Belarus is located in the center of Europe at the intersection of many international routes. The territory of the country spans 207,600 km². Belarus is known for its hospitality and cordiality. Many foreigners who have visited the Republic of Belarus note the following aspects that motivated them to come:
East and West, Middle Ages and hi-tech, ancient architecture and Stalinist Empire style, examples of Soviet mosaic painting and modern murals. Here, tourists can feel the smell of powder in vaults of fortresses and hear the sounds of a grand piano from the halls of palace and garden complexes.
Contrast and ingenuity – these are the things that make the culture of Belarus original and unique. Here, historical heritage is preserved, and new street culture is being developed; national ornaments neighbor upon the trends of the world fashion, and natural landscapes are finely intertwined with modern industrial design.
LUXURY OF CALMNESS
Absence of stresses and relaxing rhythm of life together with modern infrastructure are the norm for any Belarusian town. Leaving the city, there is an opportunity to find a place for secrecy and inspiration, have a chance to speak to the nature and hear yourself.
RELICT FORESTS AND PURE LAKES
Find out about the secret life of the dwellers of ancient woods and feel the captivating breath of birch groves. Blue-eyed Belarus is paradise for photographers, where thousands of lakes replace the sea. This is the perfect place for precious days of rest.
EARTH ENERGY FOR HEALTH
Soft climate, natural cosmetics and medical staff that you want to trust have made Belarus a sanatory and resort brand. Treatment in underground salt mines, pure mineral water and fresh humid air are the calling card of Belarus. There are conditions for the development of almost all types of tourism in Belarus, but the most popular among foreign tourists are:
It is one of the most successful types of tourism in the Republic of Belarus. Thanks to the powerful preferences provided to this type of tourism, in 2021 there are 2,936 rural entities. At the beginning of 2021, the number of rural tourists amounted to 433 thousand people.
In 2016 and 2018 Belarus became the winner in the Rural tourism nomination of the National Geographic Traveler Awards rating.
In 2022, it is planned to conduct the International Forum on Tourism and Rural Development ‘Ensuring a Better Life for the Local Population’ in cooperation with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Thus, rural tourism in Belarus is the cradle of the national cultural heritage, it strengthens the self-consciousness of the nation and demonstrates the hospitality of the people.
Rest on rural farmsteads in Belarus is an opportunity to plunge into the rural life of the country, use environmentally friendly products, retire with nature and restore your health.
SPA AND WELLNESS TOURISM
It is another type of tourism promoted in Belarus. Belarusian health resorts offer a good value for money, modern medical facilities and highly-qualified specialists.
Clean air of forests and lakes, comfortable accommodation, tranquility and calmness – what can be better for a tired body and mind. Belarusian health resorts boast good services, high-quality equipment and reasonable prices.
Apart from traditional spa services almost every health center has its own mineral water springs, including therapeutic radon water springs. Soligorsk has a unique underground speleotherapy clinic that offers highly effective treatment programs in salt caves.
Belarus is a great place for ecotourism, as it abounds in pristine natural environments and offers a variety of exciting wildlife expeditions.
There are natural areas in Belarus that you will not find anywhere else in Europe.
Belarus is among the ten most forested countries in Europe. Forests occupy 46% of the country area. Ecotourists are highly recommended to explore the country’s national parks Narochansky, Pripyatsky, Braslav Lakes, Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve, Nalibokskaya Pushcha, Blue Lakes and many other places of interest.
It is growing in popularity with foreigners. The country offers a wide range of medical services, from dentistry to qualified help in oncology, cardiology, ophthalmology, organ transplantation and IVF.
Medical tours are organized by specialized companies facilitating medical travel programs. They handle the paperwork, select a healthcare center, provide assistance in getting a visa and accompany the client if necessary.
Minsk is a convenient venue for hosting major business events.
Numerous exhibitions, conferences and forums are held in the Belarusian capital every year.
The business program is always complemented by a wide range of activities, including excursions, animation programs, quests, water tours, cycling, target shooting, eco-trail tours, dinners at farm stays, and a top-notch entertainment industry.
The Republic of Belarus is an industrially developed country. There are more than 5,000 factories and plants. Several dozens of them offer tours to their production sites.
Tourists can see how the world’s largest dumping trucks, entered in the Guinness Book of Records, are made. In Belarus it is possible even to perform a test drive of a 130-ton dumping truck, or participate in manufacturing a tractor.
The country threw the door wide open for tourists as it launched the visa-free travel program.
The visa-free travel program is meant for tourists from 76 countries who arrive in Belarus through the Minsk National Airport. It makes visiting the country as simple and easy as possible. The period of visa-free travel for tourist purposes is up to 30 days. This applies to both solo travelers and organized groups. The only exception is that foreign citizens must arrive on flights not from the Russian Federation.
India is among these 76 countries. Indian citizens should have the following documents to travel to Belarus without applying a visa:
1) A valid multiple-entry visa of the EU or Schengen states with a mark of entry into their territory;
2) Air ticket with confirmation of departure from the Minsk National Airport within 30 days from the date of entry.
As in all countries of the world, COVID-19 has imposed certain restrictions on travel to the Republic of Belarus. For foreign citizens entry into Belarus through land checkpoints is temporarily suspended. But fortunately, the entrance is still open through air checkpoints.
When arriving through air checkpoints, all tourists, who have reached the age of six, should have a negative PCR test performed no later than 3 days before crossing the border and vaccination certificate. Self-isolation is necessary only for tourists who have COVID-infection.
The situation with COVID-19 in Belarus is developing in accordance with global trends. The number of new infections is falling, and the vaccination campaign is being actively pursued.Moreover,there is an opportunity to get a vaccine for foreign citizens. For these purposes, a special 5-day visa-free regime was introduced.
It is important to note that Belarus did not introduce a lockdown and did not suspend the activities of economic entities, which helped to avoid a significant negative economic effect. Among the current restrictions are only mask modes in transport and public places, social distancing.
Promotion activities on to international target markets continue. Belarus made it to the top ten countries to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019 list.
The publishing house welcomed the 30-day visa waiver and praised Belarus’ art and café scene. Describing Minsk, the travel guide pointed to ‘its impeccably restored Old Town centered around the graceful town hall’, where travelers can visit fashionable cocktail bars and join summer street parties.
Belarus is a clean and safe country, which is also an important part of tourists’ considerations. Cleanliness and safety are becoming Belarus’ competitive advantages on the global tourism market.
The Belarusian capital was named among the three cleanest cities in the world by the Street Digital Financial Media Company. Singapore and Tokyo went first and second.
Minsk topped the list of The Best European Cities to Visit in 2019 compiled by the British newspaper The Independent.
Two Belarusian restaurants got the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for extraordinary wine programs. The award was instituted by the New York-based Wine Spectator Magazine.
Belovezhskaya Pushcha made it into the list of 25 best trips to take in 2020 by National Geographic. National Geographic advises to
visit Belovezhskaya Pushcha in September-October.
Cooks in cafes have made delicious draniki, guides have prepared fascinating tours across picturesque locations, festivals have been organized in cities and villages, and the stoves in farm stays have been warmed up for tired travelers. Belarusians are ready to share the kindness and warmth of their hearts with their guests!
(Credit: Materials were provided by the Department of Tourism of the Ministry of Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Belarus)