Start your day off with a taste of Minsk’s thriving alternative coffee scene at 26. Set inside a Stalin-era building near the railway station, the rustic interior creates a quiet, cosy atmosphere where this artisan coffeehouse’s baristas combine experimental brewing methods with award-winning latte-art to make every cup a uniquely individual experience.
26 Svierdlova vulica
This slice of natural serenity, right in the centre of Minsk, is home to a maze of tree-lined avenues, wide-open spaces, and an assortment of plants from all around the world. One of Europe’s largest botanical gardens, its tranquil greenery is interrupted only by its lake, greenhouse, and sculptures, making it easy to see why locals love this peaceful space so much.
Acquaint yourself with Belarus’ architectural landmarks in miniature with a visit to the Museum Strana Mini, where over 30 of the country’s castles, manors and palaces have been reconstructed on a tiny scale. Every exhibit is interactive and offers the ‘Little Country’s’ visitors a chance to learn about the rich history and folklore surrounding each of the sights.
5 praspiekt Niezaležnasci
Lunchtime, and Pesochnitsa is the hip new spot in the city centre serving up the city’s largest collection of food trucks and stalls. Nestled underneath a retro Coca-Cola sign in the courtyard of an old factory, the laid-back atmosphere of this foodie-hub boasts a huge range of great street food, including what some have called “possibly the best burgers in town”.
Vulitsa Kuybyshava 18-20
Less museum than a dedication to all-things-feline, this converted apartment is now home to dozens of formerly stray cats. Teas and coffees are served whilst visitors play with their furry friends, have a game of cat-chess, or contribute artwork to the collection of paintings, drawings and feline figurines that line the walls.
Kastryčnickaja has become a symbol of Minsk’s rejuvenation in recent years, transforming from an industrial street to a favourite hang-out-spot for locals lined by a host of cool bars, cafés and galleries. It boasts some of the city’s best street-art as the centre of the annual Vulica Brazil street-art festival, and the walls remain covered in vibrant murals for wanderers to feast their eyes upon.
As evening approaches, a cycle ride along the river Svislach is an ideal way to take in the city’s magnificent waterways and modern architecture as you head back towards the centre for the night’s festivities. The river is lined by many of the city’s green spaces, including the gigantic Victory Park, home to the impressive Road to the Future monument, which is well worth checking out as the sun goes down.
Experience the coming together of antiquity and modernity at Litviny, a restaurant whose traditional Belarusian cuisine is infused with a 21st century twist. The stylish dark-wood interior creates a warm, cosy atmosphere for visitors revelling in the taste of Belarus’ past and present, which would not be complete without trying Litviny’s famous Granny Straws with sugar powder and milk.
Zybickaja Street is yet another example of Minsk’s incredible regeneration in recent years; previously inhabited mostly by squats and construction rubbish, in just five years it has evolved into the heart of the city’s nightlife. Once the sun has set Zybickaja comes alive with buskers and bar-hoppers along Minsk’s Bar Mile. Banki-Butylki is the perfect place to finish off the day, famous amongst locals for their Belarusian berry and fruit infused liqueurs, this lively cocktail bar is known to be one of the best that Minsk has to offer.