The Opera and Ballet Theatre of Minsk, Belarus © Gruszecki
Despite being landlocked, Belarus is a country set apart from its continental neighbours. The country's Soviet-era atmosphere and relative isolation are its primary attractions. Not many visitors include Belarus in their summer vacation plans, but those that do get to experience a portion of Europe fairly free from commercialised trappings.
Beyond the geometric designs of its capital Minsk, the tiny towns and villages of Belarus have charming medieval atmospheres. Its national parks contain mysterious forests, murky bogs and swamps, with thousands of smooth lakes and a fascinating array of unspoilt ecosystems, fauna and flora.
Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the great outdoors in the Vitebsk Region, where there are almost 50 designated tourist routes involving hiking, cycling, boating, hunting, and fishing. While hotels and health spas offer rest and relaxation, there are also art and music festivals throughout the region.
Belarus is a destination that rewards those seeking an original travel experience, with welcoming people, pristine nature and traditional villages, all spiced up with interesting glimpses into a Soviet past that appears to live on in the country's isolated present.
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