Belarus lies at the edge of eastern Europe but may seem to be a million miles away from it. A land of earthy humour, friendly people and courage in the face of political adversity, Belarus offers a European experience that's different from any other. Visitors will find the cities alive with cosmopolitan charm and spark, but with almost no advertising, litter or graffiti. Simple, natural landscapes outside of the population centres show off fields of flowers, thick primeval forests and picturesque villages.

Much of Belarus is a hilly lowland whose landscape was created at the end of the last Ice Age, when glaciers left behind thousands of rivers and lakes. Forests cover one-third of Belarus' total areas and its peat marches are a valuable natural resource, equally important to wildlife long extinct in other parts of Europe. As a landlocked country, Belarus shares borders with Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

The climate here is continental with average January temperatures of between -4°C and -8°C and July temperatures averaging about 18°C - however, summer humidity can push daytime highs up to 30°C. The country receives the most rainfall in June and August. Because Belarus isn't on the radar of most European tourists, there is no particular 'busy season'. Even through the peak of summer, you don't have to worry about beating the crowds. Any time can be pleasant for a visit here and if you don't mind the cold, snowy weather, sunny winter days can be especially beautiful.

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