4 Beautiful Ukrainian Castles You Can Visit Near Lviv

No matter what the history this or that castle has, each hosts its own ghosts or at least legends about them. Although many may be sceptical of such stories, it is, nonetheless, always interesting to listen to tales about these mysteries. Western Ukraine is home to many stone fortresses of the previous centuries. We’ve listed the most beautiful ones castles in the Lviv area. The castles we describe in this article are easily accessible and you can visit them taking a day trip from Lviv.

Do you feel like stepping into the shoes of the woman in white, a musketeer, a knight or a king in the Castles of the Golden horseshoe? Join us and take a day trip around the most beautiful castles of the Lviv Land: “Four castles near Lviv”!

Musketeer castle

Svirzh Castle has been settled in Peremyshliany region since XV century. The Year of 1427 is fixed as the first record of the castle, although it might have been built earlier. When the castle was owned by the Swirski noble family, they designed it in a fancy way. The year of 1530 carved above the entrance remains to this day. The following owner of the castle, Cetner, fashioned it into the Renaissance-era style. He invited an architect, who was building a king’s armoury in Lviv, to design the castle in Svirzh. The last heritor and owner of the Svirzh fortress was a plant scientist who set up a botanical garden in Lviv. For this reason, one neighborhood in Lviv is named after him, Cetnerivka. 

Svirzh Castle survived the attacks of the Tartars and the Turks, Cossacks and other invaders. Now it is in the possession of the National community of architects in Ukraine, responsible for its renewal and promotion. The castle holds magnificent portals, plasterworks, gryphon sculptures, carved stairs, distinctive fireplaces and a well in the courtyard that gavedrink to locals at the time of the invasion. Underground, there is a cellar with powerful vaults. The bridge over the moat leads to the main entrance. At that time it was a suspension bridge. The castle was built over the pond. It overlooks the picturesque panorama, especially when the sun goes down. 

There is a Renaissance church nearby that now serves to the Greek Catholic public. Ancient fresco paintings and a tombstone of one of the descendants of the Swirski noble family were found there. Also, the village hosts the 19th century mill. Svirzh Castle is known among older people for its appearance in the film “D’Artagnan and Three Musketeers”. This is the place that stood for different places of France according to the classic by Alexandre Dumas. Younger people have hung out at the Woodstock Ukraine festival a few years in a row. Besides that, the castle hosts its ghosts. The legend goes that a false-hearted girl who opened the castle for the enemy troops was thrown into the well by the troops themselves. The ghost of the girl has no rest and disturbs visitors to this day. Svirzh Castle has been closed for visitors for quite a long time, but since recently it was opened again and now you can take an excursion around the castle making an agreement in advance. Besides the suites of the great nobles, they show Red Book bats that inhabit the basements of the fortress. The castle is surrounded by picturesque Opillia landscapes and three-hundred-year-old oaks.  

Location: Svirzh village, Peremyshliany raion, Lviv oblast. 

GPS: 49.652563, 24.432067 

Official website: https://svirzhcastle.org/ 

Contacts: +38(096)-721-88-68, svirzhcastle@gmail.com

Opening hours: Thursday – Sunday from 11:00 to 17:00. The castle is closed from Monday to Wednesday.

The “Woman in White” from Pidhirtsi Castle

In Pidhirtsi in the Brody area, there is one of the most beautiful castles in Lviv region that resembles a palace with defensive elements. It also served as a filming location for the movie about D’Artagnan. Interestingly, the castle is home to one woman. 

The legend about the mare of a woman in white that groans and appears to guards and even to visitors reached American show “Ghostbusters” and they came here to shoot an episode. They say their equipment recorded anomalous sounds and images. According to the legend, it is the ghost of the young wife of Rzewuski who was very possessive and once he walled her up alive in the castle. From that time on her ghost in white wanders around the suits asking to find her remnants and perform a funeral service. 

The magnificent castle in Pidhirtsi was built in XVII century by Italian architect Andrea dell’Aqua. French engineer Guillaume de Beauplan fortified its greatness with bastion walls. In the fabulous palace, the rooms used to be separated by themes and colors – golden, green, mosaic and crimson halls. The marble portals retained to this day impresses as well. 

From time to time exhibitions and concerts take place in the castle, but usually, the halls are closed and holler for help. Meanwhile, visitors can admire the building of the castle outside, walk along the terraces and surrounding territory, and also admire panoramas that reach as far as the Plisnesko annalistic ancient settlement. 

Government institutions, volunteers and sponsors do their best to save this fabulous beauty. Last year in winter they renewed the balustrade from the backside. And in front of the palace – there is beautiful St. Joseph Church (1766). You can see all the mentioned buildings taking tour “The Golden horseshoe of the Lviv Land”.

