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This is Lviv in 48 hours. Words by Azzam Alkadhi.

DAY 1:

08:00  Lviv’s prominent cafe culture is a remnant of its time as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Viennese-style cakes and pastries form an important part of the culinary landscape, so start your day by indulging your sweet tooth at Veronika (21 Shevchenka Street). It’s more upmarket than some of the other cafes in the city, but the delicious pastries are well worth it.

09:00  Take some time to experience the true beauty of the city. Unlike many other places in Ukraine, Lviv has managed to avoid any strong Soviet influences and retains a fabulous and unique mix of cultures and styles, owing to its occupation by various powers. It is perhaps for this reason that the city’s Old Town is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. You can spend hours wandering the meandering streets and alleys and admiring the amazing architectural diversity. Baroque churches stand alongside Renaissance buildings, Gothic cathedrals and neo-classical residences.



11:30  If you haven’t already stumbled on it, make a beeline for Ploshcha Rynok, a 16th-century market square with fountains depicting Greek gods, a Renaissance tower and a town hall that was rebuilt after a fire in 1825.

12:30  Relax and enjoy a no-frills lunch at Bar Mleczny (Kopernika 9), an authentic Ukrainian restaurant serving traditional, simple food in an unpretentious setting. Be sure to try the dumplings.



14:00  A few doors down you’ll find Potocki Palace (Kopernika 15), a grand residence that once belonged to one of the most powerful families in Europe, who spared no expense when building this extravagant dwelling.

15:00  Make your way up Zamkova Hora (Castle Hill) to take in some fantastic views of the city and the numerous domes and steeples that dominate its skyline. From up here, it’s easy to see why Lviv is sometimes referred to as the Florence of the East.

19:00  Armenian immigrants have played a crucial role in the economic and social development of the city over the years and their influence can be seen in the handily named Armenian Street. Initially built in the 14th century, the Armenian Cathedral has been extended and amended over the centuries and as such has attained a distinctive style. With so many churches in Lviv, it can be hard to pick which ones to visit, but this unique and understated cathedral is as good a choice as any. Continuing with the Armenian theme, grab a bite to eat at Kilikia (Virmenska 13/3), tucked down a small alley, with a cosy interior and some hearty dishes.

21:00  The nearby Dzyga Bar (Virmenska 35) is an artsy watering hole where you can sample the city’s renowned Lvivski beer or some Nemiroff vodka, flavoured with chilli and honey. If you want to hit the dancefloor, your best bet is Lialka (Havryshkevycha Sq 1), where they play an eclectic mix of tunes and, perhaps most importantly, bring out lard in chocolate at the end of the night. It might sound horrible, but trust us, it does the trick.

 DAY 2:

09:00  The perfect place to shake off your hangover is Cukiernia (cukiernia.com.ua/en). The breakfasts and pastries here come from a mix of traditional cuisines – including Polish, Jewish, Italian, Hungarian and Middle Eastern – and provide the ideal antidote to the night before.

11:00  No trip to Lviv would be complete without a visit to the Lychakivske Cemetery, one of the most impressive anywhere in Europe. More than 400,000 people are buried here, including some of Ukraine and Poland’s most famous poets, artists, noblemen, rulers and soldiers. Gaze in awe at the elaborate tombstones, temples and mausoleums, some of which were designed by notable architects. Soviet hammer-and-sickle emblems adorn tombs which lie next to Christian crosses, extravagant marble monuments and Jewish symbols, yet another nod to Lviv’s multi-ethnic past.

15:00  Head to the Pharmacy Museum (Drukarska 2). The main room still functions as a chemist, but take some time to explore the rest of this beautiful house, including the eerie basement. You’ll half expect to bump into a mad alchemist mixing some medicines in the corner. Entrance costs about 10p, so there’s no excuse to miss it.

17:00  Spare a few moments to pay your respects at the  Holocaust memorial (pr Chornovola), a monument to the 420,000 Jews who perished here between 1941-1943.

20:00  End your trip with a couple of cheeky vodka shots at Titanic (Teatralna 4-6). Aside from staving off the cold with some warming booze, there’s also a surprise. From the outside it’s an unassuming townhouse, but inside you’re met by an outrageously kitsch, boat-themed interior.

Fly from London Gatwick to Lviv with Ukraine International and Aerosvit Airlines, with a stop-off in Kiev, from £217 return.  (flyuia.com) (aerosvit.com)


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