Since the weather in Lviv is often rainy, it makes walking along the old sidewalk quite a difficult task.
The sidewalks tend to be slippery and you do have to watch your step.
Thank God nothing happened to me, but I can imagine how unpleasant it can be, if you are too careless to slip and fall down.
- Arts and Culture
Always watch prices
Maybe it could look just my small problem, but I would like to suggest you ;) When I came to Lviv the prices looked smaller than in my hometown Vilnius, let say, beer in bars was almost twice cheaper. Anyway, even if you are thinking it is cheaper, always look for prices, look in meniu, as it could cost you also more than you expected. It happened for me with a beer, that had standard price already in Western Europe standard.
Exchanging money - Important!
1)Beware of exchanging money with individuals. In Lviv you can exchange money in special kiosks, no fear you will find them.
2) Never ever flash your cash while paying for you bills. Avarage salarys in Ukraina - ca. 50 dollars. Remember about that simple fact.
3) Don't even think of trying to pay in dollars or other currency than Hryvnia in the restaurant or pubs. You will have troubles, restaurant will have troubles. It's illegal !
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Automatic Drink Device Machine
If you really need to hurt yourself or catch a tuberculosis you should try a drink from special 'Automatic Drink Device Machine'.Double green automatic boxes with drinks for a coin. Just put a coin inside, wait a second and after while you can drink a special masacre-mixture right from the glass that is attached to a Automatic Drink Device Machine by....chain.
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Police at Lviv Railway station
Police at railway station abuse foreigners, asking for bribes. If they check your wallet, take great care of all your money. Do not respond to any request to support them so they can buy coffee etc. When it gets more serious and they threaten with arresting you until you miss your train or say your banknotes are forged
- if you still have mobile phone, simulate calling your embassy or really call your embassy
- insist on something like "I do not give bribes as a matter of principle". Maybe better - support it with some refference to God. Maybe even better - try to preach about immorality of bribes.
- respond with counter-thread. After interoggation, they need your confirmation the procedure was ok. (Signature in some book.) Demand for protocol. Say you'll insist their request of bribes would be described in the protocol. Carefuly examine their "milicia" cards.
Take it as a psychological game. From my experience it seems their threats are not so serious. I didnt give them anything, took great care of my money, and after half an hour they let me go.
Lviv is a city of darkness. There are no street lights or just lights are not lit. It is strange to walk at night in the city and it could be dangerous. There are lots of beautifil buildings that could be lit and look wonderful but they are not. The light problem is not only the problem of streets. Most of the buildings inside has no light or very small light. Seems to be very strange for me.:)
At 6am I'm too bleary eyed to figure out buses and trams and besides there's a herd of us getting taxis and we can share a ride. The 1st guy is following us around the train station, we have no Ukrainian currency and 2 of the 3 cash machines is coming up empty. We finally all have money and our guy says he can fit 5 people in the taxi and charge us 25hr. 5 circus performers maybe, but 4 people is just about all this taxi can hold so we smoosh in the back and as he's driving, the driver is punching in 50 on his little hand held calculator. Lots of screaming and yelling and gesturing and finally we give in, after all 50 divided by the 4 of us isn't much at all, it's 6am and I just want to get where I'm going. LoriPori got the deal of the day, she handed her driver 30hr and said that's it. Another group really got snookered, their driver wanted 60hr but they thought it was 600hr, that's one expensive 3 km cab ride and one very happy cab driver who could probably take the rest of the day off!
The key is to know the right fare (25-30hr), have the exact change and make sure you confirm the fare BEFORE you get in along with your luggage.
TRAFFIC & SMELLY EXHAUST FUMES
I have to say that the biggest disappointment in Lviv, for me, is the horrendous traffic in the center area of Svobody Prospekt. My first impression was not that positive. I saw old Russian style buses and old cars spewing out smelly diesel exhaust fumes - not so healthy for its inhabitants. The noise and the traffic were disgusting. And certainly don't try to cross the streets anywhere but a pedestrian crosswalk. You will put your self in harm's way by the crazy drivers. Even with the pedestrian crosswalks, you have to be careful as it's not always a given that they will stop for you.
Although it claims to be a top hotel in Lviv, Hotel Eney has been a disapointment to me. I have booked it via www.hostelbookers.com. I have also been charged 10% of my total fee in advance. When I arrived there, the administrator (Igor) claimed that I had no reserved room and that they have no agreement with hostelbookers. In fact I am more than sure that he gave away my room because I arrived a bit later in the evening. He also was very rude and when I tried to talk to the people at hostelbookers he barely allowed me 1 min of internet access. Of course he wanted to charge that too. In the end however he forgot to take my money.
Because of this experince I do not recommend under any circumstances either Hotel Eney of Lviv or the website www.hostelbookers.com. A total disgrace of service in my opinion.
Lviv air is polluted. I assume most people who live in Lviv are somehow used to it, but the quility of air is much worse than what I'm used to. There is not much industry in the city so most of pollution must come from numerous cars running around the city. It is probably result of combination of bad quality of car, bad guality of oil and relative economic boom that significantly increases demand for transport. Even public transport options only add to the problem - marshrutkas ("minibuses" or vans) are of a bad quality and polluting while trams are infrequent. Since this problem is being ignored pollution will only grow.
There is another annoying influence of a poor car fleet - they pollute city look making it much less attractive than it would be without them. They are just everywhere.
Beware of cars! Pedestrian crossing is a place where you may cross the street only if there are no cars approachuing! First try to adapt to Lviv traffic rules - there are rules but they may not be what you expect them to be - cars will let you pass if you know when you may... In Vienna cars stop as you are approaching zebra crossing and if you are used to that be careful!!! On the other hand if you are from eastern Slovakia or Belgrade - act as at home! ;)
Beward of the Taxi Drivers
As with many cities in Europe, getting an hones taxi driver is an effort. They have large companies that charge a set price per mile and many private drivers who charge whatever they can get away with. We had arranged for one of the major taxi companies for a ride from the train station. He was friendly but when it came time to pay the price was much higher than what we were told later it should be. The return trip was a different. We again ordered a taxi from a major company but this time we knew the price to expect. This driver actually charger what we thought it should be. About ½ the price of the first drive.
Lviv at winter
If you visiting Lviv at winter, keep at mind there can be just a lot of snow and a lot of ice on streets - becouse of bad work of community services, they just dont clear it away even in center district! Just be carefull.
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Buy the train tickets in advance
During my stay in Lviv I had some problems to get a train ticket in the day of the departure and I found out it's almost impossible, so buying tickets to the more popular destinations you should book it on the phone or buy it in advance (at least one day before the departure). Otherwise you will have to stay in Lviv one day longer, what is not that bad alternative on the other hand ;)
You can make the reservation on the phone (390050, 390051), but you will pay for that service 8hr. You will have to collect the tickets few days after your reservation, if not the will vanish. Making the reservation is not possible 5 days before the departure.
Bad streets conditions
Like in many Ukrainian Cities the streets are in a poor state. Pot holes, cobble-stone pavements and tram tracks are every where. Especially when it’s wet the traffic affords some concentration. The signposting is extremely poor in Lviv!
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