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flag Belarus Belarus: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organizing Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
Visa requirements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Visa HQ
Diplomatic Representations
List of embassies and consulates abroad
 
IATA Travel Center
 

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Organizing Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
Minsk has a developed public network system including buses, trolley buses, trams, and subway (metro).
Now it has got two lines with 19 stations connecting downtown to the eastern, the western, and the south-eastern. Trains run every three minutes during rush hours, every five minutes off-peaks, and every 7-12 minutes late in the evening. The last train leaves the center at 1-00 a.m.
Taxis can be found waiting in front of hotels, at the airports, railway station and bus stations as well as cruising on the streets. The government fixes the sole tariff that is currently equal to 500 rubles (€0.25) per kilometer. However taxi companies surcharge for call, for boarding and sometimes for bringing up the car. In total any ride from downtown to a remote district does not usually exceed 20000 rubles, i.e. approximately €8 while a ride across the city from a far district to the other edge does not exceed 30000 rubles (about €13). More often than not credit cards are not accepted in taxis.
Maps of Urban Networks
Mapblast
Minsk Metro Map

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
mink (MHP) 31 km / 19 miles USD 25-40 / 30-40 min USD 1 / 50-90 min - Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
Train is the main means of transport for long distances (Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev).
Flying is 2-3 times more expensive and has a poor network
Long distance buses by far are the best choice for traveling within Belarus. They are cheap, quick and safe.
Rail Companies
Belarusian Railways (only in Belarus)

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Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Belavia National Yes
Gomelavia Charter No
Air Baltic Low cost Yes
Lufthansa Major Yes

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Traveling By Yourself

Recommendation
Police and customs controls are very long when crossing borders between Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. To drive by night, even on main roads, is not recommended (few road signs). The frequent abuse of alcohol while driving makes the journeys dangerous. Supply in fuels is satisfactory. The Green card is required for foreigners.
Road Maps
Maps of roads in Belarus
Find an Itinerary
Will to go: finding an itinerary in Belarus

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Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
-Minsk, the capital, rebuilt right after the war with all its big monuments could be a historic museum. An artificial lake, up the hills in the North, makes the city more attractive since 1956.
-Bereste's archaeological museum houses relics of the XIII century
-The national park of Bieloviejskaia Pouchtcha, located 60 km North of Brest.
-Polotsk which was the capital of the Kievian principality. The Saint Sophia cathedral is one of the three Russian cathedrals that have been inspired by the one in Constantinople.
Cultural
The cultural scene in Minsk is very diverse with the Belarusian Ballet and good museums such as the National Museum of Belarusian History and Culture, the National Arts Museum, the Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War and the Museum of Old Belarusian Culture. Other interesting museums deal with the major Belarusian writers, Kolas, Kupala, Bogdanovich and Brovka. Museums generally open Tues-Sun 1000-1900.
Nature
National parks are the pride of Belarus. They are of the world importance. They represent specially protected natural areas, unequalled by their beauty, having no analogues in Europe. One-third of the Belarusian territory is covered with forests where birches, oaks, maple and pine trees dominate with a rich and diverse fauna: here one can find European bison, elk and deer, wild boar and wolf, bear and fox, beaver and lynx — not to mention myriad birds.
Religious
The suburb of Troitskoye Predmestye should not be missed; it gives an insight into the way Minsk once looked – 19th-century houses with colorful facades line the streets. There are also excellent examples of baroque architecture, such as the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (1642), the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul (1613) and the Maryinsky Cathedral, which has been rebuilt to its original shape.
The centre of Christianity during the time of Rus (the first Russian state) lay in the Slavic town of Polotsk. Polotsk is the oldest of the Belarusian cities, founded in 862. An excellent example of architecture of the period is the 11th-century Church of St Sophia. There is also a 12th-century convent, St Ephrosinia of Polotsk, and a 16th- to 17th-century Epiphany Monastery.
Thermal
Inexistent.
Beach
The Braslav Lake District situated in the north and northeast of the country, near the borders of Lithuania and Latvia, is ideal for boating holidays. Several of the 30 lakes, situated in an atmospheric forest, are connected by canals. Accommodation in the area is usually in small dachas along the lakeshore.
Winter Sports
In spite of the fact that the highest point in Belarus is only 345 m above the sea level and the average relief of Belarus is 160 m, mountain skiing in Belarus now is a reality. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy excellent cross-country skiing in the Raubichy Olympic Sports Complex, 22km (14 miles) from Minsk, while for lovers of mountain skiing, there are two modern resorts (Logoysk and Silichy) situated 30km (19 miles) from Minsk. Skating is also popular.
Outdoor Activities
All outdoor activities can be found in Belarus: biking, hiking, walking but also fishing.
Shopping
There are few types of shopping available. But it is possible to buy souvenirs in indoor markets.
Tourism Organizations
Belarus tourist information portal
Information portal on tourism in Belarus

