Polish castles in Ukraine – a day trip from Lviv

Bored of never ending parties in Lviv? Have a spare day and don’t know what to do? A day trip from Lviv to see the ruins of polish castles is a great adventure… especially because it also involves a bit of offroad!

 

The “złota podkowa Lwowa” (in English – the golden horseshoe of Lviv) route takes you through 3 castles and one church. The route is 175 km long, takes like 4h of driving and has the shape of a horseshoe, if you were wondering where does the name come from. Lwów – Olesko – Pidhirtsi – Zolochiv

 

 
Olesko

The first stop is 75 km away from Lviv and is 700 years old Olesko castle, the birthplace of Polish king Jan III Sobieski. You should know him because of his victory over the Turks at the 1683 Battle of Vienna (cross it!) vodka named after him. The castle was built on a hill and from the road it looks really impressive. Sadly, coming closer to it it’s easy to notice that it’s slowly falling apart. Inside you can find the Lviv Art Gallery.

 
Pidhirtsi Castle

Really easy to miss – the castle isn’t visible from the road, there’s no sign saying: ‘congrats, you’ve made it!’, the only clue you’re next to it is an incredible church. Once you park you will realise that the castle is opposite it, hidden behind trees.

 
Built in 1640 in the “palazzo in fortezza” style, it was one of the most incredible castles in the Polish kingdom and from 2008 it has been on the World Monuments Watch.
 
There’s a small entrance fee – one for going around it and a second for going to the gallery inside. Also, if you are going to go on a Saturday, you can witness a Ukrainian wedding just like we did!
 

There were at least two couples getting married that day on the castle terrace and we still could buy tickets and basically walk around them during their ceremony. It was quite crazy.

 

 
 
Zolochiv
This castle was built in 1636 and belonged to the Sobieski family just like the one in Olesko. The castle also used to be a hospital and prison, now it is a part of Lviv Art Gallery. Not quite as impressive as the previous castles, but still worth a look! Although, to be honest, we were pretty tired by the time we got there and it had just started pouring down so we don’t have any pictures, you’ll just have to take our word for it (or google it)!


 
 

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