Explore Lviv by public transport
Lviv's public transport system consists of trams, trolley buses and buses. During our visits of Lviv, we mostly used the trams as they cover most of the city.
The tram tracks and the vehicles themselves are in a really bad condition, but honestly speaking this adds up to the special charm of Lviv.
Tickets cost 0,75 UAH (2008) and can directly be bought from a conductor who is usually on the vehicle. If for any reason there isn't a conductor then you can also buy the ticket from the driver.
If the vehicle is crowded then just hand the money to the person next to you and so on. After a certain time a ticket will come back on the same way.
Nowadays tickets have to be validated in one of the provided stamp machines. On each vehicle a new ticket has to be bought.
- Budget Travel
To Lviv by train
I came to Lviv by train from Krakow with a group of other VTers, and it was quite an adventure – an adventure that some of us enjoyed more than others! I have to say that I fell into the first group. I have always loved travelling by train. There is a definite romance to it, and however scruffy the train and slow the journey, something in me responds to that – maybe my inner Michael Palin coming out!
Whatever the reason, I really enjoyed this journey, but I don’t want to ignore the drawbacks. The main one of these is time – you need a lot of it! We left Krakow at about 1.20 pm (should have been 1.01 pm) and didn’t arrive in Lviv until midnight. As the Ukraine is one hour ahead of Poland that’s a journey time of nine and a half hours. The return trip was similar, leaving Lviv at about 7.20 am and arriving in Krakow at 3.30 pm = just over 9 hours. These are quite elderly trains and consequently move slowly, but the main causes of the long journey times are the border formalities (especially clearing Ukrainian immigration) and the need to change the whole undercarriage (the bogey) to accommodate the different gauges used in Poland and Ukraine. This is a major operation. A few carriages at a time are shunted into a siding where huge jacks raise them to a height which allows the engineers to get underneath, detach and slide out one set of wheels, and slide in and make secure the others. You can stay on the train throughout (indeed the doors are locked I think) and watch from the windows, which is entertaining for a while, but unless you’re a real train enthusiast you may find the novelty has worn off long before the operation is complete.
All of the above also means lots of interruptions to your journey, which are welcome mini-events when travelling by day but (I gather from those who travelled overnight) a major irritation if trying to sleep. Talking of sleep, travel by day and night is in compartments which can be converted from seating to bunks, so having a lie down is possible at any time. We travelled in a second class compartment, which meant three people sharing, and managed to arrange things so we shared only with VTers. However the corridor was a great meeting place for everyone from the carriage, and on the outward journey we had fun chatting (as far as language limitations would allow) to some of our neighbours – a mining engineer returning from a conference to his home near Kiev, and a young Russian guy who had just said goodbye to his new Polish wife as they had to wait several months for her to get permission to come to live in Russia with him.
We also found the carriage attendants to be friendly and helpful (photo 3). They will brew up a coffee or tea (the first cup is free), sell small snacks such as chocolate bars or peanuts (and dish out free, and tasty, croissants as “souvenirs”) and help you on and off the train with your bags. A bottle of water was also provided for each passenger, but you may want to supplement the on-board catering with your own supplies – a bottle of wine will help the journey go faster for sure!
Finally, there are toilets at each end of the corridor, but some less salubrious than others, although the smelliest one was cleaned by the attendant part way through the journey. Smoking isn’t allowed in the carriage but is possible in the spaces between.
Lviv’s grand (if rather rundown) station (photos 4 and 5) lies some distance to the west of the town centre so you will probably want to take a taxi to and from it. If you do, make sure you confirm the price before you set off. Arriving late and tired from Krakow we made the silly mistake of not doing so, and nor had we quite familiarised ourselves with the exchange rates, so we were well and truly ripped off. On our return we had booked several taxis for the group and agreed on 25 UAH for the trip, which is reasonable.
I understand from Matt that it isn’t possible to book tickets in advance from outside the country – and from his accounts it’s also pretty difficult to book them from within!
