24 October 2019 122 0
Will I freeze to death? Will I encounter bears and wolves on the snowy streets?!Don’t be scared! Read on to discover a few secrets about what a true Belarusian winter is like. Here we present some key facts for adventurers not afraid to emerge from the warmth of indoors. And after reading this, we’re confident you’ll be desperate for winter to come!
• Yes, winters in Belarus can seem quite cold, but specific climatic features ensure that it feels very much milder than further east into Russia and beyond. Average winter temperatures vary from north to south, such that in Vitebsk region the figure is -8 C, while in Brest region it is -4 C.
• Yes, there is snow on the ground almost every day in winter! If we talk numbers, the south of the country has around 75 snowy days each year whilst in the north, this figure jumps to an incredible 125 days! But you shouldn’t despair; this means Belarus people are well used to having snow around, such that everywhere indoors is warm and cosy.
• Belarusians do like to party, so we have two Christmas Days and two New Year celebrations! ‘How come’, you may say? Good question! It’s because December 25 is Catholic Christmas, while January 7 is Orthodox Christmas. Both religions are widely observed here in Belarus, so we like to make sure that nobody misses out. As for New Year, we celebrate it on January 1 as elsewhere in the world, but we also have the so-called ‘Old’ New Year. Confused? Don’t be! Old New Year is a fond remembrance of the former Julian calendar and although we don’t have a day off, we do celebrate on January 14.
• No, we don’t hide indoors for months and months over winter, even though it is cold. Instead we head outdoors to indulge our love of skiing, skating and snowboarding. We don’t have mountains in Belarus, but with ingenuity our clever people have made artificial ones. There are five outdoor sports complexes in Minsk region, with accommodation to rent.
• Harsh, unforgiving winters present an unusual opportunity you might not expect to find – fishing in the heart of the countryside, followed by a rural sauna. A stay in a lakeside cottage might seem a remote and extreme winter adventure, but just imagine the joy of lying atop a warm Russian stove after an active day amongst nature in the great outdoors?!
• For centuries, traditional winter recipes have delivered internal central heating for people. So while taking a walk in the city, why not try out hot, nourishing soups that will bring colour to your cheeks! Outdoors you might also indulge in a range of warming drinks such as mulled wine, cognac and even champagne. And if you are lucky enough to visit a traditional village in the countryside, don’t be afraid to sample local moonshine or home-made berry wine, which are absolutely delicious!
• For children of every age the best wish of all can come true, in Brest region, where you can meet Santa Claus in his home, in UNESCO World Heritage Site Byelovyezhskaya Puscha National Park. Is he the real Santa Claus? We’ll leave that for you to decide! But get ready to make a wish, surrounded by nature and wildlife, just like in fairy tales. Look to find European bison, fox, deer and all manner of creatures. How’s that for a wonderful winter experience?!