When first occupied in 1939 as part of the secret protocol added to the Molotov-Ribbentrop-Pact, Lviv went through a time of intensive persecution. The elite of the city was interned or shot, national movements sent to prison or deported. The struggle against this occupation continued until the 1950s. After this the situation normalised. The Soviet government under Khrushchev started focusing on housing.
Soviet housing and monuments in Lviv
Soviet urban planning started to reshape Lviv as a city. Many microrayons were added and new representative buildings were added. On our tour we will show you the most impressive buildings, monuments and projects and explain you both the significance as well as the ideological background of any of the urban development in Lviv. We will give you a broad picture of Soviet society in Lviv and how people lived. And of course you will get to experience some of it with your own mouth, when we take you to a typical Soviet-style canteen to try some typical foods from these times.
For our Lviv Pub Crawl we are not here to get you hammered. We wanna show you the most exciting places to drink at night. We wanna have an awesome time which isn’t only about the alcohol. Ok. Well, there will quite a bit of it. We will also stuff you with some of the best shots that you ever tried and make you taste some of the most delicious snacks that Ukraine has to offer.
Well and we can’t promise you to find the woman or man of your dreams on our tour, but serious studies have shown that people who have fun are more attractive than lame people who drink by themselves!
If you prefer to have a relaxing walk and just want to meet nice people to have a relaxing evening in Lviv, our Free Walking Tour – Night Lviv might be a better option for you!
When your visit in Lviv is short, a Lviv One day Tour can be the perfect solution for you. The city center of Lviv is quite compact for a city of almost 1 million people. But there are many places in Lviv that we will walk or take a ride to, to really make sure you see things that you need to see. On our tour we therefore are able to cover all of the main sights in the city center plus a lot of fun things that you should not miss out on. You will learn more about this city than you could ever imagine. We will therefore divide the day into several parts.
Morning tour through the Old Town of Lviv
Have a relaxing walk and see all of the essential places in Old Town with us. Of course we will start with a circle around the Rynok, the Market Square and see the
the Town Hall
Italian Yard and Kornyakt Palace
Something Interesting Art Yard
From there it’s just a small hop to the medieval quarters of the city. Therefore we invite you to follow us to explore the Jewish quarter in the old town and see the ruins of the most famous synagogue of Eastern Europe, the Golden Rose Synagogue. Not far is also the old district of the Armenians in Lviv. They were settling here since the 13th century and their old cathedral is one of the favourite places of people from Lviv and tourists alike. Once called the city of a 100 churches, this number by now is exceeded. But still there are some of the most beautiful churches in the area. We will cover the Dominican Church and monastery, the Dormition Church and pass by the Transfiguration Church.
Find out about the famous people of Lviv
Lviv wasn’t only home to cultures. It also was the home of some famous people. Did you know that the son of Mozart lived in Lviv for 30 years and met the love of his life in this city? Also the term Masochism would not exist, if it wasn’t for a man who was born in this city. And did you know that one of the most famous mathematicians in the world survived World War II by feeding lice? There are also many tragic stories, like those of Dorothea Vogel or that of Erno Erb, who were great artists but were still killed in the Shoah. There are many biographies that are closely related to this wonderful city and you need to get to know them!
See quirky and artistic attractions
Lviv is also home to some really funny and quirky attractions. Most famous of those is the Yard of Lost Toys. This weird resemblance of abandoned toys is either really cute or really scary – depending what you think. Right close by you can also see the outdoor museum of the Soviet Union. It’s a yard with many things people banned from their homes when renovating. But did you know there is also a Monument to a Backpack in Lviv? Yes, we also find that strange. Or do you want to buy some Soviet hats and medals or do you prefer old Polish newspapers? On top we would love to bring you to one of the first independent galleries in the country – Dzyga. They even have a sculpture dedicated to one of the most famous rockbands of all times. And of course some of the monuments bring you good luck – or in one case especially for your sex life. No need for viagra – just take this tour with us and things will be fine!
Discover the amazing architecture on a Lviv one day tour
Lviv is also famous for it’s architecture. Most of it survived the wars in the area and now present one of the best mixes of styles to you that you will ever see. Renaissance, Mannerism, Classicism, Neo-Baroque, Neo-Gothic, Ukrainian Secession and the Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Communist architecture from the 1940s to the 1980s. It’s a real treasure to find out more about all the art of building in this treasure of Ukraine! Apart from the the sights of our beautiful old town, these architectural gems are part of the tour:
Ivan Franko National University
House of Scientists
St. George Cathedral
Potocki Palace (outside only)
House of the Ukrainian Secession
Discover the tasty side of Lviv with it’s foods and drinks
Since we will be spending all day together, we will also have a chance to discover all kinds of foods and drinks together. It won’t be our full Ukrainian Food Tour, which we also strongly recommend to you, but you will for sure get to try a real Ukrainian meal, with some tasty local dishes. And since one of our iconic things to do is a coffee break, we will also have plenty of time to explain you all about local coffee in the Ukrainian capital of coffee and about all the cakes that were brought here by the Austrians. Yummy!
