Two of the most popular places to visit in Belarus are located just outside of the capital, Minsk: Mir Castle and Nesvizh Castle. While it’s (fairly) easy to get to either of these from Minsk, it’s tough to see both in the same day without joining a tour. There is virtually no public transportation between the two. While tours are available, they might not run every day of the week. So I picked just one, Mir Castle.
There’s also very little information online about visiting Mir Castle on a daytrip from Minsk. This is in line with the general lack of information available online about Belarus and Minsk in general. But as Belarus brings in more and more tourists thanks to the new 5-day visa-free scheme, I wanted to do a full post for people looking to do the same.
If you want to see Mir Castle on a daytrip, you’ll need to start early. Bus times to Mir are at 6:30, 8:40, 10:10, 11:50 in the morning. Check for different times on different days of the week. Look for bus destinations to Korelichi (Кореличи), Radon (Радон), Novogrudok (Новогрудок), Dyatlovo (Дятлово), Lida (Лида). Check this website for bus times: http://ticketbus.by/. Be aware that it is only in Russian/Belarussian. Search for Mir (Мир), and you’ll want the station “Мир АК.”
I got the bus at 8:40am from Minsk bus station, on the bus going to Novogrudok. This bus got me to Minsk at just about 10:00am. The bus station is an easy 10-minute walk to the castle (you drive past the castle on your way into “town”). Buses cost about 6 rubles one-way.
I really struggled with finding admission prices online (the website had a giant list of admission prices, but nothing in English). But I wrote down the prices of very simple ticket sign at the castle. It’s 12 rubles for adults and 6 rubles for students Monday-Friday, and 14 rubles for adults and 7 rubles for students on Saturday-Sunday. I think the 12/6 ruble price is good for all days outside of July, while the 14/7 ruble price is only for weekends in July.
Mir Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dating back to the 16th-century. The castle switched owners many times, and underwent extensive restoration in the 1900s. The last family moved out of the castle in 1962. It closed recently for restoration works and re-opened to the public in 2010.
The castle itself isn’t that large—going through the rooms won’t take that long. There’s information about the specific rooms, what they were used for, and what life was like for the people who lived and worked at Mir Castle. There is a board in English in each room at the beginning. However, this then tails off as you enter the basement exhibits.
After you’ve seen the interior, make sure to climb the towers and walk around the courtyard for nice views. You can also visit the dungeon/prison down below.
The best views of the castle are from across the man-made lake.
Admission to the chapel-crypt, where the Svyatopolk-Mirsky Dukes are buried, is included in the entry price. They were they last owners of Mir Castle and many of the family members are buried in the crypt.
You have two options for getting back to Minsk from Mir: a bus at 12:26pm, and one at 6:30pm. If you get the early bus from Minsk at 8:40am, you’ll have enough time to do the castle and have a comfortable stroll around the lake. This is what I did—got back to Minsk a bit before 2:00pm. The bus also may be full, so try to be one of the first in line to get on it. Also, make sure you have cash for the bus back—there’s a few ATMs near the station. There isn’t much else in Mir besides the castle, so honestly, I really wouldn’t want to be stuck in Mir until 6:30pm if you get there in the morning.
It’s tricky to do a daytrip to Mir Castle from Minsk with the scattered bus times. But it is definitely possible if you start early and just want to see the castle. The castle is beautiful and certainly worth a trip!
Have you ever visited Mir Castle? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!