Location: Pidhirtsi village, Brody raion, Lviv oblast. 

GPS: 49.943003, 24.983734 

Official web-site: https://pidgirci.org/castle

Contacts: pidgirci.org@gmail.com.

Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday from 11:00 to 17:00 (tickets are available to 16:30), Saturday – Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 (tickets are available to 17:30). The castle is closed on Monday.

Olesko castle

One of the most ancient palaces, Olesko palace, dating back to princely years, stands to this day. You can see the fortress proudly towering on the hill from the Kyiv-Chop highway. 

The first record about the castle traces back to 1327, built by the son of Galicia–Volhynia king Yuri I of Galicia. The castle used to be fought for and attacked many times. That resulted in fundamental reconstruction, although the building itself survived. During the reign of the Polish gentry, the castle was given a Renaissance-era charm, turning it into a palace for the nobles with architectural design and plasterwork. 

In Olesko Castle the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth king-to-be John III Sobieski was born. The legend goes when he was born, a lightning bolt struck the marble table he was lying on and it cracked, and his midwife became deaf. It was a telling sign that an unusual person came to this world. 

The castle has two wings connected by the entrance gate. There is a courtyard with a well on the territory. In front of the entrance, there is an ascend to go up to the gallery overlooking the suburbs. It served as a filming location for dozens of films as well.

There is a church and a Capuchin monastery with a beautiful garden in front of the castle. This is the place from where they say a local ghost of a monk comes from. It wanders around and scares people. Now the monastery is used to store exhibit items. Other guards tell about the ghost of Adam Zholkevskyi who committed suicide because of ill-fated love.

Olesko Castle is not empty; it houses a rich museum collection with masterpieces of art, historic portraits, and sculptures of Johann Pinsel. It is a branch of the Lviv gallery of art. The castle displays ancient works, ancient ceramic tiles, icons, large battle paintings. There is a park with sculptures next door. 

Castle exists for a reason to remember the history and also to reproduce the spirit of old times and romanticism. Here’s an idea for school and corporate excursion groups, why not take a knight tournament (in addition to a castle excursion) where everyone can have an outdoor activity and step into the shoes of a knight, a musketeer, a grand princess or a countess, or even a king. Join the interactive trip “Castle knight entertainments”! 

Location: Olesko town, Busk raion, Lviv Oblast. GPS: 49.968376, 24.900816

Contacts: +38-03-264-2-52-80. 

Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday from 11:00 to 17:00 (tickets are available to 16:30), Saturday – Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 (tickets are available to 17:30). The castle is closed on Monday.

Chinese Palace in Zolochiv Castle

Another estate of the Sobieski noble family sits in Zolochiv town on Ternopil highway. Tourists who came there for the first time think that the Chinese pavilion which stands right in front of the entrance is the palace. But it is an additional building for decoration; the two-story castle stands next door. It features a museum exposition since it is a part of the Lviv National Art Gallery. Some portals, a secret passage, bathroom facilities of XVIII century and the primary sewerage system are retained to this day. 

Zolochiv Castle was built in XVII century by the father of John III Sobieski, the king-to-be of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as a defensive fortress. That’s why it is fortified with hard-hitting walls, a ravelin, and strongholds. At the front, there is a moat with a bridge over it and entrance gates. The king himself made the castle look fancy by building the small Chinese palace for his wife. Now it serves as the Museum of oriental arts.

During the reign of Austria, Zolochiv Castle served as a prison, and during the Soviet Union, the NKVD (the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs) were seated here with an execution room in the basement. Guards often hear strange sounds and something like groans out from the underground. In honor of the tormented victims, there is a chapel, designed by sculptor, Teodoziya Bryzh, next to the castle. 

In 2016 the exhibition of fragments of the Lviv stone settlements of XV-XVI centuries, sculptures and ancient lights took place in the underground of the castle. 

In the courtyard of the castle, there is a big stone block with a ciphered message, and also a hole people put a finger in and believe one day their dream will come true. Take a chance to make a wish and witness all the beauty of the Lviv land taking tour “The Golden horseshoe of the Lviv land + Havarechchyna”.

Location: 4 Ternopilska street, Zolochiv city, Lviv oblast.  

GPS: 49.801572, 24.905869

Contacts: +38 03 265 4-23-38 (Great Palace), +38 03 265 4-21-01 (Chinese palace)

Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday from 11:00 to 17:00 (tickets are available till 16:00), Saturday – Sunday from 10:00 till 18:00 (tickets are available till 17:00). The castle is closed on Monday.

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Take a one-day bus trip “The Golden horseshoe of the Lviv land + Musketeer castle” to see the best four castle of Lviv region!

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