The capital of Belarus is a bit of a blank spot on the European tourism map and it doesn’t seem like many people travel there. I haven’t seen any other tourists during my trip to Minsk but it was the beginning of March so the timing might not have been the best. While there are not too many things to do in Minsk the city is definitely worth your time and will keep you busy for a day or two. With the recently introduced visa-free procedure, I guess it’s a matter of time before Minsk tourism will develop and the city becomes more and more popular among curious tourists who are tired of well-known destinations.
If I can recommend the best time to visit Minsk I would say from early May till late September – your chances for the best weather are the best then and you can enjoy numerous outdoor activities.
The best way to get to Minsk is flying and that’s what I recommend doing as this way you can visit Belarus visa-free.
Now I’ll tell you all the interesting places in Minsk!🤩
I could write about each of the interesting buildings separately but then this list of what to see in Minsk would have 50 or more positions. So let’s say the absolute no 1 Minsk highlight is the amazing Soviet architecture – even if you are not too much of a fan of this style you will surely appreciate it. To see some of the best examples you need to walk down Independence Avenue – a real showcase of the city. You will see some of the best buildings here, including the Belarusian Government Building, Main Post Office, KGB Headquarters, Victory Square, and the National Library, just to name a few. You can find even more great architectural gems beyond the main avenue: National Theater, blacks of flats in the shape of corn, or a spectacular Soviet bas-relief above the KFC restaurant.
There is a small part of the city that serves as the Minsk Old Town.
It’s located between the Republic Palace and the Svislach river. You can find here the town hall as well as a few old churches and museums. The area is alive until late hours, especially in the summertime. The Old Town might be tiny but it is really charming. A few steps further, across the river, you can find the Trinity Suburb with pretty pastel houses and cobbled streets.
In a true post-Soviet manner, Minsk is home to an impressive GUM store.
GUM stands for “main department store” in Russian. It was founded in 1951 and is one of the oldest and largest department stores in the city.
On three floors you can find just about everything: cosmetics, clothes, household items, fabrics, and souvenirs. This place is a great reminder of how shopping used to be 30 and more years ago. Even if you don’t plan to do any shopping it is still worth stopping by at GUM. The interior is really beautiful, in the grand Soviet style. From the left staircase on the top floor, you can admire a nice view of Independence Avenue, it’s actually of the best panoramas of this street you can find.
If you want to try the best of the local cuisine you should go for draniki (potato pancakes), regular pancakes with fillings, or soup (vegetable or mushroom).
If you are looking for a nice place that serves breakfast I can recommend two: Milano Cafe at Valadarskaha 19 (a bit pricey but good) and Coffeevarium at Miasnikova 29.
Actually, the restaurants are numerous. I liked the most coffee shops, where the atmosphere is cozy and beautiful❤️
Forget the grand architecture and neat corners of the center of the city.
Kastrychnitskaya street is like a completely different world, although technically it is still the center of Minsk, rather close to Independence Avenue. The former industrial area was transformed into the cultural hub and creative center of the center and one of the favorite Minsk nightlife spots. You should come here not only for great street art but also visit some cool cafes and bars as well as interesting events.
That’s it! Thanks for reading❤️