A network of trams serves Lviv’s city centre but you are unlikely to use them a lot as most of the sights are within easy walking distance of each other. There are a few places however on the outskirts of town for which a tram or taxi will be needed. We took a tram to visit the Lychakiv Cemetery and found the system to be much as it is in many other European countries. You need to buy your ticket in advance from one of the many small newsstands to be found on the main streets. A single trip cost just one Hryvnia in June 2010 (about 0.10€) – buy two tickets if you know you’ll be making a return journey to save looking for a kiosk again at your destination. When you board the tram be sure to validate your ticket at one of the machines mounted high on the side wall (photo 2). I found that the machine tended to mangle the thin paper rather than punch it, but at least it was visibly stamped had any inspector wanted to see it.
The best tram for the cemetery is number 7, but number 4, which we took, also gets you close. Many of them pass through the main square and as there’s a tourist information office there I would suggest you check there if you need to find out about other routes, or see “Lviv in your pocket” for information on trams to specific sights.
Buying a train ticket in the Ukraine
Travelling by train in the Ukraine is very cheap, but due to this, trains are often fully booked. This means you should buy your tickets well in advance, especially in the summer season.
Many long distance trains go overnight and usually have 3 types of classes:
- 2-berth compartment (Spalny, 1st class)
- 4-berth compartment (Kupe, 2nd class)
- open-plan compartment (Platskartny, 3rd class)
Probably the best and cheapest option is to buy your tickets in the train booking office at Hnatyuka Street 20, which is one of the side streets heading west from Svobody Prospekt.
Of course you also get train tickets at some travel agencies and the train station, but here you might be charged an extra booking fee.
Among others I have bought the following tickets in the Ukraine:
Lviv -> Kiev: 81,45 UAH (06.2007)
Ternopil -> Lviv: 24,14 UAH (05.2008)
Lviv -> Budapest (H); 283,08 UAH (05.2008).
Just as an example, the train Lviv to Kiev was an overnight train (#82) leaving Lviv at 23:20 h and arriving in Kiev at 9:58 h the next morning. We stayed in a 4-berth compartment (Kupe, 2nd class).
- Budget Travel
To Lviv by train
On our trips to Lviv in 2007 and 2008 we arrived and left the city by train. Lviv is a major railway hub and you can get to almost everywhere in the Ukraine as well as to many big cities in other European countries.
Among them are Vienna (A), Budapest (H), Kosice (SK), Warsaw (PL), Moscow (RUS) and many more.
Travelling by train within the Ukraine is still very cheap, but also very slow. Most important it is always interesting and exciting, especially when arriving from a western European country because then the bogeys of the carriages have to be changed at the border.
Please also read my "Buying a train ticket in the Ukraine" tip for more info on this subject.
Lviv's main train station can be found approximately 2 km east of the city centre at Dvirtseva Square 1. Trams no. 1, 6 and 9 serve the route to the train station.
- Budget Travel
From Przemysl (PL) to Lviv by marshrutka or bus
At the beginning of June 2010 we decided very spontaneously to join the post VT meeting in Lviv, after we had attended the fabulous VT Euromeet in Krakow.
Now the question was only how to get there. The evening before the meeting we stayed one night in Przemysl (PL), where we had already stayed on this trip before. We knew about a Ukrainian bus which should leave at 9:00 a.m. from Przemysl to Lviv. Only this bus didn't arrive from Ukraine this morning.
We had heard about another option on how to get to Lviv from Przemysl: We took a marshrutka (minibus) to the Polish border town Medyka from where we crossed the border on foot to the Ukrainian border town Shehyni.
From Shehyni we took another marshrutka to Lviv. All this cost less than 2,50 Euro, took only about 3,5 hours and was a travel experience not to miss.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
By Tram Around Lviv
We took streetcar # 2 and #7 when it was necessary.
All in all there are nine streetcar routes in Lviv.
Here's a map of the routes (in Ukrainian):
The entire length of streetcar routes of Lviv is 67 kilometers.
There are three types of streetcars.
The fare is 1 UAH (as of May 2010).
You can buy tickets at a kiosk in the street or from the streetcar driver, if you enter the first door. Don't forget to validate your ticket at once. If you do not validate your ticket before the next stop, you can be fined. The fine is 20 UAH.
May 31, 1894 is the birthday of Lviv streetcars.
As of today, there are seventy-eight bus routes, nine tram routes and ten trolley-bus routes in Lviv. Now the program of reorganization of the city transport is under way. Next time I arrive to Lviv, I will see fewer buses in the city center and a more effective transport system.
- Arts and Culture
Explore Lviv by marshrutka (minibus)
Apart from the public transport, Lviv also has an extensive network of privately run marshrutki (minibuses).
