If you have read my article, “A Condensed History of Lviv“, then you know that this city is full of historical sights, starting from Ratusha (an old government building) to Potocki Palace (a palace that is located in the center of Lviv). But not just the Lviv city center is full of places to visit; Nearby there are villages that have some of the best preserved and interesting historical sites in Ukraine – castles, although they have been somewhat transformed into palaces. These three castles of Lviv are something to see if you want to venture outside the general tourist stuff of themed restaurants and unique museums.
Near Lviv (only 1 hour by car) there are three amazing architectural monuments – castles of Lviv. They are placed on the map as if in a semicircle, which is why Lvivians call them “Golden Horseshoe”. The main objects on this route are Olesko Castle, Pidhirtsi Castle and Zlochev Castle.
If you have come to Lviv for more than three days, then I advise you to take this opportunity and visit these castles. There are different ways to get to the castles. You can take a taxi, which is convenient, but will be expensive with all the waiting and going outside Lviv. Another way is by taking the public buses, but it can be a little tricky and time-consuming. Or, the best way is to get to any excursion office in the center of Lviv and book a tour of the “Golden horseshoe” for 350UAH ($ 14) a person. At the appointed time and in the designated place you will get on a comfortable bus and taken to all three locations.
Unfortunately, they do not have English guides, but they will give you all the information printed on paper (ask about it in the office) and the guide knows enough English to explain to you what is going on. And if you know Ukrainian or even Polish (usually Ukrainians and Poles can understand each other), then you can enjoy a full-fledged excursion.
The excursion will take around 8 hours, so be sure to prepare some snacks and water, although there are vendors next to each castle. After the visit to the last castle (Zolochiv Castle) you will have a free time to get a late lunch at the restaurant by the castle. The food is alright and the prices are reasonable.
From Lviv to Olesko Castle – 1 hour.
Form Olesko Castle to Pidhirtsi – 30 minutes.
From Pidhirtsi to Zlochiv castle – 20 minutes.
From Zlochiv back to Lviv – 1 hour 20 minutes (with traffic).