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history • 10 days, 9 nights

Chernobyl, Minsk, and the Belarusian Independence Day Parade

Minsk, Belarus
history • 10 days, 9 nights

Chernobyl, Minsk, and the Belarusian Independence Day Parade

Minsk, Belarus
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  • Group Size 12 People Maximum
  • Activity Level
    Moderate
  • Travel Style
    Road Trip
from $3,325 USD per person
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Trip Overview
Overview

Join us on an immersive journey from Belarus to Ukraine, visiting the “Hero City” of Minsk, a living museum-city of Soviet Modernist Architecture; bustling Kyiv, a hotspot for European tourism; and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a place few people get the chance to visit. We’ll glimpse buildings and monuments steeped in history, partake in a Soviet-style Independence Day parade, and dedicate a full three days to exploring the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, where we’ll come to more fully understand the accident, the decades of devastation that followed, and the people who have chosen to return. Along the way, we’ll meet a Stalin-Award-winning artist, a Pripyat local who resettled in the Exclusion Zone, and several Belarusian Independence Day parade-goers who will help us balance some of these heavy histories with hearty food, personal anecdotes, and on parade day, rollicking fun.

Highlights
  • Celebrate Belarus’s Independence Day Parade
  • Explore Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone and power plant
  • Tour the lavish mansion of a deposed president
  • Glimpse Soviet Modernist architecture
  • Meet Pripyat locals who have resettled in the Exclusion Zone

Itinerary

Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.

Trip Leader

Nate Robert
Nate is an Australian travel writer and photographer who spends his time between Ukraine, Iran, and Tunisia. He's led trips for Atlas Obscura since 2018, and specializes in creating itineraries and opportunities that open up unusual experiences—both planned and spontaneous—that travelers wouldn't encounter on their own. He's an experienced photographer who has spent time in a diverse array of both urban and rural settings.

Additional Info

Pricing & Single Accommodations

The total cost of this trip is $3,335. For those traveling solo and who'd like their own room, single accommodations can be provided, subject to availability, at an additional cost of $380.

Arrival & Departure

Our trip begins in Minsk, Belarus and ends in Kyiv, Ukraine. We recommend arriving in Minsk by 3 p.m. on Day 1 and departing from Kyiv any time in the morning on Day 10. If you'd like to extend your trip, we’d be happy to provide suggestions for things to do and see in these two cities on your own.

Activity Level

Travelers should feel comfortable walking three to five miles over the course of each day. We’ll be traveling mainly by private vehicle and by foot, taking several walking tours that require standing for long periods of time. Our three-day exploration of Chernobyl will involve quite a bit of walking over rough terrain, so please be sure to bring walking boots or other appropriate outdoor footwear. Long sleeves and full-length pants are also required inside the Zone.

Included
  • Accommodation throughout the trip at comfortable hotels.
  • All meals described in the itinerary.
  • Regional flight from from Minsk to Kyiv.
  • Transportation throughout the trip, including by private vehicle.
  • Three experienced guides to accompany you for the duration of the trip, as well as special guests throughout.
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events.
  • A great group of fellow Atlas Obscura travelers, excited to explore all that Minsk, Kyiv, and Chernobyl have to offer!
  • 24/7 emergency assistance during your trip, provided by Global Rescue.
Excluded
  • Transportation to Minsk, Belarus and from Kyiv, Ukraine.
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations.
  • Airport transfers.
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings, including most alcoholic beverages.
  • Applying for a Ukraine or Belarus visa, as applicable.
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Trip FAQ

Chernobyl is very much safe to visit. The outer area, the 30km Zone, acts as more of a buffer space between the contaminated land and the rest of Ukraine. This area is more or less fine—people live there full-time, they grow crops, raise livestock, and so on. Radiation levels in the 30km Zone are lower than the standard background radiation in a typical developed city. The largest dose of radiation our travelers usually get is from their trans-Atlantic flights. Most important, as always, is following the site’s regulations. Chernobyl’s security team is really thorough, and last year alone it safely catered to 120,000+ visitors.

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Upcoming Departures

  • Jul 1–Jul 10, 2021
    from $3,325
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