Are you looking for an exotic travel destination, but not Asia or Africa kind exotic? Do you want to visit something in Europe but not European? Whether you are an experienced traveler or are just starting out, you will be impressed by visiting Belarus, a small country in the heart of the European continent, and will get loads of stories to tell.
Belarus is often associated with the European part of Russia. In German and Dutch, its name is literally translated as “White Russia”, which is how the word “Belarus” appeared, but not everyone knows that it’s an independent country with its own language, history, and culture. Belarus has been a bridge between Europe and Russia, combining the cultures of both into a delicious blend, still keeping it authentic. It has been a dark horse for travelers for quite a long time, but now it’s opening its borders and welcomes everyone! This country isn’t really big, but there are so many places to see in Belarus!
Want to find out what’s why it’s a must-visit destination? Continue reading. We’ve prepared more than 30 reasons for traveling to Belarus and why it should hit your travel bucket list.
Do you love Belarus?
If you really love Belarus, SHARE THIS ARTICLE with your friends and TELL THEM to SHARE IT too.
Belarus is extremely cheap!
Technically, Belarus is in Europe, but it isn’t a European Union country. And you will immediately notice it the moment you’ll pay for a bus ticket or even a taxi. Long taxi rides can cost as much as a single bus ticket in an EU country. You’ll feel like a king or a queen! While visiting Belarus, you’ll want to stay longer than you planned and you will definitely be able to afford it!
You don’t need a visa to visit Belarus.
It doesn’t matter where you’re from and what passport you hold, this country is open for you! Visiting Belarus has never been easier. Just hit the road or book a flight, and come explore this treasure that has been hidden for way too long.
One of the reasons for visiting Belarus – its traditions!
Belarusian people are proud of their traditional culture and are famous for their hospitality. The traditional Belarusian way of welcoming guests is holding Belarusian bread, karavai, and salt. “Sardechna zaprashayem!” is the traditional expression used when welcoming guests. Belarusians love family gatherings, and all holidays are celebrated with the extended family, tables full of national dishes, drinking vodka or nastoika, and singing songs.
Welcome to Potatoland.
Belarusians are famous for their passionate love for potatoes. No, like real, devoted, sincere love. It’s not clear whether they can cook over 300 delicious potato dishes because they grow a lot of potatoes, or grow a lot of potatoes to set the world record for the number of recipes. Draniki, kolduny, pyzy, babka, potato sausage, kletski, the list goes on and on. Once you start trying them, your taste buds will keep asking for more. And luckily there’s always more! Which makes it one of the most tempting reasons for visiting Belarus!
Belarusians are known as the world’s heaviest drinkers. They really love to party and they will make you drink every shot of vodka there is! Though, vodka is not the only traditional spirit in Belarus. The most popular of them are krupnik, nastoika, balsam, zubrovka, krambambulya and troyanka. You’re gonna have unforgettable fun going out in Belarus. Well, we don’t promise that you will remember the details in the morning, but you won’t forget the emotions, that’s for sure. Which makes another great reason for visiting Belarus.
3 liters of pickles…
Another reason for visiting Belarus is the diversity food, especially pickled. It will steal your heart or stomach, probably both. 300+ potato dishes, salads, pickled vegetables, homemade jams, cake and pies (Belarusians love baking!) will make you want more and more! You will be amazed by how many kinds of vegetables can be pickled, and the pickles are usually stored in big 3 liters jars! Everybody’s grandma makes her own stock of 3 liters pickles jars. And they are the most delicious you have ever tried!
Belarusians have a huge diversity of beautiful knitwear.
Belarus has cold winters. And what do you need to survive through the cold months? Sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens and super warm knitted socks. Knitting is extremely popular among older people, and younger generations constantly get knitted gifts from them. If you don’t have a Belarusian grandma, don’t worry, local craftsmen sell the knitted goods. You’ll probably need to buy them to also survive through the cold (if you come in winter), and even if you come from a warm place, warm Belarusian knitted socks will be a great reminder that will warm if not your feet, then your soul.
Enjoy at Kupalle, Maslenitsa, and other authentic Belarusian celebrations.
Belarus is famous for its rich folk culture and it’s impossible to imagine it without authentic celebrations. One of the reasons for visiting Belarus in the summer is Kupalle. It is the holiday of worshipping the Fire, the Water, and the Earth. Singing, playing ring-around-the-rosy, jumping through the fire sound fun, right? It’s believed that on Kupalle night fern starts to blossom, and if you find its flower it will bring you eternal luck. If are visiting Belarus in winter, don’t miss Maslenitsa, a winter farewell festival. It takes around a week and involves eating a lot of pancakes with various stuffings and mass celebrations in all villages and cities.
Enjoy the Kalyady, or the most common Belarusian way to celebrate Christmas.
The Kalyady Tsars is the ritual of celebrating Christmas and one of the reasons for visiting Belarus in winter. The celebration is held in a form of interactive performance, is a mix of old Belarusian traditions and involves around 500 participants every year! The Kalyady is included in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which makes the village of Semezhava in Minsk region one of the most exciting places to see in Belarus during the winter holidays.
Castles are the places to see in Belarus!
