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I might be travelling through eastern Poland this summer and would like to use the opportunity to visit one of the locations in the visa free zone in western Belarus, preferably the city of Brest, but Hrodna could also be worth a visit if that is easier. I will be there by car, but for different practical reasons, I would like to leave the car in Poland and go by public transport to Belarus. I am not sure if I will be able to arrange an international driver's license in time and since I will not be driving my own car, it seems as if I need some tedious paperwork to bring the car across the border.

That turns out to be more tricky than I thought. I have done some research and checked out a few options, but still not found any good solution:

  • A few years ago, taking the train from Terespol (PL) to Brest (BY) would have been a convenient option, but there are currently no passengers trains operating on that line.

  • Terespol and Brest are just across the border from eachother, so taking a taxi to the border, cross by foot and continue on the other side with another taxi would also have been an option. The two nearby border crossings are however allegedly closed for pedestrians and since the taxi drivers in each country are not allowed to operate in the other country, crossing the border by taxi seems also impossible.

  • There are at least two operators (Sindbad and Ecolines) running a bus line between Warsaw and Brest, but these buses have no stops en route. It would be at least very inconvenient if I had to make a detour to Warsaw (3h drive from Terespol) just to get the bus and travel the same way back again.

  • The public transport search in Google Maps knows about a bus line from Druskininkai (LT) to Hrodna (BY) and links to the route planner VisiMarsrutai. There, I am however not able to find any buses to Hrodna.

It is generally not very easy to search for public transport to Brest (BY), since I get a lot of hits for transport to Brest (FR).

Does anyone have a better option on how to get to Brest from Poland without having to go via Warsaw or prehaps more details about the alleged bus route from Druskininkai to Hrodna?

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    Before committing to a travel plan, you might want to have a look at your government's advice regarding travel to Belarus. For the Netherlands for example, Dutch citizens are explicitly advised not to travel to Belarus. German citizens likewise are advised against going there.
    – JeroenHoek
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 7:02
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    As an aside, Is the visa-free zone even still a thing? The French Government states that when entering by land, you absolutely need a visa Commented May 16, 2023 at 8:02
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo Those advisories are not based just on military activity, but also on the general decline of the rule of law and the present personal risk to anyone not Russian or Belarusian. This includes a limited ability of consular support from your own nation (and no evacuations in case of trouble) and an increased chance of getting into trouble with the authorities and being handed hefty fines or even jail time over trivial or even false accusations. Just be aware of the risks; Belarus is at present not a suitable destination for tourism. Also, don't wear any red-and-white clothing.
    – JeroenHoek
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 10:39
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    @JeroenHoek Can you give me any concrete example of a foreigner, who has been jailed in Belarus in the last few years without reason (without me justifying whatever 'reason' the authorities choose to use)? There have been a handful cases involving poltiical activists, but I am of course not going there to demonstrate against the government. And being 'fined' or required to pay a bribe is something you risk in many parts of eastern Europe or elsewhere in the world and not a particular risk for Belarus. The last bribe I had to pay was in Ukraine. Commented May 16, 2023 at 11:44
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    @JonathanReez "the travel advisories cannot be fully trusted" - that's an understatement. Since such advices are published by the governments, more often than not they are just a propaganda against an "enemy" country.
    – Trang Oul
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 6:00

3 Answers 3

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From the website of Brest's bus station, there is actually a bus direct from Terespol (PL) (Czerwonego Krzyża 1B) to Brest (BY)

Four carriers, Markus, BOD-MAR, АгроТехмаксобслуживание and Раф-Бус Новицкий serve this route (timetable on the website)

You can book your tickets online for the services of Раф-Бус Новицкий and АгроТехмаксобслуживание at InfoBus, for between BYN25 and 26.15

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  • Thank you so much. That was exactly what I was looking for. Commented May 16, 2023 at 10:31
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In addition to answer @Nicloas Formichella. For many buses, sales start no earlier than a month before.

To visit the Brest-Grodno visa-free zone, you also need to have a document granting foreign citizens the right to individual (or group) visits to the Brest-Grodno visa-free zone. It can be obtained when buying a tour from a company that is a certified operator and has the right to organize visa-free movement of foreigners. https://www.belarus.by/en/travel/travel-visas/visa-free-travel-program-belarus

https://grodnovisafree.by/en/ has a list of travel agencies that you can contact for the necessary document.

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To answer my own question after actually having tried to do the trip a few weeks ago:

Looking at the time tables posted at the bus stop in Terespol, there are many more departures than what can be found online. There are quite a few companies operating this route and it seems as only a few of them publish their time tables online. On the other hand, a lot of the announced buses are not running and the buses which actually do depart, are often several hours delayed. Instead of relying on a specific departure, it seems better to just show up and hope that it won't take too many hours before the next bus will come. At least at the moment, the buses run almost empty and there is absolutely no need to book a ticket in advance. Tickets can be bought directly from the bus driver.

A greater problem is that I, and also quite a few other passengers, were not allowed to board. After spending six hours at the bus stop and being refused by the third bus driver, I gave up my plans and dropped my visit to Brest. Language barriers made it difficult to understand what the problem was, but if I understood one of the bus drivers correctly, he only allowed Polish and Belarusian citizens to board. He was concerned that it would take much longer at the border to process an 'exotic' citizen and had no interest in risking the extra wait.

Time tables for departures to Brest at the bus stop in Terespol

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