Lviv Weekend Trip Ideas
BEST SUMMER WEEKENDS IDEAS AND ACTIVITIES!
The rich history and spectacular natural beauty of Western Ukraine makes it a hotspot for one-two day excursions. The variety of exciting locations around Lviv and Western Ukraine’s regions will help you to forget your daily troubles and will surely plunge you deep into the fantastic world of picturesque landscapes and adventurous activities.
1. Admire an architectural masterpiece - Svirzh Castle
One of the most romantic castles of Western Ukraine - Svirzh Castle, together with Olesko, Zolochiv and Pidhirtsi castles comprises of Lviv region’s sightseeing Golden Horseshoe” tourist route. A defensive fortress that was built on a mountain, connected to the outer world by a strong drawbridge. The Świrzski noble family originally built it in the 15th century and within the castle is a small church dating from 1546.
The stronghold was completely rebuilt in the 17th century at the request of its new owner, Count Aleksander Cetner. It is believed that General Paweł Grodzicki was responsible for the modernisation of the castle's fortifications. Though surrounded on all sides by moats, lakes, and marshes, the rebellious Cossacks took the fort on several occasions, and in 1648 the Turks set it on fire; however they were less successful during the raid on Lviv in1672.
The castle stood in ruins for many years and was restored in 1907, only to be devastated by fire in 1914. Rebuilding and restoration have occurred on several occasions since then.
The majestic and wonderful Svirzh Castle will delight visitors with its original interior, a marvellous façade and the coats of arms of the owners above the gates. Visitors plunge into inimitable beauty of picturesque landscapes of rocky crags, boundless flatlands, crystal lakes, marshes, mirror ponds and deep forests! One of the most famous Soviet movies, "Dartagnon & The Three Musketeers" was filmed in the inspiring surroundings of Svirzh castle. Definitely a must see!
2. Enjoy a natural wonder of Ukraine - Synevyr Lake
This place is highly popular among Ukrainian and foreign tourists, as Synevyr is the biggest mountain lake in Ukraine and is recognized as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Ukraine.
Located not far from the village of Synevyr Poliana, it is a part of the National Natural Preserve "Synevyr" which was established in 1989. Scientists estimate that the lake appeared 10 thousand years ago.
There is a very interesting legend about the origin of the lake’s name. The story is about two young lovers, a blue-eyed girl named Syn, the only daughter of a local count, and a handsome shepherd Vyr. The evil count ordered to kill Vyr - and sorrowful Syn cried so long and desperately that her tears became a lake. The crystal clear waters of the lake look like the colour of Syn’s eyes, while the island in the middle of it – is said to have been the place where Vyr died. People combined their names - Syn and Vyr - and thus named the lake. Near the lake stand the wooden figures of Syn and Vyr, created by Ukrainian sculptors Ivan Brodin and Mykhailo Sanych in 1984.
The popular Forestry and Timber Floating Museum is located near the entrance gate of the National Park, it offers a permanent exhibition for visitors.
Swimming, camping, and fishing at the lake are prohibited. All the services that the park offers cost around 15 UAH. There is a scenic path around the lake and along the path, park guests will find a few gazebos and a "rest house". There is also a horse-back riding service that takes visitors on a trail ride around the lake.
3. Explore the Carpathians - Climb Hoverla
Hoverla Mountain at 2,061 metres (6,762 ft.) is the highest peak in Ukraine and part of the Carpathian Mountains. The mountain is located in the Eastern Beskides, in the Chornohora region. The slopes are covered with beech and spruce forests, above which there is a belt of sub-alpine meadows called polonyna. On the eastern slope there is the main spring of the Prut River. The mountain’s name is of old Hungarian origin and means “Snow Mountain”.
The date of the first ascent is unknown however in late 19th century the mountain became a notable tourist attraction, especially among tourists from nearby cities of Galicia. In 1880, Leopold Wajgel of the Galician Tatra Society marked the first tourist route between the peak of Hoverla and Krasny Luh. The following year the first tourist shelter was built.
In the 20th century the mountain has been increasingly gaining popularity as an extreme sports site. Some routes are classified as 1A in the winter period (from late autumn to late spring). Nowadays tons of extreme sports-lovers are attempting to climb Hoverla in the summer following the trail from Zaroslyak cottage and going through spruce forests that open up at 1400 m to reveal beautiful meadows. Grazing here is forbidden, so the grasses and wildflowers grow tall. There is a small spring at the beginning of the meadows where you can fill up your water bottle. The treeline is around 1600 m, but dwarf junipers grow as high as 1800 m. The vegetation on the west side of the mountain is noticeably different, with more exposure to warmer air masses from the southwest.
