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5 Unique Travel Offers That Exist Only In Belarus

Let’s face it, Belarus isn’t a tourist mecca. Even after Lonely Planet included it in the top five places to travel to in 2019, it will still take time before the country makes it to mass visitors’ things-to-see lists.

On the other hand, Belarus can easily cater to those tired of typical tourist attractions. How about trying something totally new, like spending the night surrounded by swamps or waking up in a pre-war village?

Then this list of unique travel offers from Belarus is for you.

1. Test-drive a 220-ton dump truck

Belarus is famous for BelAZ, at least, in some circles. While you might or might not be a fan of industrial engineering, it’s hard not to appreciate the visible power of the world’s biggest haul trucks.

BelAZ offers tourists a ride in the driver’s cab on a mining dump truck as a part of their industrial tour. Tourists can also get the basic driving skills on a special simulator.

The simulator is super realistic: it reproduces the real road experience in 7D mode. The ‘driver’ even feels obstacles (e.g., sidewalks and potholes) on the road.

Price:

  • 125 BYN (~ $63) for a ride
  • 140 BYN (~ $70) for a ride + a certificate
  • 145 BYN (~ $73) for a ride + a certificate + a fake driving license

How to get in:

To book the drive, call +375 29 683-57-27, +375 29 670 77 48, or write to tourdlyavas@tut.by. If you wish to use the simulator, book in advance. Maximum group size is 10 people.

2. Assemble a tractor

Did you play Lego as a kid? Do you still secretly want to, but it seems weird (and also Lego isn’t big enough)? In this case – but not only – the following offer is for you!

mtz tractor belarus tourist travel

Minsk Tractor Works (MTZ) lets tourists see how the famous tractor Belarus is made and also offers to take part in assembling one. Visitors get branded overalls, an assembly scheme, and experienced workers to guide them through the process.

Read also: The show of dancing tractors in Minsk

When the job is done, guests receive a participation certificate. The certificate mentions the model and a serial number of the assembled vehicle.

Price: 9 BYN (~ $5)

How to get in: The tour that includes the assembly process is organized on weekdays at 13:00.

Maximum group size is five people. All group members should be over 18.

Read also: Made in Belarus! 9 fascinating industrial tours to factories and plants

Applications should be filed at least one business day prior to the tour for individuals and at least three business days prior for legal entities. Tours are conducted in Russian, English, Spanish, and German. The language should be requested during the application.

You can sign up by calling +375 17 246 69 39 or writing to mtztourism@belarus-tractor.com.

3. Sleepover at the biggest bog

You might not imagine bogs as something breathtaking. And yet they are!

Pick up cranberries and blueberries, and watch cranes in the biggest bog of Belarus, Yelnya that spreads to over 250 km2 (that’s about half of New Orleans or Stockholm!). Yelnya bog is located in Vitebsk region; its territory counts more than a hundred lakes and 130 birds species.

Visitors to Yelnya can choose among a dozen routes to explore this unique natural wonder, but it is highly recommended to hire a local swamp expert to guide you.

 

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One of the walking tours to the bog includes spending the night surrounded by wild nature. Tourists are guided through lakes and noticeable sights of Yelnya, where no trails exist. A tent and all special equipment is provided, but you must have your own backpack, a mat, and a sleeping bag.

The official tour provider of the national landscape reserve Yelnya is tour club Aktivniy; though there are other agencies that offer walking and biking tours through Yelnya (for example, check out Ekskursii.by).

Price: from 115 BYN (~ $58) to 130 BYN (~ $65).

How to get in: Contact Aktivniy via belpohod@yandex.by.

The closest tour dates are in February, June, July, and August. Ordinarily, the tour starts at 06:30 on Saturday and ends at 21:00 on Sunday. Participants get a transfer from and back to Minsk. The organizers warn that you have to be physically fit and have some hiking or similar experience to join this tour.

Read also: Guide to bird watching in Belarus

4. Live like a Belarusian villager

There is a place that offers tourists to experience life of a Belarusian village circa the early 1900s. You will chop wood, carry water from a well, mow grass, harness a horse, feed sheep, and soon feel like a wholly different person.

 

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Belije Luga (White Meadows) is a place that is described as “a tourist village”. The complex occupies part of Tinevichi village in Grodno region and includes seven houses, a tavern, and an authentic sauna.

Read also: 5 pompous foreign estates Belarusian nobles once owned

The local food place offers traditional Belarusian meals, which are conveniently pre-paid. You can even ask for recipes, and the cooks will gladly share them with you. And, of course, there’s an apiary, where you can taste the tastiest, healthiest honey.

 

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Price: Pricing starts from 170 BYN (~ $85) for two adults for a weekday.

How to get in: You can find out all other details at luga.by.

5. Ride a narrow-gauge railway to watch peat extraction

Tiny railroads and tiny trains are the things of childhood. The trains that go into the deepest of forests, through swamps and manufactories paint a picture from Tarkovsky’s films and everything to do with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Whether you’re are trying to please your inner child or reckless treasure hunter, this trip is worth checking out. A tiny train takes tourists through dreamlike forests and national parks straight to the peat-briquette production manufactory in Brest and the museum of railway equipment in Baranovichi.

In winter, the train is heated with an authentic Belarusian furnace, that makes the whole setting just so atmospheric.

Price: 35 BYN (~ $18)

How to get in: You can look up all the information at their website.

The trip starts at 8:00. The bus picks tourists in Minsk and takes them to the train. The tour is back in Minsk at 19:30. Lunch is included and comes as a nice surprise in the afternoon. The nearest tour, however, isn’t until winter: the organizers are waiting for the snow to make the trip even more exciting.


Text by Alina Gorbatch.