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What to see in Belarus during 5-day visa-free regime?

It's now easier to explore Belarus - you can come without a visa for five days without problems. Although most tourists spend all their time in Minsk, there are still many reasons to go to other places in Belarus to see forests and lakes, historical castles and manors. Here's a list of ideas for you.

Day 1: Explore Minsk

Minsk, of course, deserves a thorough study. And most importantly, in this city you can always pick your route. You can admire the City of the Sun, walk along the central avenue and go to the department stores and folk bars admiring Soviet chic.

Get lost in the cozy little courtyards of Osmolovka, the small area in the center of Minsk, which was to be demolished but in the end protected by the locals and activists. A fashionable walk around the city street art, coffee and designer shops is also a good idea. Tour guides are ready to assist you to know the best of Minsk in a few hours.

Day 2: Country of castles

Castles and palaces are both near and far from Minsk. Most of the castles of Belarus did not survive the turbulent historical past (because of a great number of wars), but those that remained preserved the true spirit of history. Our choice is the classic Mir and Nesvizh for the first acquaintance.

Nesvizh is the patrimonial nest of the Radziwills, the main dynasty in the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Legends and ghosts are a must to know about. According to one of these legends, a huge underground passage connects the palace in Nesvizh and the castle in Mir, but modern travelers have to go by the usual road.

An alternative option is a trip to Novogrudok and Lida. Novogrudok was the first capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL), in the 12th century a castle appeared here, but after 7 centuries two of the walls remained - Kostelnaya and Shchitovaya - opposite each other. Perhaps, these are the most famous and picturesque ruins in Belarus, and the Castle Hill offers a beautiful view.

Come to the house-museum of Adam Mickiewicz, the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord, perfectly preserved since 1714, and the Boris and Gleb Church, which is more than 500 years old.

Another "town of castles" is Lida. Lida Castle in 1330 became the first stone castle on the territory of the GDL, it was destroyed several times, and at the end of the XIX century, town authorities in general allowed to disassemble it for bricks to restore the city. Until the 1980's it was in ruins, and in 2010 the castle was restored.

Day 3: Off the beaten track

If you want to search for architectural gems, this is for you. Churches of different styles in different parts of Belarus are enough to compile a whole catalog. Most of them have a difficult fate: they changed the appearance, owners, and the confessional identity. The Cathedral of Michael the Archangel in Smorgon (with three-meter-thick walls) for four hundred years served Calvinists, Catholics, Orthodox and atheists (in the 1970s there was an exhibition hall inside).

The church in Soly is one of the few buildings in Belarus in the Art Nouveau style. The Church of the Holy Trinity in Gerviaty is among the most beautiful buildings of all Europe. The highest church in Belarus (with a 24-storey building), built according to all the neo-Gothic laws with semi-arches and lancet windows, is surrounded by a well-groomed garden with sculptures - it is possible to pour architectural terms for a long time, but it is better if you come and see it yourself. Using public transport between these points is not very convenient - it goes rarely, so this is the case when it is worth ordering an excursion.

Day 4: Brest and Belovezhskaya Pushcha

Another big city deserves attention. The thousand-year history of Brest is worth it. The city now has a visa-free regime for some toursts, so don't miss a chance! Take a walk along the small and pleasant central streets and courtyards, not ignoring the trendy bars and coffee shops.

The Brest Fortress requires several hours: this place is connected not only with the defense during the Second World War, but also with the entire history of the city, which began here. A modern interactive museum, the remains of fortifications and buildings erected 200 years ago and huge green spaces - this place is a must visit. Among natural wonders is the oldest forest in Europe - Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Look at bison, watch birds, hug trees, which are several hundred years old, and go visit Santa Claus' house.

Day 5: Industrial tourism

The option for the last day is industrial tourism. Factory romance is for those who want to know how things are made. Belarus offers several opportunities for industrial tourism - you can walk around the shops of the existing production at the breweries "Alivaria", "Krinitsa" and "Lida" (you will learn about the history of beer production, all stages of brewing and the subtleties of tasting), the confectioneries "Slodych" and "Kommunarka", the glassworks "Neman" and the factory "Slutsk Belts".

But the real must-see for industrial tourism lovers is to see how BelAZ trucks are built in Zhodino. BelAZ is the world's largest dump truck (450 tons) - try to reach at least the middle of its wheel.

What to see in Belarus in 5 days?