Top 10 things to do in Belarus

Pagan festivities are an intricate part of life in Belarus and what better way to soak in Belarus’ proud Pagan traditions than by attending a folk festival? When visiting Belarus you cannot pass the opportunity to attend one of these annual folk celebrations such as Kupalle (Jun 21) and Maslenitsa (Feb/March) -  two of the most popular pagan holidays in the country.

Out of the two, the Maslenitsa celebration is probably the best folk festival you can attend in Belarus because it lasts an entire week and features yummy foods, a beautiful masquerade ceremony and fun activities such as sleigh riding competitions and fun snowball fights.

Take a day trip to Berezinsky nature reserve

If you’re traveling to Belarus for the first time, you definitely have to add to your itinerary of things to do seeing the beautiful primeval forest of the Berezinsky nature reserve. The reserve is one of the largest primeval forests in Europe boasting over 600 year-old forests and protected wildlife such as beaver, bison, boar, lynx, wolves and more.
Top 10 things to do in Belarus

The most popular way to go about exploring the Berezinsky Bioreserve is on an organized tour offered by operators such as “Private Minsk Tours”, “Belin Tourist” and “Pure Travel”. Saying this, you can inexpensively catch a bus from Minsk or Vitebsk to Berezinsky reserve. Once you arrive at the reserve, be sure to hire one of the guides for a boat tour along the Berezina River to see up-close the beaver huts.

By the way, Berezinsky nature reserve is also home to a couple of inexpensive hotels and lodges where you can spend a couple of night for less than 40 euros (~$50).

Attend a knights’ tournament & medieval festival

If you want to soak in a true atmosphere of the Middle Ages during your trip to Belarus, be sure to attend one of the annual knights’ tournaments and medieval festivals held throughout the country during the summer months.

You’ll be able to catch a knights’ medieval tournament at most castles in Belarus such as Navahrudak, Zaslavl, Nesvizh and Mir and learn about Belarus proud medieval past through battle reenactments, delightful medieval dances, traditional foods and amazing fire show tricks.

The best Medieval festival you can attend in Belarus is definitely the White Castle International Knights’ Festival, which is held twice a year in March (4-6) and August (19-21). The White Castle Knights’ Festival features knights’ and archers’ tournaments, medieval fashion shows, concerts, jousting matches and more.

Tour Brest Fortress

Visiting the Brest Fortress is no doubt, on the list of top 10 things to do in Belarus. The Fortress is one of the biggest defensive forts ever constructed during the 19th century and it was immortalized in the 2010 movie “Fortress of War”.

During the infamous 1941 - Operation Barbarossa - Nazi invasion, Brest Fortress served as barricade for 12,000 soviet men who bravely and heroically managed to hold the Nazi invasion of nearly 4 million troops for an impressive six weeks.

The most moving part about visiting the fortress is the exhibition rooms in the old barracks, which displays old photographs and personal artifacts belonging to those brave men who fought to defend Brest Fortress from Nazi invasion.

Take a tour of Belarus castles

Mir Castle is without question, one of the oldest and most beautifully renovated medieval castles you can tour anywhere in Europe. Mir Castle offers a perfect photo opportunity and the guided tour allows you to explore all areas of the castle and the gorgeous grounds.

The other Belarusian castles worth visiting are the New Hrodna Castle in Hrodna (built right next to the old Hrodna castle), Navahrudak Castle, Castle of Lida, and Castle of Niasviz (home to the famous Radziwills residence).

The beauty about visiting any of the castles in Belarus is that most of them are located southwest of Minsk and can be reached within a 40 minute drive from the capital. If you hire a car in Minsk for the day (~$30/day), you can easily and inexpensively see all these castles in 1 day.

Pass by the open-air military museum

One of the most interesting attractions in Belarus has to be the popular Stalin’s Line Museum just north of Zaslawye town (around 40 mins drive northwest of Minsk).

Visiting Stalin’s Line museum is no doubt, one of the coolest things you’ll do in Belarus since you’ll get to see lots of old Soviet military equipment such as the famous Russian crocodile helicopter. Best bit about visiting the Stalin’s Line, though, is being able to shoot an original Kalashnikov riffle and reload an automatic anti-aircraft gun S-60.

See the tourist sights in Minsk

When visiting Belarus for the first time one cannot, of course, overlook exploring Minsk’s tourist sights which include:

1) the infamous house where John F. Kennedy’s killer – Lee Harvey Oswald- lived.

2) the Holy Spirit Cathedral: home to an Icon of the Mother of God of Minsk that dates from the 1500’s.

3) City Gate Towers: get beautifully lit up at night

4) the National Library of Belarus: is famous for its diamond-like shape

5) Hero City obelisk memorial: was erected for soldiers who fought heroically during WWII.

6)Independence Square: is the second largest square in Europe after Moscow’s Red Square.

7)Trinity Suburb (Troitskoye Predmestye): oldest part of Minsk

8)Island of Tears memorial: was set up to honor fallen Soviet soldiers

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