37 monuments in 30 days, and what I learned along the way.
The Bohemian Blog is teaming up with Yomadic to offer you a unique opportunity: a pop-up tour of Ukraine, combining glorious Kiev with a guided expedition to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
Kiev / Chernobyl
€1190 / 7 Days & 6 Nights
3-9 JULY 2017
Kiev is one of the oldest and most important cities in Europe. It has been the capital of both Russia and Ukraine, a city stronghold on the eastern edge of Europe where the domes of monasteries and orthodox cathedrals stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the masterpieces of mid-century architecture. Brutalist towers and socialist-modernist blocks overlook cobbled streets and markets. The 102-metre Motherland Monument – once a towering symbol of Soviet might – gazes out across a metropolis filled with parks and rivers, medieval fortifications and quirky modern bars.
Join us for a total of six nights in Kiev: lodging in Soviet-era comfort as we head out for a curated tour of this mad and wonderful capital. We’ll take in the curious, the colourful and the concrete, on an immersive city tour with a firm focus on photography.
And after that… we’ll head north for a private tour of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
For two days and a night, you’ll get to witness firsthand the aftermath of the world’s most devastating nuclear accident. Accompanied by local experts, we’ll walk the streets of the abandoned city, Pripyat, and marvel at this would-be socialist utopia gone to ruin. You’ll see the schools, hospitals and kindergartens evacuated at speed back in 1986; see the ill-fated Reactor 4 with your own eyes, and even meet some of the people who refused to leave – the handful of residents who live inside the ‘Zone to this day.
Finally, we return to Kiev for our last night in the Ukrainian capital. We’ll talk about what we’ve seen, we’ll eat, drink, and visit Maidan Square – the location at the heart of the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution – to learn how Ukrainian history is still being written.
This tour blends Soviet history with contemporary politics; beautiful decay with memorials to tragedy. Along the way, we’ll also find plenty of time to enjoy fantastic food, good company, mischief, mystery, and lashings of Ukrainian honey-chilli vodka. You will have experienced travel writers, photographers and tour guides at your disposal, as you delve into one of Europe’s most fascinating – yet criminally underrated – capitals. Our 8 days in Ukraine will be breathtaking, bizarre, and occasionally challenging… but always memorable.
Places are limited – so get in touch now to reserve your seat on this exclusive pop-up tour of Kiev and Chernobyl, from the people behind Yomadic and The Bohemian Blog. For more information, you can read through a detailed itinerary and FAQs below.
Bookings will close on Friday 23rd June, at 4pm London time.
POP-UP TOUR: UKRAINE / 3-9 JULY 2017 / €1190 / Book Now
YOUR ITINERARY IN MORE DETAIL
MONDAY 3rd: Arrival in Kiev
Kiev is pre-tourist-boom. Home to 3.5 million people on the banks of the Dnieper River, this historic Eastern European capital combines the legacy of post-Soviet Eastern Europe, centuries of important regional history, rich cultural heritage, and now, an urbane cosmopolitan modernity. There is no city quite like Kiev.
After arriving, you will commence your stay at the “Hotel Salut”, an icon of mid-century Soviet Modernism. As we await arrivals, our central location will allow easily exploration of the local sites and sounds of Kiev, followed by an optional group dinner.
TUESDAY 4th: Kiev – Day 1
Breakfast at the Hotel Salut. Exploration of Kiev begins.
Being a busy city, it makes sense to utilise the extensive metro/subway system to rapidly traverse from point to point. Fortunately, the stations appear lifted straight from the pages of a 1970’s architectural magazine – an unmissable part of any Kiev experience. We have a full day of curated sites combining architecture, food, and grit.
Later, optionally join us for dinner, before returning to your mid-century Sov-mod pad.
WEDNESDAY 5th: Kiev – Day 2
Kiev has far more to offer than two days can allow. However, we will make the most of our time – highlights today include Maidan Square, a thriving Soviet-era market, the Motherland Monument and environs. Likely other destinations include the Micro-District “Obolon”, the brutalist architecture of a local university, and more. We’ll ensure you have more than your fill – with three “guides” available, catering to all tastes, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Evening, optionally join us for dinner before returning, once again, to your exceptionally cool hotel.
