Belarus, one of the least visited countries in Europe, is a country full of surprises, bizarre places and the country with the largest and most amazing Soviet Heritage.
Belarus is actual off the beaten track Europe.
Capital – Minsk
Population – 9.5 million (93rd)
Visa – A 30-day free visa is available on arrival, as long as you fly in & out from Minsk International Airport and present both valid travel insurance and proof of funds.
Soviet stuff – Something you need to know about Belarus is that this is the most Soviet place that remains on Earth, more than Russia itself and more than any other former USSR country. Actually most of the places to visit in the country are highly related to Communism, Lenin and the USSR in general, especially in Minsk.
When to go – If you are just planning to visit cities, I believe Belarus is a year-round destination, as long as you wear proper clothes, of course, If you want to visit the countryside or the northern forests and lakes, it is to come outside of the winter months.
Travel insurance – Always a must and I recommend World Nomads for the following reasons:
- It is the only company that covers with an unlimited budget
- It provides coverage for a very big bunch of adventure activities, including trekking in high altitudes
- You can hire it while on the road
5 tops experiences in Belarus:
- Soviet Minsk – The most Soviet city in the world is filled with Stalinist buildings and loads of Communist-related stuff. Read my Minsk guide.
- Stalin Line – What used to be the border between USSR and Europe is today turned into a epic open-air museum.
- Castles – Belarus is also home to dreamy castles, today UNESCO World Heritage sites.
- Khatyn – An old rural village once destroyed by the Nazis, today turned into a sobering, massive memorial.
- Budget dorm: 18 rubles (8€)
- Budget double room: 46 rubles (20€)
- Local meal: 5 rubles (2€)
- A 3-course meal in Minsk: from 20 rubles (8.50€)
- Marshrutka from Brest to Grodno: 15 rubles (6.40€)
- Train from Minsk to Nesvizh: 5 rubles (2€)
- Coffee: 2-3 rubles (0.85-1.30€).
Transportation – The classic Soviet train is the most convenient way to travel around the country. They go to pretty much any city and you can check timings and book your tickets on this link. Alternatively, you can also move around by marshrutka, which is slightly more expensive but they are particularly comfortable compared to other Soviet countries, plus they have Wi-Fi.
Accommodation – In big cities such as Minsk or Brest, you will find many types of accommodation, including budget hostels, but outside if these areas, the options are less and usually more expensive. In my guide to Minsk, you can check a few recommendations.