20 Things to do in Lviv
There are a lot of interesting activities in Lviv — visit the pharmacy museum, try burning coffee, climb the mountain, but make a plan first. Here are the Top 20 Things to Do in Lviv that the travel agency Guide me UA considers the coolest.
1. Climb Lviv City Hall
1, 2, 3, 4, 5… 303 … 398 … 407 — you’re almost there! One has to walk 408 steps in order to appreciate the excellent view of Lviv from the roof of the city hall.
It is definitely best to start your acquaintance with Lviv from the main square of the city — Rynok; and if you are there, there is no chance you miss the observation deck at the city hall. The 65-meter tower of the Lviv City Hall offers stunning views of the city center and the surrounding area. Rathaus is translated from German as “house of councils”, and it was this building that was constructed in the city as soon as it received the right to self-government.
Lviv received its “Magdeburg Law” in 1357, when the first city hall was built. Initially, the structure was wooden, so there is nothing surprising that in 1381 it burned down during the first serious fire. Then it was decided to construct a new stone Lviv Town Hall and it was done. At the very top, there was the Polish coat of arms, because at the beginning of the 17th century this part of Ukraine was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
2. Try Masochito Cocktail
Mojito? — No, this is for wimps; in the famous Masoch Cafe Lviv they serve Masochito cocktail.
Lviv people manage to turn even the most ordinary things into something unique and unusual. This is what you can definitely say about the famous Masoch cafe. It surprises not only with its exterior and interior, but also with the names of meals and drinks on the menu. Why is this cafe special? The waiters are… no, they are not rude and do not cheat, they just grab you at the entrance, drag you to the basement, rive you and beat you with a whip.
LVIV CITY TOURS — HERE
One of the most popular choices is the Masochito cocktail, and although the ingredients are the same as in usual Mojito, when you drink this cocktail here, it feels like a special secret ingredient is added.
3. Find Lviv lions
Lviv has rightfully earned the title of City of Lions. That is what history and architecture connoisseurs call it. There are four and a half thousand lions in the city! The king of beasts first appeared on the city seal back in 14th century, and since then the number of lions in Lviv has grown steadily. Two lions with shields in their paws guard the entrance to the town hall. City guests like to make photos of them.
Lions record holders of Lviv
- the highest-placed lion is located on the vault of the High Castle (415 meters above sea level);
- the largest lion (about 4 meters high) is near the Sykhiv Cemetery;
- the most “lions’” house is located at 11 Svobody avenue. Here you can see as many as 99 different lions;
- the oldest guard of the city of Leo can be found in the Italian courtyard. We are talking about the Lorenzovich lion, which was carved in stone in 1591;
- and on 13 Serbska Street you can see the most ancient coat of arms of the city (1633) depicting a lion
4. Taste Lviv Coffee
They say that coffee is an integral part of Lviv, and this is not surprising, because it is found right under the feet of the city’s residents.
There is a true cult of coffee in Lviv. Invigorating drink is sold at almost every step, and by the number of creative themed coffee shops Lviv can compete with any of the Ukrainian cities. Here you can try many unusual coffee drinks and even coffee beans in chocolate glaze. So where did it all begin?
Lviv became the coffee capital of Ukraine thanks to the talented businessman Yuri-Frants Kulchytsky. It was thanks to this Ukrainian noble that coffee became appreciated not only in Lviv but also throughout Europe.
As early as 1683, Kulchytsky actively participated and became famous in the Vienna Coffee Battle. It was in Vienna that he opened one of the first European coffee shops called the Blue Bottle. According to legend, as a reward for participation in the liberation of the Austrian capital from the Turks, he asked for only a few bags of black fragrant grains. Having been captured by the Turks, he adopted their language, culture and tradition of drinking coffee. During the siege of the Habsburg capital, this allowed Kulchytsky to change into Turkish clothes, sneak through tents and pass a message asking for help.
However, he did not succeed in accustoming the Austrians to a bitter drink in Turkish style. Nevertheless, he accidentally invented sweet and soft coffee in Vienna style when the waiter casually threw more sugar into the cup. Kulchytsky continued to experiment and began adding a few tablespoons of milk and honey to his coffee. That’s how the Viennese mocha came about. Traditionally, it is served with a crescent moon dessert.
He also brought bags of coffee beans to Lviv. The first cafe opened here only in 1829. It was a Viennese cafe on Liberty Avenue. However, since then the townspeople have never changed their preferences, and spontaneous coffee fever has become a full-fledged tradition and regional feature.
Coffee in Lviv is a real ritual. Festivals and other events are dedicated to this fabulous drink: enthusiasts open new coffee clubs and create new unique recipes.
5. Make a wish at the monument to chimneysweeper
Monument to chimneysweeper is located on the roof of the famous Lviv restaurant House of Legends, in the city center on Staroyevreyska Street.
