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I’ve been extolling the virtues of couchsurfing a lot recently both here and at Aspiring Backpacker, but this one really takes the cake. There are effectively no hostels in Belarus, no backpacking scene, very few (if any) travelers so finding your way around can be tough. Couch surfing to the rescue.

My couchsurfing friends!

I met up with Larisa and Artiom in Minsk. When I say ‘met up’, I mean I was met at the station, where my subway ticket had already been bought for me, I was brought to Larisa’s family apartment, fed and then given keys to her brother’s condo 400m away. I don’t wanna guess how much a mortgage is here, but this place was nice!

My living room in Belarus


This was probably the most trusting couchsurfing experience imaginable. Her brother’s apartment was the sh*t. 120 square metres, 2 bedrooms, complete with Jacuzzi and walk-in wardrobe, not to mention the 60” Sony LED in the living room and the 42” LED in ‘my’ bedroom. Oh and views over Minsk too.

couchsurfing eastern europe

I was literally handed the keys and told to make myself at home, I’ll be staying here as long as I want. The brother is away for 6 months so I’ve got the entire place to myself. Wow. Just to finalse the greeting, a was handed a Bacardi and coke, followed by a vodka and coke (or 3), it was 11.30am. This is gonna work out alright!

my hot tub couchsurfing

Not only was the place baller, the next day Artiom picked us up in in Mercedes CLK. I had told them I wanted to do two day trips into the Belarussian country side to check out some old UNESCO castles, I figured I would take the bus. No chance apparently.


I was picked up, driven the 130km to the first castle, we all checked it out together, ate cotton candy, ran around the town and then headed off to my next ‘day-trip’ destination. After a bit of archery, and more castle exploration we headed back for a traditional dinner and then I went back to ‘my’ apartment and crashed in luxury. Wow.

couchsurfing europe

The rest of the week (I stayed 5 days/4 nights) was spent wandering around the city, eating Larisa’s mums food. When it was time to leave I was walked to the train station to get my right ticket to Brest (4 hours, $4, private cabin!), then on the morning of my departure I was taken to the train station to make sure it was the right train, then taken to the right platform, then taken onto my carriage and into my cabin. Now that’s some seriously awesome couchsurfing service!


I had an absolutely unbelieveable experience in Minsk, and a lot of that was down to these guys. So I’d like to say a massive thanks to Larisa, Artiom, and Larisa’s mum, thanks guys. Now get your backpack on folks and get couchsurfing. Happy travels!


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8 thoughts on “Luxury Couchsurfing Experience in Minks, Belarus

  1. I am looking into volunteering with children affected by Chernobyl. I have to do it at a low cost to me as I have the heart but not the funds, sadly. I came across your blog and I am wondering if you still had contact information for Larissa? The place looks amazing, welcoming, and friendly! Hope you are still on your travels!

  2. Your stories on Belarus are totally excellent. I was in Minsk and Bobruisk in 2007 and I loved the way there were no other travellers.

    I was actually only there for 3 days though as the visa was so much cheaper and easier to get.

    I flew in and flew out though and was a relative backpacking novice back then. It’s great to hear that Belarus is still remarkably untouched and your descriptions sound the same as when I was there.

    Did you notice the attire of people – very drab clothing?

    And did you make it to Ukraine/Chernobyl? I know it was a nuclear disaster and all that but I’d love to go there some day and help out.

    Great stories from Belarus.

  3. Something very similar just happened to me in Gdynia, Poland! Was the most pleasant surprise ever. Need to look up Larisa and Artiom if/when I make it to Minsk.

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