Lviv Christmas Market

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Apologies for the seasonal post that is a few months late. We're still cranking out travel photos from  December. 

We first unexpectedly bumped into Christmas Markets in Vienna. Then were ecstatic to find that it wasn't time to say goodbye yet, because they were also in Budapest. Imagine our delight when we heard that Ukraine, our home country, also has their very own Christmas markets! 

Ukrainians celebrate Christmas (or Рiздво) on January 7th, so naturally their Christmas Market opens later in December. The wooden huts were being nailed together and lined with lights during our time in Lviv, and the market was scheduled to officially open on Sunday, the day we were set to leave-- major bummer! The gigantic Christmas tree went up in front of the opera house on our last day and we never got a chance to see it lit up. 

However, a lot of the shops opened early and were already selling baked pastries and bread, handmade gifts for the holidays (like candles, stuffed animals, and jars of honey), and most surprising of all-- Glühwein (German hot mulled wine)! Drinking Glühwein while wandering the Christmas market in the evening was comparable to drinking an ice cold water in the desert. It was so relieving. Some days in Lviv were so frigid cold that all my extremities felt like they might break off if anyone bumped into me. We would hop into McDonalds just to warm up our fingers, since the large crowds there helped conceal us. 

I think Christmas Market hopping around Europe in December should be a tradition. I'm waiting for one to open in Seattle (wishful thinking). 

- Julia

Giant Christmas tree going up in front of the opera house
This man is stringing lights on the shops that are getting ready to open for the season.
The sign above this shop reads "just good bread" and is constructed of bread. Clever!
The honey shop. Don't they look cold?
In case you're curious, 8 hryvnia equals $1 (these two pasties are labeled 6 & 9 hryvnia). 
The shops with the lines were selling Глiнтвейн (Glühwein).
Our cups of Глiнтвейн.
And of course, a Christmas market is always more magical at night.Young soldiers and a guitar. Some things never change (all of our dads have faded Ukrainian photos from their army days of their buddies and guitars).


  1. they do look so cold but these markets are so magical during this time of the year and well worth the cold

  2. I love these Christmas markets. In Portugal there is not much this concept with some regret.

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas markets! But you don't have to go so far to get to one 8 months from now... Vancouver, BC, has one! It just started last year and has the wooden huts, gluhwein and all. It's fairly small but worth checking out if you're missing the real thing!

  4. Holy crap do those boys look young! And you should totally start a Christmas Market in Seattle. I would so buy your stuff.

    @Anna, wow! I'm totally going this year! Yay!

  5. Ah too bad I missed you in Budapest! :D I love Christmas markets and I love your pics! :D

    P.S: I'm giving away FIVE supercool Travel Photography guides.. I thought you might be interested! :D

  6. This is literally what I think of when I think Christmas. A little village in Europe with Christmas lights strung over it all. So charming and cute.

  7. I love your travel blog! Ukraine looks and sounds amazing, so I'm definitely going to put that on my list of places to travel to! I'll be going to hong kong in two weeks, so I can't wait to see your photos and blog about the city!

  8. Ritokas- Not in America either!

    Anna- Yes, I think you (or maybe someone else) mentioned that they were going to start in Vancouver. But wow, didn't know they already started this year! So neat. We'll def check it out next winter since its just a 3 hr drive from us.

    Joanna- Our goal is to wrap up Ukraine and start blogging about Hong Kong in a week. What timing! Off the top of my head, I highly recommend the bird market in HK.

  9. Hi! I'm visiting from My Suitcase Heart! these pictures look AMAZING. I also love markets like this, it looks like so much fun!


    1) you are GORGEOUS
    2) your photos are sick-awesome-good-incredible

    SO happy i found you! :) take care!

  11. Heidi- Love Janis from My Suitcase Heart! We really hit it off with her. Now I gotta repay her for sending her awesome readers our way. Thanks for visiting.

  12. well , i met my boyfriend in old town lviv , it was so romantic ,we spent a good time since we first met and we enjoyed our time alot, The Lviv old town itself is an amazing place to walk around, add to that the decorations of Christmas just makes it even more pleasant and lovely. The old town is full of rich culture, there you can find most of the famous museums, restaurants, cafes & old cathedrals.