The peak of Hoverla on the rare sunny days, offers excellent panoramic views (as it’s known as the place with the worst weather in all of Ukraine)! Nonetheless, every August 24th thousands of Ukrainians climb the mountain to celebrate Ukraine's Independence Day.
4. Experience the spirituality of the Krekhiv Monastery
Krekhiv is a village (located 10 km west of Zhovkva and 50 km north of Lviv), famous for its Basilian monastery, which is a popular pilgrimage site.
The monastery was established in the 16th century by two monks from the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, Joel and Silvester, who settled in nearby caves. Around 1612 or 1618 the owner of Zhovkva, Stanisław Żółkiewski offered the monks land to build their monastery, later surrounded with fortifications during the second half of the 17th century to defend it from roaming Tatar hordes. In the 18th century the monastery’s prosperity rose and wooden buildings were replaced with stone ones which still stand today. At the beginning of the 19th century it suffered from the policies of Austrian Emperor Joseph, however by the end of the century it was one of the main centres of the rebirth of Ukrainian monasticism. The hardest time for Krekhiv was the advent of Soviet occupation in 1939. By 1949, the monastery was closed and many of the monks were martyred in Soviet prisons while others had to live undercover. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the monastery was reopened on August 29th 1990 and the complex has undergone a thorough renovation.
The monastery is known for its miracle working icons of the Mother of God and of St. Nicholas. The largest annual pilgrimage to Krekhiv is held on the Feast of the Translation of St. Nicholas on May 22nd (May 9th according to the Julian calendar).
5. See a glorious past - take part in Tu Stan! Medieval Festival
The Tustan city-fortress dates back to the IX century when a wooden structure was built into ancient rock formations to protect the borders of Kyiv Rus’ from wild hordes. The fortress also served as a customs point along the Silk Road between China and Portugal, which provided protection and lodging to merchants. When merchants approached the fortress its guards would call out “Tu stan’!” (“Stay there”) and direct them to where they had to pay duties on their goods; hence the name of the fortress. Later, Tustan Fortress played an important role in the salt trade between Drohobych in the Carpathians to places further west. In the late 16th century Tustan’s important role diminished when Carpathian salt was nearly exhausted and large salt deposits were discovered in the west.
Today Tustan is a Ukrainian state-owned historical-cultural preserve, which was established due to the pioneering work of archaeologist Myhailo Rozhko. As a grad student in the 1970’s, Rozhko and a team of volunteers performed research that allowed them to reconstruct the original appearance of the fortress’ walls and buildings.
Each year (this year from August 2-4, 2013) the fortress hosts the popular Tu Stan! Medieval Festival, which features medieval music, historical re-enactments and games. For the first festival in 2006, organizers expected about 1,000 people to attend, instead nearly 10,000 people showed up and since then the festival has only grown in popularity.
6. Take a Ride on the Carpathian Tram
Winding its way along the Carpathian foothills, the Carpathian Tram offers a unique way to explore this picturesque region of Ukraine. The locomotive carriage has twelve seats for passengers who are interested in watching the activities of the driver as he guides the train along the narrow-gauge track, while additional coaches, either closed or open, cater for different preferences of tourists enjoying the excursion. The Carpathian Tram was opened in 1860 as a means for transporting timber between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Ukraine's Boykivshchyna region. Eventually the train was no longer needed for this purpose and for a time the railway line was neglected, until most of the original railway was renovated and reopened as a tourist attraction.Currently the Regional Tourist Information Center (RTIC) runs the Carpathian Tram as well as supporting the development and marketing of tourism activities in the Carpathian region, with the emphasis on the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine. As a non-profit organization, the RTIC has initiated and participated in a number of projects relating to tourism, including the creation of the Regional Tourist Information Center located in Ivano-Frankivsk in 2003. Other projects include the Regional Tourist Initiative between Poland, America and Ukraine in 2004-2005; the development of sustainable rural tourism through the assistance of local leaders in 2005-2007; the creation of a comprehensive system for the development of the tourism industry in the Ivano-Frankivsk region in 2006; the preservation of the forests, national parks and reserves in 2007; and the development of accessible tourism for people of special needs.
