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Belarus

Travel in Belarus

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Located on the edge of Eastern Europe and bordering Russia, this seldom visited country may lack the buzz of better known neighbours like Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, but in terms of attractions it more than holds its own. Here you’ll find ancient woodlands like the Białowieża Forest, impressive fortifications like the Mir Castle Complex and grand palaces like New Hrodna Castle, along with fascinating culture, hearty food and friendly, welcoming locals. There’s only one thing for it - book your Belarus travel adventure now and find out for yourself!

Things to do in Belarus

From magnificent castles to ancient forests, Belarus has a smorgasbord of attractions to tempt potential visitors. These are our top 5 Belarus attractions.

La Tomatina Festival

Marvel at the iconic Sagrada Familla in Barcelona.

Gaudi’s majestic creation has been wowing crowds since it first began construction in 1882. Since then, multiple architects have taken up the reins on the project, some honouring Gaudi’s original designs, other’s redefining the creation completely. The multiple and varied facades of the building, plus its sheer size and majesty, make it a must do for any traveller visiting Barcelona.

See all trips that visit Barcelona

San Fermin

Indulge in traditional Andalusian delicacies in Seville.

Seville is renowned for its gastronomic offerings, and whilst the traditional dishes may be simple to prepare, they’re bursting with fresh regional flavours. Gazpacho, Pescaito frito and Huevos a la Flamenca are all famed Andalusian specialities, or for those preferring traditional tapas, Seville has around 4,000 tapas bars to choose from – take your pick!

See all trips that visit Seville

Primavera Sound

Live like a King in the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Get a glimpse of life as the other half live with a guided tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid. The largest palace in Europe, the Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, though is only used formally for state ceremonies. Gorge your eyes on the many works of art by famed Spanish painters as you delve a little deeper into Spain’s rich history.

See all trips that visit Madrid

FIB Benicassim

Party till dawn in the clubbing mecca of Ibiza.

Nowhere on Earth will you experience clubbing quite like Ibiza. Home to some of the world’s most infamous clubs, come and join the party as night after night revered world class DJ’s play their hearts out to adoring crowds. Get into the mood with sunset cocktails at Café Del Mar then party till sunrise at Space, DC-10 or Ibiza Rocks.

See all trips that visit Ibiza

Bilbao BBK Live Festival

Bask in sunlight on Barceloneta Beach.

Some cities are fortunate enough to have the perfect city/beach balance, and Barcelona is one of them. Whilst Barceloneta Beach may be man-made, the water is clear and refreshing and the beach is alive with travellers and locals alike chatting, swimming and generally loving life. Spend long leisurely lunches in the surrounding cafes and restaurants, hire bikes or rollerblades or just relax in the sunshine.

See all trips that visit Barcelona

Islamic fortress of Alhambra

Explore the Islamic inspired fortress of Alhambra.

Rising from woods of cypress and elm, the Alhambra reigns supreme on the hillside of Gibraltar. Born in the 11th Century and then further developed over the 14th and 15th century’s, the fortress holds an extensive network of lavishly decorated palaces and irrigated gardens and gives those who visit it a glimpse into the rich history of the Spanish empire and the influence both Islam and Catholicism had on the Alhambra’s design.

See all trips that visit Gibraltar

Top 5 Festivals in Belarus

Festivals in Belarus range from the traditional to the modern to the downright bizarre. We've compiled a top 5 pick to whet your festive appetite.

1. Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk – This celebration of traditional Slavic music is held annually in July, in the northeastern city of Vitebsk a stone's throw from Russia. Its participants are made up of the best of national performers from the world's Slavic community.

For more information on Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk, click here.

2. Minsk Spring Tango Festival – Ok, so on the surface of things Minsk may not be an obvious stalwart of the Tango scene, but that's Belarus for you. Held annually in March, this celebration of all things Tango attracts participants and spectators from all over the world, with orchestral musicians and DJs providing an almost continuous soundtrack for the dancers.

For more information on Minsk Spring Tango Festival, click here.

3. Minsk International Film Festival Listapad – This traditional summer solstice festival is celebrated throughout the country on 6th & 7th June, involving traditional music, games and general high spirits.

For more information on Minsk International Film Festival Listapad, click here.

4. Kupala Night – Held annually in June and July, this festival of classical music is the longest running in the country. It features a host of performances by leading soloists, ensembles, orchestras and choirs from around the world.

For more information on Kupala Night, click here.