Belarusian architectural landmarks are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage. They were built in 14-18 centuries, combine Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles, and each of them has their own legend. Nesvizh Palace was the residence of the Radziwills, one of the richest dynasties in Europe. Mir Castle is on the list of Europe’s most impressive castles. Definitely a reason for traveling to Belarus! And what is the most amazing thing? You can stay there for a night or even longer! Some of the castles have hotels, so the room is ready for your majesty!
Enjoy the land of forests and lakesof Belarus.
A big part of Belarus is covered with woods and lakes. If you’re a lover of the quiet nature, just travel to Belarus! There are more than 11 000 lakes and 20 000 rivers. Even if you don’t look for them, you’ll still probably see them. Quiet and peaceful, that’s what describes both Belarusian nature and mentality.
If you are a nature lover, you are Belarus lover.
Belarus is famous for its forests, lakes, rivers, and swamps, which are a home for an abundance of animals and plants, also those from the Red Book List of Endangered Species. There are plenty of opportunities to go photo hunting (not the actual hunting). Belarusians praise their nature and the places to see in Belarus include lots of preserves and national parks. Also, there many eco festivals and feasts take place every year.
Belarusian cities to add to your bucket list.
Places to see in Belarus of course include its beautiful cities. Grodno is the only city in Belarus that has two castles and a variety of churches of various religions, one of which, the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier, has the oldest working clock in Europe. Vitebsk was founded in 974, and is referred to as a small capital of Renaissance, the big one is Paris. Polotsk was the first capital of Belarus, and still holds the status of the cultural capital. Brest, Nesvizh, Pinsk, Novogrudok and of course the capital city of Minsk are the reasons to travel to Belarus.
The history of Belarus in its regions!
One of the most famous places to visit in Belarus is Brest Fortress, a red-stone memorial complex and a symbol of Soviet resistance during the World War ll. The history of Vitebsk region is closely connected to famous artists Marc Chagall and Ilya Repin Their museums are the famous landmarks of the region, especially for art lovers! Another landmark is the Kolozhskaya church in Grodno. This church is almost 10 centuries old and is right next to the Old and the New castles, residences of Polish kings.
Another great reason for visiting Belarus is…the real winter.
The climate in Belarus makes you experience all four seasons at their finest. If it’s summer, it’s sunny and hot. But it’s hard to impress someone by summer. So the winter takes the stage. The real one. The most real, to be correct. The temperature drops below to -25 Celcius (-13 Fahrenheit), and it’s normal. It freezes but doesn’t freeze the life of Belarusians. Everybody still goes to work and lives their social life, so if you love the real cold, it’s one of the most convincing reasons for traveling to Belarus.
Belarus is being converted to the Silicon Valley of Europe.
Belarus is divided into six regions and each of them is famous for its own reason. Minsk is a large industrial, scientific and educational center. It is also called the European Silicon Valley because of a high concentration of IT companies working with clients from the whole world. The Gomel region is famous for agriculture, Grodno and Brest regions are called “small Europe” due to a long history of being a part of the Polish Kingdom.
The Belarusian Maldives, or how to get a lot of likes on Instagram.
Did you avoid coming to Belarus because it doesn’t have a sea? It’s time to change your mind! One of the most impressive places to see in Belarus is chalk pits in Belarus that will steal your heart. They are called the local Maldives for a reason. You really have to see them with your own eyes. It’s an oasis in the middle of Europe and the best background for the most magical photos, so don’t forget your camera! And it’s sooo much cheaper than the actual Maldives. If you are looking for fresh Instagram content to impress your followers – visiting Belarus is what you need!
Belarus is the country of contrasts.
One of the reasons for visiting Belarus is seeing with your own eyes how one place can be both famous for agriculture and at the same time the Silicon Valley of Europe. How old castles and churches are mixed with modern buildings and skyscrapers. Surprisingly, a place with severe winters and cloudy weather is the homeland of the kindest and most hospitable people you have ever met!
There is a variety of things to do when you travel to Belarus.
The first thing you would like to do when you travel to Belarus is going on tours and excursions. But it’s not the only activity the country offers. For sports enthusiasts, there are a lot of sports centers, tennis courts, and swimming pools. Extreme sports lovers will be happy to visit one of the Belarusian ski resorts. You can go hiking in its national parks or learn about local farming while staying at one of many farmsteads.
The time machine hasn’t been invented yet, but you can get the closest to it if you come to Minsk, the capital city of Belarus. It will impress you with its Soviet-era architecture. After around 80% of the city was ruined in World War II, it was rebuilt in a completely new manner compared to what it had been before and is a true masterpiece of the collective good. It’s a real-life museum of Soviet-era architecture without an entrance fee. Definitely, one of the most interesting places to see in Belarus!
The oldest national park in Europe is located in…..
If you love wild animals, you’ll be fascinated by the biggest national park in Europe. Belovieza Forest is a home for the biggest European animal, a bison that is a Belarusian symbol, and used to be printed on Belarusian money not a long time ago. Also, a number of large, ancient pedunculate oaks grow in Belovieza Forest. Locals are so proud of them so they even gave them names, such as Emperor of the North and Dominator Oak. There’s no much to say here, you should see with your own eyes.
