To get to Homiel, you can take a train from Minsk, it leaves every day at 7:08, 11:11, 14:57, 16:27, 17:11, 18:00, 19:00 & 23:56. Besides that, the trains going to Kyiv and Odesa also pass through Homiel. Check all the schedules here.
Another option is to take a minibus taxi from Minsk bus station. Find the information about the prices and timetable here.
Driving that 300 km to Homiel takes 3-3.5 hours.
There is The Paradise Hotel (1, Pryvakzalnaja płošča, hotel Homiel, 2nd floor) near the railway station. The price is € 6.5 for a night in a hostel-type room or € 20 for a single and € 25 for a double room. Nice bonus: there're a safety locker, laundry, and parking.
There’s a cheap, though comfortable hostel GEO (1g, Pieršy zavułak Krupskaj) a bit far from the city center. A bed in a common room costs about € 5, and a double room is about € 15. Basically, it’s a cottage where you can relax by the fireplace, fry an egg in the kitchen and feel like home.
Top range offers (by local standards, sure) are Zamkovy Park Hotel (6, Haharyna vulica) and Prestige Hotel (72, Halavackaha vulica). Prices for a room there start from € 25 and may reach € 340 if you suddenly feel a need for a three-room presidential suit.
Staying in Chisto Hotel (4a, vulica Liziukovych) or Villa Rosa (150, Ilicha vulica) will be a good choice for those traveling by car. In Chisto Hotel you can enjoy a sauna and Turkish bath and live in recently renovated super comfortable rooms. In Villa Rosa there is a guarded parking and excellent breakfast that is already included in the price.
Once you leave the railway station, you have two options: go straight by Pieramohi Parkway and reach Vasstania Square or turn to the right and by walking along Lenina Avenue arrive at the palace. During those walks you can grab something to eat (find the best spots in the following chapters of the guide).
The adumbration of Pieramohi Parkway took shape back in the middle of the 19th century. It’s hard to believe that 100 years ago one of the most beautiful streets of the city was wooden and scruffy, and people used to move along its western part by boats because there was an actual moor. There was a place for military marches where now Paŭstannia Square is; the tank, the favorite local meeting point, appeared there in 1968. There was a Catholic cathedral, a fire station and well-known in those times Metropol and Golden Anchor Hotels on modern Lenina Avenue.
Park of Homiel (22, Praletarskaja vulica) has existed on the bank of the river Sož for 200 years now, and just recently it has been named after Łunačarski, a writer and revolution activist. The park is famous for its unique plant collection: you can find a Weymouth pine, pedunculate oak and Manchurian walnut among regular maples, ashes and chestnut trees.
The heart of the city is Homiel Palace & Park Ensemble built in Russian Classic style, a park with a Swan Pond, St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral (it used to be a planetarium during Sovietic period), the family vault of the Paškievičy, the monument to Rumiancaŭ, an amusement park, the Winter Garden and a watchtower. Locals love walking there regardless of the season. The Palace construction began in 1777 by Count Rumiancaŭ-Zadunajski, Field-Marshal-General Paškievič also influenced the palace’s looks. Tsar family members and emperors used to visit the palace. Long story short, it’s definitely worth seeing.
Go for a walk along river front, it’s 2.5 km long. Go down from the palace to the Swan Pond. The renovation works took quite a long period of time, but the result is nice: an excellent place to walk and a big playground for children.
Another cool place for walks in Homiel is the Gramyka Park, usually called Pijanierski Skver (14, Puškina vulica), and behind it there is a Puppet Theater (14, Puškina vulica). You’ll meet our favorite fairy tales characters next to the theater. As you may notice, lots of sculptures are one of the hallmarks of the city.
Fiestyvalny Park is for daydreamers. There are “Lonely benches”, the islands for dates and break-ups, and even “The Tree of Love” where newlyweds keep putting “locks of happiness” with their names.
One more charming corner is a small park with a fountain in front of the Lenina Library. In summer local people feed pigeons here, take sun bathes, and idly turn book pages sitting on the bench.
For active leisure lovers there is an Ice Palace (Mazurava vulica) with public skating and Solnechny ice rink, which turns into a roller skating rink in summer. Find information about the timetable, prices and skates rent on the website.
You’ve seen all the sights and got a couple of hours before the train leaves? Check out the quest room “Vyjti iz komnaty” (Get out of the room) at 12, praspiekt Pieramohi. You’ll have an hour to unriddle the puzzle. Be ready to pay € 15-27.5 for all.
