Book your 3-day private tour to Chernobyl

"The story of the Zone goes way more far than its barbed wire border"

A 3-days trip through all the Chernobyl Zone and its surroundings with the in-depth look.

 

This tour is your opportunity to see the real Chernobyl Zone along with surrounding places — to get a complete image of what is behind these lands and what is the post-Chernobyl life here.
It is a combination of locations where human is a guest, along with Zone's famous sites (though, much deeper than usual), as well as disaster-related places around the Zone. All of this — with our data, stories, knowledge and equipment.

We will help you to understand the contexts, history and processes that are behind the real life here. And find the answer, why within the Zone the lands outside it are often called "The Great land"

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Features & Itinerary

  • Nearly 200 kilometres in the Zone on rough roads and hours on foot.
  • 2 days of exploration with maximum flexibility and learning new.
  • We take care of all legal paperwork for permits and arrangements. Insurance included.
  • Transfers with reliable vehicles and with skilled drivers. You can also use your own car, but we will need one or two seats for us.
  • Different pick-up and drop-off options — Kyiv or the main checkpoint of Dytiatky.
  • Accommodation in Chernobyl, guesthouse in a nearby village or at
  • Data: hundreds of pictures in our databases and hours of stories.
  • Meals: dinner, breakfast, and coffee in Chernobyl.
  • Our team speaks English, Slovak, Ukrainian or Russian.
  • You can request that one of our special experts or advisors accompany you.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1 — The Old Times.

We say that the Zone without appropriate understanding of local context and historical processes behind it is just a group of very beautiful ruins. The first day of our trip is an in-depth look to the background of Chernobyl land and the life there years before the power plant was built.

Kyiv — Checkpoint Dityatky

We pick you up in Kyiv near your hotel or desired meeting point on 8-00 in the morning and do passport check-up, after that we start driving to Chernobyl Zone.

It takes approximate 2 hours to get to the main checkpoint of the Zone, located at the village of Dityatky, 110 km north from Kyiv.  Normally on our way we stop at gas station for snacks and coffee.

On approximately 10-00, after safety briefing and entry clearance we enter the Zone and start driving by main highway, that passes villages of Cherevach and Zalissya, towards the town of Chernobyl.

Town of Chernobyl — The bridge over the river of Pripyat

During pre-NPP history, Chernobyl, known from 1193 was a central neighborhood of Chernobyl Polissya region. Despite its long and complex history, it came to modern times as a relatively small and quite regular town (population 14,000 as for 1986), that served as a cargo and passenger port of Pripyat river. As for 1970s, it gave its name to NPP as the closest town existed in 1970, when the construction of the power plant started. This fact, along with bigger apartment blocks, built in the same period for contractors are nearly the only relations of it to giant nuclear facility.

After evacuation of population, the town became a major site of deployment of organizations, services and facilities that provide functioning of the Zone. Currently, not counting few dozens of self-settlers, it is a place of shift-stay of approximately 3,000 employees. It has basic infrastructure for this (up to hotels and stores), though its regime nature is clearly visible — for example, here is a curfew in the evening.

During our trip, we use Chernobyl as a technical and logistics hub, as it is very conveniently located, and visit its sights — Jewish district (as Chernobyl had a massive Jewish diaspora in the past), bay of ChREB (Chernobyl Vessel Repair Plant), where we can see original cargo vessels that were used to transport construction matherials for Shelter Object, an exhibition of real robotic equipment for NPP rooftops cleanup, and more.

After our initial visit to the town, we turn to the bridge over the river of Pripyat to cross to its left bank. During driving, it will be possible to see giant silhoette of the power plant over the horizon.

Paryshiv-2 — Koshivka — Starosillya — Kryva Hora — Zymovysche — Krasno and back

We pass checkpoint Paryshiv-2 and drive to the north, to the places where not so many people go, but that sill keep the authenthity of Chernobyl region. We start our exploration here intentionally, because especially here one can get an image of how the life looked before a power plant was created.

These places, located between rivers, endless swamps and dense forests, for centuries were a site for ancient neighborhoods. As physical access here was obstructed (a bridge was built only in 1989), a traditional, pretty archaic way of life continued here, making these lands an epitome of Chernobyl Polissya culture, still in the focus of interest of ethnographists and adventure seekers.

Our major stops here are villages of Starosillya with its traditional houses; Zymovysche, that used to be a center of a very huge farm — so here is possible to find a lot of neglected agriculture machinery; and, of course, Krasno — a tiny village, where among other sights, such its school, post office and houses, a gem of traditional architecture located — a majestic St. Michael church, built from wood in 1800. If the conditions of the road will allow, we can visit the most northern village of the left bank — Mashevo, with its perfectly preserved school.

Zymovysche will be our first contact with increased radioactivity — through this villages passes the Northern Track of contamination.

Paryshiv-2 — Chernobyl

We make a technical stop in Chernobyl for rest and coffee, and then continue our way.

