Located in the western part of Ukraine, Lviv is far from the chaos in the east, which has cast a false perception of the entire country being a war zone.
A city that is equal parts Polish, Ukrainian, German, along with a touch of Russian influence, the culture and architecture found here draws comparisons to Prague.
Unlike its more popular doppelganger though, prices here are much lower, which makes it a solid choice for the backpacker looking to save money on a trip through Europe.
While there are a number of churches within Lviv that are all well worth your time should you have an abundance of time, those that do not should at least make sure to drop by the Boim Chapel. It may be small in stature, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for it in its architectural elements.
Built in the Late Renaissance style, the exterior walls are covered in portraits, murals, frescoes and expertly sculpted bas reliefs. The interior is even more detailed, with sculptures, an exquisite altar, and beautiful round windows drawing the attention of those that wander inside.
One of the Ukraine’s best cultural attractions can be found in the form of the Lviv National Museum, which showcases many elements of its heritage.
Housed in a Neo-Baroque mansion, there are over 140,000 pieces in its collection, which include over 4,000 icon paintings, and 1,000 works of folk art, and other rare items like ancient texts and fabrics interwoven with gold and silver.
While the paintings that hang on the wall here date back to the 12th century, modernist works from recent times can also be found here, making this museum a great stop for culture lovers.
If you are carving more paintings by European and Ukrainian masters, make the Lviv National Art Gallery the next stop on your tour.
With 60,000 pieces in its collection that includes works by Peter Paul Reubens, Jan van Kessel, and Joseph van Bredael, as well as numerous regionally famous artists from the Ukraine, Poland, and other adjoining countries.
When the time comes to relax and have a leisurely lunch or coffee, Market Square is where you’ll want to go. Laid out in the 14th century, its primary attraction is the bevy of architectural styles of the houses (44 in total) that encircle it.
From Renaissance to more modern styles, the diversity of the building stock here will give you an idea of the mixing bowl of Central and Eastern European culture that exists here in Western Ukraine’s largest city.
In each of the square’s four corners, a fountain can be found, which are graced by four sculptures that each represent a figure in Greek mythology, which creates an atmosphere that will make your visit here well worth your time.
On every corner here Lviv, is is not uncommon to find a drug store peddling their wares. The Pharmacy Museum makes light of this fact, as its sixteen rooms will reveal how this trade was undertaken in centuries past.
Apart from the many exhibits that show how business was conducted in previous eras, visitors can still get prescriptions filled, and purchase over the counter medicines to reverse any malady they may be suffering from.
Of note in this museum are the laboratories on the third floor, where chemists used to mix treatments by hand in the days before big pharma companies did so in their factories.
Looking for a break from the concrete and chaos of the streets of Lviv? Stryisky Park is where you should seek your solace, as it is this city’s most popular green space.
Boasting paths lined with tall trees, placid and calming ponds that play host to a variety of waterfowl, and a glass greenhouse that will transport you to the tropics even in the depths of winter, it is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.
If your hunger is getting the better of you, it is also home to several restaurants that will fill the void in your stomach as you gaze out upon the greenery that defines this part of Lviv.