If you are in Lviv for more than a couple of days, please make the effort to visit some of the castles around Lviv. There are agencies offering such tours as a 1-day trip from Lviv.
If you are staying in Lviv for more days, check out the places and things to do in Lviv.
So how are you going to visit the castles around Lviv, Ukraine?
If you are travelling with friends or family, it would make sense to rent a car for the day and do this road trip by yourself. I did it, and we had a blast.
What to do and visit around Lviv, Ukraine
Talking about the places to see in the city can take forever, and I even haven’t started on the restaurants and bars. Maybe this is a topic for another post.
Lviv has beautiful and history-rich surroundings and it would be a pity to not rent a car and go on a day road trip around Lviv!
Renting a car to explore the surroundings of Lviv, Ukraine
Regarding car renting, you have to pay attention to the company you’re using!
I used a local Ukrainian company and it was a disaster, as they had a condition I didn’t understand because they speak poorly English and the contract was in Ukrainian.
Well, the good part was that I saw some beautiful and undiscovered castles around Lviv.
The bad part was that I rented a car with a mileage condition. It was 100 km but I drove more than double. And what’s double, you pay by km.
Luckily, it wasn’t the end of the world, since it is Ukraine and the prices are small. But it was frustrating trying to explain it to the company. And the customer service is non-existent.
That was the moment I realized they don’t have our laws are rules and it was just a waste of time trying to explain.
The company I am talking about is rental.ua and I hope you will stay away from them. Their website is in English, but the disaster behind it will strike in Ukrainian and will cost you money.
I recommend renting from an international company, one that has international call-centres which you can call in case of need. Hopefully, you will not need to. When I was road-tripping in Jordan, I used Sixt and I was completely pleased with their service. I don’t know why I didn’t rent from them this time too.
Discover the Castles around Lviv, Ukraine
If you are curious about the history of these lands, you must know Lviv has been under many different occupations. This is visible in the city, but also in the countryside. The most influences come from the former Polish empire, and the castles were built and belonged for a long time to Polish leaders and important families. I am not a huge historian and I am really bad with dates, so please feel free to read more about these places.
This is my itinerary suggestion for a 1-day trip from Lviv: (1-5 are a must)
- Pototski Palace (located in Lviv, listed as things to see in Lviv)
- Brody Castle
- Oleskiy Castle
- Pidhirtsi Castle
- Zolochiv Castle (The Chinese Palace)
- Pomoriany Castly (ruin)
- Berezhany Castle (ruin)
- Svirzh Castle
- Stare Selo Castle
In the city of Brody, after walking through the local marketplace, you will find yourself on what seems to be the abandoned place of a former fortress.
There is no moat or drawbridge, and what remains of the pentagonal plan is a 2 story long building, surrounded by what used to be the dungeons. Besides the building, which was obviously reconstructed. It hoasted a military unit during the Soviet times, and today is a school. I was surprised to see children playing on the grounds of it, in the dungeons, among all that dirt and ruins.
The centre of it remains to be some sort of a park, with trees and a couple of alleys for kids to run about.
The Oleskiy castle is regarded as one of the most beautiful and valuable castles in Ukraine and possibly in Europe. This could be one of the oldest castles from the area, as the first written testimonies are from 1327.
As for all the other castles and settlements from the area, this castle wasn’t spared from all the wars and invasions of Poland and Lithuania empire, Tatar, and finally the Soviets. During the Soviet occupation, it was used as an agricultural school for women and then a military warehouse during the war.
Today, the castle is a museum and it hosts famous pieces of art. They have a medieval-themed restaurant on the ground floor and a nice souvenir shop.
Pidhirtsi Castle is 80 km away from Lviv. It was built between 1635 and 1640, at the wish of the Polish-Lithuanian military ruler.
Back then, these lands belonged to Poland. Pidhirtsi Castle is one of the most valuable palaces from the former Polish-Lithuanian empire.
It was built on the grounds of a fortress, using brick and stone, and overlooks a valley. Probably the location was strategically chosen. Till this day, the entrance reminds its visitors of a fortress, having a moat and a drawbridge, bastions and cannons.
At that time, the interior was luxurious, with over 200 paintings, and the floor was made of marble titles. It had several halls, a library and a chapel.
But this castle carries a long and sad story. After WWI, it was captured by the Russians, who used it as a headquarter, after rubbing all its precious items. Although the building itself, was spared from destruction, Russian soldiers destroyed its interior.
During the many wars going around it, it was damaged multiple times, and in 1956, the Pidhirtsi castle almost burned down.
Today, it is a museum. They have a small fee. The inside is mostly empty, with white walls, on which only some photographs remain, to remind its visitors of how it used to look like.
I remember reading on one of those photos that someone once called it one of the most beautiful castles, a Versailles of the East.
A beautiful place and such a sad story.
Zolochiv Castle (the Chinese palace)
The Zolochiv Castle was built between 1634-36 using the labour of enslaved Crimean Tatars. This is actually a fort, having towers at each corner and a medieval gate and drawbridge on which you have to step to get in.
The castle had many different owners: Polish, Turks, Austrian. It was used as a hospital, barracks and prison. In the building to the right is a chapel which commemorates the victims of the Soviet Union which were held here.
The Chinese Palace is the small rotunda at the end of the garden, which was recently opened for public. Photos are not allowed inside, but the exhibition is mostly made of Asian objects such as carpets, paintings, crockery and religious items.
Other ruin castles on the way: Pomoriany Castle XVI century, Berezhany Castle, Svirzh Castle, Stare Selo Castle. The other small cities around Lviv may surprise you with beautiful churches or just with their natural beauty.
I would love to go back and explore some more of this fascinating part of Ukraine. After you are done visiting the castles around Lviv, make your way back to the city and see what you’ve missed in Lviv.
Booking is my go-to travel resource to check prices, accommodations’ reviews, map for accommodations.
Airbnb is an alternative, which can be cheaper if you are travelling in a group and/or planning for a longer stay. Use this link to sign up, and you will receive €34 off of your first stay with Airbnb of €65 or more.
Flights and transport
Kiwi.com is one of my favourite flight search engines. I can check all kind of flight connections and prices.
Crystal Travel is one of the most successful online travel agency globally. I recommend Sixt car renting company for renting cars globally.
HiHiGuide helps you get the local experience by helping you meeting with a local to be your guide!