5. International Bard Music & Fishing Festival, Mogilev Oblast – Fishing and bard music may seem like an unlikely combo, but somehow it works! Expect fishing master classes, guitar music performances and the truly unmissable annual fish soup championships, a hotly contested culinary showdown.

For more information on International Bard Music & Fishing Festival, click here.

Top 5 museums and galleries in Belarus

Belarus has an excellent crop of fascinating museums and galleries to keep lovers of culture occupied. Read on for our pick of the top 5.

1. Marc Chagall Museum, Vitebsk – This museum is dedicated to the Belarusian surrealist artist Marc Chagall, and features a collection of his lithographs, etchings and illustrations as well as reproductions of some of his most famous masterpieces.

For more information on the Marc Chagall Museum, click here.

2. Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum, Minsk – This museum traces the history of Belarus' involvement in WWII, with a huge collection of fascinating artifacts including photos journals, weapons and heavy artillery.

For more information on the Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum, click here.

3. Belarusian National History Museum, Minsk – Located in Minsk, Belarus' National History museum covers Belarusian history from ancient times to the present day, and features the country's largest collection of archaeological artifacts.

For more information on the Belarusian National History Museum, click here.

4. Belarusian National Arts Museum, Minsk – Belarus' largest museum is home to over 27,000 works of Belarusian and international art, comprising everything from ancient icon painting to 20th century modernism.

For more information on the Belarusian National Arts Museum, click here.

5. Brest Railway Museum, Brest – This outdoor museum in the charming city of Brest boasts an excellent collection of historical locomotives, including the perennially popular steam trains from the early 20th century.

For more information on Brest Railway Museum, click here.

Weather in Belarus

Belarus has a largely continental climate, with cold winters and warm, humid summers. Winter temperatures tend to hover well below zero and snowfall can be heavy, while July temperatures average in the high teens. Minsk weather is notoriously changeable, with average winter lows of -4.5C and occasional summer highs reaching a truly sweltering 35C.

Minsk Weather

Barysaw Weather

Salihorsk Weather

Maladzyechna Weather

Food in Belarus

Meat and vegetables are the traditional mainstay of the Belarusian diet, with pork, potatoes and cabbage the big players. In common with most Slavic countries, an endless variety of bliny (pancakes) feature on most menus, as well as the country's signature kalduny dumplings - a Belarus travel 2015 must-try! As you'd expect from a country with such strong ties to Russia, vodka is the national drink, and it pairs unsurprisingly well with most of the country's traditional foodstuffs.



Dranki

Kalduny

Draniki – Simple and delicious, these pan-fried potato pancakes are a national favourite. Try them with sour cream for a uniquely Belarusian food experience.

Best eaten at – Rakovsky Brovar, Vitebskaya 10, Minsk

Babka – Belarus' favourite pie contains - you guessed it! - spuds. Mixed with onion, eggs and smoky bacon then baked, it's a classic winter warmer for the coldest of Belarusian winter days.

Best eaten at –Vasiliki Restaurant, Prospekt Nezavisimosti 16, Minsk

Machanka – This traditional stew of pork and sour cream is one of the country's national dishes, and is typically served with pancakes. It comes in many varieties and sampling it is a Belarus travel 2016 essential!

Best eaten at –Belaruskaya Karchma,Ozertso, Minsk

Kalduny – These Belarusian dumplings are filled with meat and mushrooms, often served up piping hot in the very broth in which they were cooked!

Best eaten at – Usadba Veragi, Logoyskiy Rayon, Veragi, Lesnaya 3 Lahoysk

Vereshchaka – This hearty stew of sausages with beer and onions is a Belarusian staple. It's commonly served with buckwheat pancakes or Belarusian draniki (pan-fried potato pancakes).

Best eaten at – Kamyanitsa, Pyershamayskaya Vulitsa 18, Minsk

What to pack

What to pack for Belarus?

A smartphone and translator app - To help decipher the Cyrillic alphabet used in Belarus. Invaluable in avoiding those embarrassing restaurant-menu situations!

A camera - How else are you going to capture pics of all the monumental Stalinist architecture to be found in Minsk, or the bison in the Belavezhskaya Pushcha National Park?

An adapter plug and transformer - Belarus runs on 220V. Appliances that take 110V will require a step-down transformer, and you’ll need a European 2-pin adapter plug.

An umbrella - Did we mention that Minsk weather is unpredictable? Expect occasional showers, even in summer.

Copies of your passport and credit card information - Obtaining a replacement passport here can be a headache, so make sure you bring copies. Hard copies, or scans backed up on a USB key - either will make life easier in the event of loss or theft.

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