What are Some of the Interesting Places in Lviv that can be Visited for Free?
So, you are in Lviv now and want to spend a day on your own. No tour guides, just visit Lviv sites by yourself, and no paying of entry fees to see things. Also having a Lvivske beer as you go whenever you feel like it sounds like not a bad idea at all. Lviv museums and exhibitions do not cost much. Your would be looking at paying $2 at the most for an entry ticket to most of them. But hey, if they exist, why not go for the freebies first. Here is a short list of what can be done:
Vysoky Zamok, High Castle in English, is a man-made hill sitting on top of a natural hill right in the middle of Lviv. Free or paid, this would be my first choice of a tourist attraction in Lviv anyway. Luckily, it is free. Although if even a small entry fee was charged to help in the maintenance of the surrounding park, surely most people would not mind. The Hill would be our most challenging walk in Lviv for the day climbing some 300 meters above sea level. Let me not bore you with the history of the place. There is enough written about Vysoky Zamok in Lviv, and you can read more on our page. Here we will just say that the view of Lviv from the Hill beats any other viewing spot in the city, including the Town Hall tower, almost any rooftop in the Lviv downtown, or that super tall smokestack of the old district boiler facility… okay, you have an idea by now.
Stryisky Park in Lviv is the most romantic of all parks in the city, or let’s just say in the whole Eastern Europe. Because where else would you see weddings lined up for a wedding photo shoot with a swan lake in the background? Or so many dating couples holding hands on park benches that you might just as well give up on finding a free park bench to sit on and just keep walking. When you walk, take a note of a willow tree that carries the genes of that same well-known to all Ukrainian schoolchildren willow planted by the famous Ukrainian poet Shevchenko when he was dispatched to Kazakhstan thanks to the Russian tzar. Planted as a small twig off the original specimen, this willow is now a mature tree. Another remarkable tree in Lviv’s Stryisky Park is a tree that is half-willow and half-pear. This odd hybrid is a result of grafting a willow branch on a pear tree, and it looks like an ordinary tree with a very extraordinary story. There is also a natural spring that is one of a few springs left in Lviv after centuries of paving and building over a beautiful beech forest criss-crossed by gullies with softly murmuring streams flowing down below. Take a look at a bas-relief of an interesting character on the spring fountain fighting a dragon while keeping an eye on the spring. Regardless, we do not recommend drinking its water raw although many people come to fill their bottles. And yes, let’s not forget the swan lake at the bottom of the park. If you are like Holden from Salinger’s novel wondering where the ducks, or swans for that matter, go in winter when the lake freezes over, we can’t answer that question. For all we know, they used to winter in the greenhouse above the lake before its closure.
Lviv Old Town. It would not be an overstatement to say that the entire downtown core of Lviv is one big tourist attraction. Anywhere you go in Lviv, churches, old buildings, cobble stone streets, statues and unexpected vistas pop up as if in some sophisticated prize winning alternative art movie. Things you will stumble into in Lviv will include the Dominican Church that transforms into a concert hall on Fridays, the Armenian Church with its vivid faces of saints on unique art nouveau frescoes, the Jesuit Church, and so many other temples. Also note the mythical gods standing over the fountains on the Lviv’s Market Square. Your imagination and some pre-war photos will be needed when you visit empty lots of Lviv’s synagogues destroyed in the Second World War where today only some souvenir sellers and imitation restaurants try to cash in on the old glory. The full list of attractions of Lviv’s Old Town could be endless. To complete our miniature account without boring you more, let me just mention the beautifully sculptured exterior of Lviv’s Opera House though there is a fee to get in.
Pharmacy Museum in Lviv. The pharmacy itself is only a small part of the exhibition, that is the free part. If you decide that viewing the vials, petri dishes, old medicine containers and scales is your thing, then pay a small fee to see the rest of the exhibition that includes, among other things, a life-size stuffed crocodile and a spooky basement of a medieval building.
Art Gallery Dzyga. Conveniently located at the end of one of Lviv’s oldest streets at 35 Virmenska St, and flanked by the Dominican Church, the gallery itself is situated in the former church monastery. It’s thick walls and vaulted ceilings are steeped in the old history of Lviv. The free Gallery hosts exhibitions of contemporary art that are renewed every two to three weeks.