The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations.
Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.
A selection of optional activities are listed below to help you budget for your holiday. Whilst the trip price you pay before you travel includes a great selection of highlights, we have also built in free time to allow you the flexibility to choose from a carefully selected range of additional excursions and activities or take time to relax, the choice is yours. At certain destinations along the way there may be several options to choose from and it may not be possible to fit all the activities in; your Explore Leader will be able to give advice on which are the most suitable for you.
Tour to Mezhygiria operates on day 13 for around four hours and includes transport, local guide and entrance fee, 840 UAH per person (minimum 4 passengers).
Tour to Pyrohiv Open Air Museum operates on day 13 for around three hours and includes transport, local guide and entrance fee, 700 UAH per person.
Lavra Monastery Complex visit operates on day 13 and includes the caves, Museum of Miniatures, Museum of Historical Treasures and Holy Trinity Church, 1500 UAH per group up to 10 people or 150 UAH per person if there are 10 or more participants.
Odessa Catacombs including local guide, operates on day four from around 14.00 for two and a half hours, 700 UAH per person (minimum four passengers).
Number 411 Coastal Defence, operates on day five for around three hours, 700 UAH per person (minimum four passengers).
Day trip to the Dniester National Park, operates on day five, includes three to four hour bird watching boat trip, local guide, transport and entrance fee, 1,260 UAH per person (minimum six passengers).
Odessa markets tour to the Flea Market, Privoz Market and Seventh Kilometre Market, operates on day five for around six hours, includes local guide and transport, 900 UAH per person.
Entrance to the Army Museum in the Centre of Culture and Military History, operates on day seven for around one hour, 40 Moldovan Leu (MDL) per person.
Full day excursion to Verkhovyna, operates on day 10 and includes transport (the drive is around two and a half hours each way), a short hike with a local guide, Hutsul Museum entrance and seeing cheese made by a local family. 6700 UAH per group plus 300 UAH per person.
Full day excursion to the Caves of Ternopil, operates on day 10 and includes transport (the drive is around three hours each way), local guide, lunch and visiting three caves - Crystal, Verteba and Monastyrok. 5000 UAH per group plus 200-250 UAH per person. The caves are lit and there's no need for special equipment for this visit. The temperature in the caves year round is above 11 Celsius, so you should dress accordingly.
Brewery visit, 100 UAH per person.
Chocolate Master Class operates on day 12 for about one and a half hours and includes a local guide, 420 UAH per person (minimum five passengers). This needs to be pre-booked at the start of your trip with your Leader.
Lytschkiv Cemetery operates on day 12 for about two hours and includes a local guide, 420 UAH per person (minimum five passengers).
Tour of One Street including the Palace of Leon Sapieha, Museum Prison on Lontskoho and Lviv Citadel, operates on day 12 for about three hours, 1,500 UAH per group.
Please note that all optional excursions listed above are subject to change and availability and they may not all be possible to offer on every departure date.
July and August are the hottest months and lightweight cotton clothing is best. During spring and autumn temperatures can be lower or drop during the evenings and there is also a stronger possibility of rain, so pack layers. Rainwear may be needed at any time of year. A warm fleece/jacket is recommended for cooler evenings. During winter you should be prepared for snow and very cold temperatures, so it's advisable to dress in warm layers of breathable fabrics. You'll need waterproofs and plenty of warm clothing including a warm waterproof jacket (such as a ski jacket), jumper, fleece, gaiters or ski trousers, thick socks (including spare pairs in case your feet get wet) and thermal underwear.
All visitors to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone must wear full length trousers (not shorts or skirts) and long-sleeve shirts/jackets and please avoid clothing with lots of zips or metal poppers. It's advisable to wash your clothes and to shower after your visit. We also recommend that you take old clothes that can be easily washed or even thrown away if necessary and a plastic bag to keep them separate from the rest of your clothing following the visit. Upon leaving the Exclusion Zone you will go through a monitor to check the radiation level on you, occasionally this reading may come back too high, and in which case, you may have to leave an item of clothing behind, as you won't be able to take anything that gives too higher reading outside of the zone.
Women should bring a headscarf for religious site visits.
Luggage: On tour
One main piece of baggage and a day pack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself.
This trip is at a full on pace, including a train journey with shorts walks and/or stairs between platforms, stations and accommodation, so for this reason please take care to make sure you can comfortably carry your own luggage throughout the trip.
We advise taking a water bottle for our included walks, sun glasses, sunscreen and a sun hat are all essential. An umbrella may also be useful at anytime of year and gloves, a woolly hat and scarf if you are travelling in autumn or winter.
Whilst in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone we recommend carrying wet wipes, hand sanitiser, toilet roll and mosquito spray. We would also recommend buying any bottled water required before entering the Exclusion Zone. Please remember that you must keep your passport with you at all times, so you may find keeping it in a sealed plastic bag useful. For the overnight stay in Chernobyl it is best to take a small overnight bag with you and to leave your main bag padlocked in the luggage storage facility at our hotel in Kiev.
During autumn and winter especially, the evenings can be cold and the heating at the hotel in Chernobyl is limited, so we'd recommend bringing warm nightwear and perhaps a blanket and hot water bottle.
In case of emergency we also recommend that you carry a torch with spare batteries and sufficient medical supplies including a first aid kit and several days extra supply of any specific prescription medications that you require. You may find a head torch handy for on the overnight train journey.
Tipping isn't compulsory, and we work hard to ensure that our leaders all receive a fair wage. You may however, want to recognise a leader that has done a great job or really added to your trip by giving them a tip. We're often asked about the recommended amount. It is a tricky one, and down to personal preference, but we would recommend £15 to £20 per person per week as a guideline.
Although voluntary, tipping is a recognised part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. Accordingly, you should allow approximately £30 of local currency for tipping.
In order to make things easier for you, the Explore Leader may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the trip.