Also called the “Pearl of the Carpathians,” the crystal-clear Synevyr Lake is the largest and most beautiful lake in the Ukranian Carpathian Mountains. It has been named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Ukraine thanks to both its picture-perfect scenery and the mysterious legends around its origin.
The old Ukrainian legend tells of a local duke’s daughter, Syn, who had a majestic beauty and unusual blue eyes. She was the only joy for the duke, who lost his wife when Syn was born. Once, on a trip to the forest with her father, Syn suddenly heard the sound of a flute. It was Vir, a local musician. They fell in love at first sight and met each other many times after. When the duke found out about their secret relationship, he killed Vir. Syn rushed to her’s beloved’s grave, hugged a gravestone, and started to cry.
At that very spot, the lake appeared, blue as her eyes and clear as her tears. And it was called Synevyr, or “Syn and Vir.”
Today you can find Vir’s gravestone on the small island that sits at the center of the lake, along with two wooden sculptures depicting the lovers. But beware when exploring this alluring landscape: Another local legend tells about a werewolf (or “doghead”) who guards the nearby forest.
Know Before You Go
The easiest way to get to the lake is from the city of Lviv. Take the Lviv—Hust bus to the small town of Mizhhiria. There you will need to change to a bus that goes directly to the lake. The trip costs about 200 UAH ($6 USD). There are plenty of small hotels and cafes are nearby. As the area is a national park and nature reserve, there are no campfires allowed.