15 Top Cities of Belarus - Best travel and holiday destinations

15 Top Cities of Belarus - Best travel and holiday destinations

Updated 28 Jan, 2020
location_on Belarus

This lesser known European country has managed to grow out of its war torn past and blossom into a heartwarmingly inviting place, with something for everyone to see.

The moderate continental climate, with its summers and cool winters is perfect as you can be outside without having to worry about sunburns or windchill.

The relaxed visa requirements and the many relics of Soviet times, not to mention the friendly locals and numerous cafes are now making Belarus one of Europe’s top travel destinations.

If you aren’t already convinced, the rich biodiversity in the many national parks and lake areas, as well as a newly established artificial lake are in store for you.

Minsk - the capital, and the most developed city

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History, architecture, dining, nightlife, family activities, and everything else you’re looking for is right here in the capital city of Minsk.

Top Things to do in Minsk
Head to the numerous museums (Belarusian State Museum, Dudutki, Museum of the Great Patriotic War) for a taste of the rich Belarusian history, or visit the Zaslavsky Jewish Monument which was established to commemorate the inhumane murder of about 5000 Jews from Minsk by the Nazis on the 2nd of March, 1942.
If you’re a fan of architecture (and books), the National Library of Belarus is sure to interest you. Bear in mind though, this giant rhombicuboctahedron requires a passport for entering.
The Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Lifestyle grants an authentic experience of 19th century rural Belarusian architecture, while Pl Svabody, a charming square located in the centre of the Old Town, adjoining the Ratusha (Town Hall), and leading to the baroque Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and the former Bernadine Church further caters to it.
Minsk unsurprisingly has a booming art scene and you can get a closer look into it on Vul Kastrychnitskaya, which is Minsk’s unofficial arts district and is the one street which has presidential sanction to be the hub for street art. As such, it has beautiful murals done by Brazilian artists spanning walls of buildings and warehouses.
Visit the Minsk Botanical Gardens if you love being amidst nature and take a romantic walk with your loved one, or get tickets to the Minsk Circus if you have children. Take a ride on the Ferris Wheel for a spectacular view unlike any other of the entire city from up above. The Raketa Cinema and Cinemascope displays classics and art house films and if you’re a film buff, you definitely shouldn’t miss it. Head to Minsk Sea for some scenic views and a picnic.
Also located in Minsk is the former residence of former US President Kennedy’s assassin. He was reported to have lived on the third floor of the northwest side of the building.

Where to eat:
As for food, if you’re looking for some traditional Belarusian fare, check out Kukhmystr, Talaka, Kamyanitsa or Chekhov. There are also plenty of bistros, cafes and restaurants of different cuisines, not to mention Stolle, a famous chain of pie shops.
When to visit:
The best time to visit Minsk would be between the months of May and September, for optimal weather.

Average hotel price:
Most hotels cost about $60-$100, depending on the facilities you opt for. (127 - 211 BYR)

How to get there:
As soon as you get off your plane at Minsk National Airport, you have a variety of services you can choose from to take you into the city centre, which is 45 minutes away. You can take the bus, which takes about 60 minutes, or you can get off after 30 minutes and take the subway (Maskowskaya line of the Minsk metro) to Kastrycnickaja, which is in the middle of the city and is surrounded by many hotels. There are also AeroExpress minibuses with free WiFi which can drop you off to the central train station in Minsk in 45 minutes.

Viciebsk- the cultural capital

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Lying close to the Russian border and known more popularly by theRussian name Vitebsk, this city used to be known for its Jewish culture at the time when Jews were granted permission to reside in the Russian territories. Vitebsk is said to be a city of contrasts. The traditions of days past and modernity blend seamlessly to create a truly wonderful experience. Every nook and corner is imbued with a sense of history. Taking a leisurely walk around the city is enough to intimately acquaint yourself with it.

