Ukraina Stadium – FC Karpaty
Photos by Adam Pate, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00
Ukraina Stadium Lviv, Lviv Oblast, 79000 Ukraine
Year Opened: 1963 Capacity: 28,051
Opened during Soviet times in 1963, the Ukraina Stadium in the south of Lviv city has seen grander days. The 28,000 capacity all-seater stadium still hosts Premier League football, with Karpaty and FC Lviv staging their home matches this 2019-2020 season. The city also has several other grounds, making it a great weekend break.
Food & Beverage 4
The Ukraina Stadium is scheduled for a big renovation job in the near future. Due to this, most of the facilities inside the ground are not the greatest. However, it is unusually pleasing to see a barbeque on the go. Low attendance also ensures that queuing time is minimal, an added advantage for any supporter.
The barbeque that burns throughout the game is a real treasure at the Ukraina Stadium. It is a great chance to grab a hot dog or shaslik stick during the game. However, the authentic delights are in town. Lviv is a tourist hub, better known as the Vienna of the East. The old town – around 5km is a great walking district, full of all types of restaurants. The Lviv coffee shop serves local delicacies that are popular all over the world.
Beer is available in the ground for 30uah a cup. In Lviv, a local beer, Lvivske, is nationally famous and available on all corners. There are a couple of beer places that are really worth checking out (Pravda Beer Theatre is one recommended site in the square).
Lviv chocolate and coffee are internationally famous, so they must be tried, especially sample a miners coffee underground at the Lviv Coffee Manufacture. It is also worth testing the cherry liqueur that is available at various outlets around the Old Town.
The Ukraina Stadium is a classic old-style Soviet ground, built on the side of a hill in Snopkiv Park in south Lviv. The bowl shape is a single-tier with fans having to walk down to pitch side from the entrance at the top of the stand, an unusual concept across Europe.
The stadium is a large bowl, which sits in a valley within a hilly suburb of Lviv. As you enter the ground, the bowl descends below you, making it quite unusual in its construction. A merchandise shop is by the entrance, with a decent selection of gear to buy. It is clear that the club has money and is poorly spending it on the playing squad. The supporters are decked out in a good selection of the club colours, highlighting how they invest in the club. With only 800 supporters in attendance, the stadium looks vast, and several sections are utterly unused.
You can walk around the top of the stadium throughout the game, taking in an excellent array of vantage points. It is nice to see the food and merchandising available for purchase around the complex. Two scoreboards at either end of the pitch share the goals with the fans. The VIP section is the only area undercover, and those seats have additional padding there.
Karpaty is struggling financially, so little is invested in the game day. It is quite surreal, witnessing the dying embers of this club. Although the team is announced to the spectators, little else is. You find your own entertainment during the game.
As attendance is tiny, you have a great selection of seat options available. Once you purchase the entrance pass to the gangway at the top of the stadium, you can choose where to sit and have the option to sit in many places throughout the match. Visiting supporters congregate in a section at the opposite end from the home supporters as ,usual. However, the only area covered is on one side of the pitch near the halfway line – if you want to go there, you should pay VIP.
The Ukraina Stadium is located in the south of Lviv, around 5 km from the center of the city. Although the stadium is in a picturesque park, downtown is a lot more enjoyable and it is worth spending your time there.
If you are eager to eat near the ground, For Rest Meat Club sits very close to the ground, within walking distance. However, a trip to Lviv requires more exploration than just the stadium district. Kryivka in the old town square takes you back to times of the revolution as it is themed on Ukrainian independence – the entrance price is a vodka shot! Baczewski’s, also found in the old town, has excellent menu recommendations and attracts a more luxurious level of clientele.
Being the main tourist center of Ukraine, a trip to Lviv is not short of highlights for any visitors. However, for sports fans, there is the Arena Lviv, where the National Team of Ukraine put in performances – sadly, it is too expensive for league teams to rent. Away from football, time spent walking around the old town and visiting the different districts within it is a must. The city thrives on coffee, so dive in and enjoy as much as you can handle.
The higher standard of the hotel is more central and commutable by public transport to the ground. Many tourists choose to rent apartments in the old town through Air BnB or Bookings.com. However, ‘Burger+’ is a 3-star hotel with rooms available for 25USD near the ground. A little further afield, you can find ‘Delice’ for around 60USD.
Sadly, Lviv football is struggling now, and attendance can number less than 1,000, making the stadium feel empty. Nevertheless, the supporters, who do turn up, try their hardest to build an atmosphere to cheer on their team.
Both FC Lviv and Karpathy have seen their audiences drop by over 10% this season, as the teams have struggled at the bottom of the league standings this year (2020). The massive stadium has allowed for bigger gates when Dynamo and Shakhtar have shown up. Nevertheless, both clubs have bottomed out with less than 1,000 attending games (around 3% of the potential capacity).
Behind the one goal, a group of hardcore supporters assembles, which numbered around one hundred at the match of this review. They sing throughout the game and bring color with their flags. However, given the arguments that they have with players, it is worth watching from afar. The rest of the ground is silent apart from chatter among spectators – very surreal.
Given the location of the stadium, access to it and movement around the stadium is top quality. Even on larger games, I would expect a positive experience from visiting the Ukraina Stadium.
Lviv offers both train and air hubs for travelers in western Ukraine. It is an accessible city to visit, with trams and buses readily available to whisk you to the stadium. Happily in Lviv, companies like Uber and Bolt exist to improve the taxi and ride-sharing experience at affordable prices.
Traffic is an issue in the center of Lviv. If you decide to drive, allow time to leave the downtown district. However, parking options are abundant near the ground, and you should feel secure leaving your car nearby.
There are two main entry points to the stadium complex from either end of the pitch. From there, you have access to the walkway around the top of the stadium. Security is on hand, with no significant problems getting into the ground. On more significant match days, there may be a holdup.
While the concourse is a real highlight, the steps down to the seating area are quite severe, so take care. You have the option though to watch the game from the concourse. The toilet facilities, on the other hand, are not the greatest and need a desperate upgrade. It is better to go elsewhere and try to avoid those dark pits of despair.
Return on Investment 5
Compared to other trips in Ukraine, Lviv is a bit more expensive. However, given the tourist facilities that are on offer, it offers a great return on investment.
The stadium complex is similar to others in Ukraine, with the entrance at around 2USD and snacks reasonably priced. It is away from the ground, where expenses exist. The cost of eating out in Lviv and finding accommodation is more on par with central Europe. You can expect to pay up to 20USD for a meal and 50USD for lodgings on average.
Although savings are not possible in the ground, there are options elsewhere. Rented apartments provide better value as accommodation in Lviv, with the market very strong. You can also shop around for meals. It is unnecessary to eat in central restaurants for your meal every night, even if some should not be missed.
Ukraina Stadium does deserve a couple of extra points.
The programme is of good quality and easy to locate on the entrance to the ground. You need to be able to read a good level of Ukrainian, though.
There is a souvenir shop at Ukraina Stadium, stocking a variety of merchandise. You may be able to locate some independent sellers around the concourse as well.
A trip to Lviv is a highlight of any Ukrainian experience. Take advantage of the journey and explore the region; you will not be disappointed. Even the Ukraina Stadium provides a clue into the Socialist past of the area.