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
Medical care in Belarus is limited. There is a severe shortage of basic medical supplies. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities. Travelers are encouraged to ensure that they bring an adequate supply of prescription medications in the event that there are delays in departing Belarus . Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Belarus.
Do not drink tap water unless it has been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected. Do not drink unbottled beverages or drinks with ice. Do not eat fruits or vegetables unless they have been peeled or cooked.
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
MD Travel Health Information
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
U.S. Department of State - Travel advice: Belarus
 

Emergency Numbers

Fire Department 111
Emergency 111
Police 102
Ambulances 103
 

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Minsk (GMT+2 in winter, GMT+3 in summer)
Summer Time Period
Summer time from March to October
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
Because of the proximity of the Baltic Sea the country's climate is temperate continental. Winters last between 105 and 145 days, and summers last up to 150 days. The average temperature in January is -6°C, and the average temperature for July is about 18°C, with high humidity. Average annual precipitation ranges from 550 to 700 millimeters.
For Further Information
Countries of the world: general information on Belarus
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

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Eating

Food Specialties
Blinis, "sure" cream, caviar and vodka.
Blinis are black wheat pancakes: blinis are also served with starters or with smoked fish. They are piled on a very hot terracotta plate.
Drinks
Myadukha is the Belarusian word for mead. Mead is made from natural honey in the process of fermentation. In the summer it is usually served chilled, with ice cubes and a slice of lemon, but it can also be prepared as a hot beverage, similar to mulled wine. It is then served with spices such as cinnamon and ginger.
Vodka, known in Belarus under the name of harelka, was traditionally made from rye malt, but nowadays it is also produced from grain or potatoes.
Kvas is a traditional Belarusian bread drink, it is made from black or rye bread.
Dietary Restrictions
No restrictions in the country.

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Paying

Domestic Currency
Belarussian Rubble
ISO Code
BYR
To Obtain Domestic Currency
Inside of Belarus, you can get Belarusian rubles from automatic bank machines for standard types of credit/debit cards, and you can change USD or EUR into Belarusian rubles or vice/versa at many exchange kiosks in big railway stations and centers of big cities. Converting Belarusian rubles back into hard currency once you are outside of Belarus will probably be extremely difficult.

Be very careful, exchange kiosks will not exchange any bill that is damaged or marked on in any way. Approximately half of the bills you currently have in your wallet will be rejected for exchange in Belarus. Be sure to take only relatively new and undamaged foreign money with you.
Possible Means of Payment
Credit and debit cards were not used in Belarus before the last decade of the previous century.
Nevertheless, major hotels, restaurants, stores and service outlets accept credit/debit cards issued by Visa and MasterCard. Some other brands can also be accepted but not everywhere.

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Speaking

Official Language
Russian and Belarusian which are spoken by 80% of the population.
Other Languages Spoken
It is important to note that other languages are also used in this country such as Polish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian and Yiddish.
Business Language
Russian, fluently spoken, and English, well spoken within companies having an international activity.
Getting Some Knowledge
Please visit the website Belarus-Misc
Free Translation Tools
English-Belarusian Dictionaries : Free Belarusian-English-Belarusian dictionary
Google Translate : English-Russian-English translator of texts and web pages

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Useful Resources

To Find an Apartment
Belarus Rentals site: apartments and hotels

Belarus sublets (rented by owner)
To Find a Job
Find a job in Belarus

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Last Updates: October 2014