Visiting Belarusian Lake District
Summer's in the city! On this occasion we are unveiling some secret venues in one of the famous resort regions of Belarus. In the list you'll find top locations for quality leisure time, interesting tourist spots and cool entertainment opportunities – just perfect!
Braslaŭ is probably the most renowned resort town in Belarus. It's surrounded by lakes, has a rich history, and hosts Viva Braslav – one of the most popular summer festivals in the country. Back in 1500, Princess Elena, the daughter of the Grand Duke of Moscow Ivan III Vasilyevich and the wife of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Aliaksandr Jahielončyk, set her heart on the village. And today Braslaŭ captivates tourists from all over Belarus (and other places as well).
The city is surrounded by three lakes – Naviaty, Biareža and Dryviaty. And there are a dozen more water reservoirs nearby. Taken all round, it is an ideal location for camping, recreation and a chill weekend. Especially at times when the choice of places to travel due to the pandemic is limited.
There is plenty of entertainment in Braslaŭ: you can ride a wakeboard or a yacht, rent a kayak and bicycles, book a boat tour or learn how to handle a sailboat. Almost all of the activities are available at the sports club Drivyatich (55.637318, 27.039159). The club also runs a sailing school BraslaWave, where you can book a boat trip or even take a five-day yacht-sailing training course.
Braslaŭ offers splendid panoramas as well: the Castle Hill has a spectacular view of the city, Belmont Park preserves ruins of a palace, an old chapel and century-old trees (look up for information in our guide, and if you are not in the mood to plan the route yourself, go straight to the club Drivyatich – they will help you).
If you prefer small and cozy places, after a visit to Braslaŭ head to Slabodka – it is the “light” version of the popular resort. There are fewer people and less infrastructure, but more lakes and cool vistas. Besides, it is, according to tourists, the most picturesque place in the vicinity – so it is definitely a must-see.
All the best attractions in Slabodka are natural ones. And they start to appear at the very entrance to the town. So, near the turn to the village Litoŭščyna there is an unusual lake Božaje Voka (God's Eye) – it's very small and round – and extremely beautiful. And a little further you will find the Devil's Pit – a glacial cavity, which has already become a popular tourist attraction.
Slabodka is surrounded by five lakes, which are traced by an ecological trail that stretches for 4.6 kilometers. Here you can seclude yourself, slow down and get lost. Also, Slabodka hides a real architectural gem of Belarus – the Catholic Church of the Heart of Jesus of 1906. All that creates a feeling that you are in Paris, but not in a small Belarusian village.
The next place is also an amazing one and is located on the border with the EU. Druja lies on the very edge of Belarus – on the left bank of the Western Dzvina River. The right bank is Latvian lands.
At the time of the Polack Principality, life in Druja was in full swing. Back then this settlement stood on an important trade route. Now the town looks very calm and secluded. The main meditative location is the bank of the Western Dzvina. It will definitely appeal to those who miss traveling.
In addition to the favorable location and absolute tranquility, Druja also has plenty of attractions. Among our favorites is the Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity, the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, the Jewish cemetery and an abandoned manor house of the XIX century.
Then we recommend you to drop by the town of Idolta. An intense architectural walk awaits you here: the route includes a church, a chapel-tomb, a vicarage and a manor house. Once these lands belonged to the Rudomin-Dusiackis, then to the Sapiehas, later they passed into the possession of Judge Jazep Miloš and his son. The last owners erected most of the buildings here – and the quality of the latter was high. Almost all of them are preserved in excellent condition.
Another cool attraction is located not far from Idolta – a waterfall on the Viata River (55.760164, 27.617168). Not Niagara Falls, of course, but it's also impressive. It is a popular check-in point for all local travelers and a great place for a picnic with friends. There is a well-equipped area with alcoves, benches and tables near the waterfall. Worth a look along the way.
For a comfortable stay in nature, set off to the camping Mereya. This is a full-fledged holiday camp for travelers with a parking lot for camper vans, a campsite, alcoves, outdoor grills and entertainment.
Here you can rent a boat (camping is located on the lakeshore), bicycles, pedal boats, fishing gear and sports equipment – the right season has already started. Or you may leave your stuff and head further to explore the surrounding area – visit the village of Niŭniki (4 kilometers from the campsite) with the farm which breeds red deer, or take a walk in the nature reserve Balota Moch (12 kilometers).
If you stay in the Mereya camping, don't miss a chance to visit Miory as a cultural program.
The main tourist location of the city is the Catholic Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This neo-Gothic building was erected in 1907. The location on the shore of Lake Miory gives special picturesqueness to the Church. By the way, there is a legend connected with the lake: people say that once a sculpture of the Virgin Mary was submerged in its waters. Since then, it seems to be constantly looking for new “victims”. But it's up to you to believe the story or not.
Every year in September, Miory hosts an ecological festival with excursions, competitions, master classes and other entertainments. It's centered around the Jeĺnia swamp, which is located on the territory of the Miory and Šarkaŭščyna districts. Unfortunately, it won't be possible to participate in the event before the fall. But there's always a possibility to visit the swamps.
Also, there is a cozy park Peninsula with nice panoramic views in the city, as well as several houses of the early twentieth century and three museums – the Museum of local history, the ethnographic one and the Museum of books and printing – it stores more than 30,000 artifacts. By and large, the cultural program is furnished.
Photos by palasatka & murmurash