Belarus and PolandTrain Route From Minsk To Warsaw
Eastern Europe is a region full of history, from its medieval beginnings through the communist regimes of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. Just recently entering the orbit of tourists, Poland has maintained its traditional charm, along with alternative cultural scenes that have flourished since the fall of communism.
Your Belarus and Poland itinerary starts in Belarus, which remains one of the least explored corners of Europe. With the ease of train travel in the region, you’ll be able to explore places most tourists never see, while experiencing this unique part of Europe.
Rail Passes: –
Price Range: $$
Recommended Days: 2- 3 weeks
Riding Hours: Approx. 22.5 hrs
Distance: 868 km
Minsk: Capital Of Belarus
Start your journey in Minsk, one of the least-visited European capitals. Minsk is often written off as a dull Soviet backwater, but visitors here find that to be far from the truth!
Minsk is full of Soviet relics, but it also has top-notch museums and a charming old town. Tour through all the Soviet holdovers, like the towering City Gates, the murals at Kastrucnickaya Metro Station, or even Lee Harvey Oswald’s apartment.
For a look at the more youthful side of Minsk, walk down Kastrychnitskaya street for its quirky street art and thriving bar scene.
Minsk-Pasažyrski → Babruysk Station | Duration: 1:29h | Transfers: 0
Babruysk: Off The Tourist Tracks
From Minsk, take a short train ride to Babruysk, one of the oldest cities in Belarus, and well off the tourist track.
Babruysk’s most famous sight is the Babruysk Fortress. Now mostly in ruins, the fortress witnessed centuries of history, from the 1812 Napoleonic invasion, to World War II.
There are more Soviet monuments to see, like a real Soviet tank, but take the time to see Babruysk’s more colorful side with the mint-green Babruysk Library or the gold-and-blue domes of St. Nicholas Cathedral.
Babruysk Station → Lida Station | Duration: 4:00h | Transfers: 1
Lida: Castle Culture
Leaving Babruysk, you’ll pass back through Minsk to Lida, another historic city. This history is evident in Lida Castle, the city’s oldest and most striking structure. The medieval castle once defended against 14th-century Crusaders and was largely left crumbling until the large restoration effort in recent years. Be sure to ask a tour guide about the castle’s fascinating legends and ghost stories.
Most visitors visit Lida only for the castle, but it’s worth sticking around to explore the rest of the city. Lida is also home to several historic churches, like the towering Church of St. Panteleimon and St. Michael’s Cathedral. There’s also the poignant Memorial Hill of Glory, a monument to soldiers of the Soviet Union.
Lida Station → Hrodna Station | Duration: 1:26h | Transfers: 0
Hrodna: Charming Old City
The next stop is the charming old city of Hrodna. There’s so much to see here, but simply start strolling past the pastel buildings of Sovetskaya Street. The delightful old town is also home to many churches where if you wanted to you could spend an entire day visiting religious sites!
Notables include the pink St. Basil’s Cathedral, a decadent sister to the one in Moscow, the Jesuit Cathedral on Soviet Square, and the Great Synagogue, now a Jewish museum.
On the quirkier side of Hrodna is the Museum of Interesting Things, or, not for the faint of heart, the Museum of Malformations of the Human Body. You should also stop for dinner at the Bolshoi Buffet, for its delightful views and a variety of foods from Belarus and abroad.
Hrodna Station → Warszawa Centralna | Duration: 5:54h | Transfers: 1
Warsaw: East Meets West
Heading across the border into Poland, Warsaw is where the Eastern Bloc meets the rest of Europe. The Polish capital is an absolute wonderland of history, and you could spend weeks exploring everything there is to offer. Warsaw has one of the most beautiful old towns in Europe and was almost completely rebuilt after the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.
You can visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum to gain a new appreciation of these colorful streets. The best vantage point for this part of the city is the Old Town Observation Tower, for views down the Royal Way.
Visitors can also enjoy museums dedicated to famous Poles, like Frederic Chopin, Marie Curie, and Nicolaus Copernicus, or head to the top of the intimidating Palace of Culture and Science. Don’t miss Warsaw’s famous nightlife either. The eclectic neighborhood of Praga offers some of the most unique spots.
Warszawa Centralna → Toruń Główny | Duration: 2:54 h | Transfers: 0
Toruń: Poland’s Best-Preserved Old Town
For your next stop, head east to Toruń, another gorgeous medieval town. Toruń was one of the only cities that left WWII unscathed, making it the country’s best-preserved old town. Wander among the town’s defensive walls and towers. The Town Hall Tower offers the best panoramic views.
Another mainstay of the Old Town is Copernicus House, the birthplace of the famous astronomer, and now a reconstructed medieval home. Don’t leave without stopping by the Gingerbread Museum. Toruń is famous for its gingerbread, and here you can learn to make your own while sampling some of Poland’s best.
Toruń Główny→ Poznań Główny | Duration: 1:28 h | Transfers: 0
Poznań: Old And Colorful
In Poznań, you’ll find one of the most colorful old towns in Poland. The Old Market Square is full of bright buildings, shopping arcades, and an impressive town hall. Another great stop is Cathedral Island and the alternative neighborhood of Śródka.
It’s worth a visit just for its mind-bending murals, but it’s also a favorite nightlife spot for locals. KontenerART is another interesting space, a forum for eclectic street art and local food, all set in a riverside urban park.
Poznań Główny → Wrocław Główny | Duration: 2:27 h | Transfers: 0
Wrocław: Poland’s Most Vibrant City
Last on your Belarus and Poland Itinerary, head to Wrocław, one of Poland’s largest and most vibrant cities. Explore the old town, stopping at the expansive Market Square, home to Europe’s oldest restaurant, Piwnica Świdnicka.
Visit the neighborhood of Ostrów Tumski, which dates all the way back to the 10th century, for a time warp to a peaceful Polish village. For a taste of modern Wrocław, take some time to see its unique street art, like the “Passage” sculpture, or hunt down one of the hundreds of tiny bronze dwarves scattered throughout the city.
Wrocław Główny → Warszawa Centralna | Duration: 2:27 h | Transfers: 0