Travellers beware, in July 2016 Belarus has yet again switched to a new valuta. With the New Belorussian Ruble (BYN), they got rid of the last 4 zero's of the old currency. It's much easier to keep an overview of costs now (1 BYN = ca. 0,45 EUR). I wasn't aware of the change, so I drew way too much banknotes out of the ATM! This was extra problematic due to the very low prices of food and public transport. They've continued carrying the images of Mir WHS and Nesvizh WHS on the banknotes (50 and 100 BYN).Getting there
I travelled directly to Minsk from Vilnius by train in 2.5 hours. Although it's a Lithuanian train, you can book a ticket beforehand via the website of the Belarus Railways
. I payed online with no problems. Especially in the summer season it seems recommended to pre-book a seat: I checked 2 weeks before my travel date, and only 12 seats were left. According to my seat mate on the train, it is mostly used by Belorussians travelling to European holiday destinations such as Spain. There's more choice of flights from Vilnius than from Minsk, and the flights are cheaper too. The train itself was modern and quite new. However, it's of a type that in Holland is called 'Sprinter': i.e. only suited for very short hops. There's little leg space or room for suitcases/backpacks.