How to get from Ternopil to Lviv, and from Lviv railway station to the city centre

On the 28th of December, Saturday, we took a morning train from Ternopil to Lviv. Both cities are in the western part of Ukraine, and Lviv is a 2-hour train ride, northwest of Ternopil. Due to the proximity, there are many trains between these 2 cities every day. These trains usually go through Ternopil, and terminate at Lviv, but start at cities in Ukraine which are further east, or even from Moscow, Russia. Some of these trains do not terminate at Lviv, but perhaps at Uzhhorod, which is further west, while I have seen one train that terminates in Sofia, Bulgaria. Whatever it is, from Ternopil, after getting on the train, there should be one stop at a minor station before it arrives at Lviv.

There are at least two different types of trains, a faster and a slower one. The faster one takes a bit less than 2 hours, while the slower service, which I had not taken before, takes about 3 hours, according to a local. I paid about 26.50 Hryvnias (just USD 3.29, EUR 2.50) for a ticket.

The train station is not too far from the city centre, where the Lviv Opera and Ballet Theatre is situated. Just outside the grand railway station, across the minor road, there is a tram roundabout/u-turn spot and a tram stop.

A typical Lviv tram doing a roundabout near the main railway station on a winter day

A typical Lviv tram doing a roundabout near the main railway station on a winter day

There are 2 trams, 1 and 9, and both head towards the city centre. I recommend tram 1 because it’s more direct. If you’re not in a hurry, you can take tram 9, to enjoy the sights as it makes a slight detour before reaching the city centre.

Signboard at tram stop outside Lviv's railway station, indicating that both trains 1 and 9 reach the city centre

Signboard at tram stop outside Lviv’s railway station, indicating that both trains 1 and 9 reach the city centre

Each tram ride costs 1.50 hryvnias (USD 0.19, EUR 0.14). Purchase the ticket onboard from the driver by putting the money into the slot in the door to the driver’s compartment, and telling him/her how many tickets you need. Here, knowing the numbers in Ukrainian makes life much easier, because the driver might only understand odyn, dva, try (one, two, three) and not English. The driver will then give you your ticket through the same slot, and change is given (this is a really good feature that many other places I’ve visited don’t have). You should then punch a hole in the ticket at any of the hole-punchers on the sides of the tram. Failure to do so might result in a fine of 30 hryvnias, issued by inspectors who appear rather frequently.

Assuming you are going to the city centre, it is not difficult to know when to get off. If you’re taking tram 1, you will reach Svobody Avenue (2 parallel avenues with a park in between, and a statue of Taras Shevchenko and the big Lviv Opera House to your left), followed by the market square (a squarish plaza with a tall tower in the centre). If you’re taking tram 9, you will reach the market square followed by Svodoby Avenue. Both these places the busiest parts of Lviv, and you know you’re at the correct place after recognising these landmarks.

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