Arriving in Minsk by train has never been more convenient. The main station’s new building may have taken over a decade to build but when it finally opened it turned out to be well worth the wait.
When you get off your train, take a second to confirm where the main building is, then head down one of the ramps towards it (if you head the wrong way you’ll emerge on the car park side and your first impression of the city could be smelly drunks with limbs missing).
You’ll enter the main building on the basement floor and there are currency exchanges to the left and right of you, both of which offer some of the city’s best rates. They also have the advantage of being walk-in booths so even if you are weighed down with luggage you can exchange your money in privacy without having to keep one eye on your suitcase.
Toilets are also on this floor. The gents is to the right and the ladies to the left. Pay the lady at the kiosk and take as much paper as you want because there won’t be any inside the cubicle.
Left luggage lockers are also on the basement floor, just past the ladies toilets on the left hand side. They are officially open 24/7 but be warned! They actually close from 3:00-4:00 and 13:00-14:00 daily. To use the lockers you can buy a token from the cash desk. These cost 1,020br for 24 hours. Larger pieces of luggage can be left at the storage facility here for the same price.
For the metro station you need to continue down this corridor to the very end and then turn right. This stop is on the blue line, one stop before the main interchange station. Trains to the city centre arrive on the right hand side of the platform.
If you need a taxi, there is a small booth on the first floor near the main entrance run by the only taxi company that is allowed to serve the station. They will book you a taxi and let you know the make and registration of the car so you can go to the taxi rank and find it. The great thing about this is that it guarantees that you will only pay the correct fare. The downside is that the service is only available in Russian so you might find it just as easy to jump in a taxi and (probably) pay over the odds.
On the first floor you will find the ticket offices and the departures board. Unless you want to buy a ticket for a local electric train (the less chaotic of the two ticket halls) don’t bother buying any tickets here. Instead head out of this building, turn left and you’ll see the old station building next door. Here is a far more peaceful environment for you to buy inter-city and international tickets. You'll also find the local Eurolines office here too.
The second floor of the station building has the main waiting room plus some small kiosks selling snacks and drinks, with seating areas around them. If you want a little privacy head for the Ruslanka bar (10:00-22:00 daily). It’s a rather dark place but what it lacks in lighting it makes up for with fish tanks. There are six of them here, full of all sorts of exotic things and two hand-basins near the entrance if you need to freshen up.
If you need to kill some time, or simply want to have some fun, then head for the third floor. Here you will find all manner of arcade games and even a rifle range. Tokens cost 1,500br and are available from the nearby kiosk (09:00-24:00 Sun-Thurs, 09:00-03:00 Fri – Sat). There is also a billiard hall offering Russian billiards and American pool (same hours as above) and an Internet Café (09:00-07:00 daily). Internet access costs 3,000br per hour (you can pay for 30 minutes or 15 minutes too). An all-nighter here (21:00-07:00) costs 9,000br for 10 hours.
This floor is also home to the Zvezda restaurant (12:00-23:00). It’s a quiet place and a little sparse but offers a retreat from the bustle of the station concourses. A pretty standard menu in Russian only with mains averaging 12,000br. From 7pm daily they have live music.
One of the most bizarre offerings at any international railway station can also be found on the third floor. Planet of the Dinosaurs is a themed, supervised, wear ‘em out play area for kids (09:00-21:00 Sun-Thurs, 10:00:21:00 Fri, Sat). Admission is 7,100 for children and 3,240 for adults.
Train Plane Bus Car