GLOBAL VILLAGE – CHERNOBYL, TRANSNISTRIA, CHISINAU & BUCHAREST TOUR (NOVEMBER 10th > 12th or 18th 2017)
Welcome to the Soviet adventure of a lifetime. Our Chernobyl Tour kicks-off in Kiev, the proud capital of Ukraine and will finish in Bucharest in Romania. Before we spend the next 8 days travelling through Ukraine, Transnistria, Moldova and Romania, on the first night, you will have the opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers who will be with you and experience the heat of a Ukrainian night out at the unique ‘Hospital Bar’ in town just up the street from our hostel in Kiev.
During this tour, we will explore a tragic period, especially so in Ukrainian and Belarussian history as we travel to the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and explore the exclusion zone and surrounding areas. We will spend the night in the zone at The Chernobyl Hotel. You will visit the abandoned city of Pripyat and our local guides are able to show us some sites that are not ordinarily accessible to tourists! During our visit to the area, we may also have the chance to meet and speak with some of the ‘self-settlers’ who have chosen to live here.
We will continue on to the historic city of Odessa which sits at the edge of the Black Sea. The city’s tree-lined boulevards, beaches and food scene makes this is a popular location for Ukranian and international visitors. The city is of major economic and strategic importance. After a brief stay and exploration of Odessa, it’s then onto Tiraspol, the de facto capital city of the unrecognised, breakaway Soviet republic of Transnistria, nestled between Ukraine and Moldova. You will see all that Tiraspol has to offer as we stroll and drive around to lots of sights of interest including the home stadium (outside) of Europe’s most secretive soccer club! It’s amazing to soak up the atmosphere in Tiraspol and check out some of the really inexpensive food and drink in the bars. and restaurants.
From Transnistria, we go onwards to the city of Chisinau, Moldova’s green capital dating back to 1420 to experience a landscape rich in parks, lakes and wildlife. There are plenty of examples of older buildings side by side with joyfully Soviet-era buildings. We will take a walking tour around the city and get plenty of Moldovan food and wine as well as sampling the nightlife. As a trip highlight, we will pay a visit to the Crecova Winery just outside of Chisinau before taking an overnight train to Romania. Our Chernobyl & Transnistria Tour concludes in Bucharest with a ‘Ceausescu’s City’ walkabout where we relive the hectic revolution that eventually turned Romania into turmoil when thousands of citizens marched towards the ex-Soviet leader’s palace to end his tyranny. While in Bucharest we will say our final goodbyes to each other with
||(Group 1 ) Kiev > Chernobyl > Pripyat March 30th – April 1st €450(Group 2) Odessa > Tiraspol > Bendery > Chisinau > Bucharest €395 April 1st – April 8th
(Group 1 & 2) Kiev > Bucharest March 30th – April 8th €790
- All transportation (except transport to Kiev for start of the tour, onward travel from Kiev after group 1 and onward travel from Bucharest after the tour finishes)
- All Accommodation
- Some local tours (unless otherwise stated)
- Visa Fees
- Food and drinks
- Personal expenses
- Local guide tips
|At a glance:
||Kiev – Chernobyl Tour – Pripyat – Odessa – Tiraspol – Bendery – Chisinau – Bucharest (8 or 4 or 3 days)
Friday 10th November
- Arrival into Kiev as per your own schedule and check-in at Kiev Station Hostel which is our base for the night.
- If you arrive in the early afternoon we will take a walking tour around the city including independence square and other areas of interest. Afterwards, you have the option to return to the hostel and relax or pay a visit to a firing range (extra charge)
- Group orientation before getting to know your fellow travellers over dinner and drinks at some Kiev nightspots. The infamous Hospital bar is the pick of the bunch where you can sample shots while wearing a straitjacket.
- The more adventurous drinker can avail of a shot while wearing a crash helmet that the bartender has lit on fire.
- We stay overnight at Kiev Station Hostel
Saturday 11th November
- Today we travel by private bus to the Exclusion Zone. Before our Chernobyl tour kicks off we will get breakfast en route and view a documentary on the nuclear disaster.
- Our permits to enter the zone will be processed upon arrival.
- We visit the main square of Chernobyl and a memorial to the disaster in addition to the village of Zalissa. There is a statue of Lenin that still stands proud and in good condition. We will check-out a local church and an abandoned Synagogue
- We will have lunch at a local eatery here where current workers at the site are fed each day. All of the produce is brought in from outside the zone and is actually pretty delicious!
- There is a dock with 3 monstrous cranes on the river bank. We will also visit a former local shop, Kindergarten.
- The village of Kopachi which was abandoned in 1986.
- The existing steel and concrete sarcophagus which was constructed over reactor number 4 in addition to the gigantic new sarcophagus which is still under construction. We will visit Pripyat central square which is pretty haunting and unlike anything you will have seen before outside of a computer game! We will also visit the local amusement park which is equally as haunting and unique in addition to a local supermarket, swimming pool, school number three (including gas masks) and The Bridge of Death.
- Tonight we sleep at The Chernobyl Hotel where you can purchase some local beer or vodka after dinner. (Rooms here are twin sharing)
Sunday 12th November
- 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”.
