Looking for a hidden gem in Europe? Somewhere far from the crowds and off the beaten track?
Belarus might just be the perfect destination for you!
This unique, landlocked country differs from the rest of Europe. Think modern cities, fairytale castles, a flourishing cultural scene, ancient forests and tranquil national parks. Belarus has all of this and more. Owing to its history steeped in war and the Soviet times, its appeal as a full-fledged travel destination has been on the rise only recently. Belarus is still relatively unexplored and is currently a quiet tourist spot – you’ll find some people might not even have heard of this intriguing country!
This is why Dzmitry Marozau decided to start BelAgroTravel – a Belarusian tourism company – with the mission to share his country and the beauty of Belarus with travellers from around the world.
Learn everything you need to know about visiting Belarus, and its captivating capital city Minsk, from Dzmitry the co-founder of BelAgroTravel, below…
1. Could you provide a brief history of BelAgroTravel?
BelAgroTravel was established in 2012 and there are two founders – Fillip Huly and myself. Most of the staff initially were from the Faculty of History at the Belarusian State University – my Alma Mater. In the beginning, our major market was the Russian Federation and our major product was seven-day coach tours from Moscow to major attractions in Belarus.
Today, we are a team of 29 people and we offer a variety of tourism services, welcoming about 28,000 tourists per year from Europe, Asia, and the Americas!
2. What motivated you to co-found a travel and tourism company in Belarus?
After guiding tourists in Western Europe (mostly in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany) and the USA, my partner and I found that pretty much no one there heard about Belarus. We know what an amazing country it is and finally, we decided to organize a company at home to show foreign guests our country.
It is authentic, different from neighbouring countries and not spoiled by mass tourism.
3. Why should travellers visit Belarus?
First of all, it’s a country which will surprise you, and it will be a great surprise! Usually before going to Belarus people have neutral or negative expectations, but when they are here, they see beautiful, clean cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, picturesque countrysides and friendly people. You’ll leave with a positive impression and great memories!
4. What makes Belarus a unique destination?
It is probably the last of Europe’s unexplored destinations. It is authentic, different from neighbouring countries and not spoiled by mass tourism. It can offer a lot: a rich history and cultural heritage, architectural monuments of different epochs from the 12th to 21st centuries, diverse cultural life (opera, ballet, modern art), authentic Eastern European folklore and delicious cuisine, pristine nature and many other interesting things. So I would say that it is an off-the-beaten-track, hidden gem.
5. What are your top three favourite destinations in Belarus?
6. What are your top 3 experiences to have in Belarus?
7. What are the main things visitors to Minsk should see and do?
Every time you come here you can find something new.
8. What can travellers expect from a guided tour of Minsk with BelAgroTravel?
On Expat Explore tours, travellers will see all major architectural attractions of the city centre and main avenues such as the National Library building, Victory Square with its 38-meter obelisk and the eternal flame commemorating the victims of WWII, the Trinity suburb and the Afghanistan War Monument on the Island of Tears, old town, the Catholic and Orthodox Cathedrals, Independence Square with the House of Government of 1930th, the KGB historical office and the Residence of the President.
They will also explore some hidden gems of Minsk. One spot is Oktyabrskaya Street – an informal hipster cultural centre of the Belarusian capital with wonderful murals on factory walls that contrast starkly with the Vladimir Lenin statues, as well as creative areas and very cool people.
9. Are the tour leaders and guides locals?
Yes, they are all locals and we have 12 English speaking guides.
10. Do you have any fun facts about Belarus or Minsk to share? Something visitors to the city wouldn’t know?
Rich history and cultural heritage, architectural monuments… diverse cultural life, authentic Eastern European folklore and delicious cuisine, pristine nature and many other interesting things.
11. What are useful phrases in Belarusian for visitors to the country to know?
*Please note that most people in Belarus speak Russian as well. It’s similar to Ireland, where people mostly don’t speak Gaelic in daily life.
12. What do you hope that guests take away from BelAgroTravel’s tours around Belarus?
An impression of Belarus that is way better than their expectation before a tour!
Are you keen to discover this hidden gem? You can see the highlights of this unique destination and adventure through Belarus and Minsk on our Helsinki to Warsaw Tour.