How to enter the Odessa catacombs without a guide or tour

If you’re looking for something to do in Odessa, the catacombs are pretty cool. If you haven’t heard of them before, posts on Atlas Obscura and The Bohemian Blog are good places to start.

If you’re like me, you’re already ready to go check it out, but where do you go exactly? I searched around for “how to get in the odessa catacombs yourself” or “odessa catacombs entrance”, but couldn’t find anything. I found several paid tours, but of course it’s not in their interest to give up the actual location of where you enter.

A lot of sites will warn you about getting lost in the caves. I thought their warnings were too cautious, but after firsthand experience, I must agree: they’re a serious danger. I went on a guided tour. About 10 or 15 turns in I thought I was doing pretty well in keeping my bearings. After 20 minutes we’d passed by perhaps 50 possible turn locations, not including all of the possible routes going backwards if you miss one, and my internal compass was disoriented. Either don’t walk more than a few minutes in, or go with a guide. Supposedly several people have gotten lost and died. It’s not surprising (even if only legend).

Our tour guide met us a bit out of the city in a smaller village, Nerubaiske. We parked out car under a tree, and walked to the entrance. There are supposedly dozens of entrances, but I was unable to find any other online besides the official museum (perhaps I wasn’t searching well enough, and, after all, I was only searching in english).

An entrance to the Odessa catacombs is located at 46°32’33.8″N 30°38’06.0″E. (Or decimal form: 46.542713, 30.635005).

Entrance to the Odessa Catacombs

If you want to go the safer route (which I didn’t do actually, but plan to next time I’m in Odessa), you can visit the Partisan Glory Museum in the same village (Nerubaiske).