Places to visit in summer in Belarus

Places to visit in summer in Belarus

Maybe it’s because of school schedules, or due to family traditions, but summer is believed to be the best time for a vacation. It obviously is in Belarus, where the climate is moderate, and the only three months when you can go out wearing the same T-shirt you just slept in – are June, July and August. So let’s go hunting for the best spots to make the most out of this vacation.

Belarus has more than 10,000 lakes, so one surely needs a guide to figure out their choice. We bet on Braslav Lakes (yes, there’s not one, rather a group of lakes).

There are lots of recreation centers on the territory of Braslav National Park. You can also rent a cabin or bring one with you. Fishing is allowed, and the lakes are inhabited with 30000 species of fish. The water is pure, but best give it a couple of sunny weeks before going there to swim – the temperature of deep still water can be surprisingly unwelcoming even in June.
As pretty much any lake, these lakes are surrounded by woods, touristic services include both water and forest sightseeing routes.
Getting there is easy – again, like almost everywhere across the country – the roads are fine, and there’s a vast net of public transport – it takes 3.5 hours by bus to get from Minsk to Braslav. Braslav itself is a small town with an old center and a couple of churches you might want to visit if you like to explore the local culture or buy souvenirs.
Even closer to Minsk is Vileika Lake. It’s famous for clean water and pine-wood banks, but most of all – for the “ocean drive” along the number of its bridges. Rent a car, turn the rock-wave on, and sing along breathing the fresh air of pure nature as it is.

Another blue diamond of the country is a northern Lake Naroch. It is the biggest and to the most popular among tourists. On the coast of Naroch there is a resort settlement Naroch, where there are spa resorts, health camps, holiday centers. Each health resort, and there are 13 of them, has its own beach, open to all tourist. All beaches have boat, water ski and bicycle rental offices. Make sure to try and take a water ride called paddleboat – fun and workout, bless the summer.
Speaking about health resorts, we cannot but mention how popular they are among foreign tourist in Belarus – the country covered with pinewood forests that are great for your respiratory organs. Most of resorts are located on the rivers or lakes, some even have their own pumprooms or speleology medical caves. Within just two weeks to one month, your cardiovascular system and organs of digestion can be improved significantly.

Travelling by car you can enter the territory of the Naroch National Park and stay in one of 16 equipped tourist sites. Pay a small fee, and feel free to use shelters, tables, fireplaces and toilets. Car parking is available nearby.

It’s also a 3-4 hours’ ride from Minsk, buses available. There are lots of lakes and rivers in the area, such as the Blue Lakes – a good touristic spot, where everything is ready for you to enjoy nature. It really is a God’s country, the waterfront is long and narrow, surrounded by woods and bushes, it’s so isolated you could even start a cult and make human sacrifices without neighbors noticing. Please don’t.

Another water attraction of the country is Berezina River. Besides obvious, one could join a group and go kayaking, exploring the river for hours and even days.
Totally up to you and your level of comfort. It looks like quiet a journey from birds’ view, isn’t it? It’s only one-hour ride from Minsk to Borisov, and touristic sites are free of charge.

2 hours south-west from Minsk there’s one most mysterious lake of the country – Svityaz. Every year on the night of July 6-7 local youth holds a Midsummer celebration. Here, in a pagan temple, Belarus first began to celebrate this holiday. At the foot of the mountain, there is a small lake, on the smooth surface of which girls would put their wildflower wreaths, sometimes with burning candles, to light their way to the intended husband. Traditionally, a bonfire is burned, celebrants would jump over it, and bathe naked, and stroll into the woods to find a magic flower that fulfills their wishes. Once at this time on the lake Svityaz, a tourist can plunge into the atmosphere of thrilling legends and pagan dreams.

