Wander to Ukraine: Chernobyl, Kiev and Countryside (2022)

Nov. 08 — Nov. 16, 2022
9 days
1/12 spots booked
BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: To reserve your spot on a tour, a $500 deposit will be required. However, you can book with complete peace of mind as this deposit will be 100% refundable for 60 days (or until 90 days before the tour starts, whichever comes first).
A vibrant city, beautiful countryside and an absolutely eye-opening Chernobyl experience.
Fully explore the eerily abandoned towns, villages and sites of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
Enjoy traditional Ukrainian cuisine such as chicken kiev, borscht and varenyky
Admire impressive, centuries-old churches, cathedrals and monasteries
Spend 3 nights at Chernobyl, stepping back in time in every way
Experience the enchanting and energetic capital city of Kiev
Visit traditional villages and meet local villagers in the countryside of central Ukraine

We’ll start by wandering around the enchanting city of Kiev, taking in its important historical sites, main squares, beautiful parks and a long list of offbeat destinations that give this city its fun and positive vibe. Dining on great local food, sampling the nightlife and visiting dynamic neighborhoods and quirky hangouts that only a local would know about, are all on the list.

When we head into the countryside to visit rural villages, we’ll meet with villagers in “Ukraine’s Switzerland”, home to stunning nature, local crafts and artwork and friendly people ready to share their traditional culture with us.

With Chernobyl, unlike most tours that visit the Chernobyl zone for only one day, we’ll spend 3 full days in the area. Also, we’ll be here during the winter, which makes for completely different, and better, experience. With 3 days, we’ll go far beyond the handful of main, easily accessible sites that most groups visit so that we can gain a much deeper understanding of the disaster, the aftermath and the current situation. And with the trees and ground bare, we’ll have perfect, and uninterrupted views of the structures and buildings that are otherwise hidden behind greenery.

Our stay in Chernobyl also provides an opportunity for infinite and unimaginable photos as we visit eerie site after eerie site without any other tourists around. We’ll even visit some re-settlers, people who live in half-abandoned villages inside the exclusion zone despite the government’s objections. To top it all off, we’ll also stay in one of the two small hotels located in the working town of Chernobyl (10 km outside the exclusion zone), where the atmosphere feels as if we stepped back in time.

Add all of the above together and get ready for an unbelievable Ukraine winter adventure!

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  • 1
    Day 1Kiev
    Arrival day
    Included: Dinner
    Upon arrival to Kiev, you’ll be picked up by our private driver and taken to our hotel in the heart of Ukraine's capital. Once the entire group has arrived, we’ll get together to officially kick off the tour with a quick orientation and a traditional Ukrainian dinner.
  • 2
    Day 2Kiev
    Highlights: Independence Square, St. Michael's Cathedral
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    We'll start off with an excellent historical walking tour of central Kiev, stopping at the amazing St. Sophia's Cathedral, Independence Square, St. Michael's Golden Domed Monastery, the beautiful Khreschatyk Street and the historic Andriivs'kyi district that connects Kiev's upper and lower towns. Along the way we'll wander through well-manicured parks, past grand palaces and into local markets. In the evening, we'll head to the Friendship of Nations Arch, a popular gathering site with perfect views over the Dnepr River.
  • 3
    Day 3Kiev
    Highlights: Offbeat locations, Gorodetsky House, iconic neighborhoods
    Included: Breakfast
    Today will be dedicated to exploring some of the more offbeat locations in this city, including dynamic neighborhoods, vintage markets, public art exhibitions, the bizarre art nouveau villa known as Gorodetsky House, the deepest metro station in the world and even an urban beach. This will give you a better understanding of Kiev's unique atmosphere, where the remnants of communism fuse together with the vibrance of modern life. Along the way we'll sample traditional Ukrainian snacks at some of the city's most popular hangouts and then the evening will be yours to enjoy as you wish, with our tour leader on hand for those who wish to go out at night.
  • 4
    Day 4 - 6Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
    Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
    Highlights: Pripyat town and surroundings, Dugga Radar System, abandoned villages, resettlers
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    To get a true sense of this unique area, we'll spend three full days inside the infamous Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. While exploring the remnants of cities, villages and businesses located within the zone, we'll learn about the Chernobyl tragedy and experience the complex disaster site for ourselves. We'll stop at reactor #4, the site of the explosion, the Russian Dugga Radar, the former-utopia city of Pripyat, and a long list of other abandoned facets including schools, hospitals, grocery stores, coffee shops, an amusement park, swimming pools and more. Each day will focus on a different section of the zone and we'll even pay a visit to one of Chernobyl's "resettlers". These are villagers who live full time in tiny, isolated ghost villages inside the Exclusion Zone despite the objections of the government. We'll spend a half day with a resettler, learning about their way of life, touring the village and having an opportunity to see some of Chernobyl's remote sites that tourists never see. Our three days in Chernobyl will be unlike anything you've ever experienced, including our stay at one of the area's two hotels. The rooms are comfortable, the staff friendly but the entire experience will feel like we stepped way, way back in time.
  • 5
    Day 7Kiev
    Highlights: Free time in Kiev
    Included: Breakfast
    We'll wrap up our last morning in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone with one final visit to Pripyat village before making the 2.5 hour journey back to Kiev. Once in the city, we'll check in to our hotel and then you'll have free time to explore this fun and vibrant city at your own pace or simply relax as your process the previous few days.
  • 6
    Day 8Marianivka / Kovalivka
    Marianivka / Kovalivka
    Highlights: Countryside, rural villages, traditional workshops
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Today we'll venture into the Ukrainian countryside where we'll visit two villages with our local guide. We'll tour the villages, meet with families, participate in a cooking class and spend time learning about culture and artwork of this region. We'll also enjoy the beautiful nature - forests, hills and lakes - that has led to the nickname "Ukrainian Switzerland". After our wonderful day with our local hosts, we'll make the 1.5 hour drive back to Kiev in time for a farewell dinner and a night out on the town!
  • 7
    Day 9Kiev
    Departure day
    Included: Breakfast
    Today you’ll be picked up from our hotel by our private driver and transferred to the Boryspil International Airport in time to catch your departing flight.