Zalissya - Dityatky checkpoint

We make a stop in Zalissya village. Contrary to all we have seen at left bank, this one is drastically different, as it was under rapid development in 1980s, that made it the biggest as for modern Zone — here lived more than 3,000 people. It also was a site of a huge collective cattle farm. After this place, we go to exit checkpoint.

Dityatky checkpoint - Orane

We pass contamination check-up, that performed with automatic radiometers RZB-03-04, exit the Zone and go drive around 10 kilometers to Orane village (next one behind Dityatky) for dinner. After this we go for accommodation to the former research base, that is located in the forest near the village.

Research base of the Academy of science of USSR (Museum part and accommodation)

This place is classical example of Soviet forest weekend resorts — it is a group of small (and lovely) houses for 2-4 people in pine forest, with basic infrastructure. It was built in 1970s, and after few years of functioning was abandoned after Chernobyl disaster. Shortly after this it was selected by Igor Ryabov — one the leading Soviet ihtiologists as a deployment point of long-term radiobiological research expedition that was in action up to his death in 2004. During next decades, with the help of scientists, it was significantly rebuilt — here few laboratories were created, along with canteen and small etnographic museum.

After check-in, we visit the museum, where we can see variety of artifacts of past centuries, collected by research team and then we have free time and rest.

Day 2 — The Core

The second day of our journey will touch obscure sides of the pre-disaster history, and will make a transition to what happened after Unit IV exploded in 1986.

Orane - Dityatky checkpoint - Chernobyl - Leliv checkpoint - Chernobyl-2

After breakfast, we enter the Zone again. This time, we enter to the inner subzone of treating radioactive matherials, or, as it is called inside — 10-km Zone, or desyatka through internal checkpoint named Leliv after nearby village.

Shortly after we turn to the military concrete road and drive approximately 6 kms to Chernobyl-2. This formerly supersecret town is hidden in dense forests and was one of 6 components of Duga (eng. "Arc") over-the-horizon radar complex, designed in 1970s to detect launches of U.S. ICBMs to Soviet Union. 
The main point of interest there is breathtaking antenna array of 2 antennas — 148 x 500 m and 98 x 250 m as well as surrounding facilities.

When we come to Chernobyl-2, we leave the car near its checkpoint, and go on foot to visit antennas, cabling tunnel, go around data processing center and other facilities, like vehicles service depot, firestation, and so on. All together, it is few hours of detailed walking and exploring one of the most spectacular sites of the Zone.
As Chernobyl disaster caused a contamination of Chernobyl-2, being followed by end of Cold War and collapse of Soviet Union, the fate of Duga project was dark - it was cancelled and all the components destroyed, except array of Chernobyl-2. 

Chernobyl-2 - Kopachi village

This village, along with villages of Chystogalivka and Yaniv had a sad fate — being built of wood, it faced extreme contamination, so during the decontamination works 99% of structures were buried underground. Therefore, the area looks like a forest with lot of small hills over the initial houses. 

After decades, levels of radioactivity there lowered significantly, but it is a very good point to see for the first time how to measure intensive exposure, learn about specific types of heavy contamination, etc. So we make here a short stop.

Cooling Pond and Fish Research Radiological Facility

We enter industrial area of Chernobyl NPP and make a stop close to its cooling pond — a 26 sq. kms reservoir created for passive cooling of Units I-IV. Since this pond was all-the-year warm, it was used for raising fish. After the disaster, the dedicated facility was converted to research lab to study radioactivity effects. It was in operation aproximately up to 2004.

Cooling Towers

We walk by railway initially created to transport nuclear waste, and approach massive cooling towers of Phase III of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. As construction of Units V and VI stopped in 1988, they stay untouched since then, yet not becoming less impressive.

Around NPP and New Safe Confinement of Unit IV

We drive along the water intake channel and pass storage for spent nuclear fuel #2 and unfinished Units 5 and 6, and come closer to Phases 1 and 2.
Next, we drive around NPP and stop at the observation point of New Safe Confinement (the Arch) — the superstructure that on November 29, 2016 covered Shelter Object (the Sarcophagus) for 100 years.

Red (Rusty) Forest Site

We pass one of (if not the most) well-known sites that related to disaster — so-called Rusty Forest. Once this area was an old and dense pine forest, that was covered with intensive contamination shortly after reactor exploded. Since pine-trees are particulatly vulnerable to irradiation, they died, getting the rusty color. The forest was almost totally demolished in 1986, making visible the so-called Forest Village, created in 1970 to house first builders of NPP. However, few of that trees still stand. We stop only near welcome sign of Pripyat, in a safe place, and after continue driving.

NPP — Leliv checkpoint - Chernobyl - NPP Pioneers' Camp - Ilovnitsa

We pass contamination check-up at Leliv checkpoint, and then make a technical stop in Chernobyl for rest and coffee.

Our next destination is Kazkovy — the summer camp for kids of NPP employees that located in the village of Ilovnytsa in the forest. In many aspects it shares architectural details with Pripyat. In 1986, after evacuation of Pripyat, this place became a deployment site for NPP workers that participated in liquidation of consequences of disaster. On demand we can make optional stop in Ilovnitsa.

