Experience stunning cities and wilderness in post-Soviet Belarus.

Castles, cathedrals, rich forests and soviet structures – Belarus is a diamond, shining with post-war intrigue. While much of the country has been shaped in some way by conflict, the result is a modern country where Soviet, Polish, Orthodox and Jewish influences meet in each city to create architectural wonderlands. In contrast, the sprawling medieval forests of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and the humming marshes of the Berezina Biosphere Reserve remain unravaged by man and just as full of curious history, riddled in the growth rings of the towering ancient oak trees. From marsh to metropolis, Belarus’ appeal lies in a tranquillity that needs to be experienced first hand before it can be fully understood.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Minsk, Belarus
Finish
Minsk, Belarus
Countries
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
WMSZ
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Step back in time in the Soviet time capsule that is Minsk. Marvel at Stalinist brutalist architecture from an era gone by and indulge in the culinary offerings of Belarus' capital city

  • Embark on a bike ride in Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park in search of Europe's largest land mammal, the European bison

  • Stay at a traditional farmstay with a local family and enjoy home cooked meals in a cozy environment

  • Spend the night inside 16th century Nesvizh Castle

Is this trip right for you?

  • As there are potholes and cobblestones in many cities in Belarus, it's recommended that you leave any wheelie bags or cases at home and bring a backpack instead.

  • As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can. However, if you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details. Also, please note that hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together.

  • While we have thoroughly researched this area of the world to put together this adventure, please be advised that this is a new trip for Intrepid. To be frank, things may not always go to plan. When we head to new destinations, we usually find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, but the warning is sincere. If this concerns you, we recommend you wait a year until the trip has been ironed out.