- Visit the Panel buildings with Soviet emblems, Palace of Culture and “Jupiter” factory.
- Visit 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 visit the self-settlers with our Ukrainian guide happily translating any questions that we might have for them.
- 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 13th November
- We arrive into Odessa at 08.50 am
- Morning breakfast, followed by free time in the city or an optional tour of this historic part of the world or an optional trip to the catacombs (extra cost). For the catacombs – expect some crawling, climbing and a little bit of rough and tumble but it’s a great adventure!
- We will depart in the early evening for the 3-4 hour train journey to Tiraspol, the capital city of the partially recognized state of Transnistria.
- Arrive into Tiraspol, for registration with immigration at the train station. We will check-in to our Soviet style hotel which is a unique stay for any traveller!
- We head to a local restaurant for some excellent dinner followed by drinks in one of the few nightclubs found in Transnistria.
- We stay overnight at our hotel.
Tuesday 14th November
- Early check out and transfer to the first private hotel in post-Soviet times, nestled in the lush countryside. It boasts its own brandy distillery, sauna, basketball court and private rooms.
- Check out the 1950’s fun fair before a photo opportunity on 25th street with a huge poster board the former President Smirnoff with the presidents of two other partially recognised nations namely South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
- We will visit the University of Tiraspol and speak with some of the students currently studying there in addition to visiting City Hall and its impressive Lenin statue. We will go onwards to the Russian Orthodox Church of Tiraspol with its golden dome structure. Females must wear a head cover here and males must not have hats of any kind.
- General Suvorov of the Russian Imperial Army has gone down in history as a military genius having never been defeated in battle. We will visit a statue in his honour before paying a visit to the War of Independence Memorial.
- The Parliament Building Houses a huge statue of Lenin, the biggest found outside of Russia.
- There are beautiful views of the Dniester River as it meanders its way through the city. We will stroll along its banks and footbridge enjoying some ice-cream along the way.
- For a taste of home, we will head Andy’s Pizza for lunch – a popular local eatery!
- If you like you can purchase some really excellent brandy for $3 a bottle at a store that we will visit nearby.
- We will spend the evening at one of the local parks in the city which are really nice before visiting a local bar.
- We stay overnight at our Hotel with extra activities
Wednesday 15th November
- This morning we will make our way to Bendery City at the opposite side of the river which is just a 20-minute bus ride away. It’s an ancient city and some of its old fortress walls still stand in pretty good condition.
- There is a huge outdoor market in the centre of Bendery that is one of the largest in Transnistria. There is a huge variety of goods available here at really inexpensive prices.
- We will visit one of the local churches in Bendery before heading onto Lenin Park where the city’s impressive central fountain is located.
- The city train station is interesting as it is well kept but completely underused with very few passengers passing through. There is a really cool old train here that dates from WWII with a hammer and sickle embossed onto its front. We will also visit the civil war museum in memory of the conflict between Transnistria and Moldova.
- We will make our way to City Hall which looks exactly as it did during the civil war and bears the scars to this day
- After all this sightseeing we will take a break for some lunch in the city.
- The river here is also pretty spectacular – we will take a walk along it before stopping at another 1950’s amusement park (popular in these parts). Bring some swim wear if you like as there are some great swimming spots along the way.
- Later, we will catch our bus back to Tiraspol for hotel check-out before jumping aboard our next train to Chisinau which is just a short hop away.
- Check-in at our Hotel in Central Chisinau.
- You have free time for the evening
Thursday 16th November
- Today we will see all that Chisinau, the capital city of Moldova has to offer. We will take a walking tour around the city and visit both the Military Museum and the Memorial built in memory of World War II. Our tour will include a visit to the Parliament Building and other buildings of importance.
- There is a large outdoor market which we will go to that is a great place to buy souvenirs. We will make our way to the main square of the city and pay a visit to the central park which is quite nice before heading on to the local history museum.
- We will enjoy some excellent Moldovan cuisine at a popular local eatery.
- Exploring all the nightlife has to offer!
- We stay overnight at our Chisinau Hotel (equally Soviet kitsch!)
Friday 17th November
- Today we will take a trip to Cricova Winery. This is a really special treat as Central and Eastern European wines are often overlooked. Alas, another person’s loss is your gain as we work our way around the winery, dug deep into underground limestone that was originally dug as part of the foundations of Chisinau in the 15th century. Our guide will tell us all about the wine making process is this spectacular place while of course having the chance to sample all that is great about this place!
- You will have a free afternoon after we return to Chisinau where you can explore the city and do any last minute shopping.
- We jump aboard our 18.00 train bound for Bucharest.
Saturday 18th November
- 06.00 arrival in Bucharest (depending on customs).
- Check into the hotel for a short rest.
- We conclude the tour with a day tour of Ceausescu’s Bucharest. No trip to Romania would be worth any 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”.
- Farewell dinner at Care Cu Bare in Bucharest City
- Drinks in the city bars
Sunday 19th November
- The conclusion of the tour with guests arranging own transfers.