Tour Essentials

Physical Level: Medium
While the tour itself is not very strenuous, please note that it can involve the following: somewhat long days, walking tours in the cities, being outside in potentially cold temperatures, a couple of long journeys, early morning wake-ups and other similar scenarios.
From comfortable hotels to the unique exclusion zone lodging, you can expect comfortable mid-range accommodation. While the rooms in Kiev have private bathrooms, our hotel in Chernobyl will have shared bathrooms. There are 4 single rooms available. These rooms will be offered on a first come-first served basis. The remainder of the rooms will be shared. Solo travelers will be paired together, two travelers per room in two single beds.
During the trip, we'll travel in comfort with our private van. Our van offers plenty of space for each guest while giving us access to areas that larger vehicles simply can't go.
Breakfast every day, 5 lunches and 6 dinners are included. With included meals, some will be served family style and other times you will be able to order anything you wish from the menu. All dietary restrictions can be accommodated with prior notice.
As with all of our trips, we aim to offer as sustainable an experience as we can. Reusable water bottles and shopping bags are provided to all guests, trash is recycled where possible and we avoid mass tourism activities that cause harm to the environment and/or do not benefit local communities.
Small Groups
This tour requires a minimum of 8 participants and has a maximum of 12 participants in order to ensure the best small group tour experience. With such a small group, you'll be able to enjoy unique, rewarding activities that would not be accessible with more people. That's the kind of trip we love to offer!

What's included

  • Wandering Earl Expert Tour Leader
  • Small group (maximum 12 participants)
  • Local guides in each destination
  • All accommodation (8 nights)
  • Breakfast everyday, 5 lunches and 6 dinners
  • Transportation in Ukraine (private van)
  • All activities and entrance fees for sites visited
  • Bottled water throughout the trip
  • All airport transfers
Not Included
  • Flights to/from Ukraine
  • Passport/visa fees
  • Meals and activities not mentioned
  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Gratuities

What's an Expert Tour Leader?

A Wandering Earl Expert Tour Leader is more than a guide. They’re a travel fanatic, and this is more than just a job for them, it’s a passion. They know everything there is to know about travel, and they’ll be with your group every step of the way, excited to show you what’s around the next bend.

They’ll be your cultural ambassador as they introduce you to hyper-local guides who know their part of the world better than anyone else. They’ll work hard every single day to ensure that you have the type of travel experience that brings you the most rewards. With endless connections and the freedom to improvise, our experts know exactly how to make a trip extraordinary.

And, most importantly, they’ll always be there for you any time you need them.