Le Figaro included Belarus in top-20 destinations in 2020. Since the introduction of the visa-free regime in Belarus, more tourists choose Belarus as their travel destination. Nonetheless, to many foreigners the country remains unexplored. We offer you tips on how to spend your best week in Belarus.
Photo. Burger King and the Soviet Monument in Minsk. Source arimotravels.
While one usually doesn’t need a visa to come to Belarus, it is worth checking the guidelines on entering the country. The most practical way would be to enter the country through Minsk airport. By doing that, foreigners can stay in Belarus for up to 30 days and travel across the whole country.
Photo. Source: vetliva.com
If you chose to come to Belarus by car or train via Lithuania or Poland, you could stay in Belarus for only 15 days within the visa-free zones in Hrodna and Brest regions. However, many travel agencies sell tours for foreigners that allow traveling across the whole country even when entering by car through Poland or Lithuania. Whatever option you choose, make sure to purchase the insurance valid in Belarus.
There could be people speaking English around, but be prepared to face the language barrier once you are outside the city center.
Many foreigners face difficulties communicating with customs officers or cashiers when buying tickets at bus or train stations. At the same time, most of the cafes have already had their menus translated into English, and you will not have trouble reading signs, as they are presented in English as well.
As soon as the logistics issues are solved and you ready for the communication barrier challenge, start planning your trip in detail. We have prepared one-week scenarios for architecture lovers, sports fan, urbanists and hipsters, as well as nightlife lovers.
Exploring Belarusian architecture is one of the most popular travel activities. Belarus features a combination of medieval and soviet architecture. In a week, visitors can cover both. Depending on where you are entering the country, you should stop in Brest and Hrodna to enjoy the atmosphere of the most European towns of the country (in architectural terms). Don’t forget to explore the Brest fortress, the legendary war monument. You can also visit churches and old castles, such as Old and New castle in Hrodna, or the palace in Svyatsk village near Hrodna, hidden from the wider public.
Heading to Minsk, history lovers usually visit the museum of the Great Patriotic War and Trinity Suburb (XXI), one of the few historical blocks in Minsk.
Photo. Nesvizh Castle
The Belarusian castles, stretched across the country, are the country’s historical pearls. A week should be enough time to visit at least Top-5 castles. Most of them, however, are reachable by either bus tours or car. Many of the Belarusian castles are less popular as they are run-down due to the lack of state programs to support the reconstruction. Nonetheless, volunteers manage to attract some help. As an example, The Rolling Stones invested in the rebuilding of Kreva palace.
Photo.Minsk Murals. Source: 34travel.me
For those tired from visiting museums and historical attractions, Belarus offers a variety of modern art and street style spots. The best place would be the cities. While spending a week in Minsk, one can explore street art. Project Vulica Brazil annually brings artists to the Kastrychnitskaya street in a unique festival.
Photo. “Digital world” street art selected as best of November 2019 by Street Art Cities. Source: Miromedium.com
Art gallery “Ў” features the best examples of modern art by Belarusian and European artists. For fashion admires, it is worth visiting one of Minsk’s designer showrooms. Killtoday’s bags or Kancept Krama unite many Belarusian brands in one store.
The top leisure places for locals not to be missed by the foreigners are the bars like Hulligan, an open space called Pesochnitsa, or a cultural space Korpus. An unusual conceptual place, Prostranstvo suggests a range of services, from food to beauty-salons.
Photo. Prostranstvo. Source: Onliner.by
Take a ride in the Minsk metro, the only metro communication in Belarus. You can start by looking at this Instagram account that has a guide into the Minsk metro.
Clubs in Belarus are a cheap and popular attraction for foreigners. From pop-clubs such as Rich Cat to show-clubs like Maxshow clubs, one can also spend time in a concert venue called Re:public. Besides classic clubs and nightlife entertainment, places like HIDE club offer events that somewhat remind of rave-style parties in Tbilisi or Kyiv, some reviews suggest. After the parties, it is easy to find local restaurants open until 3 a.m. or simply drop in a McDonalds or Burger King restaurant.
Photo. Nightlife in Minsk. Source: 34travel.me
There is definitely something for architecture admirers, Soviet nostalgics, Hipsters, party animals, and even the sports lovers in Belarus. Although the political and economic situation in the country sometimes leaves much to be desired, Belarus has its doors open to foreigners. With more tourists and explorers, the country gets a chance to improve, but it also gives you some unique experiences.
Alesia Rudnik for belsat.eu