Ukraine tour, Discover Chernobyl

“Fascinating, exciting and moving guided tour around the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone near Kiev, staying in a Chernobyl hotel. Learn stories of tragedy and hope that emerged from the disaster.”

Highlights

Chernobyl | Kiev | Chernobyl Museum | Lavra Reserve | Monastery of the Caves | Tour Pripyat | Guided tour in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone | Sleep overnight in Chernobyl itself | Meet the people who chose to remain |

Description of Ukraine tour, Discover Chernobyl

The Chernobyl disaster of 1986, when a nuclear reactor exploded causing many deaths and the total evacuation of the nearby town of Pripyat, remains a haunting reminder of the potential for catastrophe in nuclear energy. For many years afterwards an Exclusion Zone around the reactor extended for 30km in all directions, but it is now possible to visit many areas including Pripyat, the Red Forest, the Chernobyl docks and even the protective shell over the damaged reactor. This five-day Ukraine tour offers the chance to explore these sites with an expert guide, and to stay overnight at a hotel in Chernobyl itself.

As part of a small group, you will begin the tour in Kiev where you will learn about the causes and effects of the disaster at the Chernobyl Museum. You’ll also visit several historic sites around the Ukrainian capital including the Lavra Reserve, where you will see the famous ‘Monastery of the Caves’.

Chernobyl is a two-hour drive from Kiev. Almost the entire population of the Exclusion Zone was removed, leaving Pripyat a ghost town, but a handful of people chose to remain. There may be an opportunity during the tour to meet some of these residents and hear their stories.

The Red Forest was badly contaminated during the disaster, and the name comes from the colour of the trees killed by radiation. Wildlife nevertheless returned in the years following the clean-up operation, and as you explore with a guide, you will learn about the astonishing biodiversity here.

Sleeping in a basic but comfortable hotel with shared bathrooms, you will be able to venture out early the next day to maximise your time in the area, visiting more key sites around Pripyat that will certainly make for a moving experience.

This trip should not be seen as ‘disaster tourism’, but as a pressing reminder ofthe need for nuclear safety, and an opportunity to provide much-needed funds and companionship to the ‘self-settlers’ that choose to live here in near-isolation.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Map

Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
06 Dec 2018
£ 875
including UK flights
Full
 
24 Jan 2019
£ 965
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 24 Jan 2019 departure
07 Feb 2019
£ 895
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 07 Feb 2019 departure
18 Feb 2019
£ 965
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 18 Feb 2019 departure
14 Mar 2019
£ 965
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 14 Mar 2019 departure
21 Mar 2019
£ 965
including UK flights
6 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 21 Mar 2019 departure
28 Mar 2019
£ 955
including UK flights
9 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 28 Mar 2019 departure
18 Apr 2019
£ 1019
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 18 Apr 2019 departure
02 May 2019
£ 995
including UK flights
6 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 02 May 2019 departure
09 May 2019
£ 995
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 09 May 2019 departure
16 May 2019
£ 995
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 16 May 2019 departure
27 May 2019
£ 985
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 27 May 2019 departure
06 Jun 2019
£ 945
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 06 Jun 2019 departure
20 Jun 2019
£ 985
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 20 Jun 2019 departure
27 Jun 2019
£ 985
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 27 Jun 2019 departure
04 Jul 2019
£ 995
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 04 Jul 2019 departure
18 Jul 2019
£ 1025
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 18 Jul 2019 departure
25 Jul 2019
£ 1025
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 25 Jul 2019 departure
01 Aug 2019
£ 995
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 01 Aug 2019 departure
08 Aug 2019
£ 995
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 08 Aug 2019 departure
22 Aug 2019
£ 1035
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 22 Aug 2019 departure
05 Sep 2019
£ 995
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 05 Sep 2019 departure
12 Sep 2019
£ 1035
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 12 Sep 2019 departure
19 Sep 2019
£ 1035
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 19 Sep 2019 departure
26 Sep 2019
£ 1035
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 26 Sep 2019 departure
03 Oct 2019
£ 999
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 03 Oct 2019 departure
10 Oct 2019
£ 999
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 10 Oct 2019 departure
14 Oct 2019
£ 999
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 14 Oct 2019 departure
21 Oct 2019
£ 999
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 21 Oct 2019 departure
31 Oct 2019
£ 999
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 31 Oct 2019 departure
07 Nov 2019
£ 999
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 07 Nov 2019 departure
21 Nov 2019
£ 999
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 21 Nov 2019 departure
05 Dec 2019
£ 999
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 05 Dec 2019 departure
19 Dec 2019
£ 1045
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 19 Dec 2019 departure
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Ukraine tour, Discover Chernobyl