THURSDAY 6th: Chernobyl – Day 1
We’ll travel early from Kiev to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and the abandoned city of Pripyat. Needing little in the way of introduction, Pripyat was once a thriving city of workers and families until being rapidly evacuated in the wake of the 1986 nuclear accident.
Accompanied by an experienced guide, our overnight stay will ensure we have the ability to really immerse ourselves in our surroundings – perfect for photographers, and for anyone else hoping to explore the place at a more leisurely pace. Overnight accommodation in the Chernobyl Zone.
FRIDAY 7th: Chernobyl – Day 2
Waking up in comfort, at Chernobyl, we’ll have time to see some of the lesser-known sites of this area – completing an enlightening and educating experience.
Afternoon, we return to Kiev for one last night, staying at the “Hotel Ukraine”: a grand Soviet-era hotel directly overlooking the central Maidan square of Kiev.
We’ll book a great restaurant in a vibrant part of the city, tuck you in, and give you time to process everything you’ve seen and experienced this week.
SATURDAY 8th: Kiev – Day 3
Full day in Kiev. From our previous Pop-Up Ukraine Tour, we know you’ll be exhausted from your Chernobyl adventure. So today, you’ll have choices.
With three guides on hand to show you around, you’ll be able to choose your own adventure – from architecture photography to exploring Soviet-era bunkers, visiting historical churches, relaxing at great local cafés and bars, or even just hitting the shops. Later, the group will reconvene for dinner at one of the Ukrainian capital’s favourite traditional restaurants.
Departure date. Hotel breakfast. Tears. We will be on-hand to arrange any transportation requirements.
The Small Print (via Yomadic.com)
So what’s a “Pop-up tour” then?
Destinations in Europe often move rapidly from being relatively unknown, to being firmly on the tourist radar. Kiev, right now, is pre-tourism boom. Visually alluring, emotionally fascinating, safe, warm, with friendly locals, a thriving creative industry, and a genuinely extensive list of sights and attractions. However, even at the peak of the European summer, tourists are thin on the ground. For now.
Our Pop-up tour concept takes advantage of this perfect moment in Ukraine. A genuinely fresh and innovative approach – as small, professional, independent tour-operators, we have drawn upon our on-the-ground experience to create a travel-concept unmatched by any other organisation.
We’re really not fans of typical organised group tours. However, we appreciate the benefits of local knowledge and planning – especially when time is limited. Our curated Pop-up tour is a contemporary approach to resolve an enormous problem with tourism. Modern travellers are seeking to maintain the spirit of independent travel, but would prefer a like-minded “expert” to sift through and select only those sights and experiences worth seeing, while taking care of all the logistics.
Many people really don’t enjoy the concept of typical package tours – neither do we. We won’t be ticking off UNESCO heritage lists, or seeing “must sees” for the sake of completion. Surrounded by a small group of new friends, we’ll forge our own path – well paced, but never rushed. This is the “Pop-up tour”, and there is nothing quite like it.
About the collaboration: Yomadic & The Bohemian Blog
Darmon here. If you’re reading this, then chances are you already have an idea of what my site, The Bohemian Blog, is all about: unexpected beauty in unlikely places. The wonder of magnificent might-have-beens. Travel measured in experiences, and not according to Lonely Planet checklists.
Well, Yomadic is on the same page. I can honestly say that in an industry of top-ten lists and click-bait titles, Yomadic is one of the few travel sites that I still make time to read. We’ve travelled together a few times now, we’ve had a whole bunch of adventures, and I can’t imagine anyone I’d rather collaborate with on a tour.
In fact, I don’t know why we didn’t do it sooner.
Why trust us?
We’re experienced tour operators, with a history of successful and consistently sold-out tours. Since 2014, we have personally organised and run small groups through Iran, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro. These are not “easy” destinations – however, our tour success is confirmed by the number of previous guests who have already booked in for another.
Although we’re small and independent, we act with utmost professionalism and only collaborate with organisations and individuals that have a verifiable history of travel professionalism. Our reputation is of critical importance – and our track record stands as evidence of our commitment to unique, high value, quality, “Untour” experiences.
Plus – as of September 2016, we’ve already run one highly successful tour of Kiev and Chernobyl. Our guests loved it, we loved it, and we can’t wait to do it again. We’re happy to put you in touch with those previous guests, if you’d like to have an unsolicited opinion on our tours.
