Why not do something different this year and spend Christmas day exploring Chernobyl? Unique to Regent Holidays - this individual holiday stays overnight in the town of Chernobyl, giving an unparalleled insight into one of the most devastating environmental disasters in human history.
Our Christmas tour starts in the vibrant capital city of Kyiv lit up with festive lights before spending two days touring inside the “Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone,” and included one night in Chernobyl itself (in a small hotel built for scientific advisors). We will gain an insight into the complete picture of the Chernobyl story, from the past to the present hopefully under a blanket of snow.
<p>Arrive Kyiv, transfer to the hotel and check in to the hotel for 2 nights. Enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure</p>
<p>Today enjoy a full day city tour of Kyiv including one of the main streets Kreschatyk, the Golden Gates, St. Sophia and St. Michael Cathedral.</p> <p>In the afternoon travel to the city&rsquo;s outskirts and visit the National Museum of Folk Architecture and Life of Ukraine (sometimes referred to as Pirogovo Open-air Museum). Spread across 370 acres of beautiful countryside, it features folk architecture from across Ukraine, refreshments, masterclasses and even performers and employees in traditional costumes. It offers a window onto a quieter, more traditional way of life from the past. And during Christmas there are many festivities held here such as choir performances. Spend the evening at leisure. (B,L)</p>
<p>After breakfast depart Kyiv to drive a few hours north to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. On arrival at Dytiatky checkpoint, passports are checked before proceeding to the abandoned village of Zalissia. Enjoy lunch in a workers&rsquo; canteen. In the afternoon head further into the zone, visiting the exterior of Reactor No. 4, and take in an extended tour of the ghost city of Pripyat.</p> <p>The whole town of Pripyat (population 49,360), which lay only three kilometres from the plant was completely evacuated 36 hours after the accident. Today explore the ruins of the city which is slowly being overrun by nature. Visit sites such as the school, sports centre, swimming pool and the fairground (please note that it cannot be guaranteed that you can enter these buildings). Return to Chernobyl for dinner and an overnight stay at hotel located in the zone. (B,L,D)</p>
<p>Today on Christmas morning the tour will continue visiting further sites in and around Pripyat and Chernobyl, including the Cooling Reservoir which has giant catfish swimming around. Mutations did occur in plants and animals with the nuclear fall out. Leaves changed shape and some animals were born with physical deformities. Despite the increased radiation levels, rare species are now returning in large numbers to the area. These animals include wolves, beavers, moose and wild boar.</p> <p>Providing the authorities continue to permit it, we will also visit the now abandoned Soviet Duga Radar facility. This military base was constructed as part of a Soviet early warning nuclear missile detection system during the cold war and has 2 radars over 150 metres in height.</p> <p>We will also meet with some locals who have, despite government warnings and laws, decided to settle inside the zone. There are 187 small communities in the exclusion zone that remain virtually abandoned to this day. A few inhabitants chose to return to their homes in the exclusion zone, but children are not allowed to live in this area. The evacuated population lives mainly in newly constructed towns such as Slavutich&nbsp;which has very little contamination. Leave Chernobyl (after being checked for radiation exposure!) and return to Kyiv. On arrival check in to the hotel for a 2-night stay. (B,L)</p>
<p>Day free to explore Kyiv at leisure. Perhaps take a walk through Mariinsky Park, past Arsenalna Metro Station towards Kiev Perchersk Larva. This stunning collection of&nbsp; orthodox churches and monasteries perched atop hills overlooking the River Dnipro&nbsp;is a must-see on any visit to Kyiv. (B)</p>
<p>Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)</p>
Really great trip - very interesting place and you offer good hotels (like the Londonskaya - feels like an old palace). Local partner was superb - all drivers very helpful and punctual.
Regent Holidays is a specialist travel company offering hand-picked, alternative holidays to off-the-beaten-track destinations. Formed in 1970, they have extensive experience in providing unconventional, unusual and interesting trips abroad as well as a reputation for increasing access to, and challenging perceptions of, many of the world’s less-travelled countries.
Each Regent Holidays specialist is an expert in their area of the world, ensuring that each tour has been constructed from a deep knowledge of the intricacies of a country – from the best landscapes, secret local spots, places to find wildlife, mouth-watering delicacies and cultural immersion.
The company has been a pioneer in new travel destinations since it was founded, as one of the first UK tour operators to provide trips to Russia, Ukraine, the Stans, Albania, North Korea and Greenland. It was also the first UK tour operator to offer holidays in Kosovo following its independence from Serbia.
Regent Holidays has continually provided outstanding outlets for traveller’s hunger to step out of the ordinary and experience something like never before.