UKRAINE & BELARUS 10 DAYS
Group size 10 Start Lviv
Countries 2 End Minsk
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Medium Group
This trip will be like a time travel for you. The untouched nature of the Ukrainian Carpathians, the expanses of perennial forests of Belarus, medieval castles, atmospheric architecture and modern urban structures will not leave anyone indifferent. Unforgettable impressions will leave the traditions and culture of these two friendly nations. We invite you to open new borders of the world and your emotions with us in this journey.
- 9 x nights in 3 * – 4 * hotels: 3 x Reikartz Dworzec 3*(or similar) in Lviv, 2 x Hotel Vesta 3*(or similar) in Brest, 1 x Hotel Neman 4* (or similar) in Hrodna, 3 x Hotel Yubileiny in 3*(or similar) Minsk.
- All-route English-speaking guide.
- Meals: half board + lunch on the 4th day and on the 8th day.
- Transfer by comfortable bus to all program points.
- English-speaking city tours: Lviv, Drohobych, Brody, Lutsk, Brest, Hrodna, Nesvizh, Minsk.
- Entrance + guided tour: all sacred buildings according to program, Lychakiv cemetery in Lviv; Castles in Olesko, Pidhirtsi; Jewish cemetery in Brody; Lubart’s Castle in Lutsk, Brest Fortress, Bialowieza National Park, Nature and Forest Museum in Bialowieza Heath, Old and New Castle in Hrodna, Island of Tears in Minsk; Open Air Museum in Dudutki + tasting, Nesvizh Castle, Mir Castle.
- 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
Arrival in Lviv
Welcome in Lviv! The biggest city of Western Ukraine and the cultural capital of the country. You check in to the hotel in Lviv and go on a dinner with traditional meals and relax after the road. Time permitting, you could still have a walk around the city.
Bland of many cultures
Today we make first acquaintance with this unique city. A lot of nationalities contributed to the development of the city and today you have an opportunity to look back at its history. The whole city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Discovering the city on walking guided tour, you get acquainted with the versatility of architectural styles implemented in historical churches and houses, we visit the Armenian and the Jewish quarters and the famous Opera House. Look around the city, feel its atmosphere with each single step; stones of old buildings, the picturesque alleys invite you to saunter around, the shabby time-struck romantic benches in the park, spontaneous chess sets on the alley in front of the Opera House, in the numerous coffee houses. Of course, Lviv has much more to offer. During a city tour, we visit among other things the main building of Lviv University, the oldest university on the territory of modern Ukraine. With nearly 120,000 students, Lviv is one of the most important educational centers in the country. We go up to Jura Mountain and visit St. George’s Cathedral – the center of the Greek Catholic Faith, there you learn about the role of the church in today ’s Ukrainian society. Someone has once told that each society is worth exactly as much as it commemorates its dead. In this regard we would like to offer you a visit Lychakiv cemetery. In an easy way you learn a lot about important personalities who had been writing the history of these lands for centuries.
Castles of Western Ukraine
After the breakfast, we leave Lviv and visit the Olesko Castle, the oldest surviving castle in Galicia, as well as the magnificent but now dilapidated former Pidhirtsi Palace. Both are associated with the Sobieski family. Its story was closely linked to the political struggle between Poland, Lithuania and Hungary. While strolling through the castle’s halls you listen to a fabled story of the birth of a Polish king. The castle in Pidhirtsi would obviously be a splendid piece in the Galician crown, if it were not in a bit neglected condition. Back then, it did not trail behind other Western European castles. The castle was often the scene of amusing events, festivities and permanent receptions for the local nobility. Here you also hear a story of a Woman in White that haunts these lands during full moon. In the afternoon we come back to Lviv.
The capital of Volyn
In the morning of this day we set off to Lutsk – the largest city in the Volyn region. Founded in 1085, Lutsk owes its rapid development to its favourable location on the Via Regia between Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and Poland. Until today Lubart’s Castle has come to us in its original form – one of the few surviving architectural monuments of the Lithuanian principality in Ukraine. The medieval building dates from the second half of the 14th century and hosts a few interesting collections. It is also breathtaking to visit the underground passages that for centuries have to connect Lutsk with the surrounding villages. The visit is, however, optional because the catacombs are constantly being renovated and are not always accessible to the guests. But the Catholic Peter and Paul Church, under which this labyrinth and prison cell complex lies, always welcomes visitors. The Lutheran Church, the Holy Trinity Cathedral, many houses from the 16th-19th c. and even a mysterious chimera house, decorated with unusual fairy-tale characters, complete your impression of Lutsk. In the early afternoon we leave Lutsk and approach the Belarusian border. In the evening we reach Brest, check in at the hotel and come for dinner together.
