You plan a trip to a new city. You spend the third hour browsing the web, looking for everything you have to see. You plan your days, your route. “Must see” list waits for you to tick points off it.
If you did that with Lviv – get rid of the list. NOW. Tear the paper into pieces, delete the electronic one.
Lviv isn’t a city where you should walk from one church to another. It’s not a city to watch specific buildings and tombs on the cemetery. You won’t miss anything if you don’t see some monuments.
It’s not a classic, guide post. It doesn’t fit to Lviv. Because Lviv is the city where you need to open your mind and use all your senses. Including the sixth one.
Lviv has to be seen. As a whole. Walk without any specific target along its cobbled streets and colorful buildings. Admire old, rusty cars which can’t be found in Western Europe anymore.
Look for old Polish signs still visible under the layer of fresh paint. Stumble on a hole in the street, deep like a crater of recently erupting Etna. Watch a mix of cars and marshrutkas, changing lanes as they please, not following any street rules.
Lviv has to be touched. Touch it’s turbulent history and let the history touch your heart. Feel the rough texture on monuments of famous Poles who tied their lives with Lviv.
Touch cold tombstones on Lychakiv Cemetery and understand this city torn between countries – Poland for over 400 years, Austria and Austro-Hungarian Empire. The city which saw the fight of Polish Lviv Eaglets against Ukrainians and Bolsheviks. Germanized and Sovietized. A part of independent Ukraine for 26 years only.
Lviv has to be tasted. You will find a countless amount of restaurants and bars here with a surprising and interesting theme. I miss it a lot in my home town.
So a juicy steak melts in your mouth in Meat and Justice, where a hangman welcomes you at the door, you’re surrounded by instruments of torture and after your meal, a waiter comes to you with an axe. You think that your time has come but no – he just hits your receipt. I guess it’s a threat what will happen to your head if you don’t pay…
In Kumpel bitter, freshly brewed beer mixes with an intense taste of hot fish soup ukha and local borsch. In Beer Theatre Prawda on Lviv market square you get an amazing craft beer for 1 euro and you think that it can’t get any better. Until it does – when an orchestra starts playing live 🙂
In The House of Legends each room tells you a different story. In one room you can sit in a cage, in another dwarfs serve your beer and you can find an old car on the roof.
In Gas Lamp the first thing you see is a monument of Ignacy Łukasiewicz who after numerous experiments discovered how to distill kerosene and used it practically in Lviv. There, he made it possible to operate patients at night for the first time.
In relation to his discoveries, drinks in suspicious colors are served in chemical tubes and you wonder how dangerous chemical reaction is happening in your stomach as you mix them.
Lviv has to be smelled. You need to breathe the air full of an intense aroma of coffee. An alcoholic scent of rum, brandy and sweet liquour. Greasy smell of snacks – fried chicken skin, smoked pig ear.
Lviv has to be heard. You need to hear an omnipresent mixture of Slavic languages. Listen to tenors and sopranos of Lviv opera singers filling the hall of famous Lviv Theatre.
And even hear the voices of Polish tourists who came to the opera because they read they should and they were tempted with low price of tickets even though they hate opera.
Finally, Lviv has to be felt with your sixth sense. You need to absorb its unique, cute atmosphere as a whole. As a fascinating mix of cultures, stories, smells and sounds.
So get rid of this list. Don’t tick points. Open your mind to the city and enjoy the variety of impulses around you. 🙂
Lviv – practical tips
Even though it’s not worth having a list, you need some practical information 🙂
Check the other post to find out what procedures take place on Polish-Ukrainian border in Korczowa.
What to see:
the above pictures come from the old town, Lychakiv Cemetery and the way to it. The sunset and the city panorama – Lviv Castle Hill
Check this website for the repertoire of Lviv Theatre of Ballet and Opera. You can also buy tickets there. For those who don’t know – the opera is going to be in its original language (e.g. Italian) with Ukrainian subtitles displayed above the stage… 🙂
Where to eat
Meat and Justice (Перша грильова ресторація м’яса та справедливости – Valova St, 20, L’viv). Kumpel (Volodymyra Vynnychenka St, 6, L’viv)
Where to drink a beer/liquour
Beer Theatre Prawda (Rynok Square, 32, L’viv), House of Legends (Staroievreiska St, 48, L’viv), Gas Lamp (Virmens’ka St, 20, L’viv), Post Office on Drukarska Street (Drukarska Street, 3, L’viv)
Where to drink coffee
Lviv Coffee Mining Manufacture (Rynok Square, 10, L’viv)
Where to park your car
On Volodymyra Kololenka 8a you will find a guarded parking, the cost is 40 UAH per day. It’s 10 minutes walking from the main square.
Prices in Lviv
The prices are around 50% lower than in Poland and 4-5 times lower than in Western Europe.
To find your accomodation you can use the below booking.com searchbox. It changes nothing for you – but it does change the world for me! You will pay the same anyway but instead of giving it all to booking.com team, a little chunk of it will go to me for the hard work and time I spend developing this place for you! Thanks! 🙂
Enjoy your trip! 🙂