Now that Belarus no longer requires visas, has anyone visited Minsk or any other part of Belarus? Would it be safe to visit?
I haven't been to Belarus but from what I heard it's safe to visit. Authoritarian regimes are usually safer than open ones - assuming you are not openly criticizing them. By the way Belarus is in Europe.
I'm always looking for the obscure and I've looked into Belarus. The only thing I have uncovered that interests me is that there are cheap flights from Kiev, one of my favorite places, to Minsk. You also understand that the visa waiver is only if you fly in and out of Minsk.
If you are interested in going, do it soon. Putin is really not pleased with Belarus and there is a good possibility that Belarus will end up like Ukranian Crimea and the eastern Ukraine, in which case you will need an expensive Russian Visa to visit.
I have been looking into it ever since I saw the visa relaxation a couple of weeks ago. In fact, I got the latest edition of LP's Eastern Europe guidebook from my local library to read the chapter on Belarus. Will look to visit in summer 2018 since this summer I'm bound for E Africa and I have no wish to visit during winter.
Interestingly, there are a couple of Marriott chain hotels in Minsk where I can use points to stay for free.
We visited Minsk last year. We stayed at the Hotel Garni which we highly recommend. Minsk was very interesting and safe. We even went to the Minsk Boshoi theater and saw a wonderful ballet and choral concert for less than $20 each. I recommend flying into Minsk, since it's the easiest way to enter the country. We had two weeks and also rented a car to drive around Belarus and visit where my husband's grandparents were born. Please feel free to send me a private message if you want more specific information.