There are three theaters in Homiel: The Drama Theater (1, płošča Lenina), The Youth Theater (10, praspiekt Lenina) and the Puppet Theater (14, vulica Puškina). The plays are quite diverse; also troupes from Russia come to perform. It’ll be interesting to see a show in Puppet Theater with children, and subtle humor lovers will enjoy plays in chamber atmosphere of the Youth Theater.
There're also a bunch of social theatres. For example, TIM Teat (61а, vulica Sievastopalskaja). It's a small studio founded by the former actors of the Youth Theater. Their “Heather Honey” is a must in Homiel. This is a performance for the visually challenged people, but even if you are able to see perfectly, you'll receive a blindfold at the entrance. There are also other theater studios performing at the space: "Э.Т.А." Theater & Open Theater.
There are also three cinemas: Kalinina (4, Kamunaraŭ vulica), Oktyabr (127, Barykina vulica) and Mir (51b, vulica Lenina). Each of them is comfortable; Mir and Oktyabr are equipped with 3D systems.
In the Museum of Military Glory (5, Puškina vulica) you’ll learn the history of the WWII battles in which Homiel people took part, see a broad exhibit of tanks and planes. In case you are not tired of this topic, of course.
The Museum of Criminal Science (1, Puškina vulica) is the only museum in Belarus dedicated to crimes and punishment. There you can see picklocks, used false money and documents and learn about much talked-of local gangs of the 90s.
The Museum of History of the City of Homiel (32, Puškina vulica) is situated in the former summer residence of Count Rumiancaŭ. The museum educates about the history of the city and organizes themed exhibitions.
The Palace of Rumiancavy-Paškievičy and the unit of Vietka Museum are located next to each other, but are about different things. In the Palace you’ll touch the life of Russian aristocracy and walk around the rooms where the atmosphere of those times is preserved. And in Vietka museum you’ll learn belarusian traditions, dances and songs. Both museums sell souvenirs, and in the palace there are photo and art exhibitions, besides the permanent one. Vetka museum is probably the most liberal: there are always some events and parties.
Vaschenko Art Gallery (4, Karpoviča vulica) is named after a famous belarusian artist. The exhibit demonstrates more than 400 works by belarusian artists (among them there are 50 paintings by Vaschenko).
Every other year international dance festival Sožski Karahod is held in Homiel. More than 20 countries of Europe, Asia and North America take part in it. If you want to dance or see others dance, come to Homiel on the Day of the City.
Homiel has something more to offer than classical "museum-cinema-park" program. So if you come here for the weekend, and in the evening there are a couple of free hours, then you can learn how to work on a potter's wheel or draw a picture sipping a glass of wine. Every now and then something like that happens In the first in Homiel creative studio "VOZDUKH" (1, Savieckaja vulica; 3 floor).
The Lenin Library has long been used by Leninka (2a, płošča Pieramohi). Here you can do a lot more that just reading: listen to the lecturers, practice German language and chat with travelers, who have their own club here. There are also book presentations, poetry readings and art exhibitions.
There is great news for extreme-lovers: the first skate park wasrstopened in Homiel this summer (we have been waiting for 10 years!). Now you can hop on the board to get rid of depression on the embankment near the Palace (not far from the famous "Kvartirnik" bar).
Right by the railway station, you can grab a burger and fries in Burger Lux and Burger Master (1, Pryvakzalnaja vulica). Walking around the city will be much more fun!
Ferma (10, praspiekt Lenina). Here you can have some regular fast food positions like burgers and French fries as well as a variety of salads, pancakes, pies, vitrasses with wheat sprouts and other stuff for fitness enthusiasts.
24/7 (12, Savieckaja vulica) offers burgers and rolls: try Arizona or Chicago Bulls. The cafe is decorated in a knightly theme, there is something to look upon while chewing your roll.
In Backi Restaurant (12, Savieckaja vulica) you can taste the fish broth, borsch, draniki and other traditional meals.
Exupery Crepe House (12, Savieckaja vulica) is a paradise for pancakes lovers. There are crepes with traditional filings like cheese, bacon or chicken, and dessert ones (jam and cottage cheese, fruit or chocolate). And cacao there is so yammy!
Bubbles (44, Savieckaja vulica). Here you can grab a sweet snack, for example, ice-cream with various toppings or a sandwich. The place is pretty new.
