Ukraine

Arena Lviv

Name Arena Lviv
Capacity 30000
Year Completed 2011

Found in the southern district of Sykhiv by the city hippodrome, the Lviv Arena, especially eye-catching at night with its translucent facade, is best reached by trolleybus 5 from the city centre. Trolleybus 3 links the ground with the new city airport, about 9km west of downtown.

Where to go, what to see

This western Ukraine city of Lviv certainly had its problems getting its Euro 2012 show on the road, but the good news for those with tickets to see Germany, Portugal and Denmark here this summer is that the city is ready in good time to welcome an invasion of soccer lovers. 

Situated just 70km from the Polish border, Lviv (pronounced lu-veev) hit the headlines for the wrong reason in the Euro 2012 build-up when its two main infrastructure projects - the stadium (the Lviv Arena) and airport - spiralled way beyond budget. Yet those problems appear to have resolved in time and now the city ready to become a sparkling host for Ukraine's greatest ever sporting festival. 

Undoubtedly the most tourist-friendly spot in Ukraine, Lviv has absolutely nothing in common with the concrete and grey drabness of the old Soviet Union world. With its beautiful squares, wide boulevards, compelling mix of ornate architectural styles - Italian Renaissance and Gothic to the fore - coffee shop culture and friendly cosmopolitan populace, the place has the feel of many of Europe's most elegant cities. 

You can feel a touch of Paris trickling through the streets, maybe a hint of Florence, a taste of Vienna, a flavour of Krakow. It's little wonder that UNESCO designated the whole city as a World Heritage site. Everywhere you turn in this most charming of city centres, a beautiful building meets the eye and there is no greater concentration of attractive surroundings than Ploschka Rynok, the market square which is Lviv's beating heart. 

Make sure to check out stunning old merchant houses, the Black Mansion, Venice House and the House of the Seasons. Another gem in the locale is the Town Hall (Ratusha) whose tower can be scaled for breathtaking views over the city. 

More great vistas are to be had at the High Castle (Vysoky Samok), a ruined 14th century fort on Castle Hill (Zankova Hora) to the north-east of the city centre. It's a steep walk but well worth it and if the legs are aching, you can always grab a cab. Part of Poland until the Second World War, Lviv's large Jewish community was more or less wiped out during the Holocaust and a memorial in their honour is to be found on the site of the old ghetto a short stroll north of the Theatre of Opera and Ballet on pr Chornovola. 

The old Jewish quarter used to be located around vuls Staroyevreyska, Fedorova and Ruska in the Old Town. The city's Euro 2012 Fan Zone will be open every day of the tournament on the central Prospekt Svobody (Freedom Avenue), an always well-frequented and busy thoroughfare. 

The bustle of Svobody stands in marked contrast to vul Virmenska in the Old Town, which just has to be the prettiest and most atmospheric street in Lviv. One aspect of Lviv you cannot fail to notice is its dependence on beverages, namely coffee and beer. 'Leopolitans' have the same reverence for the brown bean as the Viennese and superb cafes (kavyarna) abound, such as at The Italian Yard in the main square; Svit Kavy on pl Katedralna and Dzyga, a cafe cum art gallery close to the Dominican Cathedral on vul Virmenska. Don't only lap up the caffeine as the cakes and pastries are something else too. 

Equally famous for its beer, Lviv offers many opportunities to sip on a long, cool one. Try Kumpel, a top-notch microbrewery and restaurant on vul Vynnychenka 6, the underground Robert Doms Beer House on vul Kleparivska 18 and also Europa, which is a tick-all the-boxes hang-out (good Ukrainian beer and food plus sporting action on the TV) on Shevchenka 14. 

Praga (Hnatyuka 8) does a roaring trade in Czech alcoholic delights, scrumptious pork dishes and, for those who could not care less about calories, delicious cream cakes. The Krakivsky outdoor market on vul Bazarna provides all you might need for a Euro 2012 picnic and if chocolate is your indulgence of choice, you've come to the right place. Lviv is renowned for its confectionery and the Svitoch shop in the main square is heaven. 

Lviv is so compact, with the sight all in close proximity, that frequent use of public transport is not necessary. However, should you tire, there is a decent tram system, which runs along larger and boulevards and to and from the main railway station, which is 2km west of the city centre, connected by trams 1 and 9 to the southern end of Svobody. The central bus station is some 8km south of town, but has the distinct advantage of being very close to the Euro 2012 stadium. 

To sum it up, soccer fans lucky enough to be visiting Lviv this summer are in for a treat as the city has something for everyone, with the smattering of Euro 2012 action topping up an already delightful mix.