by Katie McCabe | @awelltraveledpair | Nov 11th, 2021
John and I only had enough time to visit one major city in Ukraine, and we had heard that Lviv's entire Old Town was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, so we decided to go there. Located in the western area of the country, near Poland's border, Lviv has fascinating architecture, unique sights, and delicious food. It has actually become a bit of a foodie scene lately. With that in mind, we wandered through the gorgeous streets and squares while exploring museums and cathedrals and eating as many local dishes as possible. Lviv surpassed our expectations ten fold. If you ever get a chance to visit this great city, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and don't miss the sights below.
Rynok Square is the heart of Lviv. Located in the picturesque Old Town, colorful, centuries-old buildings, ornate statues, and dozens of cafes and restaurants make this the most popular area in the city. It is also hands-down the best place to stay, as you'll be able to walk to nearly every attraction Lviv has to offer. And don't forget to climb to the top of the Town Hall Tower for a bird's eye view of the square below.
Not only is Lviv's Opera House stunning inside and out, but the shows are mesmerizing as well. Whether you stop by just to take a peek at the intricate interior, or to witness one of Ukraine's most beautiful artistic creations, don't miss this gem.
House of Scientists
A baroque-style building that was once a noble casino for Lviv's elite is now used for events, such as weddings, conferences, photo shoots, and movie filming. Housing one of the prettiest staircases in the world, it's no wonder locals want to host their special occasions here. Open daily from 9:00 until 18:00, visitors are allowed to take a tour of the grounds and interior for a small fee of 30 UAH / $1.11 USD.
Constructed in the early 1600's to be a crypt for the Boim Family, Boim Chapel is now a religious monument that sits inside Lviv's Old Town. Its dated and detailed exterior certainly draws a crowd, but it's the breathtaking ceiling inside the chapel that really impresses visitors. Open daily, except Mondays, from 10:00 until 17:00, the price of admission is 10 UAH / $0.36.
Located in a corner of Rynok Square, the Pharmacy Museum is not only a museum, but it is also the oldest running pharmacy in Lviv. After you walk through the front door, you pay the pharmacist 30 UAH / $1.11 USD, and proceed to the museum portion of the building, where you can see everything from chemist equipment and ancient pharmaceutical bottles to antique cash registers and even a brewer's cellar. This is one of the coolest sights in all of Lviv.
Gas Lamp Pub
A fun fact that John and I learned in Lviv was that the gas lamp was invented in 1853 by two Lviv-based pharmacists - Jan Zeh and Ignacy Lukasiewicz. A statue of Jan Zeh can be found in front of the Gas Lamp Pub, and gas lamp memorabilia can be purchased inside. Diners can also try the pub's famous baked chicken wings, alcohol-infused jellies, and kissing smoke coffee.
One of the most popular dining experiences in all of Lviv is definitely at Kryjivka. There is no specific address to this restaurant, so you will have to look around Rynok Square for it (I'd tell you where it is, but that really takes away from the fun of it all), and you need a password to get in. That I'll give you - "Slava Ukraini"! Once you find the entrance, and give the guard the password, you will be forced to take a shot of their homemade liquor before proceeding down the stairs into the dimly lit cellar and toward the dining area. The decor is based around Ukrainian pride and the resistance against Russian invasion. You'll find everything from antique radios and motorcycles to machine guns and Molotov cocktails. The food is amazing and very well priced, too. If you find yourself in Lviv, a meal at Kryjivka is a must!
Lviv Handmade Chocolate
Who knew that Lviv has some of the best chocolate in the world? We certainly didn't, and we were shocked when we sampled some pieces from the famous Lviv Handmade Chocolate store. There are three floors of delicious chocolate and sweets to choose from, and one pretty cafe on the top floor where visitors can enjoy a nice cup of coffee or tea and some homemade desserts, with chocolate of course.
As I mentioned above, Lviv is a bit of a foodie scene. We had so many incredible meals here, and the prices can't be beat. Most restaurants charge around $15 USD for a nice dinner for two. Below you can find a list of our favorite places to dine in Lviv. Try as many as you can.