Rudnia-Veresnia

It is not known when this village was founded, however, its age estimated to be at least 200 years. In pre-Soviet time, a river Veresnia that passes through the village, was a source of bog iron, that was collected and transported via small-gauge railway close to Dityatky, where an iron-production manufacture was located. There are no remains of railway anymore, but this specialization of the village reflected in the word Rudnia that refers to ore in Ukrainian.

The lands here are exceptionally sandy, so this neigborhood is relatively low-touched by sprawling vegetation and we find it very picturesque. For second day, this is our final location in the Zone.

Dityatky checkpoint - Orane

We pass contamination check-up, exit the Zone and go drive for dinner and then back to accommodation.

Research base of the Academy of science of USSR (Laboratory visit and accommodation)

We visit the laboratory of the research base. Here we can see vintage equipment from 1980s that was used for research works. After that we have free time and rest.

Day 3 — The Legacy

The third day of our journey focused on post-disaster events, and the a core of the Zone &mdash city of Pripyat.

Orane - Dityatky checkpoint - Opachichi - Kupuvate

After breakfast, we enter the Zone again. This time, in front of Cherevach bridge we turn right, and drive by the wide, but nearly abandoned road, that was built after the accident to connect Chernobyl with Zeleny Mys liquidators' camp. After we pass Opachichi village, we arrive to Kupuvate — a village, where we can meet self-settlers and learn more, how do they live in post-disaster world. These people intentionally returned to their homes in the Zone during 1987-1988.

We kindly remind, that altough it is a possibility to see unique phenomenon that in few years will dissapear (as these people are really old), self-settlers are alive people with their needs, problems and changes of mood, though they are very friendly. So these meetings are not for enterntaiment and require respect and certain understanding of local customs (we will help with this, but same time we prefer to warn).

Kupuvate - Chernobyl - Leliv checkpoint - Pripyat

We make a short technical stop in Chernobyl, then pass Leliv checkpoint and drive to Pripyat — the satellite town of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, established in 1970 and 16 years old only at time of disaster. Designed for ~50000 residents it consists of 5 districts and more than 180 structures. As it faced very intensive decontamination, the levels of radioactivity there generally not high except minor small hotspots. Approximately up to 2000 this city was mostly used in pretty the same way like Chernobyl now — as a host for many organizations and companies of the Zone. Few facilities still operate in Pripyat.

We leave our car at the central square and explore the city on foot for the rest of the day — believe, it is the best practice to walk there, not drive. We may take any route you would like, or go from oldest part to newest, covering major sights. 

Average list of locations depends on actual constraints, but normally we have time to cover as famous locations as well as completely non-touristic places. We are flexible with this very much.

Please note, that especially in Pripyat it is officially forbidden to go inside structures, as it is really unsafe (and, honestly, Chernobyl-2 is much more rich in the scope of internals, so we prefer to go there). Anyway, in fact in Pripyat there are numerous places where you can perfectly see internals even without entering them.

Pripyat — Leliv checkpoint - Chernobyl - Dityatky checkpoint

We pass contamination check-up at Leliv checkpoint, and then make a technical stop in Chernobyl for rest, coffee and summing all up. After that, we drive to Dityatky checkpoint, pass secondary and final contamination check-up, and drive back to Kyiv.

Way back to Kyiv

It takes around 2 hours to get back to Kyiv. On the way make a stop in Ivankiv in restaurant for afterparty dinner.

Notices:

  • If you need help with airport transfer or booking your hotel, let us know.
  • In the price included: processing of all documents, accomodation, meals (dinner on the 1st day, breakfast and dinner on the second), guiding in English, obligatory insurance, transfer from Kyiv, within the Zone and back, tons of good emotions and nice experience :)
  • Acomodation type is a subject of availability. Normally, we can offer either accomodation in Chernobyl in original hotel of the town, or outside the Zone in nearby village in private guesthouse. Second option is more comfortable and not a subject of Zone's curfew after 20-00.
  • In order to maximize the time for exploration, we have meals in the evening. It is always possible to buy snacks in Chernobyl. If you stay outside the Zone overnight, we can provide much better meals that available by cafe in the Zone.
  • This program can be extended with NPP internal visit, to 3 or 4 days with more locations. Contact us, if you are interested.
  • Normally, it is needed at least 10 calendar days to issue the entry permit for a trip. It is legal procedure that normally cannot be shortened. In order to issue a permit, we need your full and accurate passport information and all details discussed before that time.
  • We work only in private tours format and do not offer group tours, because we do not want to lower the quality of our programs.

When, who and how


E.g., 14.12.2018
Permit requests are accepted by authorities in 10 calendar days advance for processing and security clearance.
Select the start day of the tour.
Please select a transfer type.
Please note, that if you select "Own vehicle", you MUST provide brand, numberplate and a name of a driver in advance along with passport details of the group.
Price per 1 visitor:
€1176
As more visitors go with you, as lower the price.
We will apply 10% discount for the tours booked for December, January and February.