Minsk is often the only place that the tourists visit in Belarus. The capital has many attractions, but numerous places outside of Minsk are also worth visiting. As it is conveniently located in the center of the country, the best way to explore Belarus is to make several one-day trips from Minsk.
A Guest Post by Roman from Visit Belarus.
Belarusian Castles Day Trip
Belarusian Castles and palaces are one of the main reasons why tourists visit the country. Most of them are located in one region, which makes it very easy to visit them in one or two days. Depending on how much you are willing to ride during this day, and how much time you want to spend in each place, you can skip or add some castles to our itinerary.
Here is one of the fullest one-day itineraries from Minsk if you want to visit as many castles and palaces as possible:
1. Mir Castle Complex
2. Lubcha Castle
3. Novogrudok Castle
4. Ruzhany Palace
5. Kosovo Palace
6. Nesvizh Castle
Mir Castle Complex
During the day, you will be able to visit 6 different castles and palaces riding just 600 km (373 miles). If you ride by car, the road will take about 6-7 hours. Some castles have an extensive territory, so you need much time to visit them. If you want to visit the most well-known ones, you should go to Mir, Kosovo, and Nesvizh. All of these 6 castles were partially or fully destroyed, and some of them are still not reconstructed. Depending on your preferences, you might visit the reconstructed ones (Mir and Nesvizh castles), or those that maintained their former medieval look.
If you are planning to allocate more than one day to visit Belarusian castles, I suggest adding Grodno Old and New Castles, Lida, Golshany and Kreva Castles to your itinerary.
Natural Parks Day Trip
Another important reason to visit Belarus is its nature. There are over 20000 rivers and 11000 lakes in the country. 40% of Belarus is covered by forests. National parks and natural reserves occupy a large part of them. If you are willing to visit some, you can make two in a day trip from Minsk. Namely, Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve, and Naroch National Park.
Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve
Naroch National Park
The Naroch National Park also has the largest lake in the country, Naroch Lake occupying the territory of about 279 sq.km (107 sq.miles).
Both national parks can boast of unique and diverse flora and fauna. There, you can relax from big cities and enjoy tranquility and purity of nature. The way from Minsk will be about 400 km (250 miles), so you will have enough time on nature.
As a bonus, you can visit the cities of Zhodino and Borisov on the way to Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve. It will only make your trip 50 km (30 miles) long. Both cities themselves don’t have much to offer its visitors, but the reasons why you could visit them are the factory producing the largest dump trucks in the world near Zhodino, and the new futuristic stadium of BATE Borisov football club. If you really want to visit a city on the way, Borisov would be a better option for you.
Bobruisk-Slutsk-Chalk Quarries Trip
If you go to the south-east from Minsk, you can visit the cities of Bobruisk and Slutsk. While some pedestrian streets have been created in the capital just recently, Bobruisk has them for a long time. Moreover, Minsk was an important strategic point during numerous wars that crossed the territory of Belarus, which caused its destruction several times, while slightly smaller Bobruisk and Slutsk were much less damaged. Simply visit the city centers, and you will not miss most of the main attractions. But, shortly mentioning, here are the main things to do in both cities:
Bobruisk – walk along main pedestrian streets, take a picture of one of the beaver monuments (beaver, in Russian, ‘bobr’, is the main symbol of Bobruisk), visit Bobruisk Fortress, which used to defend the Russian Empire on the Western Border, and see some of the numerous churches, cathedrals and synagogues in the city.
Slutsk – less interesting for tourists, but you can still find some attractions in the city center. Slutsk Sash is the main thing that the town is famous for. The nobility of Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus was wearing such cloth sashes from 17th to 19th century as a symbol of wealth. Nowadays, you can visit the museum of Slutsk Sash in the town center and even buy one of these traditional items.
The last, and probably, the most remarkable stop would be Chalk Quarries near Soligorsk. They are water reservoirs of technogenic origin that appeared as a consequence of mining chalk and limestone in the region. This place is very popular among locals and foreigners, swimming there is not recommended.
Ski and Recreation Centers Day Trip
While Belarus has a very flat terrain (the lowest point is 80 meters/260 feet above the sea level, while the highest is only 345 m/ 1132 ft), there are several ski resorts with hills artificially created for fans of this activity. While they cannot compete with the best ski centers in the Alps, the ones in Belarus are much better for beginners, as there is no danger of falling thousands of meters down, and the prices are much lower.
While being ski resorts in winter, same places play a role of recreation centers in summer having great infrastructure, restaurants with the national cuisine of Belarus, arbors for rent surrounding nice ponds, where you can also fish, and lots of activities including carting, Segways, bikes and much more.
Silichi Ski Resort
Three most popular places that are good to visit both in winter and in summer are Raubichi, Silichi and Logoisk ski resorts. One-day trip from Minsk going through all three places will take you less than two hours, so you can spend most of the day enjoying nature and different activities the recreation centers have to offer.
Mogilev One-Day Trip
Belarus consists of 6 regions with Minsk region in the center and capitals of other regions about 300 km (186 miles) away. Going there would take 3-4 hours one way, so you wouldn’t have much time to visit the city if you have just one day. Fortunately, Mogilev, capital of the region having the same name, is just 2 hours away from Minsk, so you can visit its attractions in the daytime and be back by the evening.
You can find the main attractions of Mogilev on the Soviet square, also interesting is its drama theater and the astrologer monument. You might be interested in the fact that there is a building of the parliament located in Mogilev, as the city was going to become the capital of Belarusian SSR, but never became one.
It was my list of 5 best one-day trips from Minsk featuring different kinds of attractions and reasons to visit Belarus. There are also some interesting historical sites located close to Minsk that you have to visit if you have more than just five days.