The Carpathian Tram departs from Vygoda Village in the Dolyna District, and follows a route alongside the sparkling River Mizunky and through the Shyrkovets nature reserve. Passengers will have the opportunity to pick berries, drink the therapeutic mineral waters of the region and swim in the crystal clear waterfalls. Historical landmarks along the route include the ancient Goshiv Monastery on Jasna Hill and a quaint church in the village of Patsykiv. The salt deposits of Solotvyno are another feature of the tour, along with the Boykivshchyna Museum, offering insight into the region. The full journey on the Carpathian Tram takes up to eight hours and travels through Magura, Sobol, Myndunok, Solotvyno, Dubovy Kut, Novy Mizun, Stary Mizun, Shykovets, and Vygoda, but passengers can choose the section of the route they would like to explore.
7. The Rocks of Dovbush
The Rocks of Dovbush are a fascinating combination of natural wonders and man-made creations located in Ukraine's Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. This intriguing formation of rocks is included in the Polyantytskiy Regional Nature Park and named in honor of the legendary folk hero Oleksa Dovbush.
Dovbush's Rocks are said have been formed some 70 million years ago, when they were still hidden by the sea. The formations are made up of oddly shaped stones, massive caves, shadowy gorges, impressive fortifications, yawning pits, winding labyrinths and mysterious pathways carved from the sandstone. Amongst the 50m high structures are unique wooden cave buildings, pointing to historical habitation. Archaeological discoveries have revealed an observatory dating back to the 10-17th centuries B.C.E. It is believed that this fortress served as a frontier post for Yaroslav Osmomysl during his clash with the Grand Prince of Kiev.
Closely related to the Rocks of Dovbush are the stories of Oleksa Dovbush, leader of the Opryshky, a group of peasant rebels who opposed feudalism and the Poles in Ukraine. Dovbush was born in Pechenzihyn, a Hutsul village in the Carpathians, in 1700. In time, he came to lead a group of outlaws, and has been likened to Robin Hood, assisting the poor by robbing the wealthy. He is believed to have lived amongst the rocky formations now called the Rocks of Dovbush. Oleksa Dovbush soon became a legend, with tales of his activities spreading to various regions of Western Ukraine. Feared by the Polish nobility, not even a total of 2 000 soldiers sent to capture him could bring an end to his reign. In fact, it was on a more personal note that he met his finish, when he was betrayed by someone in his organization in 1745. One story claims he was shot by his lover's husband. Another story claims that this vengeful girlfriend betrayed him to his enemies.
Whatever the cause of his death, Dovbush was succeeded by companions who continued his legacy. He is now an important figure in local folklore, with several places named in his honor and featured in various literary and artistic works.
Travellers can explore the historical haunt of Dovbush by visiting the Rocks of Dovbush. The rocks are also popular with rock climbers, with over one hundred routes available that range from 5.7 to 5.13. The breath-taking complex can be reached from Bubnishche by horseback, a traditional carriage or on foot.
Yaremche is one of the most popular climate resorts of Ukraine. Yaremche sometimes is called the pearl of Carpathians. The magnificent landscapes, healthful sources, remarkable sights of architecture, ancient and interesting history of the region, original culture and language of sincere hutsuls, promoted Yaremche to be known as tourist centre in Prikarpattia. The simple European city with its own customs and traditions attracts thousand domestic and foreign tourists. The most magic places are a waterfall "Hasp" and unique cliffs on a right bank of the river Prut. Territory of Yaremche local government is one of the major recreation districts of Carpathians mountains and Ukraine on the whole. City Yaremche with subregions Dora, Yamna is located on the height of 500-535 m. above a sea level offering spectacular summer getaway experience.
Just some 30 km from Yaremche is located lavish 5 stars hotel Radisson Blu Resort Bukovel (www.radissonblu.com/resort-bukovel) offering 252 guest rooms and suites with stunning views of the Carpathian Mountains. Restaurants and bars provide exquisite, stylish places for guests to relax and mingle with friends while the spa and wellness complex dazzles with high-tech facilities and excellent treatments. Don’t miss opportunity to purchase Active Summer Package offering guests of Radisson Blu Resort possibility to experience Carpathian Mountains on foot or by bicycle. Enjoy Your comfortable stay in this gorgeous resort combined with leisure sports to fit any recreational lifestyle.