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What to See in Lviv, Ukraine: The Pearl of Europe

What to See in Lviv, Ukraine: The Pearl of Europe

EUROPE, UKRAINE

If you’re planning a tour of Europe’s great historic cities, Lviv, a paragon of mixed architecture and culture, should absolutely be on your list! There are few other places in Europe that truly represent coexistence and cooperation as does the capital of the Galicia region in Ukraine. Named after the city’s founder, Prince Lev, “the city of the lion” is the ancient romantic city that will leave you looking forward to your next visit.  Cobblestone Freeway Tour kindly hosted us on this trip and showed us the very best of Ukraine.  Thanks to them, I got to experience the fascinating culture, learn about their past, and meet friendly locals.

Lviv’s international success can be traced back to its strategic location: many of the trade routes leading to other places in Europe intersect at Lviv. Merchants of many different cultures met and settled at the capital of Galicia. As a result, the city is a historical and cultural melting pot as Armenians, Italians, Scots, Swedes, and many others have been housed in its walls. The unique architecture seen in Lviv is unlike anywhere else: it’s a mix of Baroque, Renaissance, Gothic, Romanic, Empire, and Rococo styles.

The Chapel of the Boim Family

The Chapel of the Boim Family is one of the most impressive buildings in Lviv’s Old Town, and also a Unesco World Heritage Site.  Constructed in the early 17th century on the grounds of a former city cemetery, this structure was originally intended for use as a crypt. As you can tell from the photos, the detail is just incredible.

Lviv Beer Museum – Lvivarnya

One of the many attractions Lviv has to offer is the beer museum, Lvivarnya, a modern, interactive exposition all dedicated to beer. It’s meant to be a highly sensory experience and visitors are taken through the history of beer, given a peek of the brewing process, and then encouraged to taste freshly brewed beer.  This unique museum visit was such a fun way to learn about beer in Ukraine!

The Armenian Cathedral

The Armenian Cathedral, built in 1370, is a national monument listed on the World Heritage List. An additional claim to fame is that it is the sole temple apostoloi Armenian church in Western Ukraine.  You can really feel the history the moment you walk through the doors.  I loved all the different colors inside and enjoyed seeing the Renaissance arcades which are the oldest preserved part of the Cathedral.

High Castle

The High Castle offers some of the best views of Lviv and is a must see! While over 123 meters high, the history of the High Castle is so much more than just being an impressive view. The Lviv Poles built this artificial mountain in 1900 to celebrate an important union. It was the 300th anniversary of the Union of Lublin as seen on the memorial stone that says “free-free, with equal levels- Poland, Lithuania and Russia”.

We posed for a group photo wearing our colorful embroidered shirts and dresses to celebrate Vyshyvanka (Embroidery) Day, which Ukrainians from all around the world celebrate on May 18th.  They wear the Ukrainian embroidered shirts not only to preserve their ancestral traditions, but also to stand in solidarity with Ukraine. I felt so lucky to be there on this day and take part in this tradition!

George Church

The history behind the George Church is equally fascinating: it is claimed that a temple on Mount St. George has been around since the fourteenth century, but before that, it was a cave inhabited by a monk named Basil. It became a cathedral in mid-1700s, and is considered to be the best Baroque temple city.  It is absolutely stunning from the inside and out.

For more impressive views, dare to climb the 408 steps to reach the Hall Observation Deck in Tower Hall. It is also home to one of the oldest clocks in Ukraine, a 160-year-old piece of history originally from Vienna.

Drunken Cherry Bar

One of my favorite local bars off Market Square in the old town of Lviv was the Drunken Cherry Bar.  The cherry liquor they served is amazingly sweet, easy to drink, and not loaded down with alcohol (or at least I didn’t feel it!).  Combine this delicious drink with the ambiance of their outdoor high top tables on the sidewalk, we were in heaven!  This place is very cozy inside. and the decor is great with lots of maturing liquor in barrels and glass jugs. The entire ceiling is covered with full liquor bottles hanging to form a chandelier!  It’s very popular among locals, and is always very crowded but so worth the visit.

