For the last three months that I’ve been in Ukraine, I’ve been getting a mouthful for not having been to Lviv yet! Being the oh-so-passionate traveler that I am, I made it my goal to see Lviv before I head on home. So with just a few days left in town, I decided to take the first train out for a weekend. I have to admit; it’s everything they said it would be and more! I regret not having gone sooner!
If you’re looking to visit Lviv, don’t think twice about it! The architecture, the atmosphere, the people are beautiful!
Here’s a bit on how we spent our weekend!
First of all, huge shoutout to airbnb.com for providing the place to stay. It’s a great tool for people who love traveling on a budget. (Tip: Follow this link to sign up and get $20 off on your first stay with airbnb). We got an entire apartment right at the center of the city for what came out to be only $30 for the whole weekend!
I’ve made a list of 10 things to do in Lviv! Obviously, over the course of 3 days, we did a lot more than just these 10 things, but these are my top favorites! Enjoy:)
1. The First Lviv Grill Restaurant of Meat and Justice
This place was delicious. Everything was grilled! The fish, the potato, the tomato, the onions, the bell pepper! I left this place dreaming about it for the next three days. The atmosphere is extremely touristy. The employees are dressed in medieval attire, and they do things like bring you your check under an axe!
They have this huge cage that people can volunteer to get into and it lowers down under the ground. During our stay there, we were lucky enough to see a man, a woman, and a kid get lowered under ground in the cage. The catch is that once you go in, you’re not coming out until someone bids you out! Literally, someone has to love you enough to pay for your freedom!
The food was so good I could hardly wait for the picture to be taken to start digging in! (Also, I was totally deceived by the portion sizes, so don’t mind the amount of food we ordered).
We actually met Lori and Lori (the two women in the middle) from Virginia. They were also on a missionary trip. Lori (on the left) is actually the pastor at a Baptist church in Virginia (You can’t believe how excited we we’re to bump into English speakers!).
2. Kreden’s Cafe
They have it all! Teramisu, latte art, macarons, panini’s, and an amazing lounging area both indoors and outdoors (two story building btw)! I wanted to make a point to coming here every morning, but sadly, we lost our streak. Nonetheless, we explored other cafes to make up for it.
3. Da Vinci Restaurant
I don’t have a photo of the Da Vinvi Resturant so here’s a photo of Aliona to make up for it. But if you love Italian food, this is your place! I ordered a Chicken Caesar Salad with the Carbonara Pasta and Tiramisu for Dessert. The portion sizes were perfect enough to have a 3 course meal and not be totally stuffed! Definitely, a 5 star!
My favorite part (aside from the food of course), was the outside seating. Great view of the city center and comfy couches rather than the traditional wooden chair!
4. Lviv’s Clock Tower
Alright, so this one is going to cost you 10 hrevnie! But if you convert that to USD it’s not even 50 cents! Oh, and you may or may not have to climb a series of steps….. (WARNING: this climb is not for the faint of heart), but in return, you will get a 360 view of the whole city!
And the clock tower just so happens to be conveniently located at the market center! A must-do for all those height fanatics:)
5. High Castle View
Here’s another one for the explorer’s! Also quite a bit of steps, but well worth the view. The only reason I would recommend the clock tower over this one is because of the over-whelming amount of tourists here (and all the tree’s in the way).
You’ll have to take my word for it though, it looks a lot better in person. The photo’s don’t do it justice.
6. Chocolate Factory
The chocolate factory is definitely NOT worth going to on a Saturday! We went here on Friday and the place was nearly empty, when we returned on Saturday, the line went from the third floor of the factory to the lounging area outside. Lviv is known for 3 things; coffee, beer, and chocolate! So the chocolate factory is pretty intense on weekends due to tourists (like myself). However, regardless of the tourists, the chocolate is something you have to experience, so traffic jam or not, you want to get some of the good stuff just to say you did it. They literally serve you melted chocolate in a cup with your choice of toppings (almonds or hazelnuts, etc…) and then they hand you a spoon and bam! Enjoy! I can now say that I’ve eaten melted chocolate with a spoon!
7. Live Music, Coffee, and Dessert
Friday night we got extremely lucky and heard this amazing band! They are a true undiscovered talent with NO recorded music! How absurd is that?! I couldn’t be more disappointed. I managed to capture a photo of the two before my camera died. Just two very talented men with a cello and a guitar! What more do you need really? Oh, right, coffee!
These two played on a stage located just outside a random cafe (one of the thousand other cafés). With the chilly weather and the blues music, I was more than pleased with my Vanilla Nut Cake and Coffee. (Note: about 80% of the cafes here will provide you with a snuggle blanket upon request, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity).
On Saturday’s every corner will have a talented musician worth listening to. I highly recommend taking the time:)
Also, check out the local artists around the streets! He was painting the Catholic Church that you will see in the photo below.
8. Feed the birds
The birds here are something else. They must’ve confused the place for New York because my first intention when I saw a huge flock of birds was to chase them all away, but to my surprise they just all took a few steps over showing no fear and minding their own business. I proceeded to chill there with them for snapchat reasons (of course), when suddenly, this little guy just pulls up!
Literally the fellas just kept flying on me! It was pretty awesome! I ended up just picking up some dry bread off the grass and feeding them before the rain chased them all away.
Here’s a close up of the little guy:) He obviously stuck around for a while
Krayjivka is at the end of my list because everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) highly recommended it. Apparently it’s one of the most visited Restaurants in Lviv. Personally, I liked the Meat and Justice Restaurant a lot better, but this one does have the traditional Ukrainian foods like borscht, compot, and such.
It’s known for its nationalism. Upon entry you must provide the man behind the door with the password (HINT: the password is “Slava Ukraina” or “Heroyam Slava”, meaning Glory to Ukraine).
I give the place kudos for really keeping the culture alive! I remember after ordering I said “Thank you” in Russian instead of Ukrainian and although he understood me perfectly, he made a point to correcting me.
10. Museums and Such
I’m not super crazy about touring Catholic or Orthodox Churches, but if you are, there are two main ones that allow free entry (Also, located conveniently in the market center).
They’re cheap and some of them are really pretty! That’s honestly the only reason these made it on my list (and maybe a little bit because my OCD wouldn’t allow for a list that was one short of 10!) We went to two museums, the House of Scientists (only because it was in the same building as the Central Post office, and I was buying stamps for my postcards), and the Rynok Plaza. The Rynok Plaza was supposed to give off that Italian vibe… but it wasn’t as cool as I expected. But then again, my opinion is a bit bias… like I said, I’m not the biggest Museum hub.
This is Lviv’s largest postcard collection… Well the outside of it, it’s a whole building dedicated to postcards! (FYI, if you didn’t figure it out by now, I’m a huge fan of postcards).
Overall, Lviv was amazing. It gives you the atmosphere of France and Italy combined. Any explorer would enjoy their stay here!