A Tour Around Chernobyl – Do You Dare?

I’ve written about some incredibly touristy places on Go4Travel before, and I’ve also written about some pretty low-key, underrated destinations. But it’s safe to say that this article is gonna top the list as being one of the most controversial places in the world to visit – Chernobyl. For those of you who don’t know, Chernobyl was made famous internationally by the catastrophic nuclear accident that took place there on the 23rd April, 1986. In terms of casualties and cost, it was the worst nuclear power plant accident in history. 31 people in total died during the accident, and long-term effects on those affected by the disaster are still being investigated. Within six years of the accident, congenital defects in newborn babies rose to a shocking 40%, and became the primary cause of infant mortality. In one contaminated area of Belarus, 95% of children in 2005 were reported to have at least one chronic illness. Although Ukrainian officials declared that the area of Chernobyl would not be safe for human life for another 20,000 years, the sealed zone around the reactor was opened up to tourists in 2011 for a variety of Chernobyl Nuclear Accident Tours. And do you know what? I’d love to be one of them.

Chernobyl Nuclear Accident Tours: Abandoned Ferris Wheel
Abandoned Ferris Wheel: Photo Simon Smith / CC BY-SA 2.0

Chernobyl Nuclear Accident Tours

There are so many different companies offering Chernobyl Nuclear Accident tours around Chernobyl, and they’re actually becoming increasingly popular to curious (and reckless) travellers like myself. The Retro Chernobyl Tour escorts tourists around the site in a soviet style car and takes them 30 years back in time. The 12-hour Chernobyl day tour includes visits to spooky abandoned buildings like a hospital, a swimming pool, a kindergarten, a police station and an amusement park, as well as an in-depth insight into communist life in 1986. On the other hand, this Chernobyl day tour was the first of its kind and has been seen on the Travel Channel, CNN and BBC (Top Gear!).

Chernobyl Nuclear Accident Tours: Chernobyl Amusement Park
Chernobyl Amusement Park: Photo Stefan Krasowski / CC BY 2.0

Tourists can choose from either a one-day or two-day tour. The two-day tour includes a visit to Chernobyl’s main square, the Lenin statue, an abandoned synagogue, the hills of the buried village Kopachi, the “Red Forest”, and panel buildings with Soviet emblems, among many other interesting stops. These are just a couple of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident tours available – and to my surprise, they’re not actually that expensive to go on.

Chernobyl Nuclear Accident Tours: Chernobyl Kindergarten
Chernobyl Kindergarten by Eamonn Butler on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Spooky Spots in Chernobyl

As well as being an absolute foodie when I’m on my travels, spooky stuff is also one of my guilty pleasures. You know those people who do paranormal investigations in abandoned mental hospitals? Yeah, I love all that, and I’d quite happily go along to one if I ever got the chance to. Anyway, since the residents of Chernobyl upped and left on the day of the accident due to the radiation exposure, everything in Chernobyl today is exactly as it was left in 1986 – a city stuck in time, to 30 years prior. If that isn’t eerie, then I don’t know what is.

Chernobyl Nuclear Accident Tours: Would You Dare? Pripyat Main Square
Pripyat Main Square: Photo Eamonn Butler / CC BY 2.0

Why You Should Go

… Why shouldn’t you go? Not only is it one of the most prominent historical places in the whole world that’s already been ticked off on thousands of tourists’ bucket lists, but it’s also safe to visit. A tourist who spends two days in the Chernobyl zone receives the same radiation levels that they would during an X-ray screening or an intercontinental flight.

Chernobyl Nuclear Accident Tours: Pripyat with Chernobyl Power Station
Pripyat with Chernobyl Power Station: Photo Eamonn Butler / CC BY 2.0

If anyone has already had the privilege of visiting Chernobyl, please be kind enough to post in the comments about your experience and any advice/tips you may have for those who are planning a visit in the near future!

About Lauren Davidson

Since 2013, Lauren has been writing for various travel and lifestyle websites. Her first piece of writing was a travel guide on the Algarve region of Portugal, where she lived for over a year. Currently residing in Sheffield, England, she is studying Journalism and has a blog at www.natteringblonde.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @Lozikinz.

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3 Responses

  1. Traditional Ukrainian Dishes You'd Be Silly Not To Try | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] who read my travel articles, it’s no secret that I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for off-the-beaten-track destinations. I visit places that aren’t typically favoured by tourists. London, Paris and Rome are three […]

  2. Deevra Norling

    This is interesting and I think I would also be inclined to do a tour like this, provided it really is safe!


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