Environment

The accident at Chernobyl was the result of a flawed Soviet reactor that was being operated by inadequately trained staff. Ukraine's isolation during the Cold War meant that their safety culture was lacking and this was a major contributing factor in the accident.

About 200000 people, known as liquidators, from throughout the Soviet Union were involved in the clean up during the year after the disaster. They all received high doses of radiation. In the years that followed many more liquidators were onsite but the radiation levels were far lower.

In 2010 Belarus announced that it was to settle back thousands of people into the 'contaminated areas' and by 2011 Chernobyl was declared safe enough to be recognised as a tourist attraction. Interestingly in 2015 a major scientific study found that the mammal population in the Exclusion Zone was thriving, despite land contamination, which was contrary to what experts had believed would be the case. The Przewalski's horse was close to extinction, but in areas around Chernobyl their population is increasing. Moose, deer, beavers, owls, brown bear, lynx and wolves have also all been spotted and appear to be prospering.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our UK Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators. We acknowledge that air travel has a negative impact on our environment, so we work together with Cool Earth to offset carbon and protect our important rainforests.

Community

Learning about the country we are travelling to is really important on our trips and Ukraine is a country filled with history. One of the reasons we prefer to use local Tour Leaders is so they can give a real insight into the local culture; anything from learning about the education system, to making sure we don’t fall foul of any taboos.

Secondly it is our policy to generate business and employment opportunities in the countries we travel to by employing local people. All our Tour Leaders in Ukraine are locals and we’ve personally trained them all too so they are comfortable in their work and you get great service. As well as respecting local people, we also like to be an economic benefit to them. We do this by using locally owned hotels, spreading our business to a variety of local restaurants (which is a great way to sample delicious Ukrainian food) and employing local guides where we can.

After the invasion of Crimea and the Ukrainian revolution in 2014, tourism to Ukraine was hit hard and is only now starting to recover; obviously our priority is always the safety of our groups and that is why we always follow UK foreign Office Travel Advice and are in constant contact with our local suppliers to ensure we know what conditions are like on the ground.

However we also strongly believe that is important that we continue to send groups to Ukraine to help support the local businesses and our local Tour Leaders. Ukraine is a fabulous country and the capital city, Kiev, is full of history, stunning architecture, mouth-watering food, and it’s affordable with cost of public transport, food and drinks being some of the lowest in Europe. We will also visit the unique site of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and now is the time to go. It’s been over 30 years since the accident and with each passing year the site further decays and eventually it will become inaccessible. Also tourism is only now beginning to pick up again so it’s still relatively quiet here so you can avoid the crowds, especially if you visit in autumn and winter, which is also a great time for photography as you can get a clearer view of the ruins when the leaves aren’t on the trees. In Chernobyl our groups visit the self-settlers that live alone inside the Exclusion Zone which helps to give them companionship and much needed food supplies.

Popular similar holidays

Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova holidays

Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova holidays

Stunning scenery, historic cities and traditional cultures

From £2649 16 days excluding flights

Ukraine cultural tour

Ukraine cultural tour

Discover one of Europe's least known nations

From £2625 14 days excluding flights

Moldova and Ukraine tours

Moldova and Ukraine tours

Explore little visited Moldova and Ukraine

From £1199 - £1299 8 days including UK flights

Ukraine tour, echoes of the Cold War

Ukraine tour, echoes of the Cold War

Delve into Ukraine's secret Soviet past

From £2345 10 days excluding flights

Convert currencies