Belarus Vacation & Tour Packages
We'll make no bones about it, Belarus is a totalitarian state and the last dictatorship in Europe. President Lukashenko took office in July 1994 when he was just 40 years old and has not faced opposition since. The government of Belarus recently extended their visa waiver program to 30 days to expand tourism. This applies only if you arrive and depart by air from Minsk International Airport. This makes it much easier to visit this fascinating country. So what could be fascinating about a dictatorship?
Europe’s Last DictatorshipWe have many former communist countries on our map. But for us and anyone who has already visited those countries, Belarus still provides a unique opportunity. Rather than being a “time warp” like Transnistria in Moldova, Belarus represents an alternate reality. It's a “what if” for all those countries around it that fought either physically or politically for freedom and democracy. Belarus had a window of opportunity after declaring independence from the USSR in 1990. In the presidential elections in 1994 a large majority voted for Lukashenko, a manipulative and authoritarian populist. From then on he cemented his position with various moves such as seizing parliamentary power and replacing representatives with his own picks.
It’s Very Clean...Visiting Belarus nowadays, you'll notice a few things. Firstly it's very clean. It seems that litter is either not tolerated, or is tidied up very quickly. Secondly, you'll notice that everyone in Belarus seems to have a good word to say about the President and the government. In public at least. This deference and the presence of large-brimmed military hats can give the impression that stepping out of line is frowned upon. Personal safety in Belarus is definitely not a concern. The locals range from being a little cold to being friendly and curious as to why you're visiting their country.
Belarus Beyond MinskBeyond Minsk you'll find flat, green countryside and a number of castles that make for great day trips. For a long time Belarus was a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Around 1800 it became part of the Russian Empire.
Suggested CombinationsMany expect the Belarusian government to soon expand the visa waiver program to cover other border crossings. Until then, it is still easier to arrive in Belarus by air. There are direct trains from Vilnius to Minsk if you don't mind the administrative hassle and cost of applying for a visa. Though inexpensive regular direct flights negate the advantage of travel by train. Belarus makes for an interesting combination with its neighbors: Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. Many other countries in the region have direct flight links to Minsk too.
Top vacation destinations in Belarus
"We were so well cared for, it took all the worry out of getting around and making arrangements. The tour that was planned for us was exactly what we hoped for. We have both agreed it was one of the best holidays we have ever had... and we have traveled all over the world for many years."
"JayWay was excellent in that they kept in touch with us for many months exchanging ideas and making the best plans. We have taken 10 Jayway trips since 2007 so that says enough!! Looking forward to the next one. Health and the Lord willing!"
Bill and Anglie
Frequently Asked Questions about travel to Belarus
Do I need a Visa to visit Belarus?
Since early 2017 citizens of most countries, including the US, Canada, Australia and the EU can visit Belarus without needing a Visa but only under the following conditions: 1) Arrival and Departure from Minsk International Airport. 2) Proof of medical insurance for at least €10,000 that is valid in Belarus (this can be obtained for €1 per day at a desk before passport control). 3) At least €25 per day of your stay in Belarus. The situation is expected to improve in future with the duration of stay being extended and the entry and exit points expanded to regular border crossings.