Join YPT for an even more extreme version of our popular Chernobyl and Transnistria combo, this tour can be combined with tank driving and one of the most beautiful abandoned buildings in the world: The Buzludzha Communist UFO headquarters in Bulgaria!
The tour kicks off in Kiev and finishes in Sofia with much to see and do in between. We can help and advise travel arrangements to and from these two cities.
We have split the tour into three groups with the options of doing either one part or combining the three. Group One will be visiting Chernobyl, as well as sampling the nighttime delights on a bar crawl. Our contacts in Pripyat mean, we can usually sneak in some secret sites that we are not allowed to write about! This is an exclusive private tour that will be strictly capped at ten people to ensure we see all that we are not supposed to.
After Group One leaves us in Kiev, Group Two will continue firstly to Odessa, then onto Tiraspol, Capital of the breakaway republic of Transnistria. If you do not know anything about the place, Google it. If you want off the beaten track, this is it. Following a few nights here, we visit Moldova, the only ex-Soviet republic to vote the communists back in, before taking the overnight train to Bucharest for a Ceausescu tour of one of our favourite cities. Group two leave us in Bucharest, while Group three then take the train to Sofia, Bulgaria and head off on a road trip to explore the sinister UFO Communist headquarters in the Bulgarian wilderness.
We offer discounts to all returning customers; contact us if you have any questions or if you would like to book your place today!
Arrival in Kiev at own time and check into our centrally located accommodation
City walking tour of Kiev followed by an optional trip to a shooting range where we are able to experience firing some high calibre Soviet-era guns (extra charge).
Optional Tank driving! (Contact us for more info, need to arrive early in the morning)
Optional Ukrainian revolution tour, we visit the sights of the recent revolution by a veteran who took part in the violence.
We go for dinner and drinks at Ward No 6 (Palata No 6), one of our favourite places recently featured in the “10 places to drink in before you die” list. Be sure to try the shot requiring you to wear a straightjacket and be set on fire…
Overnight in Kiev.
Saturday May 19th
Up nice and early to get on our comfortable AC minibus to the exclusion zone. On the way there, we stop for breakfast as well as watch a documentary on the disaster.
On arrival, we go through the entry procedure and processing of our permits.
Visit the village Zalissya, the main square of the town of Chernobyl, “Fukushima” memorial, Statue to Lenin, the abandoned Synagogue and the only active church in the zone.
Lunch at the Workers Cafe (no produce is grown on site).
Visit the Dock, local shops, Monument to the Firefighters, exposition of the remotely operated machines, hills of the buried village Kopachi, rustic kindergarten, panoramic angle of NPPA and existing sarcophagus, the construction site of the new sarcophagus, the Stone Road sign of Pripyat, Bridge of Death, Lenin Street, main square of Pripyat, supermarket, Amusement Park, School #3 (with gas masks), and swimming pool.
We transfer to Chernobyl Hotel for dinner, sampling of vodka, and stay overnight in the zone. Rooms are based on twin sharing.
Sunday May 20th
Up early with breakfast in the hotel, before we head back into the zone.
Visit Duga 3, nicknamed the “Russian Woodpecker,” a Soviet “over-the-horizon” radar at its base “Chernobyl 2.”
Visit Barrack Cooling towers on the side of the unfinished reactors 5 and 6. Visit the Fish farm and “Red Forest”, the Panel buildings with Soviet emblems, Palace of Culture and “Jupiter” factory, the ruins of the School #1, hospital and morgue, Pripyat passenger boats on River Port, “Prometheus” cinema, music school and athletic stadium, laboratory in the former kindergarten, greenhouses and bus station.
We board our bus for the drive back to Kiev.
Group 1 end tour in Kiev and depart via private arrangement.
Group 2 continue by night train to Odessa.
Monday May 21st
08:50 arrival in Odessa – check bags in at the train station and grab breakfast, followed by an optional city tour or free time in this historic city.
Early evening departure for the 3-4 hour train ride to Tiraspol, Capital of the breakaway republic of Transnistria.
On arrival in Tiraspol, we register with immigration at the train station before transferring to the local version of the Soviet Intourist Hotel. This is the quintessential Soviet experience in the region’s original tourist hotel.
We go for dinner locally, followed by drinks in the country’s only night club.
Overnight in Soviet Hotel.
Tuesday May 22nd
Early wake up to grab breakfast near the hotel and kick start our city tour of Tiraspol. Which will take in Pobedi Park, with the chance to ride the rides at the 50’s style amusement park! Walk down October 25th street (the main drag) which has a large billboard of former President Smirnoff (real name) standing with the Presidents of two other Soviet breakaway Republics of South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh. University of Tiraspol to speak with students learning English. October 25th St. to City Hall (government). It has a large bust of Lenin for great photos. Visit Russian Orthodox Church of Tiraspol. Newly renovated with golden domes. Guests can buy inexpensive Russian Icons here. We will go inside – girls must wear a scarf on their head and men must take their hats off. Statue of Russian General Suvorov.
