In a remote corner of Europe lays Moldova, a country whose name sounds like it came straight out of a fairy-tale. Once part of Romania, with which it shares a common language and culture, it’s situated between that nation and the Ukraine. Another former Soviet Republic, it became independent in the early nineties. Feeling uncomfortable with the Moldovan’s overture to Romania, the Russian minority split off and formed Transdniestr.
So much for history and politics... But what exactly would you come to Moldova for, you might ask yourself. Well, first of all, if you like off-the-beaten track, Moldova is as far off it as you can get in Europe. But Moldova also has beautiful churches, unspoiled and authentic villages, and surprisingly good wine. And uniquely in the world they have a working time-machine. It’s easy to use, you just need to cross the Dniester River and you step back into Soviet times.
From the capital Ҫhisinǎu to time-warped Tiraspol, to the Cricova Winery, to remote Tipova Monestary, to impressive Bendery Fort, there is plenty to see and do in Moldova.
Be different, be adventurous , try Moldova!
Highlights from Moldova
- Stroll around Ҫhisinǎu with its parks, churches and many museums
- Taste wines at the second largest underground winery in the world, the Cricova Winery, or Miliştii Mici with the world largest wine collection
- Visit impressive Bendery Fort
- Take a time trip to the good ‘ol’ Soviet days and cross the bridge into Transdniestr (aka Transnistria), its capital Tiraspol has plenty of Lenin busts and concrete monstrosities to keep you occupied, and while you are there drop by the Kvint Brandy Factory for some good value quality Cognac.
- Wander around ancient Orheiul Vechi
- Hike around Padurea Domneasca (Royal Forest) Natural Reserve, Moldova’s largest
- Soroca Fortress is probably the Moldova’s most impressive bastion
- Beautiful Manastirea Curchi Monestary is worth more than a casual glance
- Visit the remote Tipova rock monastery
- Take a pilgrimage to Saharna and while you are there visit the 22 waterfalls nearby
Hints and Tips for Moldova
- Most tourists won’t need a visa to enter Moldova, check the government website if you belong to that group, otherwise it is easy to arrange one.
- English isn’t widely spoken, Russian will help (especially in Transdniestr which is basically Russian), Romanian obviously also, otherwise get a phrasebook.
- Hostels are rare in Moldova, the place is not that geared up to tourism, cheap hotels or perhaps a hospitality service might be the way to go.
- Getting into Transdniestr is straightforward, any travel document valid for Moldova is valid for Transdniestr. If you want to stay longer you have to register at the immigration office in Tiraspol, your hotel might be able to do that for you.