Top Things to do in Viciebsk
Attend the annual Slavianski Bazaar, an international arts festival with guests from many different countries.
The Annunciation Church, one of the oldest buildings in all of Belarus is located in Vitebsk. Originally constructed in the 1140s at a time when the city was pagan, it was then rebuilt in the 14th and 17th centuries as a Roman Catholic Church. It was destroyed upon the arrival of the Communists and remained in ruins until 1992, when it was restored.
Similar architectural specimens are the Orthodox cathedral, the Russian governor’s palace, a Roman Catholic Cathedral, and an obelisk dedicated to the centenary of the Russian victory over Napoleon.The "Ratusha" (town hall), with its renowned clock tower, is a beautiful piece of 19th century architecture symbolising freedom and prosperity.
Renown for being the birthplace of the Jewish painter Marc Chagall, and his residence has been preserved and ,along with a museum (the Marc Chagall Museum) dedicated to his artwork, is open to the public.Located near the railway station, it costs 5000 rubles for entry.
You should also consider visiting the National Academic Dramatic Theatre. It is known for being one of the only two remaining professional theatres hosting performances exclusively in Belarusian. Even if you don’t understand the language, it is definitely worth paying a visit. As they say, a picture is worth more than a thousand words.

The Kirov Bridge across the Dzvina river is a beautiful stretch that warrants a sunset walk.

The Botanical Garden, located along the bank of the river Vitba, is among one of the most beautiful parks in the city.

Where to eat:
Belarusian restaurants include Vitebsky Traktir, Lyamus, ArtPub Torvald, Restaurant Vasilki, Amsterdam, etc

When to visit:
The humid continental climate of Vitebsk leaves the summers being generally warm while winters are relatively much colder.As such, the best time to visit Vitebsk would be between May 7th to September 23rd.

Average hotel price: 710,774.92 BYR ($336.56)

How to get there:
Although there is a regional airport near Vitebsk, it is not served by major airlines. The best way to reach Vitebsk would be by flying to Minsk and taking a 4.5 hour train journey to Vitebsk. Another way might be to fly to Moscow or St.Petersburg and taking a 9 hour train from there. There are regular bus facilities linking Vitebsk to Minsk and other towns.

Brest - the top historical city

Brest is a historic site which was the location of important events in Belarusian history. It is also one of the oldest cities in Belarus.

Top Things to do in Brest
Brest lies across the Mukhavets River. You can hop into a tire and float down the river while enjoying the scenery.
It goes without saying that the Brest Fortress is a major attraction. It received the title of Hero Fortress for the bravery shown by the Soviet soldiers in the fight against the German army in 1941.A majestic Soviet-era war memorial (Brest Hero Fortress Memorial) was constructed on the site of the 1941 battle, to commemorate the braveheart defenders of the Brest Fortress. This memorial is a popular tourist attraction of the city.
The Berestye Archaeological Museum displays objects and huts dating from the 11th to the 13th centuries which were uncovered during archaeological excavations in the 1970s.
The shopping mall Sovietskaya Street should also be on your list of places to visit.
The Millennium Monument of Brest commemorates the millennium anniversary of the city.
The Museum of Rescued Art Treasures displays a good collection of paintings and icons. The first Belarusian outdoor railway museum is also located in Brest. Take in all the sights of the 100 year old park, Brest City Park.

Where to eat:
Belarusian restaurants include: Vozera, La Kave, Svayaki, Jules Verne, The Hermitage, etc
Pop into BrestBurger for a piece of the city’s famous fast food scene.

When to visit:
The best time to visit the city of Brest for ideal weather is between May 7th to September 30th.

Average hotel price: 574,502.73 BYR ($272.03)

How to reach the city:
Belorussian Railways provides train facilities between Minsk and Brest every 3 hours.Russian Railways also provides train services along this route 3 times a week. Minsktrans provides bus facilities between Minsk and Brest 3 times daily FlixBus provides their services 6 times a week. Hiring a taxi or renting a car and driving in take about 3h34min to reach.

Vawkavysk - off the beaten path

Vawkavysk, also spelled Volkovysk, is one of the oldest towns in south western Belarus .In the 19th century it was known for being a centre of trade and handicrafts, but its transition into the modern city that it is today only started with the introduction of the railway. Today it is home to industries like food and engineering.