Why is there a closing date?
On Friday 23rd June, at 4pm London time, bookings will close. This date cannot be extended under any circumstance. Our unique Chernobyl experience requires the early submission of paperwork to local authorities in advance, with your full name. Therefore, as much as we would like to accommodate last-minute bookings, this time around we simply can’t.
Is Chernobyl safe?
A wealth of information exists about the current safety of the Chernobyl area. You may easily search for information – and independently verify the safety of this region. When sticking with the instructions of our professional and experienced guide (we will have a full induction), the radiation levels are many times smaller than what you would receive on a trans-Atlantic flight (for example). However, there are other dangers – including collapsing urban infrastructure – and so we will ensure your safety is our priority at all times. All official guidelines with regards to safety, will be strictly adhered to.
Is Kiev safe?
Kiev is a safe city by any global standard. It’s a major European metropolis, and the people are some of the most welcoming you’ll meet. Sure, the country still has some issues to work out – but the chance of any of it affecting our tour is extremely low.
How do I pay, and what is the refund policy?
Payment is via any major credit card, giving you all the protections and benefits you would normally receive. We offer this money-back guarantee – outside of an unexpected force-majeure event, this tour is 100% guaranteed to go ahead. However, we incur real costs from the moment you book, and due to the timing of this tour, we cannot offer standard refunds – but – if you do cancel prior to August the 20th, and we find a replacement for you, we promise to refund 90% of your full ticket price.
When should I arrive in Kiev?
Aim to arrive in Kiev during the day on July 3rd. We can arrange a transfer from Kiev airport directly to your hotel, or you can organise your own taxi/public transportation: we can give you information on these options. If you wish to arrive early, or depart late, we can organise additional accommodation for you. Hotel check-in time on day one is after 1pm.
Is there a “single-supplement” option or charge?
Unless you prefer your own room, we won’t charge you a “single supplement”. Shared twin-rooms have a maximum of two guests in total. If you would like to ensure your own room, this option is available on the checkout page for an additional cost of 300 Euro. Please note, although we will try to offer your own room for the night at Chernobyl, we cannot guarantee this.
What if I get bored of hanging out with you guys?
Of course, you will have 100% freedom to do as you wish. We are happy for you to join us at all times in Kiev, we’re equally happy to provide guidance and direction for you to do your own thing. Each night, the group dinner is completely optional.
★ All accommodation in Kiev at iconic, well-reputed, architecturally significant, Soviet-era hotels.
★ Accommodation at the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
★ All transportation for the duration of the trip, including comfortable transportation to and from Pripyat/Chernobyl.
★ All seven breakfasts are included, including the departure day.
★ Guides from Yomadic, The Bohemian Blog, and local guides from Kiev.
★ Meals at the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone will be included (dinner, lunch, breakfast).
What’s not included?
★ Airfares or transportation costs to Kiev (we are happy to assist with this).
★ Transportation costs from Kiev Airport to your hotel, on arrival and departure (however, we can arrange private airport-pickup, or provide you with taxi/public transportation information).
★ Alcohol, mostly, is not included, but we reserve the right to buy you a drink or two.
★ Most dinners and lunches are not included – except when specified as inclusions in the itinerary.
Other things worth knowing
★ Many nationalities can easily obtain a visa-on-arrival at Kiev Airport – including most European nations, USA, Canada, UK, most South American nations, Australia, and New Zealand.
★ Internet speeds in Ukraine are fast, WiFi is commonplace.
★ Travel insurance is a requirement of this tour (we don’t recommended any specific provider).
★ All major credit cards are accepted at most ATM machines in Kiev, currency exchange is commonplace.
★ We reserve the right to change the itinerary (although it’s highly unlikely).
★ To contact us: You can send us a message using this form. We will be happy to speak to you via telephone/Skype, or reply to your inquiries via email or social media.
And now, it’s over to you…
This is the type of invitation that doesn’t come around too often. We promise, based upon our history of previous tours, to deliver you a profoundly enjoyable experience, and one of the most memorable trips you could ever imagine.
We really hope you can join us. Please don’t delay – group size is limited, and the closing date is fixed.
POP-UP TOUR: UKRAINE / 3-9 JULY 2017 / €1190 / Book Now