With its lively student population, crazy nightlife, theme bars and walkable distances, Lviv (pronounced Leveev) is our favourite city in Ukraine. Influenced by Austrian, Polish and Russian culture and architecture, the city is a melting pot that will continue to surprise you as you start to explore. By day you’ll be charmed by the bustling street life and busy cafes and by night… Well, let’s just say Lvivs nightlife involves shooting ranges, Putin-pooping, lashings and speakeasy bars.
Sound fun? Then keep reading to see the best hidden and local things to do in Lviv.
Already know the best things to do in Lviv? Then have a look at our practical Lviv essentials travel guide at the bottom with everything you need to know about the best hostels in Lviv, the different bus, flight and train options into Lviv and much more.
Things To Do In Lviv: Day 1
Walk Around The Beautiful Old Town of Lviv
Start your backpacking adventure in Lviv by getting to know the beautiful old town. This UNESCO World Heritage area is the epicentre for tourism in the city and for good reason. You can get lost in here for hours roaming alleyways and streets, poking your head in this coffee shop, that bar and any kind of restaurant you could dream of.
The best part of Lviv’s old town is the lack of foreign tourists! If you compare Lviv to Krakow (the mean step sister of Lviv located just a few hours to the west), this city has been forgotten. Hopefully all those big tour groups stay in Krakow, as the lack of western tourists makes the old town still feel genuine.
Ploshcha Rynok Is The Heart Of Lviv’s Old Town
At the centre of old town is Ploshcha Rynok or the market square. It used to be Lviv’s main market back in the day, but it burnt down in the 1825 and wasn’t rebuilt. Instead, the square is now the hub for cultural events in the city. It’s also the main meeting point for many Lviv locals who still flock to the old town.
Although the market wasn’t rebuilt the Town Hall and its tower were. From the top you have a good view (10 UAH entry) of the city and a very romantic spot if you’re thinking about a marriage proposal. If not, there are better view spots the locals go for a free view of the city.
Across form the entrance of the town hall you find the Svit Kavy coffee shop. With 30 kinds of coffee to choose from this coffee shop is a must-see for any of you bean heads out there.
The Best Things To Do In Lviv’s East
If The Market Square Is Lviv’s Heart, Then Prospekt Svobody Is Lviv’s Artery.
This 400 m promenade is the place where locals go to hang out and a great place for you to go people watching in Lviv. There is all sorts of things going on here night and day. If you’re any good at chess don’t be afraid to hit the old boys up playing on the benches. Watch parents chase after their kids. Or maybe you want to get a “I heart Lviv” henna tattoo?
At either end of this cauldron of activity you’ve got the Lviv Opera House and Ballet Theatre and on the other side a monument to Ukraine’s national hero, Taras Shevchenko. There are cheap tickets to the opera whenever the troop is in town and it’s worth a look if you want to be a fancy backpacker.
The Former Presidential Digs Of Lviv
The Palace of Potocki’s Family was built in the 1880’s for the president of the Austro-Hungarian empire. So, as you can imagine, the place was pretty fancy for its time and now the Ukrainian president has taken it over for his own summer house. You can look inside for 20 UAH and see some nice old paintings and furniture. My favourite, though, were the miniature castles at the back of the garden which you can see for free.
Related post: The coolest things to do in Kiev
The Best Place To Eat In Lviv:
All Hail The Mighty Puzata Hata
Okay, enough walking and time for our favourite place to eat in not only Lviv, but in the whole of Ukraine:
This glorious establishment is a chain buffet restaurant that has the cheapest and best food we ate in the whole country. It is unbelievable, you can get enough high quality Ukrainian food to feed 2 people for only €3!
The language barrier with the older generation of Ukrainians working behind the counter only adds to the fun.
Relaxation Time In Ivan Franko Park
Decompress and let all that food from Puzata Hata settle while you slowly roam one of the biggest parks in the city. Sit down and watch the world go by or maybe join in on a yoga class?
If you like churches, head to the very Orthodox and golden St. George Cathedral a little further up the street.