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Lviv Tourist Guide Part 1 Lviv Transport Or How You Got Here?!
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This is the first part in the series of articles dedicated to Lviv tourism. In this guide, as a native Lviv citizen, describe particularities of Lviv tourism and give useful advises to readers. Foreigners are especially advised to read this guide as information is particularly interesting for them. The first part is about Lviv transportation and how to get to the city of Lviv.

First of all I would like to say that this is the first in the series of articles about Lviv tourism and I would like to share few words about the overall idea of this guide. I’m convinced that travel guides should be written by the local people only. Probably it is almost impossible to write honest and true travel guide if you have been in particular city for two or three days…ok, even for a week or month, still you will fail to tell half what locals can tell. Traveling is my passion and I have been to many places and visited many cities not only in Ukraine but all over Europe. When it comes to traveling, my favorite saying is that one should not mess vacation and immigration, meaning that what you see while two-hour excursion is not actually the true life and how it really is. I was born in Lviv and I live here for almost 25 years, so this Lviv guide will be from 100% local person, strict and honest. Though I just love my native city, in my articles I’ll be telling only truth and facts keeping in mind that these facts will help many tourists coming to Lviv and some day somebody will say something like ‘his articles were true, it is exactly like in his stories’. But enough with those fancy dreams, let’s already start.

I’ll not tell much about Lviv history or architecture as probably you already know much of it, but just to mention that Lviv is often called ‘capital of Western Ukraine’ or the most European city of Ukraine. It is really old and beautiful city, with fascinating past, awesome today and unpredictably promising future. Lviv is a real mix of cultures and nations, styles and ideas, music and art, love and hate, unspeakable city with own spirit and soul, that one can feel only when walking on the streets of the old city during the rain, or after beautiful evening in jazz coffee house, or sitting in front of city hall, listening to street musicians, or while breathing humid Lviv air… So how, do you exactly get to this magnificent and beautiful city?!

Transport. This part of Lviv tour guide is about how to get to city of Lviv and move inside the city. Some may say that there is no need in such article as transport is everywhere the same and it is not even worth mentioning about it. My reply to it is – Ok, than stop reading and come to Lviv. When you come back – write your comment describing your journey and money spent, - we all want to laugh. So, there are several ways to get into the city – plane, train, bus, car or bike – it depends what you prefer and place your will be starting your journey from.

Tips: try to avoid traveling with your private transport. Truth is that Ukrainian police will definitely stop you, if spot foreign car and will force you to pay some fine with not much explanations of the reason. Furthermore, you’ll not be able to communicate with them properly, as they hardly speak English, German, French, Ukrainian or other human languages.

Those traveling with trailers should also carefully read this. Another bad thing for trailer-travelers is that there is only one spot where you can park your trailer overnight, near Lviv hippodrome, which is pretty far from the city, if you would check Google maps. I know what you think right now, but hey! – I told you that I’ll be strict and tell truth, we neither love those cops. Still, this is the problem foreigners should definitely be aware of.

Train is a good choice, however depending on your departure point. If there is direct connection between Lviv and your city - that is just great, as you omit many issues, however, I’m not sure if many cities and European countries have such option. So if you are going to use transfer train, you should be aware of Ukrainian trains as there are many pickpockets there and other thieves and the crew will not be capable to understand you as their language skills are similar to those of Ukrainian policemen.

Plane is one of the best options. However, current Lviv airport (a building from the Soviet times) is similar to post office or soviet city hall but not the airport. Most of the airport service team does understand English, so communication will be more successful. However, for the moment of creation of this article a brand new airport was being built – a real European airport where huge planes and transatlantic liners will be able to land. So probably when you will be ready for take-off, you’ll fly to the new airport, which is hopefully will be just great.

Next point is inter-city transportation. Don’t know exactly what you are thinking at the moment, when I started this paragraph, but don’t be in a hurry with your concussions.

First – public transport. We all care about our planet and prefer public transport to preserve the green world for our kids. Public transport is good, except that there is absolutely no maps of routes, stops are not announced or signed and it will not always stop at the bus stop if there are not people waiting. So if you are not familiar with the schemes of public transport routs and the city – you should be extremely careful choosing this type of transport. It is a little bit different with trolleys and trams, but they are often overcrowded and tram/trolley tickets could be purchased only on tram/trolley stops in small “kiosks” that is not always possible.

Taxi - transport type that foreign people should be extremely aware of. If you want to have pleasant journey, you should follow several simple rules – honest taxi driver will not catch you in the street/train station/airport and offer you his service; always pick taxi with check-printing device – such taxis have fixed price per km and will not double or triple a price for the ride hearing your perfect British English; choose taxi driver that has good-looking car – it is for your own safety.

Bicycles. I decided to separate this type of transport as many foreign tourists like to travel by bicycle between cities and inside of the city. This is good, makes you healthy and saves environment, but can be harmful in Lviv. Currently the main problem is that there are no special bicycle roads and people are forced to ride their bicycles just along with automobiles or pedestrians. Furthermore, currently, Lviv drivers do not pay much attention to bicyclists and do not consider their advantage on the road. I do hope that the situation with bicycles and roads will change, but for now…

Renting a car is not quite good option, as there are only few renting companies, which allows them to keep prices pretty high even for a foreigner. What’s more, it is rather hard to navigate through old and narrow Lviv streets – big part of the city was set up more than 150 years ago, when there were no automobiles then! Of course, of course, your brand new GPS navigator is a godsend in London or Frankfurt, but manufacturers of those devices sometimes forget to Include Ukraine and Russia maps into the database, so check it carefully. You might think of purchasing a GPS in Lviv, which I, personally, consider a good idea and what’s more, it’ll help you navigate through the city.

So, what is actually left then? My advice is – the best thing is if you have some friends here in Lviv – they will help you a lot, dealing with transport, communication, accommodation and so on. No Ukrainian friends? – Go and find one, don’t you know what Facebook is?! There also is an option of hiring a person, a local, that will guide foreigners throughout their journey, or an English-speaking driver, that will deal with the issue of transportation and be a guide and a real helping hand.

This is mainly it about transportation issue in Lviv. I do promise, that if something new will appear, I’ll add it here for sure. Hope you enjoyed my article and found something interesting for you. This is only the first part, if you are interested in other issues of Lviv visit – please, do read my next articles.


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