Soviet Fringes

From the chilling tales of Chernobyl to the lively exuberance of Belarus' folklore dances; the Soviet Fringes offer a unique experience in one of Europe's least known corners.

Soviet Fringes

From the chilling tales of Chernobyl to the lively exuberance of Belarus' folklore dances; the Soviet Fringes offer a unique experience in one of Europe's least known corners.



Comprising Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova, the 'Soviet Fringes' share a history dominated by their common neighbour, Russia. But these charming lands offer far more than remnants of their previous identity as part of the Soviet Union. Nowadays, these frequently overlooked nations are beginning to find their own paths - rediscovering their distinct cultures, complex histories, and celebrating their pristine landscapes. 

Ukraine is Europe's largest country and each of its main cities has its own unique and multi-faceted personality. While its capital, Kiev, blends a modern metropolitan vibe with fascinating historical sites, Lviv's unique architecture of 14th century castles and cathedrals speak volumes about its distinct past. Odessa, sitting on the border with Crimea, still retains strong links to Russia today. Meanwhile, tiny Moldova is a cultural delight - full of friendly locals, excellent wine and quirky sights including the Soviet enclave of Transnistria. And lastly, picturesque Belarus retains rich traditions, hosts diverse national parks, quaint villages as well as being home to plenty of Stalinist architecture.

Why travel with us ?

As pioneers in off-the-beaten-track, the 'Soviet Fringes' region is one that immediately interested us. Across numerous trips to the region we have developed some fascinating small group tours taking in the highlights of each country - Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova - as well as a combination tour that covers the highlights of each country. Discover Belarus' vast national parks, learn its ancient traditions and wander the sparkling streets of Minsk. Peel back the layers of history in multi-faceted Kiev and learn about the country's recent political upheavals. Discover the dark secrets of Chernobyl and the heroes of Odessa's glorious past. In Moldova sample fine wines, explore a remote cave monastery and visit the breakaway republic of Transnistria, a remnant Soviet state, representing a time long since gone elsewhere in the world.

If you prefer a private trip or one tailored around your needs, just get in touch and our travel specialists will be happy to accommodate your requirements.
View all Soviet Fringes tours


As the largest country in Europe, Ukraine has a lot to offer. From historical Kiev to balmy Odessa, from lovely Lviv to controversial Chernobyl, this beautiful and sometimes troubled land has a fascinating recent as well as ancient history. 


Belarus is a picturesque sanctuary for travellers seeking calm and simplicity at the edge of Europe. Its rich traditions, clean streets and vast national parks and meadows make for a relaxing trip. Soviet influences still abound but the country is making headway in its quest to break free from the Russian sphere.


Carved out of the crumbling Soviet Union, with ethnic links to Romania and a history of being dominated by powerful neighbours that came and went - Turks, Lithuanians, Poles, Soviets - Moldova is a friendly and fascinating place with excellent wine, beautiful Orthodox monasteries and one of the world's great "outdoor museums", in the break-away Soviet bubble state, Transnistria.

Soviet Fringes Presentation>>

Join Eriks Lingeberzins, Managing Director of Travel The Unknown’s local partnership, on a whirlwind journey of Belarus, Ukraine & Moldova. The trio of nations, or the ‘Soviet Fringes’, as we collectively call them, are unique, intriguing and very safe to travel around. These offer a very interesting blend of the Soviet Era and the present day lifestyle that they have transitioned into. This presentation will give you a glimpse into each of these countries. Starting from the vibrant capital cities of Minsk, Kiev and Chisinau, go on to the vast national parks & historical castles of Belarus. Admire the architecture in Lviv and the seaside city of Odessa, get a complete picture of the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine. Explore the cave monasteries, vineyards of Purcari & Cricova, and some of the world’s largest underground wine cellars in Moldova, once called the ‘Garden of the Soviet Union’. No trip to Moldova would be complete without a visit to Transnistria, the unrecognised republic and its capital Tiraspol.


Featured Group Tours