The sculpture is a bronze figure of elderly chimneysweeper holding his cylinder under his arm. Tradition says that if you make a wish and through the coin straight into the cylinder, the desire will come true. A special pipe is fitted to the hat below, which goes down to the summer terrace, and during the throwing of coins, it rains “money rain”.
6. Walk around Lychakiv cemetery
Here you will find tombstones and family crypts of the outstanding personalities of Ukraine.
The Lychakiv Cemetery Museum-Reserve is important necropolis for the history of Ukraine and Poland. Its existence began back in 1786. Then the Austrian authorities prohibited burying the dead in cemeteries around the temples of the city. Today it occupies a large territory in 86 fields, where there are over 300 thousand burials and 2 thousand tombs. Lychakiv Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Europe. In addition to its direct purpose, it has the status of a museum and reserve, and the resting places are protected by the state.
- Lychakiv Cemetery is one of the sights of Lviv and is in the TOP 10 most visited places.
- 80 000 UAH is the price for the most expensive place in the Lychakiv Cemetery.
- The oldest tombstone dates from 1675 and has an inscription in Armenian.
7. Try Lviv chocolate
To taste Lviv chocolate, go to Lviv Handmade Chocolate. This is where this masterpiece is born right before your eyes. Those who have been here before already know that in Lviv they still call chocolate a chockolata. In fact, Lviv sweets have a long history.
The first confectionery was opened here back in 1803. It was owned by Swiss Dominic Andreolli. The townspeople visited the place so often that even the part of the street where the confectionery was located was called after the owner. Everyone was speaking about Andreolly’s Passage. Subsequently, there were more confectioneries in Lviv. They began to make a variety of sweets and advertise their products in local newspapers. Those who like Lviv chocolates know that such species as marzipan, pralines and truffles are the most popular. The most important component of the latter is ganache (a mass consisting of chocolate, cream, and sometimes with butter). It turns out that marzipan is a groundnut with sugar syrup. Pralines are usually softer than chocolate because they have various ridients added, in particular alcohol. The best sweets are handmade.
8. Attend the jazz festival
Break away to jazz music at one of the best European festivals. Listen to the classics and the latest jazz from around the world.
Leopolis Jazz Fest (until 2017 — Alfa Jazz Fest) is an international jazz festival, held annually in June in Lviv.
The key events of the Festival take place on the main stage named after Eddie Rosner, which is conveniently located in Bohdan Khmelnytsky Central Culture and Recreation Park (4 Bolgarska St.).
If you like music of Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald, be sure to check the calendar and do not forget to buy tickets for yourself and your friends for the summer festival.
9. Find the yard of lost toys
In the courtyard of the most ordinary five-story buildings of Lviv, you will find a very unusual exhibition of lost children’s toys.
Not all Lviv residents know about its existence. Locals store here forgotten and lost toys. For several years, there is an impressive collection of plush animals, baby dolls, cars, jump ropes; there are even bicycles. True, the exposition is not permanent — anyone can take his or her own thing or whatever he likes, or leave another find.
10. Ride a horse carriage
To plunge into medieval Lviv in full, ride a horse-drawn wagon through the historic sites of the city.
To find the horse wagon simply go to city center.
The cost of the trip varies depending on the wagon. The minimum price is 1000 hryvnias. However, try a little bargaining.
11. Visit Olesko Castle
Tatars surrounded the castle; they attacked unexpectedly and treacherously. Jakub was going crazy. Outside, in a time of terrible storms and showers, there was a battle over his fortress. Then, in the next room, the wife was in labor.
Today, his son who will be called Jan is about to be born. Finally, the baby cried out in the hands of the midwife. The woman just laid the child on the marble table, and suddenly a terrible sound permeated the entire castle. The thunder was so intense that some of the servants lost their hearing. The huge marble table where the infant lay split in half…
This story is one of many legends about the events of 1629. It was the birthday of one of the most prominent Polish kings, Jan III Sobieski. Everything happened within the walls of the glorious Olesko Castle. Locals believe that from that day the castle was haunted by various misfortunes — earthquake and numerous fires, alien attacks and destruction. The treasure found in one of the rooms also resulted in much damage to the architectural monument. Because of this, treasure-hunters began destroying expensive wall paintings and ancient fireplaces and floors…
Reconstructed from ashes and debris, Olesko Castle today remains the oldest preserved castle in Lviv. The castle has its ghosts. After all, its history dates back many centuries, many intrigues, events and life stories.
12. Visit the Christmas Market
The Christmas market on the square in front of Lviv Opera House is called “Christmas under one roof”. It aims to unite people from all over the world on this joyous holiday.
If Ukrainian climate does not bother you and you are ready to travel in winter, then be sure to come to Lviv on New Year’s Eve. In Ukraine, they celebrate two Christmas — on December 25 and January 7.
