Have you booked a flight and then suddenly realised you have no idea what to do in Minsk, the Capital of Belarus?
Don’t worry you not the only one! I’ll be honest – I knew nothing about Belarus before booking a flight here [besides reading about the presidents “mini-me”] but was very worried after my research. The country is run by “Europe’s last dictator” who has been in complete control for the last 20 years complete with secret police, political opponents going missing, election fraud… Really horrible stuff that shouldn’t be allowed to continue in the 21st century *but* (and I guess this is there danger).
However you wouldn’t know any of this if you were to visit. People here, including military and police, were kind and super helpful – always willing to deal with my lack of Russian and point me in the right direction!
You turn left at the hammer and sickle, then right at the Lenin memorial…If you pass the dictators house you’ve gone to far!
I had a week in time warped Belarus – where apparently no one was told of the USSR collapse!
Here the secret police are still called KGB, tractor sales are indicators for the success of the economy and a statute of Lenin still stands outside the Government House Building. Soviet-era monuments and Stalinist architecture were a huge highlight of in Minsk but I was also interested to see first hand what life is like here in this ah… “unique” country! It is the least touristy city I have been to in Europe and while 7 days might be a bit too long in just the capital it’s cheap, clean and has a lot going on if you do your research.
Not sure if I want to promote it given the political situation but I reason that the more ‘westerners’ that visit, the more open the regime will get – or at least the more aware the world will be of what is going on in this often forgotten country. The America’s have Cuba, Asia has Myanmar and Europe has Belarus…
What To Do In Minsk, Capital of Belarus: The Highlights
What To Do In Minsk #1 : People watch along Independence Avenue, the cities main thoroughfare.
What to Visit in Minsk #2 : Admire the communist busts at the award winning Zair Azgur Memorial Museum and Workshop.
Secret things to Do in Minsk #3 : Catch the Metro and admiring the beautiful artwork in these ‘palaces of the people’.
What To Do In Minsk #4 : Enjoy a cheap night of fun and laughter at the Belarusian State Circus.
What To Do In Minsk #5 : See history from a different perspective at the Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum.
What to Visit in Minsk #6 : Pay your respect at the Afghan War Memorial On Island Of Tears.
What To Do In Minsk #7 : Visit the Victory Monument and look out for the changing of the guards at its Eternal Flame.
Secret things to Do in Minsk #8 : Have your daily cat fix at the bizarre Minsk Cat Cafe.
What To Do In Minsk #9 : Visit the All Saints Church, the most beautiful Orthodox church in Minsk and a memorial to innocent victims of war.
What to Visit in Minsk #10 : Discover the weird Soviet sculptures and their modern juxtaposing.
What To Do In Minsk #11 :Admire the Red Church, the Roman Catholic centre of faith in Belarus.
What To Do In Minsk #12 : Say Hi to the statue of Lenin which still stands outside the Minsk Government House, the Capital of Belarus.
What To Do In Minsk Guide #13 : Enjoy a night of art and culture at the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Secret things to Do in Minsk #14 : Admire the plethora of Soviet art that still dominants the cityscape.
What to See in Belarus #15 : Look out for any events or shows going on at the Palace of the Republic.
What To Do In Minsk #16 :Visit the National Library of Belarus admire its weird rhombicuboctahedron architecture.
What To Do In Minsk #17 :Find your own green space and relax with a book in this city of parks and gardens.
What To Do In Minsk Guide#18 : Spy on the KGB in their own building, just be careful to not get caught taking photos!
What to See in Belarus #19 : Admire grand Stalinist architecture in all its glory at the City Gates.
What To Do In Minsk #20 : Wander around the old town, the last trace of Minsk prior to communism.
If you like this guide you might also want to stick around and read:
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- Overnight Trip to Kazbegi in Georgia
- 50 of the Best Places to Visit in Romania
- Russian Central Air Force Museum at Monino
- How to get from Kazan to Bolgar: Day Trip in Russia
- 16 Photos That Will Make You Want To Drop Everything And Go To China!
BONUS!! What to See in Belarus: Check out Mir Castle and Nesvizh, UNESCO World Heritage Sites only a few hours out of the city!
Where To Stay in Minsk: Some Options For Great Hotels in Minsk City Centre
When planning a trip to Minsk – location is key, and of course if you need Belarus visa support (even for the Belarus visa on arrival) you are going to need to check if your Minsk hotel visa support is going to work. You generally do this after booking, and if they cannot offer it there are also Belarus travel agencies offering visa support services (or you can cancel most Booking.com reservations free-of-charge). Hotels in Minsk Belarus prices vary significantly so here are three great options for you to consider with great location, prices, reviews and amenities.
An affordable accomodation option in Minsk offering single and twin rooms at low prices with included breakfast. Attatched to the Lebyazhy Waterpark guests also enjoy free access to one of the zones in Water Park –> Check it out
Renaissance Minsk Hotel
Central located in the Moskovsky District the Minsk Hotel renaissance is a good middle-range hotel for food, living like a local in Minsk and sight-seeing. Plenty of amenities and don’t forget to ask about their Belarus Visa Support. –> Check it out
DoubleTree by Hilton Minsk
One of the best hotels in Minsk city center and only 600m from the Holy Spirit Cathedral. DoubleTree offers city and river view rooms, a fine-dining restaurant and a fitness center. For those wanting to pamper themselves a bit. –> Check it out