Things to do in Vawkavysk
Visit the Volkovysk archaeological complex. It includes three heights: "the Swedish mountain" , Zamchishche, and Muravelnik. There is a legend that "the Swedish mountain" was constructed by Swedish soldiers on top of the tomb of their commander.
You can also drop into the Roman Catholic Church of St.Wenceslas.
The Peter Bagration Museum tells the story of the life of Pyotr Bagration, a Russian general who fought the Napoleonic wars.
Visit the quirky Wolf Monument while strolling in the streets.
Now for the main attraction - Vawkavysk’s chalk pits, better known as the Belarusian Maldives.What used to be a limestone mining area, is now an oasis of turquoise blue water and white cliffs. The water gets its beautiful colour from the chalk, and the wild vegetation surrounding the area lends it a perfectly tropical feel. It is an incredible experience to camp overnight in a tent nearby. Although the depth along the shore isn’t great, in the centre it reaches about 15 meters.

Where to eat Skazka, Kafe Berezka, Yelit Kafe, Taverna

When to visit: between May and September

Average hotel price: 40.0216 BYR ($18.95)

How to get here
The best way to get to the chalk pits near Volkovysk is to drive here. You can also get to Volkovysk by train or bus, and then take a bus to the Krasnoselsky village.
Minsktrans provides bus facilities between Minsk and Vawkavysk. The journey takes 3h 30m. Or, take a train from Minsk to Vawkavysk via Baranovichi-C. The journey lasts around 4h 17m. The drive takes about 2h52m.

Grodna - the most beautiful city

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Grodna is said to be a centre of Polish culture, although it does have one of the largest Roman Catholic populations in Belarus. Alongside the architecture, there are plenty of things to do and see and inevitably, snap pictures of in this beautiful city.

Top Things to do in Grodna
Visit the city's various beautiful Catholic and Orthodox churches.
Meander around Old Grodno Castle and then head to the New Grodno Castle.
Take in the beauty of Kalozha Church, one of the few remaining monuments to ancient Black Ruthenian architecture.Visit Cathedral of St.Francis Xavier, a formerly Jesuit church and a beautiful specimen of Baroque architecture. The Bernadine Monastery is another architectural wonder whose extensive grounds showcase all the 17th century architectural styles leading up to the Baroque style.
Visit Stanisławów, the summer residence of the last Polish ruler.
Take a leisurely stroll in Park Zhilibera, a beautiful park featuring an important Soviet War memorial. The riverside location and numerous cafes and bars make it the perfect venue for fairs and markets on some days
Saunter along the river Neman while admiring the splendid view of the skyline and the sights of the city.

The statue of Lenin in the square of the same name is a good place to settle down with a cup of coffee and take a break while exploring the city.

Where to eat: Bolshoi Buffet, Batashka, Belostok, Zamok Zevang, Kronon, Korchla u Prichala, Shakespeare Cafe

When to visit: The best time to visit Hrodna for ideal weather is between May 14th to September 16th.

Average hotel price: 617,005.24 BYR ($292.16)

How to reach the city:
The city does have an airport to its name, the Hrodna Airport located 18 km south-east of Hrodna. However, only some seasonal international and charter flights are available.Belorussian Railways (BŽD) operates a train from Minsk Airport (MSQ) to Hrodna every 4 hours. The journey takes 3h 55m. Alternatively, Minsktrans operates a bus from Minsk Airport (MSQ) to Hrodna every 2 hours. The journey takes 4h. The drive takes 3h50m.

Nesvizh - the most popular city

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One would argue that Minsk should be the most popular city, what with it being the capital, and although that is a fair argument, Nesvizh does come up as a very close second, if not the most popular city to visit in Belarus.
The town of Nesvizh was acquired by the Radziwil family in the middle of the 16th century who remained they were expelled by the invading Red Army.Consequently, it was them that laid the foundation stone of Nesvizh Palace in 1584. However, it was rebuilt numerous times and as such display features of different architectural styles including but not limited to Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo.

Things to do:
Visit the Radziwill family’s residence and World Heritage Site - the Nesvizh Castle.
One of the first Jesuit churches in the world, the Corpus Christi Church is also a famed tourist spot.
The city gate, known as Slutsk Gate is also a good option for architecture buffs.
Nesvizh has some beautiful specimens of baroque architecture distributed across the city, like the Town Hall and cloth hall, the Benedictine monastery, Craftsman House or Gdansk House.
You can also visit the Monument to the Heroes of the Great Patriotic War, Zamkovaya Tower and the Symon Budny Monument.

