BELARUS 9 DAYS
Group size 10 Start Minsk
Countries 1 End Minsk
Reviews 1 Review5/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Medium Group
If one wants to bring travelers’ statements about today ’s Belarus to a common denominator, then one would probably set the following quote – “This country is much better than its reputation”. Indeed, it often looks as if Belarus is still searching for its identity. Of course, restricted freedom of the press, muzzled oppositional and dictatorial ways of governing the country are causing negative headlines in the Western media. The land full of quite apocalyptic events in the 20th century alone. It resolutely opposes cliché and proves to travelers that it is a treasure trove of long-forgotten cities, a corner where uniformly regulated wastelands of most travel destinations in Europe retreat from the spontaneous and the unexpected. Welcome to the largest landlocked country of Europe.
- 7 x overnights in 3*** hotels: 5 x Hotel Monastyrski 4* (or similar) in Minsk, 2 x Hotel Vesta 3* (or similar) in Brest.
- Local English-speaking guide or other languages on request.
- Transfers by a modern coach to all program sites.
- Meals: HB.
- English-speaking city tours: Minsk, Brest.
- Entrance + Guided tours: all sacred buildings according to the itinerary; WW II museum in Minsk, part of the Stalin Line in Loshany, open-air museum in Dudutki, Mir Castle Complex, castle in Nesvizh, Belowezha National Park, Natural Science Museum in Bialoweza Forest, Brest Fortress, Puslowski castle, Palace of Sapieha, BelAZ Manufacturer.
- Optional: flight by helicopter in Loshany, drive BELAZ-truck.
- Visa Fee
- Travel Insurance
- Single Supplement
- Any meals not mentioned
- Any transfers not mentioned (e.g. first and last day)
- Any expenses of a personal nature
- Camera/video permits
- Tips to the guide and driver
Welcome to Belarus!
If we were to describe contemporary Belarus in one statement, we would probably resort to the following quotation: „A country which is better than its reputation“. However, it often seems as if Belarus is still looking for its identity and sees clearly its way to achieve the goal but instead is still treading a path of dubious political processes and international affairs. Suppressed freedom of the press, silenced opposition and dictatorial way of ruling the country provokes negative headlines in the western media. The country, the history of which is full of tragic events in 20th c, counters the stereotypes quite resolutely and exposes itself as a treasury of forgotten places. Warm welcome to Belarus! You check in to the hotel in Minsk, have a dinner and relax after the road. Time permitting, you could still have a walk around the city.
In the morning, take a city tour of the Old City (former Upper Town), then we will see the Lower Town, the building of the National Library and the Orthodox Holy Spirit Cathedral. The architecture is quite unfamiliar for the foreign eye. 90% of the city was destroyed during bombing in Second World War and it was rebuilt afterwards in its extravagantly monumental ’’wedding cake style’’. We also visit the old Bernardine monastery from 1628 and Minsk City Hall, which was reconstructed according to its historical design. In the evening, we meet for dinner.
Today we will more properly explore the Belarus capital. We start our day on the banks of the river Swislatsch, where you will see the Traezkae suburb – a reconstructed old-town quarter of the 19th c. On the river itself one can see the Island of Tears with the memorial to all the Belarusians who fell during the wars. During our city tour we will discover numerous monuments dedicated to the Second World War. Particularly worth visiting is recently built WW II museum, which is one of the biggest war museums in the world. There you will have a possibility to get acquainted with the history of the bloodiest war of the 20th century and learn its terrible aftermath for Belarus. With English explanations throughout, atmospheric dioramas and a range of real tanks, airplanes and artillery from WWII, it’s one of the capital’s few must-see attractions. The multimedia technologies used in the design of expositions that include a spherical screen, holographic 3D installations, and a fog screen imitating flame enable the visitors to feel the real atmosphere of the hard time. In the afternoon we start our way to Loshany, where is situated the part of the Stalin Line, which was the part of the fortification line along the Western border of the USSR. Here you will have a possibility to immerse into the history and feel the atmosphere of World War II, explore the largest in the Belarus collection of various guns, military vehicles, artillery, tanks, and aircrafts from different epochs. Optionally, you can fly by helicopter. Moreover, our guide will gladly answer all your questions concerning the USSR and the Soviet epoch.
