Young Pioneer Tours have been operating in the badlands of the former USSR and providing Soviet tours for over ten years, so it’s safe to say we know our stuff when it comes to this part of the world. We decided to give you a rundown of five Soviet holidays that you can do with us in 2020 – as always, with the YPT ethos of an unforgettable adventure at an unbeatable price!
5. Poland: WW2 Tour
Our bestselling World War 2 tour, this tour follows the route of the German Blitzkrieg of 1939 and also follows the route of the Soviet Army as they charged towards Berlin in the final days of WW2. We begin in Krakow and visit the harrowing site of the Auschwitz concentration camp, Oskar Schindler’s factory and drive a DDR Trabant around Nowa Huta, which was the pride of communist Poland’s industrial sector. We then head to the city of Wroclaw – formerly the fortified Nazi city of Breslau – and visit Nazi secret weapon facilities surrounded by mystery deep in the Owl Mountains. We then head to the capital of Warsaw, taking in their WW2 and communist history, and even give you the chance to get your hands on original WW2 guns once owned by both the Nazis and the Soviets and test them out in a shooting range in a former communist factory. We round off the tour with a trip into the North of Poland, riding Soviet tanks around Adolf Hitler’s former “Wolf’s Lair” complex, the site of the assassination attempt as part of Operation Valkyrie. We’ll also visit flea markets where you’ll have the chance to buy WW2 helmets, medals and even WW2 propaganda posters!
Our tour runs February of each year and costs just €845 with all accommodation, the 24-hour services of a Western, bilingual guide, Polish guides and activities included. It can also be done privately with a completely customizable itinerary and dates.
4. The Moscow to Pyongyang Train Journey
One of the ultimate tours to get your fix of Soviet nostalgia and living communism in North Korea! This tour begins in the Russian capital and the former capital of the USSR, Moscow, taking in its wealth of communist history from the KGB HQ and its mind-blowingly elegant metro to the pride of the USSR, Stalin’s ‘’USSR theme park’’, the VDNKh. We then board the world’s most famous train journey, the Trans-Siberian, for a journey across the top of the world and 10 time zones before entering one of the world’s last surviving, truly communist states: North Korea. Here we’ll be exploring the lesser-visited north-east of the country, the capital city of Pyongyang and the infamous DMZ zone where you’ll have the rare chance to have a photo with a North Korean general. The tour even features the chance to take a North Korean domestic train – an adventure almost completely unheard of for foreigners in the country!
Our tour runs May of each year and costs €2495 with all accommodation, the 24-hour services of a Western guide, Russian guides, North Korean guides and all activities included.
3. Ultimate Transnistria Victory Day Tour
May 9th was one of the most crucial dates in the Soviet calendar and in many countries throughout the post-Soviet world it still is. It is usually celebrated with an enormous Soviet-style military parade and celebrations way into the night. For May 9th, we like to go back to the USSR in more ways than one as we head into the rebel republic of Transnistria, trapped in a Soviet time warp when a civil war erupted during the collapse of the USSR. We get a prime spot at the republic’s military parade which usually involves tanks, gunfire and a huge mass of troops. Following the parade we take in the many bizarre celebrations which often include the Russian army base opening up to the public or a giant WW2 reenactment with bombs, blank bullets and a lot of ‘dead’ Nazis.
After recovering from a night of celebrations on Victory Day we check out an untouched old-school flea market full of Soviet military surplus, Soviet badges, medals and antiques. We then head into the far north of this unexplored republic taking in civil war bunkers, long forgotten Soviet monuments, collective farms and other hidden sights. We then head into Soroca, known as the Roma Gypsy capital of Moldova. Here we gain access into the gypsy area and see the gaudy mansions built with suspiciously sourced cash. We round off the tour with a picnic, beers and vodka at an abandoned secret Soviet nuclear bunker deep in the woods. You can explore the bunker in depth and it even has wild cannabis growing there!
Our tour runs in May of each year and costs just €795 with all accommodation, the 24-hour services of a Western, bilingual guide, Transnistrian fixers, Transnistrian visas and activities included. It can also be done privately with a completely customizable itinerary and dates.
2. The Eurasian Tour
Our mighty annual Eurasian tour is a Soviet tour for the ultimate traveller – though it’s possible to pop in and out as you please. Only the most hardcore have earned the badge of completing the entire thing! 24 countries and 2 continents in 8 weeks, this is the ultimate tour behind the Iron Curtain. Beginning in Beijing and ending at the northernmost edge of Estonia, the tour takes in Russian army Disneylands, the Soviet Wastelands of Chernobyl, the breakaway state of Transnistria, the entire former Yugoslavia and all the countries of the Warsaw Pact!
Our tour runs in November of each year and costs just €2995 with all accommodation, 24 hour services of a Western guide and a string of local guides, Transnistrian visas and most activities included. It can also be done privately with a completely customizable itinerary and dates.
1. Chernobyl & Transnistria Tour
Last but not least, our most popular Soviet Tour which involves an expedition into the nuclear exclusion zone of Chernobyl which has been mostly left as a ghostly time warp since the mass evacuation of 1986. In winter we include a trip to the museum of strategic rocket forces, a former Soviet nuclear missile launch base, offering you the chance to initiate the launch sequence deep in the silo and press the button that would have started WW3. We then head south to the matriarchal city of the Russian Mafia, Odessa and tour the dark history of the city from former Soviet brothels to the killing fields of the Mafia. We then meet our fixers to bring us into the breakaway state of Transnistria where we will bring you unprecedented access to this secretive state and the Soviet relics inside. Leaving Transnistria, we enter Europe’s least-visited country of Moldova and see why nobody comes here and why most locals are leaving. We also drink wine in Cricova Winery, in the room where Yuri Gagarin and Vladimir Putin got drunk! We round off the trip in Bucharest, with a communist tour taking in the significant sights of the Ceausescu regime!
Our most popular tour runs regularly throughout the year and costs just €795 with all accommodation, the 24-hour services of a Western, bilingual guide, Transnistrian fixers, Transnistrian visas and activities included. It can also be done privately with a completely customizable itinerary and dates.
This is just five of many of our unbeatable Soviet Tours; join us for an unforgettable adventure tour into the heart of the former Soviet Union!