Top places to visit in Belarus
Top places to visit in Belarus
If you are looking through this page, then you are interested in Belarus, probably, you are even planning to visit it but have no idea where to go to, what places to visit, where to eat, is there anybody speaking English. I understand you, because there is no much information about Belarus in foreign media. Few series of articles about our amazing country where I gradually answer all these questions. And the first one is: “Top places to visit in Belarus”.
Answering this question the first thing I need to do is to tell you that visiting Minsk is the “must-do”. First of all, because you probably have already read this article about visa-free entry via airport (for the article click here), and that is the way to visit Belarus without any visa for 30 days, can you imagine this?
Minsk is the capital of the Republic of Belarus. It is a modern, wonderful European city with Soviet Past, rich cultural heritage, shady parks and greenery all around, welcoming people, luxurious bars and restaurants. You will be surprised with the cleanliness of the streets, where there is no ubiquitous graffiti because there is a special street for it.
First thing to do upon arriving is to take a sightseeing tour. Of course, you can take a walk around the city without a guide, but it is better to take one. It is your guarantee of seeing every landmark and to hear numerous city legends from a person, who really loves the country. Not all landmarks are located close to each other and a sightseeing tour on a car will give you the possibility to reach any corner of the city. Plus, a tour-guide will advise you on best restaurants or cafes due to your preferences.
Mir and Nesvizh Castles
If you have already discovered Minsk (what you can do with the help of our article), it’s time to go beyond and do not stop travelling around Belarus, as it has much to surprise you not only in Minsk. Just 120 km away from Minsk you can find UNESCO World Heritage which every Belarusian is proud of. Nesvizh Castle sometimes is called “Belarussian Versailles” and that is true. You will see magnate’s quarters, posh Ball Halls, Hunting Hall, Small and Big Dining Rooms. The history of the family, which lived in their family nest for many ages is simply catching, especially when you hear about ghosts that still live in the Castle. For more mysterious atmosphere go directly to the Catholic church near the Castle. It is the 3rd church in Europe built in Baroque architectural style. Moreover, inside of it there is the Family Crypt with 70 coffins approx. of the family. It is really scary.
After you discovered one castle it is time to go to another one, they are located just 30 km away from each other. But be careful, there is no public transportation between them, it’s better to join the organized group or take up an individual tour.
Mir Castle is different. Looks more defensive but in fact built on the plain and mostly by the ego, the castle stands out among mostly wooden houses. The inner yard is worth visiting and absolutely impressive with it’s red bricks and huge stones incorporated to the wall. For more authenticity I recommend you to have lunch inside the restaurant which is located in one of the quarters of the castle. You can enjoy aristocratic Belarussian food in historical ambience.
You can say that you travelled a lot around Europe and saw plenty of Castles and you want something really authentic. Well-well, let me think. Dudutki meet your demand. Located within 1 hour drive from Minsk.
The Museum of folk crafts is located on the site of a real Dudichi estate, which was an important centre of crafts and trade. In XVIII-XIX centuries handicraft fairs were regularly held here. In a large scale manor produced everything you need in everyday life: dishes, fabrics, products, kept poultry, cattle, horses, ground flour in his own mill, developed original recipes of cheese and moonshine. Dudutki is not a boring Museum with a series of exhibits under glass windows. This is a real settlement with streets, shopping malls, Church, farm, stable. Houses, craft workshops and utility rooms are the same as they were in the days of gentry, inside – authentic atmosphere with antique furniture, utensils, appliances. And each craft house is acting, masters still make products due to ancient technologies.
One more place located very close to Minsk that worth a visit is
If you are a fan of history, military equipment and pillboxes, if you like to shoot and ride a tank, then you should definitely come here. Historical and cultural complex "Stalin Line" is a military history open-air Museum. The historical basis of the Museum is the Pillboxes of Minsk fortified area. The exhibition has all kinds of trenches and anti-tank ditches of different profiles, positions for infantry departments, dugouts for the shelter of personnel, trenches for guns, wooden, concrete, metal, wire fences of various types.
If you are an advanced and fearless tourist, then after visiting the complex you can fly in helicopter.
Brest (Brest Fortress) and Belovezha Forest
Brest is not the city on the south of France, Brest is the city of military glory located on the Belarusian-Polish border which is famous for its enormous and really impressive Brest Fortress. Today Brest hero fortress is the largest monument to the courage of the Soviet people in the post-Soviet space during the great Patriotic war (a significant part of the World War II, when the Nazi attacked the Soviet Union). For Soviet people the War started here, in Brest, as it was the first city to be attacked. If you are interested in the history of this bloodiest War ever, you need to visit Brest Fortress.
The museum of railroad transport is located nearby. The Museum houses 170 exhibits of technical equipment of railway transport of different periods of history. A distinctive feature is that some of the exhibits are used in filming. This open-air museum is a good possibility to make great pictures and to be inside the trains of different period.
Another interesting museum located in Brest is
Brest Museum of saved values
. It is the only Museum in Belarus, the entire exposition of which consists of works of art and Antiques confiscated by customs officers in attempt to smuggle them abroad. Here you can see devices used by Brest customs officers in the 1970 – 2000s when searching for contraband. Unique photographs taken when contraband was discovered, items that served as hiding places for it, the icon of sawn by the smuggler into 6 parts, so that it would be easier to hide it from customs inspection are exhibited. All in all, a very curious place to visit.
If you are in Brest it is a sin not to visit Belavezha Forest as it is located just 1 hour drive from Brest. In 1979 the importance of the Forest was noted by the world community when it was inscribed in the UNESCO world heritage list. During the visit you can see the residence of the Belarusian Father Frost, as well as enclosures, where you will get acquainted with the inhabitants of the forest. The visit to the residence is interesting for the audience of all ages, as well as the enclosures, where the inhabitants of the ancient relic forest are kept. Belavezha Forest is the oldest nature reserve in Europe. It was first mentioned in the chronicle in 983. But be careful the air here is really fresh, and if you are from the industrial and busy city, you have a small risk to lose your consciousness.
Belarus is not only about wars and military past, but also Belarus can boast royal heritage. If you are a very sophisticated tourist and you have keen sense of beauty, you can go to Grodno, which is the most beautiful city in Belarus and a very popular direction for Polish people to spend their weekends, so do not be surprised if in the supermarket you will hear Polish language, Grodno experiences a surge of tourists. Grodno is also called a multi-confessional city because Ancient Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran churches, synagogue are located here. Moreover it is possible to see medieval castle and the Royal Palace, many ancient buildings make up its unique architectural appearance. Walking down the cozy streets of the well-preserved historical center, you come across evidence of a long and eventful past. Among the most interesting museums are Museum of normal and paranormal anatomy (Kunstkamera) and museum of fire-fighting service;
Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve
Well, nature lovers should be delighted with this reserve, which is conveniently located in a 2-hour drive from Minsk.
The total area is 85.2 thousand hectares. Due to its biological diversity and uniqueness of natural complexes, the reserve is of exceptional importance not only for Belarus, but also for the whole of Europe. There are four types of ecosystems: dense forests, swamps, fleeting water bodies and clean meadows. However, the treasures of the Berezinsky reserve are connected not only with swamp lands. For example, today it is the only place not only in Belarus, but also in the whole continent, where the famous Big European five large mammals – bison, bear, elk, wolf and lynx live: only here you can see them all at the same time.
There are much more places to visit in Belarus. If you are for the first time here, the places I described will be enough to fall in love with a blue-eyed country, and to come one more time! We will be waiting for you. In order not to puzzle over what to do in Belarus, you can see the list that I have compiled especially for you