Belarus – Guide for Travelling by Train
Travelling by train in Belarus is by far the most efficient way to get around the country, with all major towns serviced by efficient links.
Tickets can be either booked in person at the train’s ticket office or online at: https://www.rw.by/en/
For popular routes (i.e between Minsk and Brest) there can sometimes be large queues at ticket offices, so I would recommend booking online to save yourself some time.
Online Booking Process
First of all you will need to select the two stations you wish to travel between. When selecting the train stations, there are a large variety of options for some cities. The below are the main stations for each city:
Minsk: Minsk Pasažyrski Railway Station
Vitebsk: Viciebsk Railway Station
Gomel: Homieĺ Railway Station
Brest: Brest Centraĺny Railway Station
Grodno: Hrodna Railway Station
When you have selected the stations and dates, you will be provided with a list of available services. Most routes will have 5+ different options over the course of the day. Simply choose the time that suits you best.
Next, you will need to choose what class you wish to travel in. This only really makes a difference on sleeper trains where you will have three options available to you:
FIRST-CLASS SLEEPER “СВ” (DOUBLE-BED CABINS):
COMPARTMENT SLEEPER «К» (FOUR-BERTH COMPARTMENT)
ECONOMY CLASS SLEEPER «ПЛ» (OPEN COUPES WITH TWO SIDE BERTHS)
With your class chosen, you will be able to pick designated seats and then pay for the tickets online via debit/credit card. Afterwards you will receive email confirmation and a PDF file of your ticket (this does not need to be printed out).
On the Day
On arrival at the station, there should be a large board with a list of train’s and platforms in the main entry hall. Remember that it is the end destination of your train service that will be displayed. Once you have found the correct platform, you will then need to find the correct Wagon which has been designated on your online booking.
Once you have found your wagon, all you need to board the train (if you have booked online) is your passport. The train attendant will already have a print out of who has booked online and will match your name with their own list.
Once on board, if your assigned seat is a top bunk, there are a few small bits of etiquette to remember:
- If sitting on the top bunk, do not leave your feet dangling down. You WILL have them slapped away by an elderly Belarussian woman.
- Take your shoes off before lying on the top bunk.
- Do not fall asleep on the top bunk during the day unless you have paid the small fee for a blanket and pillow cover.
Also, please note that I would recommend turning up fifteen minutes early for your train as there are sometimes large queues waiting to board each carriage.