Lviv Coffee Mining Manufacture

I learned that Lviv is a city famous for its coffee.  In Rynok Square, located in the old city center, your nose will catch a rich coffee aroma before you even see the Lviv Coffee Mining Manufacture shop!  Legend says that coffee beans grow underground, but I don’t quite know if I believe that. Inside, you’ll find a little cafe and a gift shop with several different types of coffee you can buy according to the weight.  The most interesting part is downstairs… the caves!  We went on a short tour to the manufacturer, where we were given a helmet (watch your down head there!) and found some more places to sit and try coffee from a can.  hey unsealed the cans with a flame right before our very eyes, it was a very cool experience.  Although it’s touristy, I would high recommend seeing the underground tunnels with the coffee mining equipment.

After touring the mines, you can sit, relax, and try some of their special coffee.  They bring out the coffee in these tin cups and caramelize the sugar on the top with a blow torch.  It was a very memorable experience!

Lychakiv Cemetery

Additionally, Lviv is home to one of the greatest European cemeteries, known for being the burial home of many important historical and cultural figures. Founded in 1786, the Lychakiv Cemetery contains some of the administrative elite from the capital.  There’s a unique beauty and peacefulness here which definitely makes it worth a visit.

Lviv Opera House

And finally, don’t forget to stop by the Lviv Opera House! Built by Sigmund Gorgolewski, an architect who was considered a project genius, it was fashioned in the style known as “Vienna-Renaissance”.  The Lviv Opera House still stages productions of opera and ballet today.

Lviv was a visual feast for the eyes!  It is just one of the many beautiful places we saw on our adventures with Cobblestone Freeway Tours and I can’t wait to share more with you.

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About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder and Senior Editor of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

14 Comments

  1. Jenn and Ed Coleman
    July 9, 2017 at 1:35 am
    Reply

    Coffee with caramelized sugar on top sounds incredible. It looks like creme brulee in a cup. I hope that it tasted as good as the presentation.

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 9, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      That’s a great way to describe it! And yes, the flavors were amazing.

  2. Gokul Raj
    July 9, 2017 at 5:18 am
    Reply

    I would like to check out the Coffee Mining Manufacture. That looks unique. Would love the tour through the tunnel as well.

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 9, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      I’d highly recommend it, especially if you’re a coffee lover 🙂

  3. Elena Nemets
    July 9, 2017 at 8:18 am
    Reply

    Your photos are amazing! I did not know about the Vyshyvanka Day – I really like these embroidered shirts and dresses, would love to buy one.

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 9, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      Thank you! You’d be spoiled for choice there 🙂

  4. Punita Malhotra
    July 9, 2017 at 1:15 pm
    Reply

    You’re so right…the city if Lviv is certainly a visual feast. So many lovely monuments, big and small, such pretty buildings all around. Its picture perfect! Hard to find a fault.

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 9, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      I 100% agree! Thanks for reading, Punita.

  5. Tami
    July 9, 2017 at 8:54 pm
    Reply

    Definitely some beautiful and amazing history here! I’d love to stroll through that old cemetery — it’s one of my favorite things to do in a city. And the view of the rooftops with all the different colors is oh so pretty!

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 10, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      Mine too! They are always unique and beautiful.

  6. carrie @ frugal foodie mama
    July 10, 2017 at 7:11 pm
    Reply

    You had me with all of the foodie adventures- the beer museum, the Drunken Cherry Bar, & that coffee shop! 🙂 It all sounds delicious & amazing.

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 17, 2017 at 11:44 am

      It was all so delicious and fun to explore!

  7. mark wyld
    July 13, 2017 at 2:11 am
    Reply

    The beer museum yes please what was your favourite beer that they brewed?

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 17, 2017 at 11:46 am

      I can’t remember the name but it was a light beer! I’m usually not a fan of dark beer but even that was good.

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