Rivne, a city that not many travellers will add to their Ukraine itinerary, and the ones that do, just come here for one reason: the tunnel of love. After visiting the tunnel of love many tourists and travellers pack their bags and head on to major touristic cities such as Lviv and Kharkiv, forgetting to explore the city of Rivne itself, which is a shame because it has so much to offer in our opinion. And while we wouldn’t recommend spending weeks in Rivne, but it might be worth adding an extra day to your itinerary. Wander around the city to some of the most beautiful sights, and if exploring the tunnel of love is enough for you, perhaps stay for a delicious lunch or dinner. We spent the day exploring Rivne and actually fall in love with this city, so curious to see what there is to see in this city, keep on reading to find the 8 best things to do in Rivne.
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How to get to Rivne
Rivne is located between the cities of Kiev and Lviv, making it a perfect stop to break the journey between the two cities up. From both Lviv and Kiev Rivne can be reached by train, with at least one train leaving a day from both directions. We went more in detail on the train journeys we took from Lviv and Kiev in our post about the tunnel of love here but to make it easier for you we will give a quick summary on how to book your tickets for train travel in Ukraine here as well.
There is no need to stand inline for your train ticket, as both journeys can simply be booked online. We booked our train tickets either through Omio (formerly known as GoEuro) or through the Ukrainian booking website. The downside of using Omio is not being able to pick your own seats, however, we ended up booking almost all our tickets through Omio as our credit cards did not always work on the Ukrainian website. These are the only two websites we used, but I am quite sure there will be other booking websites out there! You can check the websites for the current prices, and schedules of the trains.
Things to do in Rivne
1. Taras Shevchenko Monument and Independence Square
Independence square (Maydan Nezalezhnosti) is a must see when visiting Rivne, and the perfect point to start your day of exploring Rivne due to its central location. The square isn’t hard to find as it is located right on the main road of Rivne, you will find almost all the buses stopping here, making it easily reachable by public transport. At the Independence square you will find a monument of Taras Shevchenko and a cinema, but unless you speak Ukrainian, you might want to leave the latter of your itinerary as all movies seem to be dubbed here in Ukraine. Before you leave the square be sure to have a walk around the back of the cinema, as you will find a beautiful park located here, perfect to just sit back and relax for a bit before exploring the other things to do in Rivne.
2.The Holy Resurrection Cathedral
On the other side of the street of the Independence Square, just a bit down the road, you will find the beautiful Holy Resurrection Cathedral. The cathedral is hard to miss as the golden domes stand tall between the buildings of Rivne. While this Orthodox cathedral is quite magnificent and beautiful from the outside, the real beauty is found inside the church. Golden covered wall and domes, its hard not to be mesmerised by the beauty of the Orthodox cathedrals in Ukraine. We only had a small peak inside inside through the open doors of the cathedral as there was a wedding taken place, but from the the small peak we had the cathedral looked absolutely beautiful inside.
3. Use the bus to get around Rivne
Taking the local transport in a foreign country can be an adventure itself, but it was surprisingly easy in Rivne. There are not metros or trams in Rivne, just buses and you will find them simply everywhere. The buses seem to come and go every few minutes making it one of the easiest and most affordable ways to get around the city. To get from our hostel to the city centre or the train station we hopped on the small yellow buses, checking on Google Maps to be sure we were taking the right one. However, taking the bus in Rivne (and some other cities in Ukraine) works a bit different, you don’t pay when you enter, but instead when you leave. So just take a seat, sit back and enjoy the ride, and when it is time to hop off just make your way to the front of the bus and pay the driver. In August 2019 a ride in the little yellow buses within Rivne, no matter how many stops, was 6 UAH ($0.25) an absolute bargain!
4. Take a walk through the park
Rivne is filled with the most beautiful parks, and you will undoubtedly come across one. Shevchenko Park must be our personal favourite, and instead of walking on the main road this made for a way better view (and some relaxing breaks). While we love the cities, we just love the parks that come with them as it is simply so relaxing, and a quiet and peaceful oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You will find Shevchenko park further up the road from Independence Square, which can easily be combined with the next item on our list: the St. Basil’s Cathedral.
5. The St. Basil’s Cathedral
While the Holy Resurrection Cathedral is absolutely stunning, the beautiful St. Basil’s Cathedral should also not be forgotten. Slightly located out of the city centre, this cathedral is well worth the trip as the golden domes tower above all the trees in the area, another beautiful piece of architecture. While not as old as the Holy Resurrection Cathedral, the St. Basil Cathedral is just as impressive and according to the little bit of information we found on the internet, with the height of 55m this is actually also one of the tallest Cathedrals in Ukraine. We did not enter the church, but expect it to be as equally beautiful as all the other mesmerising churches we have seen in Ukraine.
