Belarus can turn out to be an intriguing place for a curious traveler who is fed up with all European cities. Moreover, as visa restrictions are getting softer (citizens from 80 countries don’t need a visa if they enter and exit the country through Minsk National Airport and stay up to 5 days), this country is becoming a more and more attractive tourist spot.
Let’s see what every visitor should know while planning a trip to Belarus:
1. Excluding visa-free visit, there are some more ways to come to Belarus without a visa – you can come to travel around the ancient nature reserve Belovezhskaya Pushcha or the beautiful city of Hrodna and Augustow channel.
2. All foreign citizens spending more than 5 days in Belarus should have an official registration. Otherwise, they will get a fine up to 500 € at the border. The official information can be found here.
Good news, if you stay in a hotel, it will make the registration for you. Luckily, the bill that will increase days (up to 10) that can be spent in Belarus without registration is prepared in Ministry of Internal Affairs; we expect it to be accepted in 2018!
3. Insurance is obligatory for all the foreigners coming to Belarus. It can be an insurance from “Belgosstrakh”, which you can buy at the border or at the airport. You can pay for the insurance in Belarusian or Russian rubles, dollars or euros. The cost of an insurance varies depending on the time of your stay. For example, 30 days’ insurance will cost you 31 euro.
4. The national currency in Belarus is the Belarusian ruble (BYN). The current exchange rate can be checked on the official website of the National Bank. However, to make your calculations easier, apply 1 USD = 2 BYN which is an approximate exchange rate. Money can be exchanged in all banks or exchange offices (they can be found in different public places – from hotels and shopping malls, to the airport and railway stations).
5. There are two official languages: Russian and Belorussian. They are quite similar, but the majority of people speaks Russian.
6. There are different means of public transport in Minsk, such as metro, buses, trams, and trolleybuses. You can also take taxi or UBER. Minsk metro has two lines and 29 stations (it does not cover the whole city but can be still used to reach all the major sights). It is open for passengers from 5:30 a.m. to 0:40 at night, and one trip costs 0.65 BYN (about $0.30). A travel card can also be obtained for 10/15/30 days or for 10 to 60 trips. Note that tickets for 10 and 20 trips are valid 30 days from the date of purchase.
7. How to get to Minsk from the airport is described here.
8. The most convenient way to travel across the biggest cities inside the country is a railroad. You can buy tickets, check the timetable and all the terms online or at any railway station.
9. If you shop for more than 80 BYN in one store, you can register Tax-Free. It is possible only in certain shops participating in the refund program (like GUM and TSUM department stores). Find the list here.
If you have some questions concerning your visa, registration or trip plan, don’t forget to write to one of our trustworthy MeetnGreeters in Minsk – they’ll clear everything up in a moment!
Have a nice trip to the capital of Belarus! :)