The beautiful city of Lviv (in photos)
Last year I wrote about our visit to Lviv, calling Lviv the most underrated city in Europe. We had enjoyed it so much that we decided to come back this summer. We booked our accommodation back in February. We never book an apartment that far ahead.
We initially planned to stay 2 months in Lviv. But then, while back, we decided to stay a 3rd month. That’s how much we loved our time in Lviv.
I received a few comments from people after last year’s post questioning why we would stay in Lviv for such a long period of time. We’re full-time travellers and as full-time travellers we find the summer months in Europe are always the worst: places are packed with tourists and everything is expensive and of poor value. After a few bad experiences in our first years of travel, we learned that summer is the time to hole up somewhere we like and to just “live”.
That’s exactly what we did this summer. And it’s why Lviv is the perfect place for us.
Tourists. Lviv does get a lot of tourists in its old town in the summer. But it is confined to the main square (the Rynok) and a few surrounding streets. One can still find quiet spots. Lviv doesn’t (yet) feel overwhelmed by tourists the way many European cities get in the summer.
Cost. Lviv doesn’t get many international tourists and you can still find good value. We paid $750 Canadian (that’s $570 US these days) per month for the apartment we stayed in . That’s all-in, including Airbnb fees, during the 3 busiest months of the year (June, July, August). It wasn’t glamourous but it was very comfortable for our needs.
Value. You can, by almost all comparisons, live cheaply in Lviv. You can also find anything you need. Right in the middle of downtown there is a large market where you can buy all your vegetables, meat, bread etc. There is also a large supermarket steps from there called Arsen which we discovered this summer (last year we would go to Silpo which is in the Lviv Forum shopping center – which is further from the old town). For wines and cheeses I go to Elit Klub which is my favorite store in Lviv. There I’d pick up an $8 Canadian ($6 US) Spanish wine for our meals. I don’t know if you can find an $8 bottle of Spanish wine even in Spain. All to say value for money in Lviv is excellent.
So what did we do over 3 months in Lviv?
Last year we explored Lviv in depth. Again, please refer to my very comprehensive “Ultimate Guide to Lviv”.
This year we barely did any sightseeing. Instead we concentrated on getting in shape at our favorite gym in the world: Eurosport.
Almost every single day we went to the gym, spending anywhere between 2 and 3 hours doing classes. Lissette lost 20 lbs. We got in great shape and met lots of very friendly people.
After the gym we would often go out for lunch, walk around the city (which is quite small. There’s a joke that everything in Lviv is “10 minutes” away). Then we’d usually have a coffee or a glass of wine somewhere.
THAT basically sums up our summer: 3 months of working out (getting in the best shape we’ve been in the last 10 years), walking around, drinking coffee and wine, and taking lots of photos of lovely Lviv.
The rest of this post is dedicated to our favorite photos of lovely Lviv from this summer. Note that all these photos were taken by Lissette – I hope you feel her love of Lviv in these images.
If you’ve gotten all the way down here, thanks for reading!
Related: What to See and Do in Kiev (Kyiv)
Related: Cafés to go to for the best coffee experiences in Lviv, Ukraine
Related: Yerevan to Kyiv to Lviv. A Review of Ukrainian Airlines
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In your blog about Krakow you never shut up about how racist and antisemitic the Poles are, yet here you are in a city where they have a statue honouring Stepan Bandera, a man who’s organisation murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews and Poles, the same organisation that have been declared the heroes of Ukraine, and you say nothing, why? Did you by any chance see any black and red bi-colour flags? I know you did, they’re everywhere. Do you know what that flag represents? What the people who flew that flag did?
There’s a difference. History is history, otherwise I could say tons about Germany couldn’t I? I could say tons about any place with a similar history (which would include most countries on the planet).
What my post on Krakow covered is how we were treated as travellers. Period. In Lviv we’ve found people hospitable and open. 4 months over 2 years and not one negative experience. In fact it was the complete opposite to our experience in Krakow.
