Vilnius: Where the Chernobyl HBO Miniseries Came to Life

HBO’s acclaimed miniseries Chernobyl has been all the talk among movie-lovers and historians recently. The show depicts the morning of 26 April 1986 in Soviet Ukraine, and the events that followed. It brings the famous man-made nuclear catastrophe back to life on screen after 33 years after it happened in real-life, and manages to capture the horror so well viewers almost feel like they’re there in person.

However, Chernobyl wasn’t filmed entirely in Ukraine. In fact, the perfect locations were captured in different parts of Lithuania, but mostly Vilnius. The 30km exclusion zone near Chernobyl is a risky tourist destination – the surrounding area won’t be fit for human habitation for another 20,000 years – but Vilnius offers a safe adventure visiting the authentic HBO Chernobyl locations.

Awarded at Emmys

Chernobyl had an impressive showing at the 2019 Emmy Awards. The hit HBO miniseries won in 10 of the 19 awards it was nominated for, including the Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Directing, and Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special awards. Chernobyl was also awarded for cinematography, single-camera production design, picture editing, music composition, sound editing, sound mixing, and visual special effects.

Interesting facts

The series took almost 1,000 hours to make, was shot in some 40 different locations, and had upwards of 5,000 people participated in the filming. Moreover, the Chernobyl miniseries is by far Lithuania’s biggest production to date.

Finding the perfect locations

Lithuania served as the perfect backdrop for the miniseries because of its common Soviet history with Ukraine and the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, which is now gradually being shut down. However, one of the main tasks was to transform the areas back into the Soviet era. ‘They have become a part of Europe, they have come a long long way and it was about going backwards and peeling things away,” the show’s creator Craig Mazin recounted to the press.

The massive, destroyed reactor sets were built in a local film studio, but most of the action takes place in the city: 60 of the 88 days were spent filming in Vilnius, recreating the lives of the people and the lies their government told them.

The guided tours are available with these companies


Take a guided tour of Vilnius’ Fabijoniskes district, the neighbourhood used to portray the fictional Pripyat in HBO’s Chernobyl miniseries. The tour includes a visit to one of the neighbourhood’s Soviet-style flats and a chat with locals about life in the Soviet Union.

Chernobyl series tour Vilnius

A daylong guided tour that includes a trip to the Fabijoniskes district of Vilnius and a visit inside one of its Soviet-style flats, as well as a chat with locals about Soviet life in the neighbourhood. The tour also includes a trip to the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, the Chernobyl plant lookalike used in HBO’s miniseries. Participants will have the chance to wear special power plant clothing; visit restricted areas, including the top of the reactor and control room; and take advantage of exclusive photo opportunities.

Read more about the tour

Youth Leisure Network

During this whole day tour we will visit Kaunas, city which is known as “Moscow” in the miniseries and of course the infamous city of Pripyat recreation, which happened in Vilnius. But that’s not all!

Read more about the tour

Visit the locations