With Ukraine poised as one of the fastest growing travel destinations in Europe, its westernmost city of Lviv should be on your list. It is the largest city in western Ukraine and considered the gateway between the country and Europe. Find out what you need to do, see and eat with this one day in Lviv travel guide.
Lviv is considered the country’s cultural capital and in 2009 was named as one of UNESCO’s Creative Cities for its work to promote literature.
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One day in Lviv, Ukraine
Lviv was not a city I was expecting to find in Ukraine. Upon arriving I discovered it to be full of cobblestone streets, ornate architecture from when the opulent Austro-Hungarian empire had reign of the city, picturesque cable cars and beautiful patina domed bell towers. The beauty of this place felts as though I had stepped back in time to the golden days in Paris, long before it was overrun with tourists and Starbucks. The city center itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site and for good reason.
Getting to Lviv
With direct flights into their brand new airport, this city is easy to fly into. Even Ryanair has started flights directly into the city if you aren’t going through Kiev first. Hop into an inexpensive taxi and you can be there in about 15 minutes. Also, a popular and inexpensive way to travel within Ukraine is by train from all major cities in the country. International travel by train is still a bit disjointed but can be done, with the easiest city to travel from being Krakow, Poland.
What to do in Lviv in a day (with Lviv map)
Lviv is the perfect small city to walk around to explore. You’ll find quaint alleyways begging to be explored and if you need to get somewhere a little further you can hop on a cable car!
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Coffee in Lviv
Start your day off with a delicious cup of coffee. According to legend, Lviv was the gateway that coffee entered through into Europe from the Ottoman empire after coffee beans were stolen by a soldier. People here take their coffee seriously and they do it well. I recommend the Coffee Mining Manufacture (Львівська мануфактура кави) to get the torched coffee. You’ll thank me later.
Rynok Square Lviv
Explore Rynok Square. This picturesque square is the center of the old part of Lviv. There are tons of shops, cafes, and great alleyways to explore.
Climb the bell tower for the best views of the city. It might be a hike but the sweeping 360 views of Lviv are completely worth it.
Staryi Rynok Square
Check out the outdoor market Staryi Rynok Square. Local vendors selling unique vintage Ukrainian goods make the perfect souvenir to bring home.
Ukrainian craft beer in Lviv
Get a tour and tasting at Lviv Beer Museum (Lvivaryna // Львіварні). Lviv has a rich beer history and surprisingly good beer. After a quick tour in the gorgeous museum, you can sip on a few brews.
Did you know? Ukraine consumes the second-most beer in all of Europe! So it’s appropriate that the brewery would double as a museum. The museum portion takes you through the history of Lviv and is as beautiful as it is informative. The brewery is home to the Carlsberg Group, as well as local brews. The design of the tasting room feels as well thought-out and elegant as a museum.
Lviv Opera House
If you have time to squeeze in an opera- make sure you do so at this historic opera house. It was built form 1897-1900 and though its name has changed with each regime, it has remained in place throughout changes in Lviv. It is at the end of Freedom Avenue and considered the centerpiece to Lviv’s historic center. You can find tickets and more information here: Lviv Opera // Львівська Опера.
Lviv High Castle
The High Castle is the highest point in the city and a good place to get a birds-eye, panoramic view. With a quick hike to the top, you’ll get to see ruins from structures originally built in the 13th century.
The Drunk Cherry in Lviv center square
Get drunk at the Drunk Cherry (П’яна Вишня). An absolute must for anyone visiting Lviv. This small bar sells one thing and they do it well- a beautiful glass filled with cherry liquor and cherries. Hot or cold, rain or shine, day or night this place is packed and for good reason!
What to eat in Lviv in a day
Ukrainian food is an absolute treat and Lviv brings some of the best flavors to life. With roots in Slavic and Galician influences, Western Ukraine has a unique blend of tastes.
Here are some traditional dishes to try:
- Banosh is a polenta-like dish topped usually with salty cheese and bacon. It’s heaven in a dish.
- Borscht is a popular beet-based soup.
- Varenyky is a Pierogi-type of dumpling filled with different kinds of delicious goodies.
Like the rest of Ukraine, Lviv is also well-known for chocolates and coffee. Make sure you head to Lviv Handmade Chocolate (Львівська Майстерня Шоколаду) for incredible chocolate and views!
Where to stay in Lviv
Other options to stay in Lviv:
- AirBnb: There are plenty of nice Lviv AirBnb options, mostly private rooms around $12/night. Save $40 on your first booking with this link.
- Booking: There are a few hundred options on Booking; save $20 on your first booking with this link.
Lviv day tours
If you prefer to do any of the above with guides, or book in advance, here are some great options.
- Viator offers Lviv tours and tickets starting around $10, and also offer day trips to Lviv from Brussels, Amsterdam and Paris.
- GetYourGuide lets you book anything in Amsterdam from canal tours and skip the line tickets to full day guided tour.
- If you’re looking for a tour all across Ukraine, I cannot recommend Cobblestone Freeway Tours more; it was the most authentic, cultural experience I’ve had on a guided tour.
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