Chernobyl & Kiev Long Weekend

4 days
from
£899
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Trip code: 
AWC
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
5–16
Min age:
18

Comprehensive tour of Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and Nuclear Power Plant

On the night of 26th April 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, located 130km north of Kiev, experienced the world's worst nuclear meltdown. More recently, following the runaway success of HBO’s miniseries, the tragic history of Chernobyl's nuclear disaster has been brought back to the spotlight. Our new comprehensive weekend-tour ventures deep into the heart of the abandoned Exclusion Zone, which seems to have remained frozen in time with eerily empty amusement parks, homes, hospitals and schools dotting the vast wasteland area. Our expert guide will lead us safely around the nuclear disaster site and the town of Pripyat, telling the story of how the disaster unfolded and the consequences it had on the people, villages and countries around. This is no ordinary tour however as, unlike many of the standard Chernobyl excursions available elsewhere, we include a permit to enter the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and visit some impressive buildings such as the imposing nuclear control room and reactor hallWe will be also spending the night within the Exclusion Zone – the restricted space, 19 miles in radius, which surrounds the blast area – and conclude this memorable, once-in-a-lifetime travel experience with a visit to Kiev’s city highlights.

Highlights

  • Visit the ghost town of Pripyat and the disaster site Reactor No. 4 
  • Includes special permit to enter the Nuclear Power Plant, reactor hall and control room
  • Spend one night within the abandoned Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone 
  • See Kiev's main heritage sites including UNESCO Lavra Monastery

Key information

  • 2 nights 3-star hotel (rooms en suite) and 1 night basic hotel with shared facilities
  • Sightseeing on foot
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min age 18 yrs
  • Travel by private bus and public transport
  • Countries visited: Ukraine

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners
  • All accommodation 
  • Special entrance permit to Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
  • Transfer for group flights

 

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Kiev
to
Kiev
  • Day 1

    Fly to Kiev

    Our trip starts in Kiev, Ukraine's mighty and fast-evolving capital city. Those on the group flight will be transferred to our central hotel. A sightseeing tour of Kiev will be offered on the last day of the trip before departure but those wishing to spend more time exploring this eclectic city and its many interesting heritage sites such as the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War, may wish to extend the trip by a day or two. After check-in, we meet our local tour leader for a welcome briefing and group dinner. Overnight in Kiev.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Travel to Chernobyl; special tour inside Nuclear Power Station; explore the abandoned town of Pripyat and stay overnight within the Exclusion Zone.

    This morning we leave for Chernobyl and travel by comfortable private minibus for approximately 2 hours to Dytiatky, the main check point before entering official Exclusion Zone. After passing passport control and learning about some essential safety rules we start our comprehensive sightseeing tour by vehicle and on foot.

    On the way to the power plant we stop at  the almost fully buried Kopachi village, which was highly contaminated by the high-level of radioactive fallout after the nuclear blast and subsequently bulldozed. A macabre and desolated kindergarten and one other brick building are the only structures that remain standing. We continue towards the third stage of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, driving by the uncompleted reactors 5 and 6, the unfinished cooling towers, and reach the main disaster site, Reactor 4. It was right here that, on the on the fatal night of 26th April 1986, two large explosions took place following a failed safety test, releasing tons of radioactive substances into the air to an altitude of 1.5km. We will learn of the catastrophic consequences of the largest nuclear energy disaster in the history of mankind, while observing the mighty New Safe Confinement ('Arch') from a safe observation point at distance of 270 metres.

    Our tour continues with a special private visit inside the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station (Unit 1 or 2). We will be provided with a special protective gown of an NPP employee, shoe covers and dosimeter and enjoy a 3-hour long tour of the still functional parts of the power plant. This once-in-a-lifetime experience includes a visit to the control room, where you have the chance to fill the shoes of those who once stood here during the tragic event. We also see the hydraulic pump system, the ‘golden corridor’, the turbines and reactor hall and finally the room enclosing the main circulation pumps. We may also meet and listen to fascinating explanations from the current employees of the Chernobyl NPP and enjoy lunch with the station workers at the main canteen (where ecological cleanliness of products is guaranteed).

    Later and tomorrow we continue our exploration of Pripyat, the once lively town that was home to the Chernobyl workers and their families. Incredibly, the inhabitants were evacuated in just three hours on the day of the disaster. Over three decades later, this ghost town is now a freeze-frame of the Soviet Union in 1986. Communist propaganda still decorates the walls, personal belongings litter the streets and the abandoned buildings and toys are strewn around a schoolhouse where they were last dropped by children before escaping. All clocks are still frozen at 11:55, the moment the electricity was cut.

    Tonight, we enjoy the unique opportunity of staying in a basic but comfortable hotel within the Exclusion Zone end conclude our busy day with a warm traditional Ukrainian meal in town.

    Please note that the order of activities and choice of buildings visited within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone may vary depending on weather, time available and local restrictions.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Visit the Soviet-era military Duga radar system and explore more of Pripyat, including its derelict fire station, cinema and Red Forest; evening transfer to Kiev.

