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 is a list of the 10 best things to do in Lviv, Ukraine.
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1. Yard of Lost Toys
The yard of lost toys is one of the most unusual attractions in Lviv. It started with a single children's toy being placed in the courtyard with the hopes that its owner would retrieve it. Over the years toys continued to appear until it became what you see today, a small courtyard packed with hundreds of abandoned toys being arranged in shrine-like formation.
It's located in one of Lviv's oldest neighborhoods, and I highly recommend walking here from the old town to see what a typical Lviv neighborhood looks like outside the tourist areas.
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 the 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 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 Ray-bans.
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 are a great introduction to Ukraine's drinking culture (yes, you read that right). 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 city's main cemetery housing 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 destruction and defacement of its many art pieces.
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.
Hours: 8AM - 6PM Daily
Address: Mechnykova St, 33, Lviv, L'vivs'ka oblast, Ukraine, 79000
5. Lion Hill (Bald Hill)
Castle hill is the most well known viewpoint in Lviv (the hill with the large TV tower) and I certainly recommend hiking to the top! However there is a lesser known vista with stunning 360 degree views of the city right next to it called Lion hill. If go there around sunset you'll run into groups of local students and the occasional family equipped with vodka, food, and music, looking to catch a glimpse of Lviv at dusk. It really is a beautiful city and there's no better way to take it in.
It can be a bit difficult to find (and not a trivial climb either) but if you're in the right area you should be able to follow the locals to the top.
Hours: Sunset is definitely the best time to go!
Address: Lviv, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine, 79000
Look for the smaller hill with a large cross at the top.
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
Lviv has an 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 so there's no reason not to explore the many bars I don't list (there are just too many to count!).
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 bar at 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.
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.
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 the same thing for me as say, fighting your way through a local market like Krakivsky. Now That being said, the neighborhood around St. Olha is a fun area to explore and a good way to see a part of the city that most tourists never get to.
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. 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.