Itinerary

Welcome to Belarus! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting today at 6pm, where you'll meet your fellow travellers and group leader – check the Intrepid Note at the reception to confirm the time. If you can't arrange a flight that arrives on time, you might want to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand. Your journey begins in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. 80 per cent of the city was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt with a Stalinist aesthetic, favouring grand buildings, wide avenues and sprawling squares. Time has been kind to Minsk, and while this open city plan is still prevalent, it’s currently characterised by a great mix of historical Soviet places of interest scattered around the modern cafes, restaurants and nightclubs. Do keep in mind that English is rarely spoken in Minsk – you would do well to either learn some key phrases in Russian, or keep a handbook of these phrases with you just in case you arrive early.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
On an orientation walk this morning, you’ll get a chance to explore a city of hidden architectural treasures – missed by many but loved by those who stumble upon these diamonds in the rough. Some of these buildings include the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, housing excellent materials and English translations that capture Belarus’ suffering and heroism at the hands of Nazi occupation. There’s the former KGB headquarters, as monolithic and ominous as its former owners, the colourful double-towered Holy Spirit Cathedral, the statue of Independence Square along with the city’s numerous and impressive war monuments. The afternoon is free to enjoy on your own – perhaps enjoy a traditional Belarusian meal such as machanka (pancakes dipped in rich pork broth), or other local favourites such as their filling soups and dumplings.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning, travel onwards to Grodno (also known as Hrodna), one of the few Belarusian cities that avoided bombing during World War II. Much of the old pre-war architecture still stands today, giving it the feel of a ‘big village’ despite being one of the country’s major cities. From the cyan spires of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral to the golden towers of the Bridgettine Convent, Grodno’s mix of medieval and baroque buildings scattered across the city means a surprise could lurk around every corner. Upon arrival, you’ll get to explore the streets on an orientation walk before getting a chance to explore on your own come the afternoon.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today’s adventures take you out from the city into the calm of the Belarus countryside, where a comfortable farmstay situated near Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park awaits. Located out in the Brest region, the forest is full of stunning, motionless scenery and stands as a preserved part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Bialowieza Forest, the last primeval forest fragment of Europe’s woodlands. As the evening comes in, enjoy an included dinner with your farmstay hosts.
Accommodation
  • Farmstay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
There’s no rush to get anywhere this morning – a late start means you can enjoy the beautiful countryside around the farmstay before finally exploring the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park with your group. Upon arrival at the park, survey the sprawling canopies and hidden greenery on top of a bike as you ride onwards. Many of the trees here have been standing for generations – some pines are aged around 300 years, while some of the oaks are as close as 600. Wildlife in the forest is abundant too as over 55 different species reside in the park. This includes the European bison, the continent’s largest land mammal, which was bred back from the brink of extinction through a successful zoo breeding program. During the afternoon, you’ll have time to relax in the surrounds with a picnic lunch before heading back to the farmstay in the late afternoon to reflect on your journey.
Accommodation
  • Farmstay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bike Ride in Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Bid your hosts farewell before travelling onward to the city of Brest. The city has a long and dotted past as being a crossroads for war, being sacked by armies as diverse as the Mongols in the 13th century through to the Germans in both world wars. As a result, the city has developed a close history with Central and Eastern Europe, and this shows in Brest’s mix of Polish and Soviet architecture. Catch a first glimpse of the Soviet influence on a guided tour through Brest Fortress, a World War II memorial to the troops who held out against the German onslaught during the early days of Operation Barbarossa. Afterwards, the day is yours to explore the city. There’s plenty of charming cosmopolitan locations about with the local bars and clubs and fantastic restaurants if you’d like, otherwise there’s still a lot of the unique architecture to investigate – a good starting point might be at the brightly painted 200-year-old St. Nikolaiv Church. Maybe even idly stroll through Brest’s cobbled streets and grassy parks for a change of pace.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Brest Fortress & Military Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After departing from Brest via private transport, you’ll take your first steps on a short Belarus castle chase – starting at Nesvizh Castle. This UNESCO World Heritage Site once resided within Polish borders before shifts in local geopolitical climates placed it within Belarus. Regardless, it’s renowned as one of the most important and most beautiful castles in the area. This is in part due to the ownership and maintenance of the Radziwill dynasty, responsible in part for greatly influencing Central Europe and Russia through their contributions to science, art, crafting and architecture. Your accommodation for the night will be within the halls of this crucially important castle,where you’ll stay in a wing of the castle converted into a hotel. There’s a restaurant on the property as well with a menu full of European cuisine should you wish to dine like a noble.
Accommodation
  • Castle (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nesvizh Castle
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Part two of your Belarus castle hunt takes you to another UNESCO World Heritage Site – Mir Castle. Often called one of the most important attractions in the country, the castle is known for its outstanding 16th century fortifications, colourful Italian gardens and the large artificial lake to the south. Take a guided tour of the castle grounds upon arrival and witness the impressive blend of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture as you stroll through its halls and surrounds. Afterwards, return to Minsk for a quick stopover before heading to the city of Vitebsk where you'll spend the night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mir Castle Guided Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
A guided walking tour with a local guide awaits you this morning, allowing you to explore the history and cultural importance of Vitebsk in depth. The city, once known as an important centre of Russian Jewish culture, was made immortal by the early works of the artist Marc Chagall who lived here before his career took off. The city is known today as a regional centre full of fine churches, museums and the Chagall Art Centre, a must see for art buffs. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy the city’s numerous art centres and cathedrals.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vitebsk Local Guide
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave Vitebsk via private transport and head onwards to the Berezina Biosphere Reserve, a realm full of earthen smells, sights and other delights. Many trails exist through the reserve that allow an up-close and personal trek through the forest or the dangerous swamp – however as long as you stick to the path, there’s little chance of any real trouble coming your way. Listen out for birdsong and keep your eyes peeled for wild berries and animal tracks as you wander past the Berezina river, the body of water that serves as benefactor to this lush region. Afterwards, take a stopover at the Khatyn Memorial site for a dark glimpse into World War II atrocities – the site serving as commemoration to civilians massacred by the SS during the conflict. Return to Minsk for the last night of the trip.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Berezina Biosphere Reserve
  • Khatyn Memorial Site
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your Belarus adventure comes to an end today.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

Transport

Train, Local bus, Private vehicle, Taxi, Bicycle

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights), Farmstay (2 nights), Castle (1 night)

Included activities

  • Bike Ride in Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park
  • Brest Fortress & Military Museum
  • Nesvizh Castle
  • Mir Castle Guided Tour
  • Vitebsk Local Guide
  • Berezina Biosphere Reserve
  • Khatyn Memorial Site

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Highlights of Belarus trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information. The price of the Single Supplement doesn't include the following nights where single rooms may not be available. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
- Days 4 & 5: Rural Farmstay

NEW TRIP
Just as a heads up before you book: this trip is new to our range this year. And while we have thoroughly researched every detail of the logistics, new destinations can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a great surprise. But every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.