Common FAQs for Lviv
Below are some of the more common Question & Answers for Lviv. Customized questions can also be directed to Ukraine Video Guide through our email and Skype Q&A services offered in our travel planning section of our website.
Q: Why do some people refer to the city as Lvov, some Lwow and others Lviv?..and others might use Lemberg or Leopolis!
A: With Lviv's ever-changing history the city is intertwined with Polish, Russian, German and Ukrainian influences, including their languages.
So a cheat-sheet summary:
- Lviv - (Львів L'viv) – is the Ukrainian name.
- Lwów – Is its Polish spelling.
- Lvov - (L'vov, Львов)– is its Russian-name.
- Lemberg – Is its German-based name. (Its name during Austro-Hungarian rule)
- Leopolis – Is its Latin name.
Today nearly 80% of the local population speak Ukrainian, and 20% speak Russian. This is quite in contrast to 1900 where nearly 50% of the population spoke Polish, 25% spoke Yiddish and the Ukrainian language made up less than 20%.
A good commentary on Lviv versus Lvov can be found at Fodor's travel from a Lviv-born writer.
For Ukraine Video Guide, we note that most local tourist resources refer to their city at Lviv, defaulting to the Ukrainian spelling. With its deep nationalist tradition and majority of the population speaking Ukrainian, we also adopt Lviv as the spelling and pronunciation for our site.
Q: What are the best ways to arrive to the city?
A: With its proximity to the Polish border, many central and western Europeans drive to Lviv. Border crossing can be slow and with recent events in 2014, do not expect a quick crossing.
Trains from Poland had a bad reputation of delayed crossings as well.
For those trying to go from Odessa to Lviv, good luck...Just kidding – both the flights and busses typically require going through Kiev. On bus, this can be a 20 hour journey. A couple trains run each day between Odessa and Lviv. We took the overnight train once, leaving Lviv at 8 pm and arriving in Odessa around 6 am. Make sure to insist on first class cabin if you take the train.
Lviv Danylo Halytskyi International Airport was remodeled for the 2012 Euro tournament. Unfortunately, only a few cities make daily flights to Lviv – those typically are from Kiev, Warsaw, Moscow, Istanbul, Venice and Vienna.
Although Lviv is a bit more challenging to get to than some cities in Ukraine, our advice is to definitely find a way to get to Lviv – the city is well worth the extra effort to get here!
Some tourists will include Lviv in a trip with Kiev. From Kiev there are two speed trains running daily which take about 6 hours, and there is one bus a day running from Kiev's Moscow Square Bus Terminal that takes about 8 hours.
Q: If I only had 1 free day in Lviv, what are the best places to check out?
A: The Lviv Opera and Ballet Theatre and the Rynok Square are the two must sees for any visitor to Lviv.
Each traveler has unique tastes, so our answers may not be universally accepted, but other favorite stops include Shevchenko Monument near Vienna Coffeehouse on Prospect Svobody, the Arsenal Museum, and High Castle Hill.
For us, some of the hidden gems that we recommend that you should squeeze into your itinerary include Pinzel Museum, Potocki Palace and a stop at Strudelhaus for some delicious strudel!.
The Museum of Folk Architecture is one of our favorite spots but you may not have time to see it if just in the city for one day.
But is 1 or 2 days really enough for Lviv? For us it certainly isn't!!
Q: When is the best time of year to visit Lviv?
A: Our first visit to Lviv was in the midst of a blizzard! It was early March and two unexpected storms hit Western Ukraine that week. Regardless we still fell in love with the city! For those visiting Ukraine in the winter, there are a few ski resorts down by the Carpathian mountains including Bukovel, which is Ukraine's largest ski area.
However, the majority of visitors prefer Lviv in the warmer months and for good reason...Lviv comes alive in the summer with their outdoor cafes, beer gardens and parks.
The end of May and late September may see slightly less competition for lodging. We loved our last visit in September to Lviv, including seeing the colors in the trees.
Popular events to consider planning trips around include Fashion Week (usually in April), Jazz Fest (June), Coffee Fest (September) and Christmas (Jan 10).
Q: Are there any excursions worth considering just outside of Lviv?
A: The closest "excursion" from the old town of Lviv is the Lviv Museum of Folk Architecture and Culture located just 10 minutes east of the downtown by taxi. For us, the outdoor museum is a can't miss. Check out our video in our "Things to do" category.
Several tour companies offer 1 day tours of the region to some of the more popular castles. We have not yet had a chance to visit any of them yet, but its on our "bucket list" for sure.
Olesko, Zhovkva-Zolkkiew and Zolochiv are the more popular of the castle sites to visit.
Plan your days accordingly, some tours only run on specific days.