Visit the Eternal Flame Independence War Memorial.
Visit Parliament, housing the biggest statue of Lenin outside Russia.
Leisurely walk to the river park. There is a walking bridge here for great panoramic photos of the river and downtown Tiraspol. There is also a beach here where we can stop for ice cream.
Lunch at Andy’s Pizza, somewhat of a PMR icon of a restaurant.
Convenient store in the city center with $3 for a bottle of one of the most prized Cognacs in Europe (outside France of course). During Soviet times, this was the brandy.
Pobedi Park. There is a famous 24-hour beer and vodka stall here. A great place for people-watching. We then head to the Pobedi Park Disco if it is open.
Overnight at Soviet hotel
Wednesday May 23rd
We leave the hotel for Bendery via mini-bus number 20. The journey takes 20 minutes.
We arrive in Bendery center. We enter one of the largest outdoor markets in all of Transnistria. Guests will be able to shop and buy anything they want at very, very low prices. Also, many opportunities for old world type photos.
We leave the market and continue walking down the main street until we reach the big white church in the center, well renovated and a favorite place for couples to get married.
We continue walking down the main street until we arrive at Lenin Park. We view the main fountain and the bust of Lenin, we then reach the train station, renovated and well maintained. It seems like a ghost town because only a few trains stop here, and there are almost no passengers. Beside the train station is an old Soviet train from WWII with the hammer and sickle on the front. Inside is a museum of the civil war between Moldova and Transnistria. There are many war relics and great photos to take. (It is 100% free.)
When finished with the museum tour, we walk back past the park until we arrive at the city hall. The city hall has been left exactly as it was during the civil war and still filled with bullet holes. Great for photos.
Lunch in the town.
We continue our walk to the river. There is a huge and very beautiful river walk. There are statues and old amusement rides including bumper cars here. A scene right out of the 1950’s, but the rides are still operating and are very cheap. We walk down to the river for a swim and lay out in the sun with locals!
After a stroll down the river, we then begin the short ride to Chisinau and check into centrally located Chisinau Hotel.
Free evening and overnight.
Thursday May 24th
Grab breakfast at the hotel and begin a city walking tour of Chisinau. Taking in the World War II Memorial and Military Museum, Central open-air market, great place for kitsch souvenirs, Government buildings and parliament, Main Square + Central park.
Traditional Moldovan Dinner at La Plicente.
Night of bar crawling in the city.
Overnight in Chisinau Hotel.
Friday May 25th
Morning trip to Cricova Winery to see the winemaking process and to of course sample some of Eastern Europe’s best wine! This is one of the most amazing wine cellars you are ever likely to see.
Lunch and free afternoon in Chisinau.
We board the night train to Bucharest and party the night away!
Saturday May 26th
Early morning arrival in Bucharest (depending on customs) before we check into the hotel for a short rest.
We kick start the day with a tour of Ceausescu’s Bucharest! No trip to Romania would be worth its salt unless we went and looked at everything and anything Ceausescu related, the don of Eastern Bloc extreme. We will do a local walking tour, seeing all the must see sites from “revolutionary” times such as Parliament Palace (the big palace), Revolutionary Square, and the old centre. We’ll even sneak into his final resting place to “pay respects”.
After this we will visit a graveyard of former Soviet military vehicles and killing machines, this is guarded by Romanian military, but as always, your YPT guide can gain you worry free access!
Dinner at Care Cu Bare; easily YPT’s favourite restaurant on the planet.
Sunday May 27th
End of Group 2
Wake up early where your guide will show you the scars of revolution in the form of bullet riddled Brutalist architecture merged with French style buildings in a different part of the city.
We then head to the train station to catch the midday party train to Sofia, Bulgaria.
Evening arrival in Sofia and check into accommodation
Head out for some food
Overnight in Sofia
Monday May 28th
We wake up early for the final trip highlight! We meet our private transfer for a trip to one of the most beautiful and mind blowing abandoned buildings in the world, the former UFO shaped Communist headquarters of Buzludzha! This a must see place in Bulgaria. The monument looks like a UFO building and ranks among the most famous abandoned buildings in the world. In our one day Buzludzha tour we go back in time and we will see the former office of the communist party. A photographers dream, people travel from all over the world for the chance to see this difficult to find complex.
After a day of exploring, we stop for traditional Bulgarian food and shots of Rakia and Boza.
We then head back to Sofia, where people will have some free time to check out their photography from the day.
For dinner we will head out to an incredible restaurant that serve kilos of meat suspended from the ceiling, a must do in Sofia, we will celebrate our final night in some awesome local bars.
Tuesday May 29th
End of tour
For those with late flights your guide will take you on a city tour of Sofia and we can also arrange transport to the airport.
Optional city tour taking in the must see sights of Sofia, for those with late flights.
•All Transport (except transport to Kiev before tour, onward travel from Kiev after group 1 and onward travel from Bucharest after the tour finishes)
•Some local tours (unless otherwise stated)