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 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
Destination
Belarus
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
WMSZ
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll 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 in a traditional village with a local family and enjoy home cooked meals in a cozy environment

  • Spend the night inside Nesvizh Castle, a 16th-century masterpiece built by the mighty Radziwill family

Is this trip right for you?

  • 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.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 22 September 2018

Welcome to Belarus! 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.
Special Information
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.
Three million Belarusians perished during WWII, or as it is known here, the Great Patriotic War. The Khatyn Memorial is a tribute to all the dead, though the site has a particularly sombre significance. German forces descended on the small town of Khatyn in March of 1943, following the death of a German officer in a nearby skirmish. The 149 inhabitants – including 75 children – were rounded up and murdered, and only one man survived. A bronze tribute to the survivor, Joseph Kaminsky, stands six metres tall in the centre of the complex. The 80-kilometre journey to Khatyn will take about an hour, and a guide will be waiting to escort you around the memorial upon arrival. Later, return to Minsk and continue exploring.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Khatyn Memorial Site
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free morning in Minsk, perhaps check out the imposing and sand coloured former KGB headquarters before heading to Nesvizh in a private vehicle. Following a two-hour journey, arrive at the Nesvizh Castle, a grand palace that combines modern and classical architecture styles surrounded by manicured gardens. Your accommodation for the night will be within the halls of this crucially important castle. You’ll stay in a wing of the castle that has been 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. You may wish to spend the afternoon wandering the grounds, pretending to be an errant royal who has escaped their dreary duties. If you would prefer to get outside the complex, there is plenty on offer in Nesvizh town. Maybe visit the Corpus Christi Church, where a rather unassuming facade hides a stunning baroque interior.
Accommodation
  • Castle (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nesvizh Castle
Optional Activities
  • Nesvizh Corpus Christi Church - Free
  • Nesvizh Town Hall - BYN3
  • Nesvizh Benedictine Monastery - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Make the 30 minute journey to Mir Castle, where you can explore the grounds that encircle this prime example of Belarusian Gothic architecture. From here continue on to the city of Brest. Upon arrival, head straight to the pock-marked red brick fortress the town is known for. A symbol of Soviet resistance due to its service during WWII, it’s also the site of a sculpture that once topped a CNN list of world ugliest monuments. Called ‘Courage’, the artwork depicts a looming, stubborn face carved from grey rock over 30 metres (100 feet) tall. It’s undeniably impressive, though you can make up your own mind about its beauty. Enjoy a guided tour of the Brest Fortress, gaining insight into Belarusian identity and history. Spend the evening in this historic town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Brest Fortress Guided Tour
  • Mir Castle
Optional Activities
  • Brest Military Museum - BYN5
  • Brest Railway Museum - BYN2
  • Brest Museum of Confiscated Art - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Use the morning however you wish. Perhaps check out Sovetskaya Street, a pedestrian street with plenty of little points of interest, from yellow domes to old-fashioned street lights, or head to the Museum of Confiscated Art. In the afternoon, transfer to the small village of Navickavicy. You’ll be staying with our local friends in a rural setting where life has remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of years. In the evening enjoy a hearty homecooked meal that will likely include potatoes in some shape or form.
Accommodation
  • Village stay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Your morning is open, so if the weather is clear why not wander the grounds around your homestay, including the lovely local lake. Then head to Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park where you can survey the sprawling canopies and hidden greenery from the back of a bike. 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. 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. Enjoy a picnic lunch and then return to the village in the late afternoon. Perhaps relax in the sauna before another home cooked meal from your hosts.
Accommodation
  • Village stay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bike Ride in Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park
Optional Activities
  • Homestay Sauna - BYN140
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please note that while there is a healthy population of bison in the park there is no guarantee to see this shy animal during our bike ride. They are roaming freely and sometimes head to more remote areas of the reserve or even spend time across the border in nearby Poland.
One of the few Belarusian cities that avoided bombing during World War II, Grodno is full of pre-war architecture, giving it the feel of a ‘big village’ despite being one of the country’s major cities. You’ll arrive after a three-hour private transfer and begin exploring in a guided orientation walk. 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. Spend the afternoon at your own pace, perhaps ask your leader where you can grab a draniki (stuffed potato pancakes).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Grodno Jesuit Catholic Church - Free
  • Grodno Great Choral Synagogue - Free
  • Grodno Old Castle - BYN5
  • Grodno New Castle - BYN4
  • Grodno Pharmacy Museum - Free
  • Grodno State Museum of Archaeology & History - BYN4
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Return to Minsk in the morning, either by train or public bus, timing depending. Arrive in the afternoon and do as you please in Minsk. There are tonnes of optional activities on offer, from churches galore to the National Arts Museum. Why not visit Trinity Hill, the oldest surviving suburb in Minsk? It’s a leafy, picturesque part of town that lies on the bank of the Svisloch River. If you’re hungry, there are heaps of cozy restaurants here too. As tonight is the last night of the trip, maybe head out with your fellow travellers for a final dinner at one of them.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Minsk Island of Tears - Free
  • Minsk Church of Saints Simon & Helena - Free
  • Minsk Belarusian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War - BYN8
  • Minsk Trinity Suburb - Free
  • Minsk Holy Spirit Cathedral - Free
  • Minsk National Art Museum - BYN5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your Belarusian romp comes to an end after breakfast this morning.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

Transport

Train, Local bus, Private vehicle, Taxi, Bicycle

Accommodation

Hotel (5 nights), Village stay (2 nights), Castle (1 night)

Included activities

  • Khatyn Memorial Site
  • Nesvizh Castle
  • Brest Fortress Guided Tour
  • Mir Castle
  • Bike Ride in Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A Single Supplement is bookable on this trip, subject to availability at the time of booking. The price of the single supplement does not include the following nights, where a single room does not form part of the package. In this case you will be matched up with another traveller of the same gender. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option for you to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
- Days 5-6 Rural Village Stay
Please also note that due to the small properties we use in Europe there is only a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability please speak to your booking agent.

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.

Reviews

Our Highlights of Belarus trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 4 reviews in the last year.

Highlights of Belarus, July 2018

Nancy Wiesenfeld

Highlights of Belarus, July 2018

Marguerite Young