Lviv, located in Western Ukraine, is the up-and-coming destination for digital nomads. This historical, lively and compact city has very low costs of living, a great offer of cultural events, thriving IT sector and growing infrastructure for remote workers.
Lviv, which has a population of almost 800 000 people, is often called “little Paris of Ukraine”. That charming city full of cobblestone streets is known for its historical architecture included in UNESCO list. It also offers many unique cafes and restaurants with tasty food and drinks. Digital nomads can enjoy low costs of living, high-speed internet and a growing number of co-working spaces and events dedicated to freelancers coming here from all over the world.
When to go?
Lviv has a moderately continental climate, which means summers are warm and winters can be pretty freezing. It is an all-year-long destination for those, who don’t prefer too hot temperatures. During the summer you are most likely to experience average temperatures between 20°C and 25°C. Keep in mind that summers can be humid. In the coldest month, January, the average temperature is around -3°C.
Where to stay?
Most of the digital nomads prefer to stay in Halytskyi district, which includes Old Town and close-by areas. It is pretty small, so it is perfect for those who like to walk rather than use taxis or public transport. Living in or around Old Town has many advantages: a great number of cafes and restaurants just around the corner (many of them work 24/7), almost all of historical spots are located here and the cultural and social life is concentrated in the center. Downsides include a big number of tourists during the season and sometimes not the best living conditions in older flats, which were not renovated for a long time.
If you prefer to stay close to the city center, but you want to avoid tourists, you should choose Frankivskyi district. It has good infrastructure: numerous shops, parks, bus stops. There are older buildings, including picturesque villas, concentrated in quiet neighborhoods, Soviet-style blocks as well as modern apartments.
Accommodation in Lviv for digital nomads
Digital nomads who want to move to Lviv for short or long term can stay in one of many hostels, Airbnb apartments or can rent a flat or room.
The is an immense number of hostels in the city, and they can be as cheap as 5 euros per night in a shared dorm. On Tripadvisor Post House Hostel is ranked number one. It is located in the center and is praised for its cleanliness. The hostel has different room styles to choose from and common space suitable for working. Comfy Dream hostel has private rooms as well as mixed dorm rooms and is known for its own café and bar. Cossacks Hostel, located in the very heart of the city, will be a great choice for those, who like to learn about local cultures. It is dedicated to the Ukrainian Cossacks history and tradition and has a unique interior with many folklore elements.
There are many flats to choose from Airbnb located in and around the city center. They are usually renovated and have good living conditions. You can find a modern studio in a good location for around $250-$350 per month.
If you want to rent a room of whole flat in Lviv you can use realtor’s services. Many real estate agencies have employees who speak very good English. They also have access to a database with current offers, so they are able to find a flat very quickly. You have to keep in mind that realtors usually take a commission which equals one-month rent. Thus many people decide not to use realtor’s help, especially if they rent a flat just for one or two months. There are few Facebook pages for those who look for and offer flats, like Rent Lviv No Makler. Most of the offers are in Ukrainian, so expats have to either use Google Translate or ask for a help somebody who speaks Ukrainian.
Coworking spaces and good places to work
Coworking spaces for digital nomads
There are not many coworking spaces in Lviv in compare to big Western cities, but new places pop up here and there pretty fast. Existing coworking spaces have fast Internet, interesting interiors and very friendly administrators.
Communa is one of the best-known coworking spaces in Lviv. It has two offices – in the very heart of the Old Town and a bit further from the center, where there are no tourists. You can either rent a desk for 1 hour (for only 2 euros), 1 day or buy a monthly pass (for around 60 euros).
iHUB Lviv is located in a loft style building and has everything needed for comfortable work: fast, reliable Internet connection, comfy workspaces, friendly and helpful staff. It also organizes regular, thematical events for entrepreneurs. Renting a desk for a month costs around 60 euros.
Compass coworking is another place located in the center. Workspaces are very comfortable, unlimited coffee is included in the price, coworkers can relax by playing PlayStation and other games.
Cafes for digital nomads
If you prefer to work in a café, you can choose various places located in the city center.
Kredens café on Svobody avenue, just next to the Opera House, has special desks dedicated for remote workers.
Black Honey is a tiny café with a minimalistic style interior and great coffee and snacks. Sitting by the big window you can observe the street while working.
