This short break is designed to give a taster of everything that makes Belarus a great destination. Experience the Soviet history in Minsk, historic castles, rolling countryside and rural traditions – all in just five days.
Day 01: Arrive Minsk
Arrive in Minsk. This exciting long weekend begins in Belarus’s capital city.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 8.30pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Minsk at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you’ll need to arrive into Minsk National Airport (MSQ), which is around one hours’ drive. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to sample some Belarusian cuisine. Popular dishes include machanka, a hearty pork stew, and draniki, which are thick potato pancakes. For an after dinner tipple try Krambambula, a traditional Belarusian liquor, which is similar to mead and flavoured with spices and honey.
On this trip we have packed in as many highlights of Minsk as we can, but there is very little free time in the city, so if you wish to spend some time discovering more on your own then we would recommend extending your stay for a night or two. Perhaps you might like to relax in the serene surroundings of the Sendai Japanese Garden or there’s the Minsk Botanical Gardens. Please note that many of Minsk’s museums are closed on a Monday or Tuesday, so if you wish to visit a particular attraction then please check that it is open on the day you wish to visit it.
Day 02: Market visit and tour of Soviet Minsk; view colourful street art
Minsk is a city with a long history, set on the banks of the Svislach River, it was first settled by the East Slavs back in the 9th century AD. However, our guided tour this morning is going to focus on its more recent history, which has largely been dominated by Soviet rule that lasted from around 1920 to 1991. The city was almost entirely destroyed during World War II with around 80% of its houses and infrastructure reduced to rubble. Afterwards the city was rebuilt with its historic centre being replaced by Stalinist architecture with grand buildings, brutalist statues, broad avenues and imposing squares. Victory Square is the most famous part of the city and features a memorial to the fallen heroes of World War II. During our tour we’ll have a brief visit to the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, which is the centre piece in Victory Park. This huge museum has hundreds of exhibits and two of the most poignant rooms are the Hall of Glory that celebrates the heroes of the Soviet Union and the emotive memorial found in the Hall of Remembrance and Sorrow.
This afternoon we board the metro for the city market where we can see the local residents out haggling for fresh fruit and vegetables that are on sale from nearby farms. You can see, and of course buy, a whole range of edible goodies here including meat, cheese, nuts, spices and more. Next we will visit the Azgur Museum which houses numerous sculptures from the Soviet era that were designed by the architect Zair Azgur.
Day 03: Visit UNESCO-listed Mir Castle and spend a night at Nesvizh Castle
Today we drive out of the city and head for two of Belarus’s best known attractions. Firstly we have a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mir Castle. Its red and white towers reflect in the surrounding water and protect an enclosed cobbled courtyard with a well in the centre. Creation of the fort began at the end of the 15th century and it is widely recognised as being one of the most splendid castles in Europe. It was reopened to the public in 2010 after being extensively restored to its former glories.
Next we drive to the impressive Nesvizh Castle, which is also UNESCO-listed and has been home to the Radswill Family for over 400 years. The fortresses construction began in 1584, but it’s been extended and changed over the years and now features a mix of Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Classicism and Neo-Gothic architecture. The estate also contains the largest landscape gardens in Europe and a number of ornamental lakes. On arrival we’ll check-in to our rooms and have lunch at the castle before being taken on a guided tour.
Day 04: Discover rural Belarus at Rosy Eco Village and Ales Los Farm
On our way back towards Minsk today we’ll venture into the rural Valozhyn district to experience what life is like outside of the city. Rosy Eco Village was created by several families who decided to escape hectic city life and get back to a more traditional lifestyle where they live off the land and reconnect with nature by farming their own food and creating a family nest. This type of settlement and country lifestyle used to be common, but was mostly lost during the many years of urbanization in Soviet Belarus. Now in this village there are 40 self-sufficient homesteads on five acres of land with cattle farms, fruit and vegetable plots, and gardens. We’ll be introduced to the eco village concept by the families living here and get the chance to sample their organic tea, homemade bread, honey, and other delicacies.
We drive back to Minsk for our final evening in the city.
Day 05: Trip ends in Minsk
Transfer to airport for flight back to home.
|City||Night (s)||Hotels / Camp|
|Minsk||02||DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Minsk|
|Mir||01||Holiday homes Agrousadba Svetlazara|
|Minsk||01||DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Minsk|
– Meeting and assistance by our representative.
– Welcome with fresh flower garlands.
– 04 Nights accommodation.
– Daily Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners.
– Local English-speaking guide
– All transfers, sightseeing, excursions as per the program by private vehicle.
– Entrance fees to monuments.
– Transport, Parking, Gasoline & Toll ways.
– All present government taxes.
– International Airfare.
– Tips, gratuities, Portage, laundry, telephone calls, table drinks, camera/ video camera charges, or any other expenses of a personal nature.
– Visa fees, personal insurance.
– Any item not specified under cost includes.
– Accommodation in good hotels.
– Check-in / out time is 12 noon at most of the hotels.
– Extension to other places is also possible with a minimal extra cost.
– Additional nights are available at each place with minimal supplement.
– A visa is required and must be obtained prior to your departure from your Country.
– If quoted hotel is not available, we will provide one of a similar category and standard.
– Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions, flight schedules and room availability.
– In case the government changes presently applicable taxes, increase in airlines prices, fuel surcharge our rates will need to be adjusted accordingly.
– Sometimes, there is no relevance between the distance and time of travelling, as it depends upon the condition of the roads and congestion of the traffic.
– While every effort will be made to maintain the itinerary, in view of local strikes etc that are beyond our control all schedule and itineraries are subject to last moment changes.
– Clients must be fully insured, as the company cannot accept liability for loss or damage to client’s property, medical emergencies or any other loss suffered by them whilst on tour.
– In Case of issuing Domestic or International air tickets, SGV is not responsible for any refund if the flight is delayed or cancelled, as it is the responsibility of airline.