Kunzhut Café (2, Puškina vulica). Burgers and sushi are served from 7.30 a.m. till 2 a.m., and till 5 a.m. on the weekends. There is a breakfast menu.
Ponchi (4, praspiekt Pieramohi) is a place for sweet tooth. On a hot summer day you can treat yourself with ice-cream, and any other time get a muffin, donut, pie or sandwich.
Arcada De Lux (30, Savieckaja vulica) is a really cheap cafeteria inside the supermarket at the main street of the city.
In 2017, two hot dog places were opened in Homiel. Hot Dog Cafe (36, Savieckaja vulica) offers its hungry guest a lot of variations with fillings, including sweet ones. Price list is very adequate, you can crush the sausage in a bun without spending more than € 2. Mini-cafe Hot Dog (3, Kamsomolskaja vulica) is located directly opposite the main square. The place is tiny, better take your sausage to go.
Dilemma fresh bar (22, Savieckaja vulica) is all about healthy eating.
It's always nice at PizzBurger (6a, vulica Kažara). You can order pizza or sushi in one room, and coffee with pastries in the other.
There's Dominos at vulica Savieckaja, 46. Eat on the spot, or order home, the delivery is only 30 minutes (or pizza for 1 BYN).
The prices in Homiel are much lower than in the capital so you can definitely afford a fancy restaurant.
Provans Restaurant (1, Bilecki spusk) is the best restaurant of French and Italian cuisine in Gomel. It’s situated in a beautiful place with a view on the river, has a summer terrace, a small fountain and balconies. In the evenings there is live music. Try desserts (tart with pear and tiramisu), filet mignon and Provans salads. Every season there are new dishes, don’t miss a chance to taste something from a season menu.
Befana (20, Lenina praspiekt) is an Italian restaurant, where a famous chef Yury Kolesnev cooks. The focus here is on the beautiful serving, menu contains a lot of seafood, and the prices are a bit higher than in other restaurants in the city. But it is totally worth it!
Pierott (14, Puškina vulica) is a cozy café in the puppet theater building with delicious food. Get a homemade apple strudel and profiteroles with ice cream.
FaSol (36, Savieckaja vulica) is a two floor restaurant with a bar known for its good service and cool concerts broadcasts. If you come here for breakfast, ask for syrniki (cottage cheese pancskes). In summer there’s an open air terrace.
DOM (34, Lenina praspiekt) is a nice café where you always can have breakfast, even if you wake up in the evening: they cook cereal, pancakes, scrambled eggs and other dishes from the morning menu all day long.
Chisto Pivnoj Restoranchik (4a, vulica Liziukovych) is a place for you if you want to party till the sunrise dancing to the vibrant rhythms by cover bands. The restaurant is proud of its own brewery. In addition, on the territory of the restaurant there is also a hotel, several kinds of saunas, fitness and even a car wash!
Lucky Cat (10, praspiekt Lenina) is a sushi restaurant that offers both classic and unsusual menu (e.g., sweet or baked rolls).
Trattoria Markoni (4, Pieramohi praspiekt) is a family cafe with Italian food and a great variety of pizzas. The bar is decorated with dozens of types of Belarusian and Italian pasta. There is a children menu.
Irina (3, Haharyna vulica) is a cafe with long history, live music and very reasonable prices.
Pizzeria Italia (14, Puškina vulica) is an Italian restaurant that has been working for 15 years now. Four kinds of lasagna, pasta al dente, grilled meat and many other tempting offers.
Harry Porter (11, Dastajeŭskaha vulica) is a beer pub with a dozen of taps and a loft zone with lounge music. Here you can hit the waterpipe and relax on the sofas with cushions. It’s a bit far from the center, but it’s worth visiting, if you want to dive into the atmosphere of an English pub and play foosball with friends.
Cinema Cafe (4, Kamunaraŭ vulica) is a cafe in the Kalinina Cinema building. There are soft leather sofas, adjustable lighting behind the tables and a small cinema hall, where you can order a movie in advance. It’s open till 2 a.m. Remember that there is no separate zone for non-smokers.
You’ll like Staroye Vremya (14, Sialanskaja vulica) and Karčma Budzma (3a, Pryvakzalnaja vulica), if you want to try national belarusian cuisine and food of former soviet countries. In Budzma try traditional drinks: miedovukha, khrenovukha and spotykach. Even some draniki (potato pancakes) are served with a shot of vodka.
