It’s hardly likely to be most people’s first choice when it comes to choosing a holiday destination once lockdown is lifted.
After all, the site of the world’s worst-ever nuclear disaster hardly springs to mind as a ‘relaxing getaway’ or a place in which to forget about life’s stresses and worries.
But that hasn’t stopped one travel agent organising a four-night city break to the largely abandoned city of Chernobyl in May next year.
Hays Travel in Cardiff is advertising flights from London Gatwick to Kiev, from which you can travel to witness the site of northern Ukraine’s catastrophic 1986 reactor meltdown, along with group and private trips to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone itself.
Visits to that 19-mile cordon include a look around the now overgrown ghost town of Pripyat, which was originally founded to house the ill-fated power plant workers and their families.
One of the most haunting places on the planet – the story of which was recently documented in an acclaimed HBO/Sky drama of the same name – daring adventurers to Chernobyl will also be able to witness first hand the deserted schools, playgrounds and streets which, in the intervening decades, have been gradually reclaimed by nature.
They will be able to experience the eerie stillness which has since replaced the hustle and bustle of where some 50,000 people once went about their daily lives.
It’s a place where, in the weeks following the explosion and resulting fire, 134 servicemen were hospitalized with acute radiation syndrome (ARS).
Of those 134, 28 firefighters and employees died within months, with another 14 radiation-induced cancer deaths occurring over the next 10 years.
But while there is a rough agreement that around 50 people died from the blast or from ARS, there are estimates that up to as many as 500,000 altogether may have since passed away due to the disaster’s long-term impacts – the true extent of which remains unknown because of Russian state secrecy.
However, despite that chilling legacy, Chernobyl remains a popular place to visit for thrill-seekers and lovers of the macabre, with thousands of tourists attending each year.
Prices start from £495 per person and includes bed and breakfast, but places are limited.
For more information, call Hays Travel on 02921 433032 or visit the Facebook site here.