Chernobyl location: Where is Chernobyl? Is it safe to visit? Can you stay overnight?

Chernobyl the HBO and Sky Atlantic series has caused an upspike in tourism to Chernobyl the real-life city as well as nearby Pripyat. Pripyat even has a hotel where fans of the HBO/Sky series can stay overnight, though Chernobyl tourists have recently been criticised for taking selfies in the city. Chernobyl is still very radioactive, but it has been deemed safe to visit by the authorities in Ukraine.

Where is Chernobyl?

Chernobyl is a city in the north of Ukraine, close to the border with Belarus.

The power plant where the explosion happened, officially known as the Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Nuclear Power Plant, however, is actually closer to the city of Pripyat.

Both are within the Chernobyl exclusion zone, a 30 kilometre ring around the power plant covering an area of 2,600 km2.

Both Chernobyl and Pripyat are still abandoned, though they have are open to visitors.


Is Chernobyl safe to visit?

Both Chernobyl and Pripyat have been deemed safe for tourists to visit since 2010.

However, tourists have to be screened before they visit and checked for radioactive particles after they leave.

Tourists are also told not to touch objects that have been cordoned off and not to sit down anywhere.

According to BBC News, an estimated 60,000 tourists visited the area last year – the same size of the population of the cities before the incident.


Can you stay in Chernobyl overnight?

Recently, a number of “hotels” have opened in Chernobyl and Pripyat, allowing guests to stay overnight.

The Hotel Desiatka and the Hotel Pripyat have been set up in some of the abandoned buildings in the area.

However, as website Chernobyl-Tour notes: “There is no concept of ‘hotel for tourists’ in the Zone so do not expect the usual service and facilities from such accommodations.”

According to the site, the background radiation in these facilities is no more than you would find in nearby Kiev or in Moscow – with one photo on the site proving this by placing a Geiger counter on one of the beds.


However, Chernobyl series creator Craig Mazin has recently spoke out against the spike in tourism caused by the show.

The showrunner tweeted: “It’s wonderful that #ChernobylHBO has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion. But yes, I’ve seen the photos going around.

“If you visit, please remember that a terrible tragedy occurred there.

“Comport yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed.”

Chernobyl is streaming now on NOW TV

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