They usually follow fixed routes around the city, the suburbs or even to neighbouring towns.
You can hail them somewhere on the street, as they don't have defined stops.
The route and the flat fare are displayed on the windscreen. Depending on the route the fare might be something between 1,5 UAH and 3 UAH. When boarding a minibus you should pay the fare to the driver.
If you want to get off, just inform the driver and he will stop for you.
- Budget Travel
Getting from Railaway Station to the Center
the cheepest way to get from the Railaway Station to the city center is by the tram.
there are several options:
tram #6 will take you to the Opera House (4th stops)
tram #1 will take you through the historical center: Doroshenka St, Ploscha Rynok (Market Square), Ruska, Pidvalna (4th-7th stops)
the same will do the tram # 9 but in a reverse order and a bit longer Pidvalna, Ruska, Ploscha Rynok, Doroshenka (8th-12th stops).
the price of tram ticket used to be 50 kop. ($0.10)
- Budget Travel
From Lviv to Kyiv by Train
One of the best ways to get to Lviv from Kyiv if you don't want to spend too much money for the plane is by the overnight trains.
The train #92 from Lviv to Kyiv leaves at 22:47 and arrives in Kyiv at 7:23 am; train #98 leaves Lviv at 19:35 and arrives in Kyiv at 6:10. the price for one way kupe ticket (sleeping compartment with 4 beds) is around 100 Hr ($20).
if you decide to travel by train take into account that a lot of people comute to and from Lviv on the weekends and for holidays (Christmas, Easter). so make your reservations in advance.
There is a money changing facility in the very back corner inside the station. The ATM is inside the waiting hall for which you have to pay.
To Hotel George take tram no. 1 to Doroshenka and
to Hotel Lviv tram no. 6
For tickets we used the Central booking office downtown on Hnatyuka 20.
By Train to/from Lviv
Lviv is connected with several European cities by rail:
The railway station building is protected by law as an architectural monument called the Railway Palace.
There is a good waiting room with a bar inside the railway station.
The cab fare to the railway station from downtown may vary from 25 to 40 UAH depending on the time of the day.
New Krakow-Lviv Train
- Arts and Culture
Night train from Krakow
As Matcrazy1 arranged for our train tickets, I can tell you nothing of how to buy them but I can share the experience of a night train for those considering this as a viable option. First off, dispel any notion of getting a full night's rest. Although we only crossed one border, somehow 3 different sets of people needed to check our passports in addition to the one who checked it upon entering the train, the 1st one perhaps just to provide some employment, the 2nd set Polish at 2:30am, the 3rd set Ukrainian at 3:30am, seems to me that they could do it together but perhaps relations are a bit chilly. And then there were those crazy drunk guys down the hall and I'm pretty sure I heard some snoring. Finally someone comes through about 1/2 hour before arriving and wakes you up for the final time and you arrive in Lviv grumpy, frumpy and unprepared for the gantlet of taxi drivers who pounce on you.
The sleeper cars are set up three beds to a compartment, you can purchase a whole compartment for 1 or 2 people if you don't desire company. The top bunk is reached by a ladder
Lviv International Airport
There are flights to twelve different destination abroad from the airport.
Eleven airlines provide the flights.
Also, there are four flights to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, and one flight to Simferopol, the capital of Crimea.
Lviv International Airport for Euro-2012
On November 9, 2011 Lviv airport was named after King Daniel.
So Lviv has King Daniel Aiport now.
- Arts and Culture
Marshrutki Lviv – Olesko and Lviv – Zhovkva
It is possible to make day trips to Zhovkva and Olesko. The service is provided by looking very old marsrutkas (such mini - buses). It is one of "back to Soviet Union" moments for me, as I still remember older trolleybuses of such style.
A mini bus to Zhovkva could be cached in Kulish street a few blocks behind Lviv Theater in Svobody avenue. I can't remember the number, but it is always written that it goes to Zhovkva. Trip takes about 30 minutes and costs really not so much, around 5 grivens.
Mini bus to Olesko is running from Bus Station nr. 2, that is on Khmelnytsky str. 225, so if you live in center, you also need to use public transportation for about 15 - 20 min to get to that adress. Journey took a bit more than 1 hour and cost 10 grivens.
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