Travel in BelarusBelarus is not the country that is visited by crowds of tourists. You will probably meet some difficulties in getting there while all the neighbor countries are quite open.
The political system is widely criticized in Europe and USA for its autocratic means while lots of travelers found this place unique for its Soviet Union style in the way of its order, safety and conservative charm.
Doesn’t it make this country unique and worth visiting?
Travel & Tourism in Belarus
(Image source: ivan-da-maria.org)
In consequence of its position in the European cultural crossroad Belarus regularly happened to be the center of historical events such as political intrigues and destructive wars. Belarus is the East for Europe and West for Russia. Many of Belarusians have become famous on the both sides. Discovering Belarusian history you will find a lot of surprising new facts about European and Russian history.
Travelling in cities of Belarus
Many people plan travel in Belarus because of its nature, historical and architectural heritage, medical and rehabilitation purposes. But cities are places where you can feel spirit of modern Belarus though this spirit travelers often find rather USSR-nostalgic than modern. So if we talk about staying in cities we talk about Minsk first of all. It is one of the largest and very special metropolises in Eastern Europe.
Minsk attracts guests with its architecture of Stalin Empire style, order and safety, hospitality and developed entertainment industry.
(Image source: lumb.ru)
Hrodna is probably the most beautiful city of the country for its large historical center. Vitebsk is famous for painter Marc Chagall early activity.
Brest took his image as former USSR western gate. Here are astounding Brest Fortress and Bialavezhskaya Pushcha. Mahileu and Homel are other cities of Belarus that are recommended to visit for its sightseeing and role in history.
Main places to visit
Great military events (mostly wars and destruction) have destroyed most of significant architecture in country replacing them with such war museums and monuments as Brest Fortress, Stalin Line and Khatyn.
( Image source: brestskaya-krepost.ru)
Still Belarus has great castles, churches and palaces to impress. Most popular of them are Mir Castle, Niasvizh Palace, Kosava Castle of Puslovski, Lida Castle, Polatsk Saint Sophia Cathedral, Rumiantsev-Paskevich Residence Palace in Homel, Belaya Vezha in Kamianets and defence church in Synkavichy. Another significant architectural monument is the beginning of Nezalezhnasti Avenue Area in Minsk.
Belarus is famous for its forests, lakes, rivers and bogs that can take you to a very special world. National Parks of Belarus are remarkable attractions. Pripiatski National Park is a part of the biggest European waterlogged and forested area Polesia which is called lungs of Europe.
( Image source: infoglaz.ru)
National Park Bialovezhskaya Puscha is the oldest reserved forest where the biggest mammal in Europe wisent is breeding.
( Image source: shampan.by)
Travel and explore regions of Belarus
The official administrative regions of Belarus are not useful for travel purposes. It is important to know about few areas that interesting for those who are exploring the country as a tourist.
If you want to stay in Minsk or nearby hiring a car you should be aware of the resort area to the north-west of the capital of Belarus. It includes few places known as Ratomka, Zhdanovichi, Minskoye Moré (Minsk Sea), lakes Drozdy and Krinitsa. This is the out-of-town region with good infrastructure, few hotels and health resorts in few minutes of driving from Minsk.
( Image source: interfax.by)
Belarusian Lakeland in the North-West part of the country is famous for its picturesque landscape where about 3000 of lakes are connected to each other with a web of rivers. Here are the most popular resorts of the republic are situated.
(Image source: strusto.by)
Belarusian Polesia in the South of country is a you-shall-not-pass region which always was untrafficable for armies and busy transportations but not for tourists and researchers. Visitors often call this place ‘Mordor Marshes’ or European ‘Amazon River’.
([Image source: photoclub.by)
Minority of Belarusians speaks English. Most of them are young people in cities. Russian language is commonly used. Belarusian is also the official language of the republic.
You can’t buy anything in Belarus for foreign currency, though in the most of the places in cities MasterCard and Visa are accepted (but not American Express). You will easily find lot of banks to exchange dollars, pounds and euros for local currency called roubles. Nevertheless take care of exchanging Belarusian currency back to your native in advance before the departure as you may not find enough of it in some exchange offices. After you finish your travel in Belarus and come back to your country you will hardly sell Belarusian roubles to any bank :)
The prices in country are average, for some goods and services they are very low.
Traditional cuisine of Belarus is captured by potato, pork and beaf dishes. The brand meal for tourists is ‘draniki’ is quite tasty. You can try Belarusian cuisine in the most of the cities restaurants. Though be careful choosing restaurant while traveling in the small towns of Belarus, because some of them may have quite poor cuisine.
Local alcohol worth trying. Pay attention to Medovukha, lager and a wide choice of high quality spirits. In some excursions such as Dudtki you can try Belarusian moonshine called ‘samogonka’.
By the way international chains restaurants are not spread here.
Places to stay
New hotels in Belarus are of good level and acceptable price.
Among soviet-time hotels you can find some poorly equipped rooms, which is likely to be out of Minsk. You can find cheap motels to stay as well. Good idea is to rent a flat in a city. In the capital we recommend these hotels to stay.
(Image source: strani.ru)
After Chernobyl disaster in 1986 the wide net of international medical and radiation control was established in Belarus. Today the results of this accident are not dangerous for tourists except of the small covered space in the South-East of the country.
Among former USSR countries Belarus is remarkable for a relatively good level of medical service and low prices for medical treatment and rehabilitation. Nevertheless local hospitals are quite poorly equipped in comparison with those in USA or European Union.
Please note that you must have medical insurance valid on the territory of the country before starting travel in Belarus.
One day in Belarus video