4 reasons to visit Lviv – my experience in Ukraine

Upon arriving in Lviv a week ago, I was introduced to a very beautiful and truly European side of Ukraine. The city marries a warm, romantic ambience, with a vibrant, active social scene to create a truly multicultural and rich atmosphere, that should challenge the likes of Paris, Barcelona, Budapest and Prague in its popularity.

Here are some of the reasons why you should book your next trip to Lviv:

1. Architecture

Meandering through the many Renaissance and Baroque style buildings along Lviv’s cobbled streets, you will find yourself in the city’s charming historical centre. There are many hidden gems in this UNESCO protected area. From Armenian style courtyards, to impressive churches sporting different religious sects.

There are also clear influences from Europe. The courtyard below, for example, reflects the tranquility and romanticism of those found in Italy. Other buildings give a nod to the creativity of the Viennese secession, an Austrian movement at the start of the 20th century that sought to revolutionise traditional forms of art, while others, the Opera house, for example, mimic more of a traditional architectural style.

Ultimately, Lviv’s historical centre gives you the opportunity to get lost in its cultural history. Its cobbled streets, littered with impressive statues, weave together a number of architectural influences, creating a charming and unique aesthetic.

2. Drink

Coffee lovers will feel right at home in Lviv. With possibly the most amount of cafes in one city in Europe, Lviv’s vibrant coffee scene covers different styles from modern, hipster cafes to traditional coffee shops offering Eastern European styles served with alcohol, to Vietnamese and Turkish. Accompany this with Lviv’s infamous, beautifully handmade chocolate and you have yourself a perfect recipe for a relaxing afternoon!

You can also find lots of bars. Many Ukrainians make their own vodkas, hence, many bars serve interesting versions of their own vodka, which vary from nail varnish remover to high quality spirits.

There is also a great variety of craft beers, in places such as the Pravda Beer Theatre. Drunk Cherry is also a very popular place, serving cherry wine. It’s possibly the sweetest drink known to man, but its extremely popular and always very busy. You can also easily find cocktails and wines, and of course, they’re very very cheap.

For those who are going out out, Malevich is the place to be. The self proclaimed ‘best club in Eastern Europe’ boasts two large removes and a powerful sound system. Overpriced entry. Overpriced drinks. You’ll wake up with a massive hangover regretting everything you did the night before and questioning your very existence on this planet. But hey, you say this to yourself every night out, and you always end up repeating it all over again a week later… so I’ll see you Saturday.

3. Food

Foodies would love Lviv. Naturally, traditional Ukrainian cuisine is prominent, with many restaurants offering buffets in which you pay per kg, at extremely cheap prices. Alongside this, however, you can find just about anything, from Turkish and Lebanese, to Sushi and American style burgers served in buckets (slight exaggeration) of cheese. Personally, I absolutely love Celentano’s, serving possibly the biggest pizza I have ever seen in my life.

For those with a sweet tooth, there is an abundance of chocolate, cakes and restaurants dedicated to desserts. There is also loads of ice cream, and even an ice cream festival!

4. Music

So much live music down every ally really brings the city to life. Children singing with an old guitar, tentatively reading lyrics off a phone screen, violinists effortlessly reproducing classical melody, traditional folk bands, and street dancers injecting a modern twist to the orchestra of musicians. There is also live music regularly in bars like Pravda. You can find music to satisfy anyone’s taste. This emphasises the city’s vibrancy, ensuring there is never a silent moment.

Conclusion

Lviv’s charm lies in its beauty and vibrancy. It maintains a classy style found in many cities across Europe. However, within its streets you can find a rich variety of different places to eat, drink and socialise.

The city shows that Ukraine is not a dangerous country and does not deserve to be othered. On the contrary, Lviv is a city heavily integrated into European cultural trends. Hence, as the multicultural gem of Eastern Europe, it offers just as much, if not more, than cities in Europe you would not think twice about visiting.

Austen Lee Barber

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