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Belarus - Traveling

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Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

Minsk has a developed public network system including buses, trolley buses, trams, and subway (metro).
Now it has got two lines with 19 stations connecting downtown to the eastern, the western, and the south-eastern. Trains run every three minutes during rush hours, every five minutes off-peaks, and every 7-12 minutes late in the evening. The last train leaves the center at 1-00 a.m.
Taxis can be found waiting in front of hotels, at the airports, railway station and bus stations as well as cruising on the streets. The government fixes the sole tariff that is currently equal to 500 rubles (€0.25) per kilometer. However taxi companies surcharge for call, for boarding and sometimes for bringing up the car. In total any ride from downtown to a remote district does not usually exceed 20000 rubles, i.e. approximately €8 while a ride across the city from a far district to the other edge does not exceed 30000 rubles (about €13). More often than not credit cards are not accepted in taxis.
Maps of urban networks: Mapblast

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

Train is the main means of transport for long distances (Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev).
Flying is 2-3 times more expensive and has a poor network
Long distance buses by far are the best choice for traveling within Belarus. They are cheap, quick and safe.
Airlines
Name Type Domestic flights International flights
Belavia National Yes
Gomelavia Charter No
Air Baltic Low cost Yes
Lufthansa Major Yes

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: Police and customs controls are very long when crossing borders between Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. To drive by night, even on main roads, is not recommended (few road signs). The frequent abuse of alcohol while driving makes the journeys dangerous. Supply in fuels is satisfactory. The Green card is required for foreigners.

Visiting

Different forms of tourism

Historical: -Minsk, the capital, rebuilt right after the war with all its big monuments could be a historic museum. An artificial lake, up the hills in the North, makes the city more attractive since 1956.
-Bereste's archaeological museum houses relics of the XIII century
-The national park of Bieloviejskaia Pouchtcha, located 60 km North of Brest.
-Polotsk which was the capital of the Kievian principality. The Saint Sophia cathedral is one of the three Russian cathedrals that have been inspired by the one in Constantinople.
Cultural: The cultural scene in Minsk is very diverse with the Belarusian Ballet and good museums such as the National Museum of Belarusian History and Culture, the National Arts Museum, the Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War and the Museum of Old Belarusian Culture. Other interesting museums deal with the major Belarusian writers, Kolas, Kupala, Bogdanovich and Brovka. Museums generally open Tues-Sun 1000-1900.
Nature: National parks are the pride of Belarus. They are of the world importance. They represent specially protected natural areas, unequalled by their beauty, having no analogues in Europe. One-third of the Belarusian territory is covered with forests where birches, oaks, maple and pine trees dominate with a rich and diverse fauna: here one can find European bison, elk and deer, wild boar and wolf, bear and fox, beaver and lynx — not to mention myriad birds.
Religious: The suburb of Troitskoye Predmestye should not be missed; it gives an insight into the way Minsk once looked – 19th-century houses with colorful facades line the streets. There are also excellent examples of baroque architecture, such as the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (1642), the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul (1613) and the Maryinsky Cathedral, which has been rebuilt to its original shape.
The centre of Christianity during the time of Rus (the first Russian state) lay in the Slavic town of Polotsk. Polotsk is the oldest of the Belarusian cities, founded in 862. An excellent example of architecture of the period is the 11th-century Church of St Sophia. There is also a 12th-century convent, St Ephrosinia of Polotsk, and a 16th- to 17th-century Epiphany Monastery.
Thermal: Inexistent.
Beach: The Braslav Lake District situated in the north and northeast of the country, near the borders of Lithuania and Latvia, is ideal for boating holidays. Several of the 30 lakes, situated in an atmospheric forest, are connected by canals. Accommodation in the area is usually in small dachas along the lakeshore.
Winter sports: In spite of the fact that the highest point in Belarus is only 345 m above the sea level and the average relief of Belarus is 160 m, mountain skiing in Belarus now is a reality. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy excellent cross-country skiing in the Raubichy Olympic Sports Complex, 22km (14 miles) from Minsk, while for lovers of mountain skiing, there are two modern resorts (Logoysk and Silichy) situated 30km (19 miles) from Minsk. Skating is also popular.
Outdoor activities: All outdoor activities can be found in Belarus: biking, hiking, walking but also fishing.
Shopping: There are few types of shopping available. But it is possible to buy souvenirs in indoor markets.
Tourism organizations: Belarus tourist information portal

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: Medical care in Belarus is limited. There is a severe shortage of basic medical supplies. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities. Travelers are encouraged to ensure that they bring an adequate supply of prescription medications in the event that there are delays in departing Belarus . Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Belarus.
Do not drink tap water unless it has been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected. Do not drink unbottled beverages or drinks with ice. Do not eat fruits or vegetables unless they have been peeled or cooked.
For further information on sanitary conditions: MD Travel Health Information

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Minsk (GMT+2 in winter, GMT+3 in summer)
Summer time period: Summer time from March to October
Climate: Because of the proximity of the Baltic Sea the country's climate is temperate continental. Winters last between 105 and 145 days, and summers last up to 150 days. The average temperature in January is -6°C, and the average temperature for July is about 18°C, with high humidity. Average annual precipitation ranges from 550 to 700 millimeters.

Eating

Food specialties: Blinis, "sure" cream, caviar and vodka.
Blinis are black wheat pancakes: blinis are also served with starters or with smoked fish. They are piled on a very hot terracotta plate.
Drinks: Myadukha is the Belarusian word for mead. Mead is made from natural honey in the process of fermentation. In the summer it is usually served chilled, with ice cubes and a slice of lemon, but it can also be prepared as a hot beverage, similar to mulled wine. It is then served with spices such as cinnamon and ginger.
Vodka, known in Belarus under the name of harelka, was traditionally made from rye malt, but nowadays it is also produced from grain or potatoes.
Kvas is a traditional Belarusian bread drink, it is made from black or rye bread.
Dietary taboos: No restrictions in the country.

Speaking

Getting some knowledge: Please visit the website Belarus-Misc
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