Is Chernobyl a safe traveling destination?

Chernobyl attracts many tourists from all over the world. Annually they number increases due to many factors, and of course, the films, TV series, and numerous documentaries broadcasted by different international channels also initiate new waves of interest towards this destination. There are a lot of myths from the previous decades teeming the Chernobyl complex is dangerous to visit due to the high radiation rates. But since 2010 when the Exclusion Zone was first open for guided tours, many proved informational reports appear and declare the real situation in Chernobyl and prove that the tour to this place is even less dangerous than an ordinary long-distance flight. The audience of the tours to Chernobyl has also changed significantly in recent years. In the early 2010s, the main group of tourists

was foreign scientists who worked on nuclear energy objects or were engaged in different researches on the topic. The certain segment was represented by the international journalists, still looking for thought-provoking and mind-blowing topics to cover. Stalkers (named after a famous post-apocalyptic game), or partially illegal tourists who would come to the complex far earlier than it was proved to be safe and open for the visitors and explore the forbidden places.  Nowadays, the majority of tourists are ordinary people who are curious about the history of catastrophes, like to explore new mysterious locations and those who enjoy nature.

Although visiting Chernobyl is completely safe, tourists are equipped with dosimeters to control the radiation rate and avoid potentially dangerous objects and locations. The other restriction is about the age of the visitors. Being the strategic object, the modern real Chernobyl excepts tourists not younger than 18 years old, because some locations need special permissions to be given, and it’s considered to be not a good idea for the people under age to visit such places. There’s also a strong prohibition for taking any kind of souvenirs with you. Though the radiation rate is not high, the objects are considered potentially dangerous and are not allowed to leave the complex. So, what can attract a tourist to choose the trip to Chernobyl? Let’s take a look at the most interesting places in the complex.

Chernobyl city

Interestingly, the Chernobyl city is widely mistaken with the city of Pripyat, and considered to be completely abandoned. But you’ll be shocked to understand that Chernobyl itself is a small inhabited city, where all the specialists engaged in maintenance, repairmen, and construction works live. So, you can easily see people in the streets, and buy some stuff at local shops.


The city of Pripyat is the real post-catastrophe ghost city, completely abandoned and uninhabited. It was established to serve the needs of the Chernobyl Power Plant and become a symbol of the so-called peaceful atom. There are many places of sightseeing within the city, such as the Amusement park and pool, the abandoned cargo port, and the hospital, which still reminds about those terrifying conditions liquidators have to face in the first days after the disaster. Now, the city is considered relatively safe and open for guided tours. One of the most picturesque objects near the city of Pripyat is the so-called cemetery for ships and barges. Due to the absence of the need to use it and radiation dangers, a small port on the river Pripyat was abandoned, and now you can see only ghost ships there, slowly absorbed by corrosion. Tourists like to take pictures of them and imagine how the port was looking before the disaster.

Red forest

This place is also called the Ginger-color Forest and represent about 10 squire kilometers of the forest zone near the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant. After a massive cleanup operation theta followed the disaster in recent decades the forest has become home for many endangered species. Without the presence of humans and their interference, flora and fauna here have developed an incredible diversify. There are a lot of beautiful wild animals inhabiting the forest, like elks, trots, bison and raccoon dogs, hazel dormice, and beautiful birds, such as black stork. Many tourists who are fond of wildlife enjoy this excursion, as there are only a few places on Earth the life of wild animals develops without the interference of man and his technologies. Once covered with radioactive dust in 1986, now the Forrest represents the real green island in the heart of Europe.

Duga radar

Built as a piece of incredible equipment during the Cold war, the Duga radar was a sector military object hard to detect, until the international military forces defined a strange sound, very similar to those of a woodpecker. Officially called Chernobyl-2, it has got a lot of nicknames, like Steel Yard (by NATO), or the Russian woodpecker. Now, it’s the only radar station of its type which is not used but hasn’t been dismantled. The huge steel construction makes you lose your breath while standing by it. It’s also the Everest for base jumpers and other fans of extreme sports. There are also many documentary films about Duga, which are good to see before visiting the object. They give a lot of interesting facts about the construction you are going to see with your own eyes.

Elephant foot

A huge cerium mass is a real symbol of how powerful nuclear energy can be. This mass is still warm as a result of decay processes.  It’s considered one of the most dangerous locations of the Chernobyl complex. Tourists can visit it and stay close to it due to the high level of radiation. But the stories about it and numerous secrets only local guides know are worth getting close to it without a risk to endanger yourself.

The list of sightseeing the Chernobyl complex possesses is quite longer than those that have been already mentioned. It’s good to know that only guided tours are permitted, so tourist are completely safe during their trip, as the guides and instructors take them to the locations with proved safety, and strictly control the time limits of stay at all of them to avoid any kind of health risks.