On the eve of the II European Games (and, in general, for many other reasons), we decided that it’s high time to tell you more about the tourist potential of Minsk, by writing a detailed guide so that you have all the necessary information at hand.
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Minsk Guide: all you need to know
As you probably know, Minsk is the capital of the Republic of Belarus, the administrative center of the Minsk region and the tenth most populous (excluding the suburbs) city in Europe. The city is located on the banks of the picturesque river Svisloch and almost in the geographical center of the country.
How to get there?
Minsk has its own national airports, railway and bus stations, bus station, so you can get to the capital in different ways. For example:
from Berlin to Minsk you will fly about 2 hours without transfers and pay about 200 euros;
from Paris to Minsk, the train will have to go about 30 hours, and you will pay about 300 euros for the tickets;
Visa to Minsk and some other information
The visa should have ceased to worry you a long time ago: you won’t need visa, if your period of stay is no more than 30 days and you land at the National Airport. Check complete information about visa and a list of countries with such an opportunity.
Here are a couple of things you should know about:
Only local Belarusian rubles (BYN) are in the money turnover of Belarus. They exchange at the rate of $1 = 2.10 BYN, 1 euro = 2.37 BYN (for the period of mid-April 2019). You can exchange currency in the absolute majority of banks and their branches.
The official languages are Belarusian and Russian, but don’t be afraid to speak English to young people: in Minsk, many people will understand you. By the way, you can learn more about the duality of the languages in Belarus from our article.
VETLIVA reminds: a visa won’t be necessary if you arrive at the European Games in 2019 with your ticket to the competition or your plane lands at the National Airport Minsk-2.
Weather in Minsk
The climate is moderately continental, with significant influence of the Atlantic sea air. The average annual rainfall is about 700 mm. Summer is warm, but not hot. The average daily temperature in July is + 18.5 °C (65.3 °F). Winters are mild, with frequent thaws, the average daily temperature in January is – 4.5 °C (24.8 °F).
To make things easier, shorts, light pants, linen dresses, flip-flops and sandals are perfect for walking in summer. In winter, wear a down jacket, warm pants and shoes with fur.
Prices in Minsk
In fact, in Minsk it is very cheap to live and rest. The prices here are moderate by the standards of foreigners, therefore:
daily apartment rent will cost you $40, and a room in a luxury hotel — $95;
you will pay 30 cents for public transport, and a standard taxi ride costs $5;
the average bill in a cafe is $7, and in the store you will pay $5-6 for a standard set of products;
VETLIVA advises: this is only a small part of what we can tell about prices. We have already provided much more information in our article on monetary spending in Belarus.
Where to stay in Minsk
Oh well, here you have a huge choice, in fact: in Minsk, there is not only the main part of prestigious hotels located, but there are also a large number of youth hostels and luxury studio apartments:
wanna have the maximum amount of amenities around, as well as 24/7 service and comfort? Minsk hotels will suit you exactly;
dream about cheap rest and finding a huge amount of new friends at the same time? Great hostels are waiting for you;
trying to find a place where it will be as comfortable as at home, and not have to worry about having to share the kitchen and bath with other people? Apartments at your service;
trembling with anticipation at the thought of outdoor recreation with a few forays into the city? Country cottages will surely please you.
VETLIVA reminds: if you go on a business trip and do not know where to stay, read our article about lodging.
Where and what to eat in Minsk
The question that worries all tourists, regardless of age, occupation and origin: where to eat in the host country? In Minsk, for each cafe / restaurant / bar / coffeeshop, there are 713 residents of the capital. Therefore, there are plenty of places to eat here, with a variety of menus, interiors, opening hours and staff:
Italian cuisine is served in “Bergamo” (st. Kulman, 37), “La Scala” (st. Nemiga, 36), “Falcone” (st. King, 9);
sushi, rolls, noodles and other goodies from the Asian region can be found in “Mai Thai” (st. Kirov, 11), “RONIN” (st. Maxim Bogdanovich, 78);
you can eat burgers at local MDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, as well as in a unique “Mirage” (st. Kulman, 5a) that serves the best shawarma and kebab in the country;
VETLIVA tells: we have already told you about the best places where you can fill your belly, in our full guide to tasty places in Belarus. Read it to find even more interesting places!
How and where to have fun in Minsk
So we got to the most interesting! Despite the fact that Minsk is the capital of Belarus, this city has never been perceived as a center of unbridled fun and interesting leisure activities. However, we are happy to dispel the myth of the "boring" Minsk and tell you about the various possibilities for different tourists.
To begin with, we will tell you about a couple of the most interesting sights of Minsk:
National library is a true diamond of architecture and knowledge (do not forget to visit the elegant observation deck on the 22nd floor);
Trinity Suburb — a historical soul of Europe in the heart of the capital: churches, museums, local souvenir shops and stylized cafes;
Church of Saints Simeon and Helena in Minsk — the famous Red Church, full of sad history and genuine architectural beauty;
Ostrog "Pishchalovsky Castle" is a nowadays prison in form of true castle;
We drop to them a couple of classic and unusual museums:
Museum of miniatures, in which you can see the whole of Belarus in just 2 hours;
Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War — the most visited museum of the country;
Oceanographic Center "Open Ocean" — all love to charming fish;
Museum of Selfie — take a couple of photos on the background of unusual walls with a pattern of pineapples;
National Art Museum in Minsk — classic art center with masterpieces from masters from around the world;
Beer Museum — not a day without a drink that has been brewed in Belarus for centuries;
These and many other museums introduce us not only to the history of the city, but also to its modern culture and way.
Photo lovers will also find unusual places in the city: in addition to attractions, be sure to visit Oktyabrskaya Street and Krasny Dvor — the bohemian centers of Minsk, and for photos a la “past could be returned” go to the Traktornaya street and the Zeleny Lug micro-district.
Connoisseurs of nightlife also will not remain in the loser: although Minsk after 12 seems surprisingly quiet and peaceful, you just need to know about a couple of places that definitely won't let the most outgoing party people get bored.
Casinos are absolutely legal in Minsk, so you can always put everything on red;
There are a large number of nightclubs in Minsk (Rich Cat, Boheme, Black House and others);
A tasty snack at night can be taken in “Golden Coffee”, “Insomnia” and “Soyuz Online”;
Many cinemas in Minsk have night sessions in various languages;
In the summer, in the center of the city (near Nemiga) nightly musical evenings are often held.
In the end, friends, do not forget about shopping: in Minsk there are many shopping centers where you can buy clothes, cosmetics, perfumes, souvenirs and other pleasures of life.
The largest centers are “Nemiga, 3”, “Stolitsa”, “Zamok”, “Gallery Minsk” and others. For books in Russian and Belarusian languages, as well as unusual postcards go to the Belarusian Central Book Shop and “OZ”. And look for fresh products and unusual sweets at Komarovka — the central market.
VETLIVA reminds: any trip is remembered not only by emotions and photos, but also by souvenirs. We told about the most unusual gifts from Belarus in our article.
Guide on the Belarusian capital: we open Minsk
This guide was written with only one purpose: to acquaint you with the current Belarusian capital and transparently hint that it is really worth a visit. Even Minsk residents themselves do not know many interesting places, lovely cafes, strange museums and picturesque parks, so why shouldn't you become one who discovers a new place to visit?
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