A fascinating place in its own right, Minsk is also a good base for venturing farther afield in Belarus. With three days in the capital, you can explore the city, visit a castle, spend an evening at the Bolshoi, and more. Here’s how.
Day 1: Discover Central Minsk
As Minsk was largely destroyed during World War II, most of the current city dates from the 1950s. The wide boulevards, attractive parks, and brutalist and neoclassical architecture are a dream for architecture enthusiasts and avid photographers.
Spend the morning on a self-guided or guided tour, either on foot or by metro. After lunch, head over to one of the city’s galleries or museums. Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Belarusian National Arts Museum, featuring work by Russian, Soviet, and Belarusian artists. The Belarusian State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War is also worth checking out, especially for its collection of propaganda art.
In the evening, seek out some authentic Belarusian cuisine for dinner. You’ll find fine-dining establishments as well as places that specialize in rustic rural food.
Day 2: Take a Day Trip to Mir Castle and Nesvizh Palace
Go back in history a few centuries and visit Mir Castle and Nesvizh Palace. Very different from what you will have seen in the capital, these grand 16th-century UNESCO World Heritage sites are two of Belarus’ most popular attractions. About a 90-minute drive from Minsk, the towns of Mir and Nesvizh are quite close together, so most full-day tours go to both places.
Later, indulge in a ballet, opera, or chamber music concert at the beautiful Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus. Arrange your tickets in advance.
Day 3: Visit the Dudutki Ethnographic Museum
About 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Minsk, the open-air Dudutki Ethnographic Museum makes for an easy day trip. Experience what life is, and was, like in rural Belarus: sample cheese and vodka, see farm animals, wander around the traditional-style wooden buildings, and watch artisans produce traditional crafts. The museum staff generally don’t speak much English, so unless you understand Russian, consider stopping by the museum as part of a tour.
Spend your last night in Minsk on a city nightlife tour. You’ll sample local food and drink, and visit quirky and fun hangouts that you might not find otherwise.