On our Lviv Basic Tour, we will show you the most important places of Old Town with a great insight into the history. This all can be done in 2 hours. On the Lviv Basic Tour, you will be able to see the following places:
Market Square with the Town Hall
Italian Yard and Kornyakt Palace
Old Jewish District
Golden Rose Synagogue
Monument to Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
Book Flea Market
Houses of the Ukrainian Secession
Dominican Church and Monastery
Dzyga Art Gallery
Armenian Cathedral and Armenian Quarter
You are wondering why those are so many? Well, we don’t want you to miss out on anything, even in a short time. Also the Old Town of Lviv is very walkable and you will have no problem to experience this city so quickly.
The great thing about our private tours is that you can just fix them into your busy schedule. If you are here for business or in general are just running a tight schedule on your visit, the tours will fit right in and show you what you will see at the exact time that you are in town. We also don’t go into any of the places, because the best views are from the outside almost always anyways. We can also arrange quick transfers to places around the city, so that you waste even less time here.
On our Lviv Underground Tour you will get to see the most intriguing places of Lviv. Guests get to see the interesting catacombs below churches, the pharmacy museum and the Opera and get to drink the hottest coffee they can imagine.
On the tour we will show you the old palace of the Ruthenian princes, which was home to a medieval torture chamber. In the other chambers guests can find out about various famous people that were imprisoned here and about the famous legends connect to this mystic place.
Short walks connect all places to visit on this tour and bring you also to Lviv’s oldest working pharmacy, which is is now the pharmacy museum. In the partial underground exhibition guests will learn a lot about the development of pharmacy from medieval alchemists to the modern industrial production. The original interior of the museum offers countless possibilities for photos.
Hottest coffee break in Lviv
On the hottest coffee break that one can have in Lviv, guests will almost get their eyebrows burned, when we stop for this tasty treat. This also makes it much easier to then go and explore the underground of two important Lviv churches. At the Transfiguration church you can see the krypta where monks used to be buried and where now youth groups pray. At St. Peter and Paul guests can see models of the cities development from 3 different time periods and find out more about one of the most scary ghost stories of the city.
The tour finishes at the Opera, where guests can see the underground river Poltva flow by on the local camera and find out more about the history connected to the river and how it went underground (only on the afternoon tour because of opening hours of the Opera Underground).
Much of the Austrian heritage is left in the city and can be discovered. On our Austrian Lviv Private Walking Tour you will find out more about unique places of Austrian history in Lviv.
Prospekt Svobody – from the Hausner Palace to the Lviv Opera Theater and what other buildings should find your attention
the University of Lviv through the centuries and how the Austrians established it formerly
the Potocki Palace and why not every reward is worth it
You will be able to soak up the atmosphere of Austrian Lviv very well during our tour. We will also give you an insight into why the architecture here was Austrian but still also Galician!
Famous Austrians and locals in Lviv during Austrian times
Apart from buildings there are also many stories about people that are worth visiting. Because Lviv is far away from Vienna, many forgot that there were also quite interesting people that give a tragic, a funny or a interesting background on the Austrian history of Lemberg. Or did you know that
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, the man who masochism it’s name, was from Lviv?
that Franz Xaver Mozart, the son of genius composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart found the love of his life in Lviv but failed to meet the expectations set into him by other people?
Those people are very alive in the stories that our guides can tell you about the history of Austrian Lviv. We can promise you: You won’t need to set foot on a horse carriage to feel taken 150 years back in time!
Discover Austrian coffee culture
This tour is also a wonderful possibility to find out more about the history of coffee in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. And did you know that it actually was a Ukrainian who brought coffee to the Western world? Well, if you did not know that, it’s about time for you to join our tour! If you have any questions or extra wishes, we will be happy to help!
Christmas in Lviv starts every year around the second week of December and goes on until the festival of Jordan (Epiphany) in the Orthodox calendar, which is celebrated on the 19th of January. Apart from the Christmas Market in Lviv, which actually is not even a Ukrainian tradition, there will be many things to see and hear:
a large Didukh – something like a Ukrainian Christmas tree made of hay
a vertep – a nativity seen in Ukrainian style
Kolyadki – traditional Ukrainian Christmas songs
But Lviv isn’t just a Ukrainian city. It is also the center of the Armenian minority in Western Ukraine, which have their own Christmas traditions. And Lviv was for centuries inhabited by Polish people, of which there are still several thousand left in the city. Polish people also celebrate Christmas differently in Lviv. Our tour will therefore bring you to those places and will introduce you to these traditions. And on top of that Lviv is also a center of various denominations – several Orthodox communities, Greek-Catholics which also have slightly varying religious traditions. Our tour is the perfect opportunity to get an insight into all of these!
