Can I go to Chernobyl (Pripyat) Ukraine FAQ

With age, comes wisdom. With travel, comes understanding. – Sandra Lake⠀

Pripyat is an infamous city in Ukraine, place where the Chernobyl disaster happened 33 years ago. Now, this ghost town attracts people from all around the world.

But can you visit Pripyat, the exclusion zone? Yes, but this is not an easy trip.

Chernobyl is located about 100 km from the city of Kyiv. It takes around 2 hours to drive to Chernobyl from Kyiv city. The exclusion zone is an area of 2,600 km2 around the nuclear power plant. This area is considered hazardous and is off-limits to the public.

There are multiple checkpoints that you have to pass through inside the exclusion zone. The area inside the checkpoint closest to the nuclear reactor has the most dangerous levels of radiation.

The area is like a Soviet time capsule having been left largely untouched for 30 years, which is unique for those interested in modern history. The abandoned town of Pripyat appears particularly haunting.

How safe is the trip to Chernobyl?

Radiation sticks around for a very long time and the exclusion zone is not expected to be safe for humans to live in for the next 20000 years. But radioactivity can be considered mostly harmless in small doses and the day tours into the exclusion zone mean that you’re only exposed to low levels of radiation. On the way out of the exclusion zone, everyone is required to go through radiation control checkpoint.

Is it possible to enter the zone without a guide?

Tourist entry into the exclusion zone is only permitted with a certified guide. You need special permission to visit Pripyat. There are many areas inside the exclusion zone that are still considered very dangerous. The guide will keep you safe at all times.

What medical certificates are needed?

You do not need medical certificates for this tour. It is enough to have a passport and prepayment.

How much does a Chernobyl tour cost?

The price for tours from Kyiv starts from $100 per person, depending on what type of tour you want. There are a few options:

  • 1-day Tours

This tours usually last about 8 hours. This time is enough to see all the places in the city, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, The Red Forest, and Duga radar

  • 2-day or more tour. This option is for you if you would like to see more and slower.
  • Private tours. You can explore the area at your own pace, visit places you want, stop at places longer if you want to take some photos.

Tours to Pripyat can be booked year-round.

What to bring:

  • Comfortable closed walking shoes.
  • Wear long sleeve tops, long pants.
  • Jacket in case of bad weather or sunscreen and a hat in case of sunny weather.
  • A camera. You can also use your phone, anyway the photos you get around Chernobyl will be amazing.
  • A Geiger-counter you can usually rent from your guide.

Remember that you are not allowed to take anything as a souvenir from the zone.

P.S. Because the exclusion zone has meant almost no human interference for more than 30 years, wildlife surrounding Chernobyl has thrived. Don’t see it as disaster tourism but as a way of understanding the risks of nuclear.

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I’m a fellow traveller and explorer of Ukraine. Based in Kyiv. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I’m very friendly and always open to discussing new projects, interesting ideas or opportunities to be part of Ukraine.
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