Grill House (35, Kirava vulica) and Street Burger (20, Lenina praspiekt) are for burger lovers. The first one focuses on salads, soups, grilled meat, and the other one serves various burgers, cheeseburgers and milkshakes.
Resto-bar Kelly’s (29а, Savieckaja vulica). Here try Mexican food: quesadilla, burrito, and fajitas. In the evening there’s live music.
Taste (4, vulica Rahačoŭskaja) is a cafe of modern cuisine: here you have a risotto with oyster mushrooms and truffle sauce, foie gras, and sangria.
Cup of peace (1, Savieckaja vulica) is an art salon ин the creators of the legendary coffee truck. Here the guys listen to the vinyl music, cook vegetarian food, arrange movie nights, and most importantly, exhibit works by local artists. The coffee is also on point!
Coffee&Toast (1а-3, Rahachoŭskaja vulica; 10, praspiekt Lenina) is coffee house that specializes in delicious toasts with ham, cheese, mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes. There are also sweet toasts with ricotta, peanut butter, honey and jam. Besides coffee (there’s also de-caf) there are hot fruit-drink and refreshing lemonades.
The Cler (20, praspiekt Lenina) is a loft coffee house with French eclairs. We recommend cottage cheese eclairs and their house special drink called Cler-coffee: it’s hot at the top and cold at the bottom.
Chaikoff (21, vulica Kirava) is a coffee bar where you can get a decent cup of coffee and a dessert or buy a pack of loose-leaf tea or robusta coffee.
Macarons Coffee House (1, vulica Vietkaŭskaja) is a place for French dessert lovers.
Once you’re in Homiel, you must taste hot chocolate on the Spartak Chocolate Factory (1, vulica Chatajeviča). Real melted chocolate is perfect for cold weather and will be a pleasant memory of your visit.
Kvartirnik Bar (1, Bilecki spusk). It’s an open space where you can try cocktails and dance during dj sets. They organize blues performances, concerts, foosball championship and poetry readings. The entrance to events is paid, but it’s worth it: live music is highly appreciated by all visitors.
Vse Kak On Liubit ("All That He Loves") (4, Bileckaha vulica) is a recently opened speak easy bar of prohibition times style. You can get in only if you find a ringing bell next to the door. Wide range of cocktais, author drinks, hookahs, lounge music and pleasant atmosphere.
Seven Fridays (20, Lenina praspiekt). A great variety of cocktail drinks, delicious burgers and steaks, the atmosphere of an American bar with comfortable lighting and dancing mucic are waiting for you there.
Red Pub (10, Lenina praspiekt). People come here to party and shake the cobwebs. A good choice for big noisy companies.
Avenue (3, Lenina praspiekt). On Friday and Saturday nights this bar transforms into a night club and stays open until 5 a.m. Besides the main menu, desserts and cocktail cart, here you can hit a waterpipe.
Perviy Bar (1, Kirava vulica). It’s located in the historic center of Gomel, in the building of former wine cellar of Count Paskevich. You’ll love this loft-bar for its music and friendly atmosphere.
Etazh (2, Puškina vulica, entrance from the side of the circus, 4th floor). It’s a bar with cozy armchairs, huge choice of starters, wines and desserts. Dj Slava Uncle plays there, while listening to his music you can relax and talk to your friends or dance. There is a hookah cart.
Miata Lounge Hookah Club (2, płošča Lenina). Besides hookah, here you have a special tea, listen to live saxophone, and dance at trendy Deep / Tech House parties.
San Remo Karaoke Bar (26a, Savieckaja vulica) and Arena Hall (6, Kamunarau vulica) are for those nights when your heart wants to sing. The second karaoke bar is believed to be a fancy one, there you can play bowling, billiards and eat in the grill bar.
Evropa (2, płošča Lenina) is an entertainment complex that includes a night club, two restaurants and a karaoke.
Cinema Club Hollywood (4, Kamunaraŭ vulica) и Nemo Club (2, Nabiarežnaja vulica). Two more places loved by local party boys and girls.
New Time (17, Lange vulica). Young people like to gather on its big dance floor.
Map of homiel with the attractions from the guide
023.by – city website
gomel.today – local news
gomeltrans.net – public transport in Homiel
smarthomel.org – cool urban initiative and Homiel news
Text by Kristina Bosak, updated by Anastasia Davydenko
Photos by palasatka