13. Try Lviv beer
Learn the secret of this drink, inhale the smell of hops and malt, touch the history of creation and feel the magical taste of beer. On the territory of the old Lviv brewery, you will find very interesting Brewery Museum, which also has an excellent tasting room.
Go to the Lviv brewery, which is located on 18 Kleparovska Street, which is also within walking distance from the Opera House. Come inside, see how beer is brewed, look at the museum’s exposition, walk through all the halls (there are six of them) and start the tasting. If the samples are not enough, go straight to the restaurant located on the territory of the Robert Doms Brewery and continue the tasting here.
14. Shoot Lenin
In Kryivka, the most famous restaurant in Lviv, you can shoot Lenin or Stalin. The place is located in a secret place on Rynok Square and requires a password to enter.
The most visited restaurant in Europe, 1 000 000 visitors per year. It is the last hiding place of Ukrainian Insurgent Army left from the times of the World War II.
15. Visit Lviv Opera House
Lviv National Opera is the only Ukrainian theater to be part of the Europa Opera Association. The Mirror Hall of the Theater is a unique space with a gallery and at the same time, it is a venue for various events. Dozens of people can visit this hall during and after watching an opera or ballet.
Lviv Opera was founded in 1900, at a time when the Austro-Hungarian Empire ruled here. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Opera and Ballet Theater in Lviv is a bit like the famous Vienna Opera. Its facade is also richly decorated with beautiful sculptures. Moreover, the imperial apartment of the Austro-Hungarian monarch Franz Joseph with access to a private box was well preserved in the theater. The Opera House main hall is designed for 1100 spectators. There are more than 40 ballets and operas in its repertoire.
Low admission prices are a great benefit of the Opera House. If to visit the Vienna Opera you have to pay hundreds of euros, you can go to the Lviv Opera for 150–200 UAH (this is less than 10 euros).
16. Buy a book at a flea market
For 13 years, they sell used books at the monument to the first printer Ivan Fedorov. Sellers are mostly retired; they lay out used books and magazines, Soviet badges, records and cassettes on cots, stonewalls and just on the ground.
A cheap book is for only a hryvnia, a rare one — for several thousand. The sellers themselves are looking for books at waste paper collection points or Lviv residents bring them their books. The most expensive books might cost 500–2000 hryvnia. These are encyclopedias, Bibles, reference books of the 17–18th century. One can find rare pieces there. Sellers often tell the price of a book after they evaluate you. You have to bargain for a long time, until they let the price down.
17. Walk up the High Castle
High Castle is a quiet, shady park within walking distance of the city center, on a mountain with panoramic views. There is no Castle; this is how the territory of the hill is called.
If you came to Lviv in winter, do not waste time; but if you are in Lviv in the warm season, it will be beautiful. Its altitude is 413 meters above sea level.
18. Try benzinovka (gasoline drink)
Benzinovka is a branded Lviv drink with a strange name, which sometimes misleads inexperienced travelers.
Lviv is known for its unusual gastronomic solutions. Benzinovka (gasoline drink) is a popular strong tincture. Despite a somewhat frightening name, almost all travelers try it. They’re right doing it, there’s not a drop of gasoline in benzinovka — only vodka, cinnamon and apple juice. The combination of sweetness, strength and bitterness gives an unusual taste. The original serving of drinks and the atmosphere of Lviv establishments will complement the impression.
19. Go to the pharmacy
We hope that everything will be all right with you during your trip to Lviv. We invite you to the pharmacy museum. The pharmacy museum in Lviv is a state museum; its 16 halls display a number of exhibits of pharmacy business of the 18–19th century, as well as everyday life of those time.
Despite the fact that this pharmacy was opened in 1735, it still operates, selling medical products according to old recipes of its own preparation, as well as souvenirs. The original name of the pharmacy is Under the Black Eagle. It was founded by the military pharmacist Natorp in the old building of the rich merchant of the 16–17th century. Later, the pharmacy owners changed more than once. In 1966, a museum was opened here.
20. Take a guided tour with local
Lviv is a city you can talk a lot about. It can be called a city of legend, little Paris, a cozy burgher province. This is an amazing symbiosis of the cultural capital with unique architectural monuments. In fact, the city itself is open-air museum.
Lviv combined the cultural heritage of many peoples: Poles, Ukrainians, Germans, Italians, Jews, and Armenians. This creates a unique atmosphere of cultures and styles mix.
To fully experience the versatility of this city and get to know its history, take a walk with the local — this is the best way to plunge into the history of Lviv and get a lot of information. The city of Lion is rich in events, honors and traditions.
Having visited Lviv, the heart of Western Ukraine at least once, you will have a desire to return here again and again. Every year the city develops and continuously surprises its guests with new interesting events.
Contact to Book Lviv Private Tour:
- +380660679089 (whatsapp)