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© 2018 by Callahan McKinley

LVIV

"Mysterious and architecturally lovely, this Unesco-listed city is the country’s least Soviet and exudes the same authentic Central European charm as pre-tourism Prague or Kraków once did."

-LonelyPlanet

In terms of bang-for-your-buck, Lviv is hard to beat. It's an Eastern European city with a Western mentality, and that's where it really shines.  From roaring local markets, to its stunning rooftop bars, there's a lot to unpack here. So with that in mind, here's a list of the 10 best things to do in Lviv, Ukraine. 

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL LIST OF MY RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS
 

1. Yard of Lost Toys

The yard of lost toys is one of the more unusual attractions in Lviv. It started with a single children's toy being placed in the courtyard in the hopes that its owner would retrieve it. Over the years it's grown and evolved into what it is today, a small courtyard packed with hundreds of abandoned toys arranged into a shrine like formation.

 

Its located in one of Lviv's oldest neighborhood, and I highly recommend walking here from the old town to see what a typical Lviv neighborhood looks like outside the tourist areas. 

Price: Free 

Address: Knyazya Leva Street, 3, Lviv, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine, 79000

2. Krakivsky Market

This is by far my favorite on the list because of how authentic of an experience it is. This is a true local market by locals, and for locals. In typical Ukrainian style they sell absolutely everything from Ukraine Army slacks, to fake Gucci sunglasses. The market seemingly never ends and just when you think you've found the exit you find yourself in a tiny alley where the shops sell nothing but wedding dresses and you can't fit more than two people abreast. 

The important thing to remember here is that everything is negotiable and prices are never fixed. So get ready to haggle with a 90 year old Babushka for a pair of knock off raybans. 

Hours: 9AM - 6PM Daily, closed Sundays

Address: Bazarna St, 11, Lviv, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine, 79000

3. Lvivarnya Beer Factory

Ukrainians love beer and Lviv has a wide variety of local craft brews that delicious and and a great introduction to Ukraine's culinary scene. The Lvivarnya Factory offers tours of the beer brewing process as well as a tasting for around $3USD! 

The factory is located right next to the Krakivsky Market so its a natural stop after walking around in the hot sun for a few hours. Who doesn't want an excuse to drink some refreashing beer at noon on a Monday?

Price: 60 Hryvnas (~$2.50 USD)

Hours: 10AM - 7PM Daily

Address: Прохідна ВАТ "Львівська пивоварня", вул. Клепарівська, 18, Lviv, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine, 79000

4. Lychakivske Cemetery

Lychakivske Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Lviv housing more than 300,000 graves! It was built in 1787 and quickly became the cities main cemetery housing many political leaders from both Ukrainian and Polish origin. After World War II Lviv was annexed by the Soviet Union and thus began a long period of destructions and defacement with many scultpures being destroyed. 

It's a good way to get out of the hustle and bustle of the old town and get a glimpse of a different side of Lviv. 

Price: Free 

Hours: 8AM - 6PM Daily

Address: Mechnykova St, 33, Lviv, L'vivs'ka oblast, Ukraine, 79000

5.  High Castle Park

The High Castle is a historic Castle located on top of High Castle Hill with stunning 360 degree views of the city. If you go around sunset you'll run into groups of local students headed to catch the sunset and drink some beer or vodka. 

The perfect spot to see Lviv is all of it's glory. It really is a romantically beautiful city and there's no better way to take it in

 

Price: Free

Address: Zamkova Street, Lviv, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine, 79000

6. FOOD!

Despite what many people say, Ukraine's culinary scene is exploding right now. You may be off put by the abundance of meat and potatoes but that doesn't mean that you cant find good food here. Lviv in particular has a smattering of unique and creative restaurants that will but you in a heavenly food coma. 

Meat is definitely king here, and there are a number of amazing BBQ grill spots that shouldn't be overlooked. 

 

For a full list of my favorite restaurants and street food spots click here

7. Nightlife 

Lviv has a interesting night scene that seems to be focused more on brewery's and late night bars than clubs. Of course if you wander the old town at night you'll undoubtedly run into dozens of amazing places, each being better than the last so there's no reason not to try and find places not of my list. 

One thing you can't skip out on are the rooftop bars. I said before that Lviv is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and there's no better way to experience it than with an ice cold local beer and a stunning view. Some of these places are a bit hard to find because you have go through 5 or 6 different businesses to get to the top but trust me its worth it. 

For a full list of my favorite bars and nightclubs, click here

8. Rynok Square

This square is the heart and soul of the old town. It's impossible to miss and you'll find tons of outdoor restaurants, bars, and shops. Lviv has really amazing energy as a city and one of the best things about it are its buskers. You'll come across dozens of street musicians playing a wide variety of genres, that make every street you turn down its own party.  People dancing, laughing and singing along really brings the vibe up. 

Price: Free 

Address: Rynok Square, Lviv 79039, Ukraine

9. Virmenska Street

Ukraine may be known for their beer and signature vodka, Horilka, but they also love to slurp down a piping hot cup of coffee in the morning. Virmenska street is where you'll find the the majority of Lviv's cafes, each with their own unique twist. The perfect way to kickstart your day. 

Price: Free

Address: Virmenska street, Lviv, Ukraine

Photo by Jorge Láscar

10. Church of St. Olha

Now I've never been the one who suggests a visit to a historical church. It just doesn't do that smae thing for me as say, fighting your way through a local market like Krakivsky. Now That being said the neighborhood that St. Olha is located in is a fun area to explore and a good way to see a part of the city that most tourists never get to. 

Price: Free

Address: Kropyvnyts'koho Square, 1, Lviv, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine, 79000

 

WHERE TO STAY?

You pretty much want to stay as close to the old town as possible because that's where all the action is and it'll be most central to the places you'll be visiting. Now that being said Lviv is a very walkable city and you should have no problem getting around on your own. The few places you need to drive to can be solved with a quick Uber ride.

 

CITY GUIDE MAP

A complete list of restaurants, bars, clubs, and more