Germany doesn’t erect statues of Hitler and isn’t proud of what happened during WWII, unlike Ukraine, which is proud of what it did to the Jews and Poles, as evidenced by the statues and streets built and named in honour of the OUN and UPA. Imagine you’re a Jew and you visit Germany and see statues of Hitler and streets named after Goebbels, That’s what Ukraine is like. The fact that you don’t care about this just because they treated you nicely is disgraceful, however this isn’t really my point, my point is your hypocrisy of pointing out Polish antisemitism, but not mentioning the monuments glorifying Ukrainian antisemitism.
Give me a break. Every country has statues dedicated to “liberators” who did “terrible things”. That’s very subjective depending on what side of history you’re on. And having street names or statues don’t mean anything but being politically correct. Ask Americans in the south what they think about having their confederate statues taken down.
I’m not addressing this subject anymore, this post isn’t about Ukrainian or Polish politics.
My favourite photo is Shadows Behind the Armenian Church. Though they’re all lovely.
I dislike tourist crowds as well and we try to avoid them. Even shoulder season is sometimes too much. Early-early mornings are often a good bet. In Rome they were pretty cool. It was surreal at times. Trevi Fountain with no one around.
Hi Colleen. You’ve got the same taste as Lissette – that was her favorite photo as well.
Over the last month we’ve been to Prague as well as Split in what is now shoulder season. Both cities are inundated with tourists. Even more than on prior visits. I’ll be writing about that soon. It’s honestly depressing…
Oh wow, Lviv looks nice. Great photos and congratulations to Lissette! I want to see a photo of her as well 🙂
honestly it looks like the sort of place I would love Frank. Who knows where life will take me over the next 20-30 years. But I’m popping it in the back of my mind. looks wonderful. Not sure I’d be keen on gym every single day no matter where I was though!
Hi Andy. We’ve just been trying to really get in shape and Lviv was what we needed. I’m not going to tell you it’s the most beautiful place anywhere but we think it’s a special place with the vibe and the people.
Frank, so many interesting photos. My favourite is the one of the musician girl in front of the post office. Definitely agree that the busy summer months are not a good time for traveling in Europe. I like your slow travel approach, you get to apreciate places in depth and live like a local. Your fitness campaign has really paid off…well done Lissette, impressive results. Brian and I are starting to go running again regularly, it is hard to find motivation sometimes.
We took lots of classes and I was usually the only guy in the class. Lots of squats, pushups, ab work…the ladies were great with us, very welcoming and Lissette has a lot of Ukrainian friends now on facebook. Unbelievable how nice everyone was with us and we look forward to getting back.
We’ll also be doing some running as well as skipping rope (another quick way to get rid of or maintain weight). You’re right that it’s hard to find motivation when on your own. That’s why the classes were great for us. I guess you guys back in the Uk after your long trip to Norway?
Great photos. Would love to see lissette too in one of them.
Yes, I know. I’ve tried…she prefers to stay an enigma.
Maybe by year end, I’m pushing for her to show off how fit she looks.
Ps. Sara – There is a Jewish Memorial in Lviv that Lissette took photos of and if you’d like photos I can send you a few. I found a link about it and Lviv’s Jewish history which you might find interesting.
Definitely would like any photos. I know the history very much but there is so much of it that I always still learn. It was a big Jewish learning center with a great large Jewish population that was decimated in WWII. A very close friend of ours spent an extended period there years ago to search for his family origin in Lviv.
P.S. leaving for Israel Nov 4th, and would have about 8 days to take a side RT to Europe. Wanted very much to go to Spain (warmer in November than going back to Georgia, which I want to do). Any Air B&B recomd. for Madrid, Barcelona and Toledo? Thank You.
I’m sorry Sara, no recommendations. We haven’t seen much of Spain except for Seville. Ask us next year – we’ll be spending a LOT of time in Spain.
Tragic history in Lviv. It feels like a happy place but so easy to forget the history. The Citadel for example (which is now a fancy hotel) was a prison used by the Nazis and I heard over 100,000 were killed there. Hard to come to grips with numbers like that. We often think of the ugly history when travelling around Europe. So easy to forget.
You said it best. That’s why it’s important to remember. As was said already. “If we forget history, we are bound to repeat it”.
Looks like a great place to hole up for 3 months. I’m working Lviv into my plans next year. Your guide will come in handy 🙂 Tell Lissette I love her pictures
Write me personally if you need any info Paula! Lissette appreciates it.