    This morning we continue our exploration of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone with a visit to one its most mysterious sites. In 1975 the grand construction of Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant drew the attention of thousands but few would have known that a gigantic, top secret radar was also being erected a short distance away. This fascinating and complex defence system was built to protect Soviet citizens in case of nuclear war and the giant antennas, still visible today and known as Duga-1, were supposed to watch the launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles. There is a lot of speculation around the history and purpose of this site, and we will hear some of the theories during our visit. In the afternoon we head to the Red Forest, the 10-square-kilometre area surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant that take its name from the ginger-brown colour of the pine trees that died following the absorption of high levels of radiation. To date, it remains one of the most contaminated areas in the world, but we will approach it from a safe distance. There will also be time to pay a visit to the Monument to the Chernobyl Liquidators, dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of firefighters, engineers, military troops, police, miners, cleaners and medical personnel who took part in the liquidation of the consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster and prevented apocalyptic consequences for Europe, sacrificing their lives or health for the sake of saving others. After passing by more derelict and desolated buildings in Pripyat, including a fish farm, the cinema, the music school and the athletic stadium, as well as some filming locations of the popular HBO TV series, we leave the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and make our way back to Kiev (approx. 2 hours) by private transport. Overnight in Kiev.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Morning Kiev city tour including UNESCO Lavra Monastery; fly to London.

    This morning we enjoy a walking tour of Kiev's main sights starting with the amazing view of two golden-domed monastery complexes while walking along Sophiiska and Mykhailivska Squares. We continue along Andrew Street and pass St Andrew Church before entering Arsenalna subway station, currently the deepest in the world at 105.5 metres. Travelling by metro, we head to the UNESCO Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery, founded in AD 1051, and visit the stunning interior and complex of caves housing mummified nuns. Those on the group flight will transfer back to Kyiv Airport this afternoon for their inbound flight to London, usually scheduled to depart at 8pm. Alternatively, you may choose to stay another day for further independent sightseeing. Please note that we will check-out from the hotel in the morning but we will be able to leave our luggage safely stored during the sightseeing tour.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Ukraine

UK passport holders do not need visas for this trip. Other nationalities should check with the relevant embassies.

Eating and Drinking

Ukrainian cuisine stems from peasant dishes based on the plentiful grains and vegetables grown in the country. Staple crops include sugar beets, potatoes, grapes, cabbages, and mushrooms. These are often key ingredients in soups and salads. The most popular dish is 'borscht', a hearty soup made in a variety of ways. Other vegetable dishes include holubtsi (stuffed cabbage) and kartoplia solimkoi ("straw potatoes"). Kotlety Po-Kyivskomy (Chicken Kiev), a chicken breast stuffed with a buttery filling, is a well-known dish outside Ukraine, but tastes very different locally. During our stay in Chernobyl, we will consume simple but hearty meals. They are cooked from ecologically safe products, brought from outside the Zone. Vegetarians options are available on request.

Please note that during the stay in Chernobyl you are not allowed to smoke, eat and drink in the open spaces. You are not allowed to eat any berries or drink water from open sources such as wells.

Weather

Ukraine has a temperate continental climate. Summers are normally hot, sunny and sometimes humid, with temperatures ranging between 18 to 28°C. Winters are very cold and snowy with temperatures averaging  -5 to -15°C.  The Chernobyl exclusion zone has its magic in every season. In spring flowers are blooming and during the summer the Chernobyl exclusion zone gets green and it is amazing to watch nature overtaking the buildings. Autumn and winter give a very spooky atmosphere to the site but it is important to come well prepared for cold temperatures and sometimes snow.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is graded as Leisurely/Moderate (2) and visits as much as possible of Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone and Kiev. There is a lot to see in a short amount of time so the tour will be reasonably fast-paced but with enough breaks and leisure time built in the itinerary. Although this itinerary is mostly based on sightseeing, please be prepared for a considerable amount of walking. 

Chernobyl was the site of a terrible tragedy, and we aim to make sure that those who do want to visit and to learn about the area’s history and heritage are able to do so sensitively and respectfully. Enabling people to travel responsibly and learn about the places we take them – both the good and the bad - is at the core of our DNA as a company and important to all of us. We have chosen a trusted local partner to run the Chernobyl excursion, who will ensure the tour is conducted in an informed, meaningful and ethical manner. 

The two-day Chernobyl tour is operated by a government approved company and meets all the safety requirements set out by the National Tourist Board and State Agency of Ukraine. Radiation exposure is similar to that of a standard x-ray or a long-haul flight. Whilst on the tour, the guide will be carrying some professional monitoring equipment to guarantee a safe limit of radiation exposure. Personal radiation or dosimetry control shall also be performed at a checkpoint when leaving the exclusion zone to prevent carrying particles of contaminated material with you. Please note that while walking on the wasteland, you may come across uneven grounds, sometimes littered with broken glass or rubble so comfortable shoes with sturdy soles and ankle support are strongly recommended for your safety.

There are some strict health & safety rules in place regarding dress code, photography and eating within the site and these will be explained to you by the tour leader and guide locally. Please note that passport information must be provided at the time of booking in order to book and grant permission to enter the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. In order to be permitted to visit Chernobyl you must be at least 18 years old and are always required to carry your passport with you due to the numerous checkpoints found within the Exclusion Zone. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Standard hotels

In Kiev we spend 2 nights at the Premier Hotel Rus or a similar accommodation when this is not available. This comfortable 3-star hotel is located in the heart of Kiev's historic centre and offers air-conditioned rooms, some with wonderful city views and free Wi-Fi. A continental buffet is provided for breakfast. 

During our stay within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, we will spend 1 night in a simple Soviet-style hotel, usually Hotel Desiakta in Chernobyl town or Hotel Pripyat, depending on availability. Both accommodation offer private simply decorated rooms, but facilities and showers are shared, usually amongst 2 to 4 rooms. 

Single rooms are available for a supplement (limited availability).

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

On April 25 1986, the worst nuclear disaster in human history took place when an accident occurred at Chernobyl’s nuc

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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