Where to eat:
Restaurant Ratusha, Getman, Skarbnitsa, Novoye Mesto, Cafe Barbara

When to visit:
Best time to visit would be between the months of May to September for the best weather.

Average hotel price: 522,437.74 BYR ($247.38)

How to reach the city:
Minsktrans runs a bus from Minsk to Nyasvizh every 3 hours. The journey takes 1h 45m. There is also a train from Minsk to Nyasvizh every 3 hours.The journey lasts for 1h 7m. The drive takes 1h20m.

Dzyarzhynsk - top mountain destination

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Dzyarzhynsk is a small town in Belarus that used to belong to an aristocratic family by the name of Radziwill. It can be explored in one day, as it is a small town and tourists usually make a quick stop here before moving on to the neighbouring cities.
However, just a few kilometers away is Dzyarzhynskaya Hara, the highest point as well as the highest mountain in Belarus. It is popular among the residents as well as tourists
Dzyarzhynskaya Hara is more of a hill than a mountain at a height of 1,132 feet above the sea level. It is located towards the west of Minsk near Dzyarzhynskaya. The mountain houses 25 to 30 rare species of mountain flora. Dzyarzhynskaya Hara is a famous hiking destination for most of the Belarusians as well as the tourists who visit the country.
Since there isn’t much else to do in the small town, you can plan some side trips for the following days. The Dudutki Museum, the Sula History Park - Museum and the Prilepski Reserve are all short drives away.

Where to eat: Terem, Stary Zamak Cafe, Gudzone, Becta, Dzerzhinskii Restoran Oao Agrokombinat

When to visit: between the months of May of September

Average hotel price: The options are limited, with two hotels providing rooms starting from $55.38 (116.96BYR) and $25.48 ( 53.81 BYR)

How to get there:
There is a train from Dzyarzhynsk to Minsk that runs 3 times everyday. The journey takes 35 min. Minsktrans provides bus facilities between Dzyarzhynsk and Minsk 5 times daily. The journey takes 45 min. A drive takes about 29m. There is also a bus route in Dzyarzhnysk to help you commute within the city.

Braslav Lake Region - top nature lover’s destination

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Also known as the ‘Blue Necklace of Belarus’, this region is famous for the three hundred lakes and reservoirs located here.They were all formed due to a glacier retreat from south to north almost 18000 years ago. The deepest lake,at a depth of 40m, is Volos Yuzhy.

Things to do:

Besides walking around and visiting all the lakes, you should also definitely visit Chaychin Island, located on Lake Strusto. There is a lake inside the island itself, besides gazebos for tourists.
You can also try your hand at fishing. There are about 30 species of fish in the lake including species like pike, carp, etc and each fisherman is allowed to catch 5 kilograms per day
.Hunting is also permitted. You will require a special license to hunt animals like moose, roe deer, hares, wolves, etc.
Birdwatching can be another interesting thing to do. Out of the 216 species that reside here, 50 are rare or endangered species, and you can spot birds like swans, black storks, gulls, etc
You can also visit the museums (the Braslav Museum of Traditional Culture, and the Braslav Local History Museum) to learn a little more about the culture and history of the region.

Where to eat:

The Braslav Lakes Restaurant

Best time to visit:

between the months of May to September

Where to stay:

Braslaw Lakes Hotel, Inn Braslaw Rest, Hotel Braslav are the few options available. The average price : 63.6789 BYR ($30.15)
How to get here:

There are bus facilities between Braslaw to Minsk twice daily. The journey takes 4h 18m.A drive takes about 3h18m.

