Minsk to Vilnius by Train – Belarus Visa

A visit to Minsk and the points of interest including, Minsk city gates, Victory square, Palace of the republic, KGB headquarters, Church of Saints Simon and Helena, Isle of tears, Troitskoye, predmestie, Holy spirit church before taking the train to Vilnius

What to see and photograph in Minsk, Belarus

Minsk is the capital city of Belarus which is located in Europe but not in the European Union.  In fact Belarus has closer ties to Russia than Europe.  Things to see on a Vilnius to Minsk day trip include;

  • Minsk city gates
  • Victory square
  • Palace of the republic
  • KGB headquarters
  • Church of Saints Simon and Helena
  • Isle of tears
  • Troitskoye predmestie
  • Holy spirit church

There are lots of hotel options in Minsk, however they are on the expensive side.  Minsk could be the city which you try Airbnb.

Train from Vilnius to Minsk

Vilnius, Lithuania to Minsk, Belarus direct train

It is possible to fly directly to Minsk, Belarus but I decided to take a low cost airline to Vilnius, which cost about €10 euros from the UK, then take a 3 hour train ride to Minsk for €15.  To get from the UK (or anywhere in Western Europe) to Belarus for €25 is pretty much as cheap as you’ll find anywhere.  You can compare flights to Vilnius or direct to Minsk with Skyscanner.

You can now enter Belarus for 30 days visa free.

Minsk City Gates

Minsk City Gates

If you do arrive in Minsk by train, the first thing you’ll likely see are the Minsk City Gates, and they are very impressive structures.  When I saw these I felt the hassle of getting the visa was worth it.  Similarly to the gates of Odessa, these make a grand entrance to the city.

Victory Square

Victory Square Minsk

In Minsk, there’s a great walk you can take from Victory Square, taking Independence ave towards Lenin Square.  On this walk you’ll see;

  • Victory square
  • Minsk circus
  • GUM department store
  • Palace of the republic
  • Km 0 of Minsk
  • KGB headquarters
  • Lenin square
  • Church of Saints Simon and Helena

And with a detour at Lenin Square you can easily go see the Minsk City Gates if you didn’t arrive by train.

KGB Headquarters

KGB Headquarters, Minsk

Opposite the KGB headquarters is a fairly priced, Belorussian restaurant called Vasilki (Васильки).  You must try the draniki, machanka and dumplings, there is also a local drink made from rye bread called kvas.  The Ushanka hat I am wearing, I bought in the GUM department store for just €10.

Island of Tears

Island of Tears, Minsk

Another must see area is Minsk old town (Troitskoye Predmestie).  The Island of tears is connected to the old town by a small footbridge.  This small island is a war memorial dedicated to all the Belorussian soldiers who died during the 9 year soviet war in Afghanistan.  It is worth noting that from this small Island you can get some great pictures of old town and also the Palace of sports.  In between Minsk old town and km 0 of Minsk you can find;

  • Minsk opera and ballet theater
  • Holy spirit church
  • Holy spirit cathedral
  • Several bars and restaurants

If I had more time in Belarus I would have visited the Mir Castle complex, which is a 1-2 hour drive outside the city.  Mir Castle has recently been restored and is a UNESCO world heritage site.  You can take a bus from the eastern bus terminal which passes by the castle.

How to get from Minsk to Vilnius

Train from Minsk to Vilnius

The train to Vilnius leaves from the right hand side of the train station, you don’t need to go in the station, as you walk to it go to the right hand side.  The ticket is 14 euros and the trip takes around 3 hours.  When you get to the Belarus / Lithuania border, the Belorussian officials will get on the train and check your documents before you can leave.  Then on arriving in Vilnius, your documents will be checked in the train station, Lithuania is an EU and Schengen country.

Vilnius to Riga

2018-11-08T17:30:01+00:00December 16th, 2016|Belarus, Eastern Europe|15 Comments


  1. Christine February 15, 2017 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    I just learned that U.S. citizens can now enter Belarus and stay for five days without a visa. This is wonderful and opens up the opportunity to visit more cost effectively. I do plan to go so your article is very timely. What I like about your posts is that you give a lot of details, especially the cost of things. This is very important to the traveler on a budget. Really enjoyed reading this and will save it for future access.

  2. Jennifer February 15, 2017 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    Wow, that is such an inexpensive train ride from the UK! I would have to visit the KGB headquarters, so cool. The history and architecture is beautiful and quite unique.

  3. Penny February 15, 2017 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    I’m currently in Russia and I so wanted to visit Minsk. The lack of time however has made it impossible. I planning on doing it on another trip if I ever get the chance. You never know. My philosophy is to go wherever the wind blows me!

  4. neha February 16, 2017 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    Surprisingly, for the first time I heard about Belarus, that there are so many places to visit and things to do here. I like the list, particularly the Island of tears. A memorial for the soldiers would be a must visit in my list 🙂

  5. Swati & Sam February 16, 2017 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Belarus looks like a charming city and 10 euro flight from UK is really a deal. Pizza is costlier than that… just kidding 🙂 Would like to add this to my list of places to visit.

  6. Katie February 16, 2017 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Well looks like you had a great time! I need to find €10 flights please!!!! It is on the bucket list, i am opening sky scanner right now 🙂

  7. Tamason Gamble February 16, 2017 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    Minsk is a place that I will be honest with you I have never thought about exploring. After heading Pheobe on friends talking about her then boyfriend heading off to an overly cold place it has never been somewhere I have considered for a break. Perhaps it’s time to actually look into what there is to see and do there.

  8. Riely February 17, 2017 at 3:43 am - Reply

    I would love to go to Minsk one day and see the city gates in their glory. Such cheap transportation costs for you! Unfortunately, It would cost a lot more travelling from North America, but from your post it seems worth it! I would love to walk around the Lenin square. Thank you for your detailed post.

  9. natalie February 18, 2017 at 12:26 am - Reply

    We travel with the kids and I have to say that the KGB headquarters would be such a cool thing to see! The hat is of course a must. What fun!!

  10. Hamish October 26, 2017 at 12:56 am - Reply

    Does anyone know if it is possible to land in Minsk (arrange for the 5 day visa free option which I’m eligible for) then travel to Lithuania overland via the border crossing? I’m travelling on Australian passport.

    • James Smith October 26, 2017 at 3:05 pm - Reply

      Hi Hamish. It should be, when you are in Minsk book your train ticket to Vilnius as soon as possible from the Minsk train station. You get a good view of the Minsk city gates from the train station too!

  11. John October 30, 2017 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    How do you get around the issue of a letter of invitation if you plan to arrive and leave on the same day? (From Vilnius) I don’t intend to stay in Minsk overnight?

    • James Smith October 30, 2017 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      That’s a good question. You could pay for the invitation from the hotel but not actually go.

  12. Chloe September 26, 2018 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Hi, I want to travel to Minsk for a day trip from Vilnius where I’m staying. I have a UK passport so do I need to get a visa?

    • James Smith November 8, 2018 at 5:29 pm - Reply

      Hi Chloe, they have changed the rules, you can stay for 30 days now without a visa – so much easier!

Leave A Comment