Try an original Lviv Ukrainian Christmas dinner
However, Christmas, not just in Ukraine, is also a fest of food. And that is why our tour simply would not be perfect without a Ukrainian Christmas dinner. Just like on our Lviv Ukrainian Food Tour, the Christmas Tour is a good possibility to introduce you to Ukrainian cooking! The traditional Christmas dinner on Sviaty Vechyr traditionally consists of 12 dishes, which all will be served to you during this dinner. Here are a few to name:
Kutya – a mix of grain, walnuts
Borsch – Ukrainian beetroot soup, usually with small dumplings (Vushka)
Vareniki – Ukrainian dumplings on Christmas usually with cabbage
Holubtsi – cabbage rolls
Pampushki – bread rolls that are a typical for Christmas in Ukraine
pickled fish – usually herring
Usvar – a drink made from dried fruits and prunes
And the whole dinner has a set up, which reminds on the birth of Jesus Christ and mixes it with the old pagan traditions, where on Christmas Eve also dead relatives are being remembered. And with this you get many more stories from our guides personal experiences with Christmas and about their own family traditions. Because every family celebrates it slightly different.
In no other place in Lviv Oblast you can see so many old buildings from all around Western Ukraine. The museum is dedicated to showing rural life in all of it’s forms. There are farm houses and churches from the Western regions. One of the most beautiful wooden churches in Ukraine has been brought here. The wooden church of Kryvka in Turka County is one of the most visible landmarks Lviv Folk Architecture Museum and it’s even part of the Unesco World Heritage of Wooden Churches in Ukraine and Poland. This beautiful Lviv village museum shows you all different aspects of folk architecture in Western Ukraine.
Live show and exhibitions – Great for kids!
Part of the exhibition is also to show you how people used to live. Real life people work in the farm houses and show you different crafts. For example you can discover an oil mill, where people still press grain and seeds for oil. You can even taste the oil and see what different oils were used over the centuries. In other manors they display weaving and you can see how carpets or traditional clothes are made. And of course in such a museum there must be someone painting Pysanky – the Ukrainian Easter eggs. If you are interested in taking part in any of those activities, please let us know and we will arrange it for you.
Enjoy amazing stories from local guides at Shevchenkivskiy Hay
Our guides are all from Ukraine and have grown up with those traditions. They can explain you all about it. You can be sure not to miss any of the details that this museum hides. Our Buddies will bring you to all the corners of the museum and give you a real deep insight into how many Ukrainians actually still live today. Come and enjoy this special visit with us!
On our Ukrainian cooking class you learn how to make essential Ukrainian food: Borsch and Vareniki. Borsch is the single most famous Ukrainian dish, that is different in everybody’s home. There are several hundred official versions and it gets even more when you go to people’s homes. But that’s also where you can find the best Borsch. A saying in Ukraine says: The best Borsch is in a mothers house! It’s also not so easy to prepare good varenyky. Those Ukrainian dumplings need some practice to be prepared and formed. But don’t worry! Our cooking class chef Kateryna will explain you all tricks involved in preparing a tasty Borsch and how to form the perfect varenyky. She is a passionate chef and has been working with food for many years.
Great local company makes you feel like you at home
The best about trips is to meet locals. Our cooking classes will make you feel right at home, because in fact you will be in our cooking class chef’s home. Kateryna will welcome you in her apartment and you will see how modern Ukrainian people live. Her kitchen is the perfect place to learn to prepare home-made Ukrainian food. As the name becomes valid here already! Join our Ukrainian Cooking Class to have a true experience of Ukrainian cooking!
Some pieces of street art in Lviv are easy to spot, because they are large-scale murals in public spaces. But what about the art that isn’t huge? You will need to know the spots to explore them. Therefore we have created a route that guides you to all of the unique pieces of street art, that give Lviv a new face. If you wanna see the corners that you would never find on your own, then the Lviv Street Art Tour is what you are looking for. We have invested a lot of time to find out all the stories behind the pieces that we show you. We know the background, the artists and the intentions. We can tell you hundreds of things that you will not find in any book about street art.
Talk to the artists of Lviv
We will take you also to places where art is being created. A spot you wouldn’t want to miss is a old radio factory, that now has been turned into an art hub. There artists can rent ateliers for low money. And it works! You find all kinds of creative people from painters to theater artists, graphic and fashion designers, photographers and even street artists in this place. And because we love art and we want to give you a real insight, we actually know most of them and want you to get in contact with them. You can ask the artists everything about their art and get their point of view on the art scene in Lviv.
More than just murals
And we have so many things to show you, that we actually carefully select. Because art isn’t limited only to murals, you will explore sculptures, exhibitions and small art shops and galleries with us. And we will walk you into the backyards of the city, where local residents have put up amazing collections of everyday art and created a comfy and creative environment for themselves and the visitors Lviv.