places to visit in Lviv, which are the following:
- Baczewksi Restaurant
If you’re a foodie, I’d recommend visiting Baczewski for its cuisine, history and interior. I loved it so much I dined here twice! This restaurant is named after the old Baczewksi distillery. Baczewksi is a polish vodka founded in 1782 by a Jewish family. It was a brand which had a distillery in Lviv and was as big as the renowned brand Smirnoff! Unfortunately, it nearly got eradicated during the holocaust. To carry on its legacy, a member of the Baczewski family came and set up this restaurant. Baczewksi promotes Gallican food, traditions and customs making it a unique dining experience.
As you walk in, you will find vines decorated all over the room, fine exquisite interior, a pianist playing and a bird chirping in the cage. The interior is stunning. What I didn’t expect, is even though the interior is rather lavish, it’s incredibly affordable. You can visit there for an all you can eat buffet breakfast for around the equivalent of $5, and if you like alcohol, a glass of champagne is included.
- The House of Scientists
This destination is a former aristocratic casino designed by Austrian architects in 1898 who was inspired by European palace style architecture. Initially operated as a casino however during World War II, the building struggled to maintain employment losing a lot of labour. Which then the structure named changed in 1948 to The House of Scientists. Traditionally a form of folk dance dancesare (a traditional form of folk dance) would be performed here, Lviv balls and serves as a wedding venue. Other than that, it’s relatively abandoned with its interior remaining untouched for the last 100 years. The chandelier, long curving staircase and grand fireplaces make it an offbeat destination to visit and appreciate the natural beauty.
An underground bunker located in Market Square. It also operates as a speakeasy bar! To get in you have to knock on the door and shout a secret password which is SLAVA UKRAYINI! Which means glory to Ukraine. Here a guard will open the door dressed in an army uniform. He will then let you in and make you do a shot of honey vodka. I recall doing this being excited and led down to an underground military-style bunker. When I reached downstairs, there were propaganda posters all over the walls, and traditional music was playing.
- Lviv National Opera
Located in the very heart of Lviv, it’s not hard to miss the grandiose building. It took three years to construct, and architecture built in a Neo-Renaissance style incorporating elements of Classicism, Baroque and Renaissance. The inside is just as spectacular as the outside. You can watch a show or get a tour of the building, which is much cheaper, educating you about this magnificent place.
- Lvivska Kopalnya Kavy Coffee Manufacture
Lviv is renowned for being the coffee capital of Ukraine. I could not pay a visit to Ukraine without checking out some coffee spots. One of my favourites yet most interesting was this place. The reason being is that it has wicked and beautiful varieties of coffee. I had a garlic and honey espresso, which surprisingly is a popular delicacy in Lviv. As you walk into the place, you go past an assembly line, and if you go downstairs it has its coffee mine! It leads right under the historical Rynok square. It’s undoubtedly coffee with a twist.
- Rynok Square
Rynok Square is the central hub of Lviv and one of the most ancient places. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and only captivating to stand in, watching life pass by. Each building is a Ukraine National Historic Monument. During the 13th-16th century, this is the area where trade mainly occurred. Hear the clock tower in the middle chime every hour, which if you want can climb.
A different place to dine or drink, dedicated to the founder of Leopold Ripper Von Sacher-Masoch. The founder of Masochism and I’d recommend only those from 18+ visit. This destination is decorated with dimly lit red lighting, chains on the walls and has a bunker too. It’s an exciting experience but not for the faint-hearted.
- Lviv Train Station
Initially open to the public in 1904, this is a major railway station to visit. The architecture is simply magnificent and one of the most notable pieces in Lviv. You can get trains to most areas in Ukraine for good prices. Even if you’re not getting a train, it’s worth going to view.
These are just a small sample of the top places I’d recommend you visit in Lviv.
One thing I’d recommend is not to skip Lviv off your list when visiting Ukraine. If you follow this list it will help your discovery and your experience to be an authentic one in Lviv. Luckily, here at ETP some of our journeys such as Tracing Vikings in Ukraine and Beneath The Surface. Have a browse, as I wouldn’t recommend missing out on a trip to Lviv.
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