Baranovichi - top backpacker friendly destination

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Baranovichi is a fairly young city that is home to a significant railway junction and the Baranavichy State University.
Things to do:
You can visit some of the buildings constructed in the interwar period, like the Catholic Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the former Bank of Poland building, the building of the Polish Radio Baranowicze Station, the fire station and the Orthodox Church of the Protection of the Holy Virgin. Some houses from the early 20th century are also still standing.
Visit the Baranovichi Museum of Railway Equipment, if you’re a fan of automotives and the history behind them. Or visit the Local Lore Museum to learn about the history of the area.
As for cultural monuments, visit the Sparrow Monument and the Sculpture Photographer.
Take a walk in Young Park.
Head to the Baranovichi Ice Palace to try your luck at various sports. There are also spaces for active recreation.
Where to eat: Pirosmani, Yedim Vkusno, Vostorg, Club Nero, Cafe Karlion
When to visit: best time to visit is between May to september.
Average hotel price: $34.04 (71.89 BYR)
How to get there:
The city is on the main east-west highway in Belarus, the M1, which forms a part of the European Route E30.Train facilities between Minsk and Baranovichi every 4 hours. The journey takes 1h 25m.The car journey takes 1h27m.

Naroch - top hiking destination

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Naroch is an urban city located on the lake of the same name. It is well known for the excellent sanatoriums and recreational facilities, as well as the national park with hundreds of different species of flora and fauna.
Things to do:
National Park Narochansky - don’t miss these: Ilya Naroch, Blue Lakes, Cherevski Peninsula
Give yourself a day to relax at the health centres - Priozerny, Sanatoriy Sosny, Health Resort Sputnik.
Hiking on the ecological path Golubyye Ozyora.
Visit the recreation camp Pronki.
Visit the Church of the Holy Trinity and the Hill fort of Myadel Castle
If you’re a botany specialist, or even simply enjoy looking at plants, head over to the Park of Rare Plants and dendrological garden.
Take a tour of the surrounding farms and estates.
Where to eat: SinglCafe, GrandPizza, Coffee Room, Sushi Wok
When to visit: between the months of May and September
Average hotel price: 82.1803 BYR ($38.91)
How to get there:
There are bus facilities between Minsk and Lake Naroch Offensive every 3 hours. The journey takes 2h 12m. Drive takes 2h4m. The easiest way to get there is by car. Travelling from Minsk to Belarus’ largest lake will take about 2 hours (R58, R28 motorways).

Polotsk - the cultural capital

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Polotsk is a quaint historical city which was actually one of the first cities in Belarus to be officially designated the cultural capital. The river Dvina flows adjacent to the city.
Things to do:
Visit the Cathedral of Saint Sophia. Sound familiar? That’s because there are churches of the same name in two other cities as well, Novogorod and Kiev. Like a lot of the other cathedrals in Belarusian cities, this cathedral is yet another example of Baroque architecture.
The Convent of Saint Euphrosyne still displays some authentic 12th century architecture, alongside a neo-Byzantine cathedral.
Visit historical monuments like the Symeon of Polotsk monument, Boris’ Stone, and a monument to the letter U.
Visit the geographical midpoint of Europe.
Visit the Polotsk National Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve.
Visit the Epiphany Monastery.
Cross Red Bridge.
Where to eat:
Damian, Gostiny Dvor Polotsk, Razdol, Cafe Dominika, Restaurant Slavyanskiy, Polatski Kutok
When to visit: between the months of May and September
Average hotel price: 70.5166BYR ($33.39)
How to get there: Train facilities are available between Minsk and Polatsk 3 times a day. The journey takes 3h 37m. A bus from Minsk to Polatsk runs 4 times a week.and the journey takes 3h 55m.Drive takes 2h58m.

Mogilev - top party destination

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The third largest city in Belarus, Mogilev is said to be the best place to party by most travellers who visit. Karaoke Club Isterika, Materik, Irish Pub Ale House, Bez Bashni and Na Dubrovke are some of the options you can choose from.
Things to do:
Visit the town’s striking Town Hall, or the Ratusha. Although it was damaged in the wars, it was later demolished and rebuilt in its all pre war glory.
Visit St.Stanislaw’s Cathedral, a specimen of Baroque architecture that is given away by its frescoes.Visit the Convent of St. Nicholas which has managed to retain its cathedral dating all the way back to 1668. The original iconostasis and bell tower also remain.
Take a walk in Star Square and Memorial Complex Buynichskoe Field. Discover the Sculpture Station Warden. You can also pop into the Mogilev Drama Theatre.
Learn about the town’s culture in the multiple museums - Mogilev Fine Arts Museum of Maslenikov, Museum of Ethnography.
Stroll around in Piacuski Forest Park.
Visit the Nikolsky Women’s Monastery, or the Belarusian Heritage Village.
Where to eat: Pan Bulban, Bellagio, Karchma, Bar Wine’s, Cafe Buffet, Coffee Shop Respublika, Van Gog
When to visit: between the months of May and September
Average hotel price: 63.5168 BYR ($30.08)
How to get there:
Two minutes away from the Central Bus Station is a train station. Buy a ticket and proceed to Mogilev by train. There are up to 12 bus departures, including 2 night buses. The earliest departure from Minsk is at 07:00 am arriving in Mogilev at 09:55am. The latest departure is at 23:30 pm arriving at 03:05 am.

