Chernobyl Tour Highlights
The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone covers an area of 2,600 km2 (1,000 sq mi) around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The zone is said to be one of the most radioactively contaminated sites globally, so access is heavily restricted, but in 2017, the area became accessible to tourists who are accompanied by a licensed guide. During your Chernobyl tour, we'll spend two days exploring the Exclusion Zone, including an overnight stay in a small hotel.
Following the Reactor 4 explosion, the area was enclosed in a large concrete shelter to contain the highly radioactive material that had been exposed. Alas, this needed to be replaced in 2016, so a 'New Safe Confinement' structure was built and moved into place. It is the world's largest movable structure, and robotic cranes are taking the old shelter and radioactive core apart in an effort to make the area safe again. Stand within a short distance of this vast shield and gain an appreciation for the sheer scale of the operation.
Visit Pripyat to get a sense of what local life was like before disaster struck. Located just three kilometres from the reactor, the city was inhabited by the plant's workers and their families and had to be evacuated following the accident. Today, the streets are deserted and shrubs sprawl through every building. Follow your local guide to discover the skeletons of abandoned fairground rides, peer into the lobbies of empty hotels and stand in the stalls of a derelict football stadium.
Despite efforts by the authorities to keep people out of the area, a small number of people still live off-grid in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Known as self-settlers, we will hopefully have the chance to speak with them during our visit there. Listen to their stories of yesteryear and find out what life was like in the area before, during and after the disaster.
Chernobyl 2 / Soviet Duga Radar Facility
Visit the secret Soviet Duga Radar Facility, a military radar base named Chernobyl 2, where two radars were constructed as part of a Soviet early missile detection system. A top-secret site, it never appeared on civilian maps, and the trees blocked its view from neighbouring towns. The bigger of the two radars is almost 500 metres long and around 150 metres high, and you'll also find an abandoned fire station, small power plant, hospital and apartment buildings there.