Chernobyl & Transnistria Tour
This is a land that we know and love, the nuclear wasteland of Chernobyl and the unrecognised country of Transnistria!
The tour kicks off in Kiev and finishes in Bucharest with much to see and do in between. We can help with travel arrangements to and from these two cities.
We have split the tour into two groups with the option of doing either one part or combining the two. Group One will be visiting not only Pripyat (Chernobyl), but also sampling the night time delights on a bar crawl. Our contacts in Pripyat mean, we can usually sneak in some secret sites that we are not allowed to blog about! This is an exclusive private tour to ensure we see all.
After Group One leave us in Kiev, Group Two will continue firstly to Odessa, then onto Tiraspol, Capital of the breakaway republic of Transnistria. If you want off the beaten track, this is it. We really mix it up here by having one night in a very Soviet hotel. Following a few nights here, we visit Moldova, before taking the overnight train to Bucharest for a Ceausescu tour. Bucharest is also a flight hub which will make it easier to arrange onward flights.
Friday 10th April - Kiev
- Arrival in Kiev at own time and check into Kiev Central Station Hostel.
- City walking tour of Kiev followed by an optional trip to a shooting range where we are able to experience firing some high caliber Soviet-era guns (extra charge).
- We go for dinner and drinks at Ward No 6 (Palata No 6), which was recently featured in the “10 places to drink in before you die” list. Be sure to try the shot requiring you to wear a straitjacket and be set on fire…
- Overnight in Kiev.
Saturday 11th April - Chernobyl
- Very early start for our trip to the Chernobyl exclusion zone. On the way there we stop for breakfast and watch a documentary on the disaster.
- On arrival, we go through the entry procedure and processing of our permits.
- Visit an outer village, the main square of the town of Chernobyl, “Fukushima” memorial, Statue to Lenin and the abandoned Synagogue.
- Lunch at the Workers Cafe.
- Visit the Dock, local shops, Monument to the Firefighters, hills of the buried village Kopachi, rustic kindergarten, the new sarcophagus, the Stone Road sign of Prypiat, Bridge of Death, Lenin Street, main square of Prypiat, supermarket, Amusement Park, School #3 (with gas masks), and swimming pool.
- We transfer to the Chernobyl Hotel for dinner, sampling of vodka, and stay overnight in the zone. Rooms are based on twin sharing.
Sunday 12th April – Chernobyl
- Up early with breakfast in the hotel before we head back into the zone.
- Visit Duga 3, nicknamed the “Russian Woodpecker,” - a Soviet radar base used throughout the cold war.
- Visit the Cooling towers on the side of the unfinished reactors 5 and 6. Visit the Fish farm and “Red Forest”.
- Visit the Panel buildings with Soviet emblems.
- Visit the ruins of the School, hospital and morgue.
- Pripyat passenger boats on River Port, “Prometheus” cinema, music school and athletic stadium.
- Laboratory in the former kindergarten, greenhouses and bus station.
- We board our bus for the drive back to Kiev.
- Group 1 end tour in Kiev and depart via private arrangement.
- Group 2 continue by night train to Odessa.
Monday 13th April - Odessa
- 07:50 arrival in Odessa – check bags in at the train station.
- Breakfast followed by an optional city tour or free time to explore this historic city.
- Early evening departure for the 3-4 hour train ride to Tiraspol, Capital of the breakaway republic of Transnistria.
- On arrival in Tiraspol, we register with immigration at the train station before transferring to the local version of the Soviet Intourist Hotel.
- We go for dinner locally, followed by drinks in the country’s only night club.
- Overnight in the Soviet Hotel.
Tuesday 14th April - Tiraspol
- Early rise up to grab breakfast near the hotel.
- City tour of Tiraspol.
- Pobedi Park and a chance to enjoy the rides at the 50’s style amusement park!
- Walk down October 25th street (the main drag) which has a large billboard of former President Smirnoff posing with the Presidents of the two other Soviet breakaway Republics of South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
- Visit the Russian Orthodox Church of Tiraspol. Newly renovated with golden domes.
- Visit the Eternal Flame Independence War Memorial.
- Visit Parliament which boasts the biggest statue of Lenin outside Russia.
- Leisurely walk to the river park. There is a walking bridge here for great panoramic photos of the river and downtown Tiraspol. There is also a beach here where we can stop for ice cream.
- Lunch at Andy’s Pizza.
- Pobedi Park. There is a famous 24-hour beer and vodka stall here. A great place for people-watching.
- Pobedi Park Disco.
- Overnight at Soviet hotel.
Wednesday 15th April - Tiraspol
- We leave the hotel for Bendery via mini-bus number 20. The journey takes 20 minutes.
- We arrive in Bendery town center. We enter one of the largest outdoor markets in all of Transnistria. Guests will be able to shop and buy anything they want at very low prices.
- We leave the market and continue walking down the main street until we reach the central orthodox church.
- We continue walking down the main street until we arrive at Lenin Park. We view the main fountain and the bust of Lenin.
- We continue to walk down the main street until we reach the train station. It seems like a ghost town because few trains stop here and there are almost no passengers.
- Beside the train station is an old Soviet train from WWII with the hammer and sickle on the front. Inside is a museum of the civil war between Moldova and Transnistria.
- When finished with the museum tour, we walk back past the park until we arrive at the city hall. The city hall has been left exactly as it was during the civil war and still filled with bullet holes.
- Lunch in the town.
- We continue our walk to the river. There are statues and old amusement rides including bumper cars here. A scene right out of the 1950’s, but the rides are still operating!
- After a stroll down the river, we walk back to the bus stop to catch our mini-bus back to Tiraspol.
- We check out of our hotel and go to the train station for the short ride to Chisinau.
- Check into the Chisinau Hotel.
- Free evening and overnight
Thursday 16th April - Chisinau
- City walking tour of Chisinau.
- World War II Memorial and Military Museum.
- Central open-air market, great place for kitsch souvenirs.
- Government buildings and parliament.
- History Museum.
- Traditional Moldovan Dinner at La Plicente.
- Overnight in Chisinau Hotel.
Friday 17th April - Chisinau
- Morning trip to Cricova Winery to see the wine making process and to sample some of Eastern Europe’s best wine! This is one of the most amazing wine cellars you are ever likely to see.
- Free afternoon in Chisinau.
- 16.45 train to Bucharest.
Saturday 18th April - Bucharest
- 06.00 arrival in Bucharest.
- Check into the hostel for a short rest.
- We conclude the tour with a day tour of Ceausescu’s Bucharest! We will do a local walking tour, seeing all the must see sites from “revolutionary” times such as Parliament Palace (the big palace), Revolutionary Square, and the old centre.
- Dinner at Care Cu Bare.
- Drinks and a last night pub-crawl in Bucharest’s old town.
Sunday 19th April - Bucharest
- End of tour – Own transport to be arranged from Bucharest.