The open-air museum
After breakfast we take a trip to Dudutki. We will visit the largest open-air museum in the country – the museum of the ancient craft. There you will have a lively meeting with the Belarusian national culture and folk traditions! Many crafts have found their rebirth in the hands of the museum staff in Dudutki that have preserved this ancient Belarusian tradition. Here we plunge into the atmosphere of the Belarusian provincial life of the 19th c., comprehend the meaning of folk customs and secrets of ancient crafts. One can find here attractions to everyone’s taste – a bakery, a windmill, a dairy, a potters’ guild, even a classic car show. In the afternoon you enjoy your free time in Minsk.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Belarus
Our first stop for today is the Mir Castle Complex. Situated 100 km away from Minsk, the castle is a true pearl of the Belarusian architecture. It was the first Belarusian object that was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The castle is a typical example of the magnate architecture during the times of the Polish-Lithuanian rule. The magnificent building, which combines Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements, was not only a place for the splendid receptions, but also a proper stronghold with loopholes and imposing walls. In the afternoon, we reach Nesvizh – the cultural capital of the country in 2012. First of all we should visit Nesvizh castle built in 16th c., which is the former residence of Polish royal family. This building has a unique style mixture and there are a lot of legends connected with it. Since 2006 the castle belongs to UNESCO World Heritage list. The territory of the fortress with its shady gardens, green grass and clear blue ponds invites us for a walk. In addition, we will also visit Corpus Christi church where we will see unique frescoes from the 18th century. In the evening, we come to Brest where we stay overnight.
Window to the West
The city of Brest is known as the Belarus’ “window” to the West. Brest has a lot to offer and our guide will share with us the most interesting information. Here were concluded such important historical documents as the Church Union of Brest and Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which ended the war between Soviet Russia and the Central Powers and transferred the city to the influence sphere of the German Empire. We continue our journey exploring Białowieża National Park in the Białowieża Forest. The National Park is considered to be the last lowland primeval forest in Europe. It was here, where in 1991 were signed the Belavezha Accords, that declared the Soviet Union effectively dissolved. Since 1992 it belongs to UNESCO World Heritage but as a nature reserve, it has been already known for over 600 years. Many relict plants and animals remain in this virgin forest. Dwarf birch, arnica and wild garlic grow there since the ice age. In these woods live bisons, elks, beavers, lynxes, wolves. Learn all about the diverse flora and fauna of the area in the Natural Science Museum. Overnight we stay in Brest.
Castles and Palaces
After breakfast we explore the most visited attraction of Belarus – the Brest Fortress – the scene of numerous battles, including those during World War II. Moreover, we also visit a museum of confiscated art in Brest, where you can see an exhibition of goods expropriated from smugglers at Brest customs. Around noon we leave Brest in the direction Minsk. En route, we visit Kosava – the birthplace of the Polish and Belarusian hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko. We will pay a visit to the Puslowski castle and learn lots of interesting from its turbulent history. The building has 12 towers that symbolize 12 months and it is architecturally set up in such a way that rooms in the castle get plenty of sunlight. According to a legend, there should be a tunnel, which connects this castle with the palace in Ruzhany. But we prefer using more traditional means of transportation and set off by bus to Ruzhany to see the ruins of the Palace of Sapieha, former Belarusian Versailles. In the evening we reach Minsk.
Super heavy dump trucks
We start our day visiting BELAZ – one of the world’s largest producers of mining equipment. The plant’s products won more than one prestigious international level. One of the trucks, 450-ton crane is the only double champion in the Guinness Book of Records! While exploring the plant we will have an opportunity to learn about the manufacturing facilities as well as get acquainted with the history of the plant. We will not only visit the exposition of heavy and super-heavy dump trucks and special purpose equipment, but also see how all these machines are being assembled. As an additional service, there is also a possibility to have a drive in BELAZ dump truck. This crane is as long as two double decker buses parked end-to-end, six times as powerful as today’s Formula 1 racing cars and weighs more than a fully loaded Airbus A380 passenger plane! In the afternoon you may enjoy your free time and have a possibility to explore Minsk by your own.
Well, our program comes to its end. In the morning, you will still have a couple of hours to check the souvenirs market, to send postcards to your friends or family or to do something what you have missed in the days before. We hope you enjoyed your eventful time in Belarus and hope to meet you here again in the near future. You are always welcome!