Belarus’ window to Europe
Today we will visit the city centre of Brest – “window” to the west. Our guide has plenty to tell you about Brest, and this town has much to offer. In the city we visit, of course, the most visited attraction of Belarus – Brest Fortress – scene of numerous battles, including those that took place in the Second World War. In the afternoon you have free time. As a tip, we recommend you visit the Museum of Salvaged Treasures, which exhibits valuables saved from smuggling and confiscated from Brest Customs. At the common dinner we exchange the impressions of the day.
After breakfast and check-out we arrive in the Bialowieza National Park in the Bialowieza Heath in about one hour drive. Here we spend half a day. The national park considered as the last lowland primeval forest in Europe is since 1992 on the list of UNESCO World Natural Heritage as a nature reserve. He has been known for more than 600 years. Many relict plants and animals have survived in the vast jungles. For example, dwarf birch, arnica and wild garlic have been around since the Ice Age. There are still many bison, moose, beaver, lynx and wolves living in the forests. In the Natural History Museum you will find details about the diverse flora and fauna of the area. We have lunch in the restaurant in the area of the national park. In the late afternoon we return to the north of the border with Poland on the way and reach the city of Hrodna in the late evening, where we have check-in.
The multicultural Hrodna
The story of Hrodna embodies the whole of Belarusian history best. The city is not far from the Lithuanian and Polish border, was also part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Rzeczpospolita and Russian Empire, having acquired peculiarities of each period and, at the same time, is being in the transition and search of its own Belarusian identity. Despite all the destruction and devastation during the numerous wars that have survived the city, Hrodna has managed to preserve its peculiar architecture. Our extended walk in Hrodna begins with the Old Castle, where the city also used to be a fortress in the middle of the 12th century. Founded. The Old Castle was built in the 14th century. The building was rebuilt and converted several times. In the 16th century it was given a renaissance touch and was considered a gem of urban architecture for several centuries until the New Palace (outside sightseeing) was built in 1751 as the seat of the Polish-Lithuanian State Parliament in Rococo style. A few hundred meters further we visit the Evangelical-Lutheran church from the 17th century. We take the visit as an opportunity to talk about the coexistence of different denominations in the Belarusian border town. The streets were not renamed in Belarus and have still the street signs from the Soviet era. Thus, the promenade of the city with several lovingly restored merchant houses from the beginning of the 19th century unexpectedly called the Soviet street. Cross several small shops, cafes and restaurants we come to, who is still surprised, the Soviet Square. To make the confusion about the Belarusian toponyms perfect, we visit here the largest catholic cathedral in the country – the Cathedral of St. Francis from the 16th century. Finally, we visit the central synagogue. Not much reveals today the very rich Jewish history of the city, even though about 150 years ago about half of the population was Jewish. For decades, the synagogue was empty and was only returned to the Jewish community in the 1990s. In the afternoon we head to the capital of Belarus – Minsk. Towards evening we can already stay in the hotel for all remaining nights.
In the morning, take a city tour of the Old City (the former Upper City), see the Lower City, the National Library building, the Holy Spirit Cathedral. The architecture is quite unfamiliar to the western eye. Worth seeing is the old Bernardine monastery from 1628 and the rebuilt according to historical plans Minsk City Hall. Right on the banks of the Svislach, the Traezkae suburb is a reconstructed 19th-century old-town quarter. On the river itself, we see the Island of Tears with the memorial to the fallen and murdered Belarusians in all wars. In the afternoon we take a trip to Dudutki. In this village we visit the largest open-air museum in the country – the Museum of Ancient Crafts and a living encounter with the Belarusian culture and national folk traditions. Here we dive into the atmosphere of Belarusian village life of the 19th century. On the large grounds you will find attractions for everyone’s taste – a bakery, a windmill, a dairy, a pottery guild, a vintage car exhibition and much more. You can even taste the homemade vodka and other specialities of the Belarusian cuisine here. At the common dinner in Minsk we exchange the impressions of the day.
UNESCO World Heritage Site in Belarus
Today we explore the castles of Belarus. In the mid morning we reach Mir and see here a real pearl of Belarusian architecture. The castle was the first Belarusian object to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The magnificent building combines Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements, it was not only a place for extensive societies, but also as a real weir system with loopholes and huge walls. Then we make a detour to Nesvizh – the cultural capital of the country in 2012. Worth seeing is especially the Nesvizh Castle from the 16th century, the former residence of the Polish royal family. Since 2006, the castle has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its shady gardens, green meadows and sky blue ponds. We also visit the Corpus Christi Church with unique frescoes from the 18th century. During a short walk through the city centre, we also see the Jesuit monastery and the oldest town hall in Belarus. In the evening we will come to Minsk.
Today our program comes to its end. Take home with you unforgettable impressions as well as the feeling of having experienced something special. You have spent an intense and eventful time and are, we hope, firmly convinced that someday you will definitely want to come here again. You are always welcome!