Specialists in Soviet Europe travel, YPT is proud to announce our tours to the Donbass – the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic.
You may have heard of Shakhtar Donetsk, one of Ukraine’s main football clubs, but we won’t be going to a match because since the creation of the Donetsk People’s Republic they have moved their base to Kiev. We will get to wander around their former home though, the brand new but abandoned Donbass Arena.
And this is a tour right to the very heart of modern Europe’s fault-lines. So whether you like unrecognised countries, Soviet history, Cossack country, recent warzones or just a bit of adventure in general, this is the tour for you!
Check out YPT Guide’s Joel’s blog post for more information on Donbass as one of the world’s youngest unrecognised countries here.
Our tours will be entering and departing through Rostov-on-Don in Russia and the first group tour will be in February 2018, will two more planned for May and July, get in touch for more details and below is a sample itinerary:
Price – €995 Moscow-Donbass-Moscow / €745 Rostov-Donbass-Rostov
Day 1 – Moscow:
- Meet up in the morning and check in at centrally located accommodation, we’ll then some grab breakfast and get to know each other.
- Kick start the tour YPT style with a city tour of Moscow. We will see where some of the most crucial and chilling moments of the last few centuries of ruthless Russian history have been played out at the famous Red Square, pay a visit to Lenin in his mausoleum, overload on nostalgia at the Soviet statue graveyard and other sights.
- We will wind the night off with a group dinner, enjoy some drinks and the city’s booming nightlife.
- Overnight in Moscow.
Day 2 – A Train Adventure into Russia’s Deep South:
- The group will have a free morning to grab supplies for the train journey ahead.
- We will depart around midday for a train journey of epic proportions, this will cut through beautiful scenery deep into the Russian South.
- The rest of the day will be spent on the train. Your YPT guide will ensure the group don’t get bored and draw upon one of the many ways to stay entertained on Soviet style, Russian trains.
- Overnight on train.
Day 3 – The Cossack Stronghold of Rostov-on-Don:
- Early morning arrival in the city of Rostov-on-Don, a famous Russian city of 1 Million people which was founded and now inhabited by the Cossacks, the famous renegade warriors of the Steppe.
- Check in to centrally located accommodation. Free morning for people to rest and freshen up after the train journey.
- We will head out for lunch followed by a city tour of Rostov.
- We will wind down with drinks on a boat trip down the Don River, made famous by multiple battles that have raged over it as well as its significance in Russian literature.
- Dinner and overnight in Rostov, making final preparations for the following big day, our entry into the DPR.
Day 4 – Onward to the Rebel Republic:
- Visit the WW2 memorial at the 4/4 mine. The Nazi’s occupied Donetsk for 700 days, and in less than 2 years, they carried out the extermination of over 75,000 people, including whole families, at the 4/4 mine.
- We continue on our way to Donetsk, stopping at any interesting sights we pass on the way, aiming to arrive at the Rebel Capital by mid to late afternoon.
- Check into our centrally located accommodation.
- Group dinner and some drinks in the city.
- Overnight in Donetsk.
- *As a result of the conflict, martial law is in place which has resulted in a curfew is being upon Donetsk between 11pm – 5am, it is vital that this is adhered to by the group as any violators are subject to punishment, regardless of nationality.*
Day 5 – Exploring the DPR Capital:
- Breakfast in the city, before a walking tour of Donetsk.
- We will see the enormous Lenin statue, stroll down Pushkin Boulevard and visit the iconic City Administration Building where the DPR was first proclaimed as an independent republic and which served as one of the initial insurgent bases against the Ukrainian government.
- We will then head to the Lenin Komsomol park, to see the main military history monument of the region and the largest monument in Southeast Ukraine, the memorial to the Liberators of Donbass which is dedicated to the memory of all military units and formations that liberated Donbass during the Great Patriotic War.
- Visit the battle damaged Iversky Monastery close to the front line, the first combat position of our local guide who will provide an insight into the fighting that very recently raged here.
- Dinner and overnight in Donetsk.
Day 6 – Sun, Sand and Civil War
- We get up early and grab breakfast before we leave Donetsk and move South to Sedovo.
- In this Soviet era resort town you will have the chance to swim in a sea not many of your friends have, the sea of Azov. An area where the fighting glory of the Russian fleet began under Peter the Great.
- We’ll grab lunch, taking advantage of the fresh fish on offer from the local waters, before looking around Sedovo and chilling out at the beach with a few beers.
- We then head for the town of Novoazovsk, adjacent to the frontlines and heavily fought over.
- Tour of Novoazovsk before heading back to Donetsk.
- Dinner and overnight in Donetsk.
Day 7 – Visiting the Capital and Frontlines of the Luhansk People’s Republic:
- After an early start we grab breakfast and check out of the hotel.
- Leaving Donetsk for the last time, our group head North to the capital of the LPR: The war ravaged city of Luhansk.
- After a three hour drive we arrive in Luhansk and check into our accommodation.
- Tour of Luhansk hitting the Locomotive Factory, the Cathedral, Communist Memorial and naturally, the Lenin Statue.
- Lunch in Luhansk.
- We then head for a tour of the headquarters of the infamous Russian motorcycle club, The Night Wolves, who are highly political, staunch allies of Vladimir Putin and have been heavily involved in the current civil war.
- In the evening we head for dinner and drinks.
- Overnight in Lugansk.
Day 8 – Rostov-on-Don
- We have breakfast in Luhansk, check out of hotel and board the minibus back to Russia
After enjoying a last Donbass breakfast together with our guide, we’ll then travel back to Russia and our initial jumping point of Rostov-on-Don.
- We will stock up on supplies and take the train back to Moscow, alternatively get in touch if you would prefer to fly and we will give you a quote
Day 9 – Moscow:
- Arrival in Moscow and end of tour.
- Transport to airport can be arranged for those flying out.