Lviv (or Lvov or Leopolis) is a lovely city in West of Ukraine listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Although the elegant old town reminds of romantic European cities like Paris, Budapest or Wien, don’t be fooled: the city hides secret fun spots and crazy theme bars and restaurants!
Old fascinating history and inexpensive cost of living are reasons good enough to visit Lviv in Ukraine right? Apparently not for the locals: their creativity and sense of business built one of the most nonsense city I have ever visited! Besides my list of top 5 crazy theme bars/restaurants, I am sure there are plenty more, hidden underground, floating in the air or underwater. Just grab a plane or a train from Poland or Kiev to discover them!
In case you know that coffee comes from plantations in subtropical zones, Lviv will certainly make you change your mind and throw away your old geography school books. Because in cafe mining you need a mattock and hard work to collect your coffee from the underground caves! Hence it is a unique place in the world, furthermore a major contributor to Ukrainian economy.
Of course I am kidding, however the set is credible enough to convince some dupe tourists 🙂
If you want to see the process of the coffee for real, I would recommend a different destination, like Costa Rica 😉
Lviv Coffee Manufactory, Rynok square, 10
from 8:00 a.m. until late
2. The House of Legends
The name is self-explanatory: it is indeed a whole building and every room hides a Lviv’s legend.
I will leave clear instructions for the most curious of you: firstly enter next to the souvenir shop, “for good memories and fortune”, then take the creaky staircase and choose one of the secret rooms to have a drink or borsch (a delicious soup you have to try!). Oh, don’t forget to have a look to the toilette, unless you don’t appreciate good company. Not to mention the clocks, maps or Lions’ legs. Otherwise you can count the actual number of cobblestones in Lviv (check if nobody stole them!) or have access to the city Library, the unofficial ministry of information.
Finally climb up to the roof terrace to admire the air-mobile, while tasting homemade lavanda icecream. To conclude the experience, try to score throwing some coins into the monument to chimney sweep. Does it sound like a good plan?
48, Staroievreiska St, Lviv (L’viv)
Mon-Thu 10:00 – 00:00
Fri-Sun 10:00 – 02:00
3. Join the Insurgent Army in Kryivka
– Glory to Ukraine!
Kryivka is both for real Ukrainians or real fake ones (like me!). Knock on the secret door and wait for the guard to open asking for a password. No password, no entry. Don’t worry, I have indeed covered your back: repeat 5 times with perfect Ukranian accent “Slava Ukraini!” (Glory to Ukraine) and you will get ready for the first test. Once you have access to the gate, swallow the honey liquor in one sip. Did you survive? Well done, you will be welcomed to the underground bunker! Have a sit, order some food and practise your skills with weapons (or not). Targets are available. Furthermore all the dishes are delicious!
One big warning for Russian speaking visitors: as long as you managed to get in, avoid speaking in Russian otherwise a guard will take you to prison, which is a small dark jail next to the bathrooms. Three shots of honey liquor are the fee to get out… up to you! 🙂
One final tip: save the receipt to download the Lokal card app…
Kryivka, Rynok square, 14
Mon – Sun 00:00 – 24:00
4. The Most Expensive Galician Restaurant
Next to the secret door of Kryivka you can find the sign of the “Most Expensive Galician Restaurant”. Follow the direction and knock on the door (yes, it is a pattern in Lviv). Surprisingly a man in pyjamas will open asking what you want: don’t mind the view of his kitchen behind, you are in the right place. Without a doubt confirm you want to eat at the restaurant and be ready to accept any challenges.
Finally gain your access to the fancy masonic lodge! Don’t be scared of the high prices of the menu, keep ordering as much food as you desire.
It is time to pay, do you still remember about the Lokal card app? Use it to cut one zero from the final bill! 🙂
Kryivka, Rynok square, 14
12:00 – 00:00
5. Masoch Cafe. The original version of Fifty Shades of Grey
Have you ever heard about Leopold von Sacher-Masoch? I fairly doubt it, unless you are a fan!
And the word “masochism”? More probable, especially if you have read/watched Fifty Shades of Grey. Well, it looks like Lviv inhabitants have been unique for a long time! Leopold Masoch was an Austrian nobleman, although raised by a respectable Catholic family he reached the fame as author of erotic novels and romances. I believe you might guess his obsession!
Next to his commemorative statue, you can find the entrance of Masoch Cafe. At this point I don’t need to specify the theme, have a look to the pictures in case of doubts. It is a fun bar, however be aware of the waitress and her whip: sit with the back and shoulders against the wall, moreover avoid asking for a discount! 🙂
Serbska St, 7, L’viv
Mon-Thu 16:00 – 04:00
Fri-Sun 14:00 – 04:00
Travel tips to visit Lviv
The official touristic website and Free walking tours are always a good idea to explore any city. In case of Lviv, they are both super great and playful!
Started a theme marathon in Lviv and want to discover more cool places by yourself? Check out for the Gas Lamp bar (Virmens’ka St, 20), Museum of Ideas restaurant (18a, L’viv, L’vivs’ka oblast) and the Ribs Restaurant “At Arsenal” (5, Pidvalna St, L’viv).
How to get to Lviv, Ukraine?
Have I convinced you to add Lviv in your travel bucketlist?
Although it is not a popular destination, it is pretty easy and inexpensive to reach!
The small international airport is indeed busy with several daily flights, for both national and low cost airlines. Check this list and find out your closest departure city.
In case you want to head to Lviv from Poland or rest of Ukraine, train is surely the best and cheapest option. From Kiev the express ride covers the distance in 5h, with a convenient ride early in the morning. Check here for schedule and prices.
Have you been to Lviv? Did you have fun? Let me know about any new must see and share with friends: Lviv really deserves to be known 🙂