Still a largely rural economy, Belarus is a land of picturesque villages, wide plains, forests, lakes and national parks where bison, bears and wolves still roam free. It may not be one of Europe’s most talked about countries, but it is still certainly worth a visit. Plus, after flying under the radar of western tourists, it remains relatively crowd-free.
Despite the capital’s lack of sights from the pre-war years, travellers can still find many reminders of the Soviet period in Minsk; Communist-era buildings and statues of Lenin now rub shoulders with a growing helping of fine restaurants, trendy cafes, art galleries and a smattering of sophisticated shops.
To get under the skin of the country, opt to travel outside of the capital, where the beautiful UNESCO-listed 16th-century castle in Mir and the former palace of the Radzicili Family are waiting to be discovered.
Belarus has plenty to attract lovers of military history and those fascinated by the Soviet period. Visit the Stalin Line Open-Air Museum to experience the living conditions of the troops inside the pillboxes and battlements, and clamber over tanks and other military hardware from WWII and the Cold War.