Brian Cohen, an American travelers and blogger for Boarding Area travel website, visited Minsk in April. He arrived as a visa-free tourist from Vilnius to test how the newly introduced system works.
The traveler then shared his impressions in a series of posts in his blog.
BelarusFeed has looked them through and picked up travel tips that would be useful to other tourists coming to Minsk.
1. The most efficient way to travel from/to the airport is by bus
Brian looked at all transfer options that exist at Minsk airport.
“As with many other cities around the world, there are several options available to transfer from the airport which serves the greater Minsk metropolitan area to the city centre,” he wrote.
“But keep in mind that the airport is approximately 25 miles due east of Minsk. The ride is not a short jaunt no matter which method is used”.
Passengers can use taxi service, including Uber – but beware illegal drivers – car rental, bus and minibus. Train service that was launched in 2014 has been temporarily suspended in connection with the constuction of the second runway.
The advantages of the bus are its price and travel time, Brian points out.
“The cost of riding the bus is less than $2.50, which is a real bargain considering that a vehicle waits at the designated area for passengers; and the vehicles were not crowded in either direction. There are only a few short stops; and the ride takes approximately an hour — not much longer than a taxi cab or Uber”.
The traveler concludes that he would choose it again. However, he adds, all transfer options are “a decent deal” as their costs are low compared to Europe.
2. Better avoid taking pictures as you leave the plane and pass border control
Brian arrived to the Belarusian capital by plane from Vilnius.
After landing as Brian strolled across the tarmac, he decided to take a picture of the terminal. But was asked not to do so by “a member of the Belarusian military”.
“No photo”, he said,” wrote the traveler. “I complied — but why would a photograph of a terminal building not be permitted?”
It is important to mind that no photos or filming are allowed in border controls area. But you can take pics in the arrivals and departures and outside the airport, of course.
The rest of the border check went easily: “I initially wondered if there would be any problems; but the process was quite easy, painless and pleasant”.
3. Give yourself at least THREE hours from leaving Minsk to catch a flight at the airport
“I am the type of person who prefers to be at an airport in as little time as possible and try to get there as late as possible while still catching my flight,” Brian said.
He described his trip from Minsk to the airport as a race.
“At first, I was able to observe other motorists …but the bus was only ramping itself up. The cars and their motorists became more of a blur as the bus plied down that right lane”.
The ride was pretty quick but it still takes not least than one hour considering that the big part of the way passes through the centre of Minsk.
“I will take the word of Vadim — who is a reader of The Gate and posted that “I’ve been using Minsk airport for a long time. And from my experience, 2 hours are enough. It came from the formula:
- “a registration is closing in 40 minutes before a flight time
- “the fastest trip to the airport takes from 40 minutes (from the city center)
- “40 minutes as buffer for the trip.”