If summer vacation routine does not only include getting tan and fit from swimming (of fat from laying all day long) – you might want to explore quiet a unique Belarussian attraction – museums of ethnography.
Don’t yearn, it’s no gallery of ancient sculptures and armory – it’s what they call skansen.
Small villages preserved in their natural state, with lots of interractual attractions for you to watch and take part in.
For instance, they have those in Ozertso only 10 minutes away from Minsk, or Dudutki, half-hour ride away.

The atmosphere of the Belarusian village of the 19th century is created with particular authenticity – wooden buildings, pottery workshops, horses and cars of past years, barnyards, even a church and a mill. You can get acquainted with the history of crafts, see with your own eyes how iron is forged at a real smithy, bake bread at the bakery, see the work of pottery maker, and even become his apprentice. In Dudutki, for instance, they produce moonshine according to an old recipe, which you can try if you wish. Weekends and holidays, they often hold festivals and ethnic ritual events there.

If you gained your shape and wanna show-off your sport-skills, you can look up several sport activity clubs – Belarus offers lots of options for extreme vacations – wakeboarding and SUP-boarding, wind- and kite-surfing, airsoft and paintball, high-rope courses and outdoor volleyball championships.
Minsk has three major parks with amusement rides for kids (no, really, don’t expect them to be extreme rollercoasters) and three water-parks, and there are some more in smaller cities.

But who needs this concentrated amusement when we can go to see a man-made miracle of the Maternity Lake? It’s a secret treasure that would not be considered as a typical tourist attraction, yet locals keep coming there to experience a unique atmosphere of industrial landscape in the middle of the lake. Technically, there are two lakes on both sides of the road – the natural Maternity Lake, and a water reservoir for the power station, yet, you can walk along the reservoir and take amazing pictures for your Instagram. By the way, according to hygienic criteria, Maternity Lake meets the requirements for recreation zones and can be considered a beach.

Another activity (tried to make my hand type “entertainment”, failed) available in the country is hunting. This is no surprise, 40% of the territory of Belarus is covered with forests. There are several agencies that can organize a hunt in the appropriate season, and even provide an accompanying translator.
But if you want, if you really want to make the most out of what Belarus can give, after hard months of work, if your body and you mind a begging to relax, then agro tourism is one of the best options for you. It is also one of the most popular types of recreation in Belarus, which has developed very rapidly in the last few years. What do we mean by that? Well, let’s see…

Yes, it’s a countryside escape, a hideout place surrounded by the woods, to be rented for healing your respiratory organs – and your soul. Many farmsteads look like houses that have been there for hundreds of years, only with all modern conveniences inside. If you are not the type of office-worker, who hates humanity by the time their vacation starts, you can also go out to try traditional Belarusian dishes, or one of the traditional types of Belarusian rest, such as Russian sauna (obviously, they don’t call it Russian, they don’t call it anyhow at all, they just put you in a damn hot wooden shed and beat you up with a switch of birch twigs) fishing, mushroom- and berry-hunting in the forest. This type of tourism is a unique opportunity not only to relax, but also to somehow absorb the authentic Belarusian culture.
If more nature and more adventure is what you need – visit National Park Belovezhskaya Pushcha on the Polish border of Belarus, 380 kilometers southwest from Minsk.
It is a major biosphere reserve under UNESCO protection. Belovezhskaya Pushcha is famous for its centuries-old trees and the diversity of fauna – more than 220 species of birds and almost 60 species of mammals, among which you can see the mighty bison, bears, deer and many other animals. They live in natural surrounding, and one can feed them and touch them, can ride a bike along the roads of this authentic forest, can rent a hotel room or a cabin and spend unforgettable weekend, taking moments to admire oaks, whose age exceeds five centuries, as well as centuries-old pines, spruces, ash trees and lindens, communicating with nature and exploring what is yet to be discovered.
The list could go on endlessly, and so could our warmest welcome for you to visit Belarus in summer! In the times when one has been endued with power to pick the dates of their own summer according to their work/family schedule (and plane ticket prices), it could be refreshing though, to stay in a risk zone, where 1-week vacation could turn out to be sweater weather, and see places really worth the risk.