Getting there & away
Trains are usually a more comfortable but slightly slower way to travel than bus. From Minsk there are services to Russia, Lithuania and Poland, plus connections to the rest of Europe via Brest. You can also get to Russia or Ukraine from Vitsebsk.
Long queues at border crossings are not uncommon. The most frequently used bus crossings are those on the quick four-hour trip between Vilnius (Lithuania) and Minsk, and the seven-hour trip between Minsk and Bialystok (Poland). Buses stop at the border for customs and passport controls.
If you're driving your own vehicle, there are 10 main road routes into Belarus via border stations through which foreigners can pass. International driving permits are recognised in Belarus. Roads in Belarus are generally very good and main motorways are wonderfully light on traffic, although the main M1/E30 motorway gets busy with long-distance trucks travelling between Russia and the EU in both directions. Signage is excellent throughout the country, although usually only in Cyrillic. On intercity road trips, fill up with fuel when exiting the city; fuel stations may be scant before you hit the next big town.
There is no departure tax in Belarus. Belarus' national airline is Belavia (Minsk; 017-210 4100; www.belavia.by; vul Nyamiha 14, Minsk) with flights to London, Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Vienna, Rome and Milan, as well as connections to Manchester, Shannon, Tel Aviv and many Eastern European capitals.
The following are the main international airlines that fly to Minsk: Aeroflot (017-227 2887; www.aeroflot.com/eng) Austrian Airlines (017-288 2535/55; www.aua.com) El Al (017-211 2606; www.elal.co.il) LOT Polish Airlines (017-226 6628; www.lot.com) Lufthansa (017-284 7129; www.lufthansa.com)