Lida - top solo travel destination

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A quaint little city, Lida is known for its beautiful sights and activities, with something for everyone.
Things to do:
It goes without saying that Lida Castle is a must see. Its crimson walls and the stunning scenery are sure to leave you in awe.
Visit one of the many churches in Lida - the Roman Catholic Church of the Exaltation of the Cross, the Church of St. Joseph in Lida, Wooden Church of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Church of Panteleimon, and St. Michael’s Cathedral.
Take a look at the Sculpture of Bath Attendant Vasya and the Sun Clock.
Visit Culture and Leisner Park.
Visit the monuments: Monument to Francysk Skaryna, and Monument Bronze Town Arms.
Walk up the Memorial Hill of Glory.
Where to eat: Lidskoe pivo Restaurant, Cafe Yukon, Cafe Syabryna, Sedmoye Nebo, Cafe Kalipso, Chekhov Gastrobar, Chaikofskiy, GrillBar 1323
When to visit: between the months of
**Average hotel price:**67.4826 BYR ($32)
How to get there:
There are train facilities between Minsk and Lida that run 4 times a day. The journey takes 2h 27m. A bus runs from Minsk to Lida 4 times a day. The journey takes 2h 31m. Drive takes 2h14m.

Mir - most instagrammable place

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Mir is a small city named after the Miranka River,on which it is situated. With its beautiful castle situated on a pond, is said to be a tourist’s favourite selfie spot.
Things to do:
Visit Mir Castle.
Marvel at the Holy Trinity Church or St.Nicholas’ Church.
Visit the Chapel and Burial Vault Svyatopolk - Mirskikh.
Visit the Obelisk to Jews of Mir , constructed in remembrance of those Jews terminated by the Nazis.
Visit the Zaslavskiy Chapel.
Where to eat: Restoraunt Knyazheskiy dvor, Doroga Zamkov, Cafe Mirum, Cafe Rogneda, Mirskiy Posad
Best time to visit: between the months of May to September
**Average hotel price:**91.6241 BYR ($43.38)
How to get there:
There are bus facilities between Minsk and Mir 3 times a day. The journey takes 1h 48m. The drive takes 1h2m.

Novogrudok - most friendly locals

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A small town with only a few hotels and restaurants, you’ll feel right at home within a day.
Things to do:
Visit the Navahrudak Castle ruins.
SS. Boris and Gleb Church, in its Belarusian Gothic style of architecture is sure to impress you.
Visit the Roman Catholic Transfiguration Church, and St.Michael’s Church.
Visit the home of Adam Mickiewicz, a well known poet from Belarus. A statue and the Mound of Immortality constructed by the Polish government in his honour are also here.
Pay a visit to the Museum of Jewish Resistance and see the pebbled path depicting the escape route of the ghetto inmates.
You can see the pre war buildings like the Novogrodek Voivodeship Office and the Voivode’s House.
Also be sure to check out the trade rows at the central square.
Where to eat: Valeria, Legenda, Рим, Molodezhnoye, Staryy Gorod Zakryto Na Rekonstruktsiyu, Merry Berry
When to visit: between the months of May and September
Average Hotel Price: There aren’t many options in Navahrudak, however the Crocus Hotel provides rooms starting from $17.72(37.42 BYR) to a maximum of $52.06 (109.95 BYR).
**How to get there: **
There are bus facilities from Minsk to Navahrudak every 4 hours. Driving down would take you 1h43m.