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Belarus has announced 5-day visa-free entry for 80 nationalities including the USA to take effect in February.
— Belarus MFA
This Soviet-era throwback previously is one of the hardest tourist visas to obtain. Those who reach the country receive one of the warmest welcomes in Europe.
In my visit I was passed from person to person who treated me as if a long-lost relative. For instance, the guesthouse owners in Brest did not speak English so they had their niece from the national skating team, go with them to the train station to meet me and translate.
Initially this applies only to flight arrivals to Minsk. Important: travelers flying from or to Russia are excluded.
This is a delightful surprise and a glimmer of hope at further opening. Even better for tourists will be if the rail routes from Lithuania and Poland open up to visa-free travel. If so, a day trip from Warsaw to Brest Fortress will be an excellent outing.
When visiting Minsk, history buffs will want to visit one of Europe’s most somber memorials at Khatyn, and the Hero City Obelisk.
See the full list of nationalities and requirements here.