Museums, the night sky, and pears in… the subway.
In many countries, the subway is just a type of public transport, but not in Belarus. There it is a work of art. Soviet-era stations mix with modern ones. Some look like underground museums, others make you see a night sky full of stars above your head (still remaining under the ground, literally) or have a gigantic statue of a pear. And that’s not everything. You have to see it with your own eyes! Put it on your list of places to see in Belarus!
Discover the most beautiful churches you‘ve ever seen.
And there many of them in Belarus. Being situated on the crossroads of cultures, Belarus is home for people of different religions who peacefully live together. Most of the population are Orthodox, which is followed by Catholicism, Judaism, Protestantism, and Islam. This has resulted in a big number of churches, cathedrals, also synagogues, mosques and one Protestant Church, which is one of Grodno city’s famous landmarks. These buildings built in different centuries and styles attract pilgrims and architecture lovers from around the world.
Agritourism is the new trend in Belarus.
Belarus is an agrarian country. But it took a step further. And this step is agrotourism. Owners of the farmsteads can offer you to go haymaking in the early morning (after that you will have a fresh breakfast in the meadow), feed the animals in the home yard or milk a cow, or bake real Belarusian bread in an authentic furnace. Picturesque landscapes, getting acquainted with rural life, finding out how Belarusians lived in the old days, visiting ethnographic museums and much more. Sounds like an attractive reason for visiting Belarus, right?
Candy is dandy.
This deserves a separate paragraph, or maybe even an article. And also your extra bag 🙂 Because you will want to take with you as much as you can, and even more! Sguschenka, halva, zephyr, glazed cranberry, chocolate sweets of various kinds, traditional Soviet caramels with authentic flavors, the list is endless. Belarusians love drinking tea (maybe even more than the British), and even more than that they love eating something delicious with the tea. That’s why they’ve got so creative with producing various kinds of candy. In supermarkets, you might get the impression that the only thing they sell is sweets, and isn’t it great?
If you’re a guest, you’re a god…
Another reason why you should travel to Belarus is Belarusian hospitality. Imagine the most hospitable host and multiply them by ten, then you’ll get something close to the locals. If you come over to a Belarusian friend, be ready to get out of the table a couple of kilos heavier. They will lay the biggest and the most delicious table you have ever seen and make sure you feel the most comfortable you’ve ever felt. Even if you come for a short visit, you’ll be fascinated by the wide range of dishes that are supposed to be just snacks.
In Belarus you will find the cleanest streets you’ve ever seen in your life.
Belarusians take the cleanliness of the streets both seriously and creatively. Minsk is constantly rated as one of the top cleanest cities in the world and it’s well deserved. Once you have something to throw away while walking around and admiring the city, you’ll notice a trash can around you the moment you think about it. Whether it’s a city center or a sleeping quarter. It’s rare. What is even rarer, it’s the look of these trash cans. A gentleman taking off their hat not only makes the city cleaner but also makes you smile.
What about celebrating….Two Christmases a year?
Belarus is a multinational country, and different nationalities have different religions. Many families are mixed and have followers of both Orthodoxy and Catholicism religions, so Christmas is celebrated twice in Belarus. First, on December 25, and second, two weeks later, on January 7. Who wouldn’t like to celebrate Christmas twice? For Belarusians, it’s their normal life. Maybe that’s one of the reasons they are so peaceful and calm and also one of the reasons for visiting Belarus?
Have you visited Santa Claus´ residence?
Yes, Belarus is like the Lapland. Belarusians decided that just celebrating two Christmases isn’t enough, so now it’s a home for the Russian Santa Claus. His name is Father Frost. And he doesn’t melt in the summer! The residence is open for visitors all year round! So if New Year is your favorite holiday, but the winter is too far, or if you travel with children, you should definitely come to visit and get some gifts!
You will love Belarusian Health Resorts.
Belarusians are a very calm and peaceful nation that takes health seriously. If you want to spend your time quietly, breathing delicious pine air, relaxing and improving your health – you’ll love Belarusian health resorts. They are like hotels with health procedures. Some kind of spa, where you can stay for two or three weeks. Massage, herbal teas, physiotherapeutic procedures, salutary air of pine and mixed forests, whatever you want. And once again, it’s super affordable! Traveling and benefiting your health are one of the top reasons for visiting Belarus.
Belarus isn’t overcrowded with tourists…yet
We all love Barcelona, Paris or New York, but there’s something we hate about them. Tourists. Just like us, but way too many. Belarus is still in its touristic infancy, which makes it even more attractive. No hours of waiting in lines to get into a museum, there is no need to ask people to get out of your picture near a landmark, hotels are never overbooked. Perfect for a relaxing vacation! Another great reason for traveling to Belarus!
From authentic folk culture, peaceful nature, endless forests and lakes to castles, Lenin monuments, churches and synagogues, cleanest streets, and sweetest people that will never let you be hungry, Belarus will always remain your most unique travel experience and sweetest memory. Have we mentioned how cheap Belarus is? Oh yes, we did. Trust us, for the emotions you’re gonna experience there, you’d be willing to pay more!