Those, who like to work late at night can choose nearby Budzzini on Doroshenka street. It is open 27/4 and has a great selection of food and drinks as well as a stable Internet connection.
Lviv Coffee Manufacture is a chain of cafes located around the center. It has comfy chairs, great coffee as well as tasty desserts. Price for a big cappuccino is around $0,9-$1,5. Don’t get afraid that such low prices mean bad quality – Lviv is well-known and proud of its coffee culture, thus it is hard to find bad coffee in the town.
Where to meet digital nomads?
Lviv has a growing community of digital nomads, who have already discovered that Eastern Europe’s hidden gem. There is a Facebook group dedicated to expats, called Lviv Expat Forum.
On Thursday every week locals, travelers and digital nomads living in Lviv meet up in cozy Christopher pub for Couchsurfing event. It is a great opportunity to meet like-minded folks and also talk to locals.
Another regular, English-friendly networking event is organized by Silicon Drinkabout and dedicated, but not restricted to IT professionals, entrepreneurs and startups.
Internations Lviv also organizes monthly meet-ups which have an informal and friendly atmosphere.
Lviv has international Danylo Halytskyi airport with regular flights to many Western European cities, including London, Berlin, Vienna, Warsaw or Gdansk. Many of those flights are operated by low-cost companies such as Wizz Air, so getting to London or Warsaw can be as cheap as $15 for a one-way ticket. The airport is located very close to the city and there are regular buses and tram lines which connect the airport with the city center.
In the city, there is a network of trams, buses, trolleybuses and famous mini-buses called marshrutkas, which connect different parts of the city pretty well. The ticket for public transport is 5-7 UAH ($0,20-0,25). Before using public transport, you can check Easyway tracking-app. It was founded by a group of Ukrainian programmers back in 2011 and it has been introduced to major Ukrainian cities, including Lviv. You can check all the routes and also track buses or trams in a real-time.
The is also Uber and a similar company called Uklon operating in Lviv, thus getting around the city will not cost you much. For example, getting to the main train station from the city center costs around 50 UAH (around $2).
Mobile internet / SIM card use
There are few major network providers in Ukraine, including Kyivstar, Vodaphone and Lifecell. Kyivstar is the biggest operator. The average cost of one gigabyte of mobile data equals $0.50, which makes Ukraine one of the cheapest country in the world regarding mobile data plan.
Citizens of EU & Schengen countries do not need a visa, if they want to stay on the territory of Ukraine for a maximum of 90 days within half a year period. If you plan to stay longer, you should apply for a visa. Citizens of other countries should check visa requirements in consulates or on the official website of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
How to spend your free time in Lviv
Lviv is famous for its thematic pubs and restaurants. Many of them are related to local stories. House of Legends on Staroievreiska street has few floors and each of them tells another local legend. On the rooftop, you can meet the chimney sweeper and his car with wings.
- Kryjivka, a pub, and restaurant dedicated to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army are hidden somewhere in the side street and you need to know the password to enter.
- Pravda Beer Theatre is a local brewery with a wide range of beers, which names and labels often mock well-known political leaders.
- Cafe 1 on Cathedral square is a pretty and cozy café which will bring you back to the past.
- There is also a speak-easy bar called Libraria, which regularly hosts great jazz concerts.
Lviv has a big number of museums and art galleries and getting to know them is a good idea to spend free time. Dzyga is the most famous art gallery which regularly hosts exhibitions of young, talented Ukrainians.
Short trips & adventures
Lviv has many local attractions but if you want to discover nearby areas, you won’t be disappointed.
- Carpathian mountains – Lviv is located close to beautiful Carpathian mountains. You can take an early train to Slavske (it leaves at 6.30am) and in around 2,5 hours you will be able to enjoy trekking in the mountains. You can either stay for a night in one of the hotels or private accommodation or go back to the city the same day;
- Zhovkva – is a historic town with a castle, UNESCO-listed wooden church, synagogue, and another beautiful historical building. You can get there with marshrutkas, and it takes up to an hour ride from Lviv.
- Pidgoretskiy castle – that abandoned, picturesque 17th-century castle is located close to the city. The legend says there is a ghost living here.
Lviv is a charming, compact city with a very low process in comparison to the Western cities. Great food, coffee, and local beer, unique atmosphere of the historic Old Town, as well as a growing creative industry, makes that city a perfect spot for digital nomads.