Everything you need to know before visiting Chernobyl in Ukraine. How to get there, safety rules, some myths and true facts about this site.
To understand better:
The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the No. 4 nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
This event shaken up the whole world since it could blow up almost half of Europe.
Thanks to genius miniseries created by HBO, this site is trending now. If you haven’t seen it yet I strongly recommend you to give it a shot.
The best way to visit Chernobyl is from Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. There are couple of official tours to this ghost city. It is located about 100 km (62 mi) north of the city. It takes around 2 hours to drive to Chernobyl from Kyiv.
- This one is the old one, they have been doing tours before the famous series. The website is horrible not very user-friendly but there is a decent Facebook group. UA citizens they charge 49$ and foreigners 99$. Also English-speaking guide is provided upon request.
- There is a new one, with way better landing page and cheaper. But there is nothing about English language on the trip, so it’s better to ask them.
What to expect?
Something you have never seen before. The city of Pripyat, is the victim of a catastrophic nuclear accident in 1986. Just imagine, over one night all the citizens had to evacuate and leave all their belongings. Nobody was explaining them anything, they had no idea what had happened and if they are coming back home ever again.
People were allowed to grab the documents and money. All of them believed they will come back home in couple of days.
Is it safe to visit Chernobyl?
Yes, if you follow guides and apply common sense it’s 100% safe. In fact, you’ll be exposed to less radiation when you visit Prypiat than when you get an X-Ray. It’s recommended to use clothes & shoes, which protect body, head, hands and feet.
Follow your guide, dress wisely and don’t touch anything and I can guarantee you will be protected from radiation. No pets of course allowed.
Some of my friends where burning their clothes after the visit, but there is no official information about this recommendation. You have to pass the compulsory radiation control of clothes, foot wear, personal items before leaving the exclusion zone.
Facts about Chernobyl
- The explosion happened on the 26th of April 1986. Soviet authorities were slow to release information about the severity of the disaster to the outside world unless the radioactive levels raised concern in Sweden. There was no official statement from the government and people were outside celebrating national holidays, when the radiation in the air was super dangerous and caused a lot of health problems in the long-term perspective.
- Ukraine and Belarus at that time was a part of Soviet Union and there is a theory that this disaster was one of the reasons why, thanks God, Soviet Union has collapsed in 1995.
- Radioactive rain was spotted in Ireland, and Belarus got of 70% of the pollution.
- While humans are strictly prohibited from living in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, many other species have settled there. The wildlife, without human disturbance in the territory, is flourishing
- Until 2018, it was illegal to bring any animal out of the zone due to the risk of radiation contamination. But now, puppies cleared of radiation are getting a chance to find their forever homes.
Yulia aka Senior Travel Adventurer
Yulia has been traveling for 6 years already. She enjoys being Digital Nomad and is ready to share her favorite places and destinations with you!