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By far the Ukrainian city with the most character, Lviv can come as a revelation after the country’s parade of Soviet concrete. Late arrival into the claws of the USSR meant its cozy historical center avoided Stalinist destruction and is still crammed with churches, cathedrals and grand buildings crafted by every epoch and bequeathed by a roll call of Central and Eastern European powers. The nooks and niches created by this wealth of architecture have proved fertile ground for a thriving cafe culture and Lviv remains the best spot in the former Soviet Union for a dose of aromatic Arabica accompanied by a slice of something ...

By far the Ukrainian city with the most character, Lviv can come as a revelation after the country’s parade of Soviet concrete. Late arrival into the claws of the USSR meant its cozy historical center avoided Stalinist destruction and is still crammed with churches, cathedrals and grand buildings crafted by every epoch and bequeathed by a roll call of Central and Eastern European powers. The nooks and niches created by this wealth of architecture have proved fertile ground for a thriving cafe culture and Lviv remains the best spot in the former Soviet Union for a dose of aromatic Arabica accompanied by a slice of something naughty.

Despite attracting ever greater numbers of (mainly Polish) tourists and acting as a host city for the 2012 European soccer championships, Lviv maintains its shabby chic allure with uneven cobbled streets, flaky facades and wobbly trams galore. Lviv also boasts some of Eastern Europe’s quirkiest and most imaginative restaurants, intimate boutique hotels (virtually unknown elsewhere in Ukraine) and a crowded calendar of cultural events and festivals that even the capital Kyiv cannot match.

Marc Di Duca
About the Expert

Marc Di Duca has written and updated more than 40 guides, mainly for Lonely Planet but also for AA, Thomas Cook, Berlitz and Bradt. Having spent the last 20 years exploring the former communist world, his main field of expertise is Eastern Europe and Siberia.

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Marc Di Duca for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late spring, early autumn.