The Official Development Agency of the City of Vilnius

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

Feel Z City

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.

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Vilnius Urban Adventures

Join in our VILNIUS: CHERNOBYL MINISERIES – BEHIND THE SCENES tour to travel in time and relive the atmosphere of the movie and disaster of 26 April 1986 – one of the world’s worst man-made catastrophes that happened in history.

Visit KGB jail and find the cell where Comrade Ulana Khomyuk was held. Come to Lithuanian PRIPYAT town and other authentic Chernobyl locations featured in the HBO miniseries. Feel the shiver in the hall where three divers volunteered. Listen to the true stories of how we have acted after finding out about disaster. Hold real props in your hands. Find out how many hours, locations, human/state effort, $$$ it took to shoot miniseries as well as mind-bending behind-the-scenes details. Get a dose of iodine to keep you safe and healthy.

If you are brave enough – extend your tour with us to full day ultimate discovery of more locations, ending in the real Nuclear Power Plant similar to Chernobyl NPP – experience once in the life time adventure. PRIVATE TOUR option only.

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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!

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Vilnius With Locals

Have you heard most of it was actually filmed in Vilnius and other parts of Lithuania? Join us on an exciting tour and visit the sites where the scenes of this movie were shot in Vilnius! Vilnius is becoming a popular destination for shooting movies and “Chernobyl” is one of the biggest projects we have had here so far!

Meet us by Vilnius town hall and we will start our tour by driving outside the city centre to Fabijoniškės (one of many suburbs of Vilnius that was built during the Soviet times) to see where the scenes of Pripyat were shot. After having visited the Lithuanian Pripyat it will be time to visit “hotel” where the comrades Legasov and Scherbina stayed once they arrived in Pripyat. We will finish the tour in the Museum of Occupation and Freedom Fights where you will recognise the prison cell of Ulyana Khomyuk. This building was a real prison during the Soviet times and was used as the headquarters of KGB in Lithuania as well. 

This tour will entwine the history, politics, KGB operations and its failures and give you much better overview of casual life during the Soviet era. See first-hand the stunning scenery featured as the backdrop in the HBO series when you join us for an unforgettable half-day visiting some of the Chernobyl filming locations.

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Visit the locations

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