Minsk region and the country of the giants
I just came back from my trip to Minsk in Belarus and I can’t wait to share my impressions! You would be surprised how many things you can do and see there…
Here is my selection of absolutely not miss out:
If you want to escape the bitten touristic path, choose Minsk! Do you want to make pictures with nobody on them? No crowds, no queues, no more long hours of waiting and waiting…in front of the museum you absolutely want to visit! Minsk, here I come!
A visa-free destination for a bunch of countries up to 5 days! You hate making all the paperwork and read all about visa requirements? In order to facilitate the tourism, Belarusian government offers a visa-free entry for a lot of countries if you stay there up to 5 days! Including all European Union countries! For more information, check the official website. One useful hack from me: call the consulate to check what are the visa-free requirements for your country. They will advise you on the travel insurance and the rest. You can make a travel insurance at the Minsk national airport as well.
Belarus is a low-budget destination. Airplane tickets are not so cheap, but accommodation, transportation, and food are! So, if you want to eat well and enjoy a cheap public transport, go to Minsk! A little tip here: you can reach the city center by public transport from Minsk National Airport (called Minsk 2), but check at the airport which bus you can take and where to stop as most likely you will need to take a metro afterward to reach your final destination (as we did). Otherwise, the public transport is really cheap!
Interested in Soviet architecture? That’s the place to be! All the buildings are kept and restored! You will be completely immersed in Soviet architectural style! Walk around and explore! Check which building you are allowed to photograph as there are some restrictions (for example, you cannot take in a picture the railway station)…
Visit the ”World of giants” – BELAZ factory. One of the biggest manufacturers of mining trucks is BELAZ. The factory is located in Zhodina, a small town in 50 km north of Minsk. BELAZ manufactured the biggest mining truck in the world: the 450 tons payload! You can go on an organized tour to the factory and discover the giant machines. You can even make a little tour in one of them! This is one in a lifetime mind-blowing experience. Do not miss it out! If you visit Minsk in September, there is an open day at BELAZ at the end of the month and everything is for free! Check the official website for more information.
Eat well and enjoy life! There is so much to try in Minsk in terms of food! Even if you travel on a budget and do the supermarket, you can find all the typical delicacies there. We did our groceries in Sosedi (Соседи) (Neighbours in English) and I bought and ate so many things: absolutely try the local dairy products: creme fraiche, butter, cheeses; all kind of salami; bread: especially the brown bread; sweets: sirniki, plombir ice cream, chocolates, and the local tea! If you want to eat out, I would recommend the bistro ”SVOI” (Locals in English). You will be delighted by the atmosphere and the food: zhur, draniki, sirniki, tea, you name it!
Great sightseeing tour! We thought the city of Minsk is not sooo big and we can do the sightseeing by walk! Huge mistake! Go on a free walking tour or on an organized tour first and then come back to the places you would like to see once again! We walked through few of them the first day, but the next day realized that we missed a huge part of the city center! So, spend a little bit of your budget to properly discover the city! The main boulevard is massive, choose what to see first!
If you like parks and outdoors, Minsk has a lot to offer in terms of green spaces. You’ll cross some of them walking in the city center
If you want to know more about the World War II from Soviet Union’s perspective, visit Misnk! From Victory Square to Belarusian State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War, to Mound of Glory and Khatyn Memorial, wherever you go, you will be reminded of this period of the history.
Where to go and what to see?
- Victory square and Independence Boulevard (walking along the boulevard) – Площадь Победы (белор. Плошча Перамогі) и Проспект Независимости (белор. Праспект Незалежнасці)
- Gate of the City and the Railway Station – Ворота Минска и Минск-Пассажирский вокзал
- The Holy Spirit Cathedral – Собор Сошествия Святого Духа
- The City Hall, the Catholic Cathedral, and the Most Blessed Virgin Mary – Минская ратуша, Кафедральный костел Пресвятой Девы Марии
- Freedom and Oktyabrskaya squares – Площадь Свободы (белор. Плошча Свабоды) и Октябрьская площадь (белор. Кастрычніцкая плошча)
- The Catholic Church of Sts Simon and Helena – Костёл святого Симеона и святой Елены (белор. Касцёл святога Сымона і святой Алены)
- The National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus – Национальный академический Большой театр оперы и балета Республики Беларусь
- The Belarusian State Circus – Белорусский государственный цирк
- Trinity Hill – Троицкое предместье (Троицкая гора)
- The National Library of Belarus – Национальная библиотека Беларуси
- Belaz Factory Zhodino – Белорусский автомобильный завод БЕЛАЗ, Жодино
- Museum complex of ancient crafts and technologies Dudutki – Музейный комплекс старинных народных ремесел и технологий Дудутки
- Belarusian State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War – Белорусский Государственный музей истории Великой Отечественной войны
- SVOI restaurant – Ресторан СВОИ http://restoransvoi.by/
- GUM/ ГУМ – shopping center