Being a tourist mecca of Ukraine, Lviv has succumbed to travel marketing schemes and became rather expensive destination to visit. However, Lviv can still be enjoyed on any budget, and there’s an array of free experiences and activities just waiting to be discovered.
What matters is how well you manage your travel budget, and how you use those skills to create a better trip. Playing your cards right, you will still enjoy all the ultimate Lviv travel experiences while spending less. To help you keep your dream trip to Lviv affordable, here are some key thrifty ways to stretch your travel budget in Lviv.
If you are planning a trip on a small budget, book a room at one of the no-frills B&Bs or hostels in Lviv in advance. Cheap hotels may not be in the majority in Lviv, but they’re most definitely out there. It’s not just crowded noisy hostels, either – the city has a great selection of budget rooms that don’t have luxury touches in exchange for great rates. A B&B offers double the warmth and cultural intimacy for half the price of a hotel, while hostels can offer fun and vibrant atmosphere. It is always a good idea to contact the accommodation directly via e-mail or phone rather than book on various web-sites – you might end up with better rate or a special offer.
Cabs are quite expensive in Lviv. You can try and use public transport. If you don’t speak any Ukrainian or Russian, navigating through Lviv by public transport might be really challenging. Bus and tram drivers hardly speak any English, so you would have to rely on the help of other passengers if needed as well as English language route maps you can download from the internet.
Lviv is not a big city and while all the tourist action is happening mainly in the downtown there apps and maps will definitely save you some money you could have spent on cab rides.
Start your sightseeing day with visiting Tourist Information Office, which is located on the ground floor of Lviv City Council (called Ratusha) on Rynok Square. Here you can get all the up-to-date Lviv travel information in English as well as free tourist city map.
Lviv offers a variety of hop-on-hop-off bus tours. The main advantage of the bus tours in Lviv is that you can take it in any weather and it will not be less tiring. From the bus window and through the glass roof you will explore the historical sites and buildings. The excursion bus route covers all major Lviv city attractions and is available in different languages. It’s always a good idea to book the tickets for Lviv hop-on-hop-off tours on-line, as internet rates are 20 to 30% cheaper than the price you will pay at the actual ticket office.
There are many museums to visit in Lviv. While museum admission fees in Lviv are very cheap as they are, you can get additional discounts in case you are a student or retired (visitors will be asked to show valid IDs).
Lviv has always been an amazing city to look at. Due to its magnificent historical skyline more and more places are taking advantage of the views and create spaces the public could use to see Lviv from above. While visitors have to pay for entrance to Lviv Ratusha tower viewing platform, the most popular location to enjoy Lviv vistas, there are other places to enjoy same (if not better) views totally free of charge or for a modest fee. If you take around 30-minute walk from Rynok Square you’ll get to the High Castle (Vysoky Zamok) on Castle Hill (Zamkova Hora). No doubt, it is a quintessential Lviv experience. The summit mound, sporting a huge Ukrainian flag in the middle of the viewing platform, offers 360-degree views of the city and the wooded hills between which it nestles.
Lviv High Castle & Ratusha tower viewing platforms are swarming with tourists and you can end up staring at people’s shoulders after climbing what feels like a million flights of stairs. Thankfully, there is much better option all the tourists don’t know about…yet. Order a coffee to go at your favorite coffee shop & take a short tram ride towards Main Railway Station. You will spot this magnificent gothic Cathedral right away. The view from Olga & Elizabeth tower is truly magical & you can enjoy your coffee and take numerous selfies for as long as you like.
Avoid touristy restaurants with “We speak English” signs and multilingual menus. Lviv downtown is filled with these kind of bars, diners and cafes. Instead look for those that are filled with locals, they also serve good food but for less money. Check the reviews on local restaurants from many international travelers on foursquare or tripadvisor.
Lviv is interesting to visit any time of year, however try to travel off-season. Generally September through December and February through April in Lviv. You’ll get cheaper airfare, find more budget rooms, spend less time in lines, and meet more locals than tourists.
Visit Lviv without spending a fortune with these helpful resources and insider tips. And just because the places and experiences listed above are easy on the wallet, don’t think they’re light on comfort and impressions.