If you want to visit somewhere most of your friends probably haven’t been, then Minsk should be on your travel radar. Minsk, the capital city of Belarus, sits on the Svislač and the Niamiha rivers. The Republic of Belarus is bordered by Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, so it has a strong influence from many of those countries.
Most of Minsk was destroyed during World War II, and in the 1950s, the city was rebuilt with the towering Soviet-bloc buildings that Stalin favoured. This means much is made of Minsk’s Soviet architecture that features concrete buildings and wide avenues. While you can see many of those buildings today, there is also modern architecture making it a fascinating place to explore.
The best time to visit Minsk is in April, May or June. In summer, the average maximum temperature hovers around 24℃ (75℉). You can catch many festivals and events throughout the summer months.
The chilliest time is winter, when temperatures can drop to -13℃ (10℉).
Keep this in mind when you book your flight to Minsk. You can land at Minsk National Airport with many affordable flights on Air Canada and Belarus Airlines to Belarus.
Minsk is full of luxury hotels, and you can find excellent room rates if you book rooms early. Here are some of our top picks.
DoubleTree By Hilton Minsk lives up to its reputation as a reliable and classy brand with modern rooms and state-of-the-art facilities. Right near the Old Town and Nemiga Underground Station, the Hilton offers everything the busy traveler needs as a cozy base.
Europe Hotel is a 5-star hotel with a spa, restaurant, wine bar, and excellent service. Rooms are decorated in a traditional style, and many have scenic views overlooking the city hall and the Holy Spirit Cathedral.
Hotel Belarus is a convenient hotel in a high-rise building that comes with river views and great service. Everything you might need is onsite, including a pharmacy, money exchange, swimming pool with water slides, business centre, gym and salon. There is a special elevator every 30 minutes to the rooftop to admire the city views.
At 15 km, Independence Avenue is one of Europe’s longest city thoroughfares, making it a major landmark in Minsk that you can’t miss. Along the way is Independence Square, October Square, Victory Square and Yakub Kolas Square.
Independence Square includes several universities, shopping, art galleries, restaurants, government headquarters and the Church of Saints Simon and Helen, also known as the Red Church. The neo-Gothic deep red church was built in 1910 and it a pretty stunning sight. Under Independence Square is a massive shopping area known as the underground city.
Explore the historical centre of Minsk with grand architecture and historical landmarks. Trinity Suburb is a scenic part of Minsk on the bank of the Svisloch River in the city centre. There you can see charming 19th-century buildings in bright colours. It is like stepping back in time walking around the well-preserved historic area.
St. Elisabeth Convent is an Orthodox convent that is the sole functioning monastery in Minsk. It is open to the public, and tours and workshops are offered. Glorious architecture and interiors filled with well-preserved relics and antiques make this a worthwhile stop.
For a unique view of the city, ride the observation wheel in Park Horkaha. The slow ride to the peak of 54 meters gives you scenic views of the whole city with the option of an open or closed booth. The park is nice to walk around, and the city has several parks worth visiting, including Park Pieramohi, where you can rent bikes and take a cycle around the scenic pathways. You can also feed the ducks and swans and have a picnic.
Kamaroŭski Market is the place to buy fresh and organic fruit and vegetables, flowers, baked goods, drinks, cheese, and meat. Kulman Street is another stop for traveling foodies and there you can also find many other kinds of shops.
The riverside park and history museum of Panski Maentak Sula features folk buildings, sculptures and flower gardens. Staff dressed in traditional costumes make you feel like you really stepped back in time. There is accommodation, including the Vikings House and Mason’s Outhouse, that is charming and traditional.
Near the airport, you can see the Mound of Glory with 241 stairs leading to the monument at the top. Sculptures of soldier’s faces and mosaic tiles are also there as a memorial to the Soviet soldiers who fought during WWII.
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