6. The Tunnel of L0ve
Okay, this is technically not located in Rivne, it is the reason many travellers and tourists come to Rivne, it sure was the reason we did! We loved exploring the city of Rivne itself and all the sights we mention in this post but in the end the tunnel of love would be the highlight of our visit, something you can’t leave of your Rivne itinerary, and therefore deserving a spot on this list. The tunnel of love is located roughly an 1 hour journey (including bus and walking) from Rivne, but it is well worth your time. We won’t go into the exact details here as we have written a complete post about visiting the Tunnel of Love right here, providing you with all the info you need to get to the tunnel of love independently, including tips and tricks and things to know before you go.
7. Eat, drink, eat and drink some more
Tired and hungry of all the walking around? Don’t worry, Rivne is fulled with the cutest cafes and enough delicious places to eat. While you find restaurants at almost every corner, there were a couple of places that stood out for us during our 3 nights in Rivne, places that we would happily go back to should we decide to visit Rivne again in the future. Here are some of our favourite places to eat in Rivne:
DVIR: A modern restaurant located in the centre of Rivne, perfect to grab a bite to eat or a drink. We were happily surprised by the affordability of this restaurant, and absolutely loved the food we ordered. Other items on the menu included salads, soups, grilled meat and fish, it seems like there was something for everyone. We ordered a chicken burger, a hamburger, two lemonades, two coffees and a delicious piece of cheesecake to share and the bill come to a total of roughly $13.
Lviv Handmade Chocolate: While we had plans to visit Lviv Handmade Chocolate during our visit in Lviv we simply didn’t get to it as there were so many other cafes to be explored. So when we got to Rivne and walked past the Lviv Handmade Chocolate cafe we knew we had to stop by for a cup of coffee. We ordered two coffees and a piece of Lviv Cheesecake (we really really like cheesecake), a perfect way to start our day in Rivne.
Pizza Celentano: While perhaps not as spectacular as DVIR or Lviv Handmade Chocolate, we have to admit that Pizza Celentano was a great place to grab a quick and affordable bite to eat. We simply ordered two margherita pizzas to go (as we were quite tired that day) and our bill was 140 UAH which is roughly $5.50. Other items on the menu included pancakes, salads and pasta dishes.
8. The Blue Wooden Church – Uspensʹka Tserkva
Where to stay in Rivne
While Rivne isn’t a major tourist destination for foreign travellers, you will see that there is plenty of accommodation available. We ended up at Full House Hotel & Capsule Hostel and could have not been happier with our choice. A clean, modern hostel, situated slightly out of the centre but easily reachable by bus (6 UAH per ride). We booked a private room and were very happy with our choice. The staff was friendly and helpful, and it was located right next to a supermarket and a cafe, overall a great pick for those who are traveling on a budget! You can check out Full House Hotel & Hostel here to see if this a place you would like to stay at as well, or have a look at the map below if you prefer to stay a bit more central.
Rivne Travel Budget
Wondering if you can fit Rivne in your travel budget? Rivne is an affordable travel destination, perhaps the most affordable out of all the cities we visited in Ukraine. But to make it easier for you we will break down our cost below so you know a bit of what to expect should you add Rivne to your Ukraine itinerary. To make it easier we have listed all the prices below in USD based on the exchange rate of early August 2019. The cost below are for 2 people, so to make it easier for you we have split it into cost per person per day as well in the last column.
|Category||Cost 3N/2D||Cost p.p.p.d.|
|Accommodation in Rivne||$64.59||$10.76|
|Food & Drinks in Rivne||$47.60||$7.93|
|Transportation in Rivne||$5.30||$0.88|
|Activities in Rivne||$0||$0|
|Miscellaneous Costs in Rivne||$3.15||$0.53|
These costs include accommodation for 3 nights in a private room, the food we purchased at restaurants, cafes and supermarkets during our 3 nights/2 day stay and the transportation costs of buses within Rivne (including the cost of getting to the tunnel of love from Rivne and back). The miscellaneous costs are for doing our laundry, a cost that occurs regularly now that we are living a full time life on the road, but a cost that it is always worth it! As you can see the cost per person per day for traveling in Rivne was only a rough $20, a super affordable destination.
Where to go after Rivne
And there you have it, everything you need to know about Rivne! A city that is filled with delicious food, beautiful architecture and one of the most stunning sights of Ukraine: the tunnel of love. However, Ukraine has so much more to offer, and we are quite sure that you did not just come here for the city of Rivne. From Rivne you can simply hop on the train to Kiev or Lviv, as these are the nearest major tourist destinations. Have you been to Rivne yourself? Anything that deserves a spot on this list? Be sure to tell us in the comment section down below.