Moldova is a state in Eastern Europe. It shares its border with Ukraine and Romania. The capital of Moldova is Kishinev.
Moldova has a temperate continental climate. The best time for visiting the country is from May to October.
The Moldavians, Ukrainians and Russians make up the population of the country. The official languages are the Moldovan and the Romanian. Over 94% of the Moldavians attend the Orthodox Church.
Moldova attracts tourists with its old architecture and museums the majority of which are located in Kishinev. The capital of the country offers many cultural activities. Visit the National Museum of Moldova History and Brancusi Exhibition Center. Have a break from museums and architecture and go shopping. The main shopping route lies along the Mihai Eminescu street and Stefan cel Mare boulevard.
The tourists who are interested in the history of Moldova should visit the city of Bender with its ancient buildings and the city of Soroca where they can take a picture of buildings of the 12th - 15th centuries.
For good country holidays, have a trip to Bălți where you can go hiking and horse-riding. The route also includes an excursion to national villages which preserved the authentic culture of the country. Moldova is a popular destination for gastro-tourism. You will be shown local vineyards and you will try the local wines.
Do not leave Moldova without visiting national parks such as Codrii National Park and unique caves near Soroca. Wellness resort Cahul with thermal and mineral sources is a good place to improve your health.
On the shore of the Dniester river is a unique rock monastery built in the 8th century and it attracts many Christian pilgrims. In the village Saharna, there is the Holy Trinity Monastery founded in the 5th century.
The Russians can fly to Kishinev from Moscow with Air Moldova and Aeroflot. There is a direct flight from Kiev to Kishinev. There are flights to Moldova from the European capitals.
For the Europeans, it is easy to reach Moldova as there is a rail connection between EU countries and Moldova.
A train runs from Russia and Belarus with a stop in Ukraine.
Due to complicated relations between Russia and Ukraine now, we recommend you against crossing the border of Ukraine until the end of the conflict.
There are regular international buses running from Odessa, Kiev and Minsk to Kishinev and Tiraspol. International buses also run from the capital of Romania and its border towns Ungheni and Lasi to Kishinev every day.
If you are planning your trip to Moldova by car from the territory of Ukraine, be aware that the route lies through the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. The authorities of this Republic register all the citizens of foreign countries and they may have their own requirements to transit.
Visa-free travel to Moldova is available for the citizens of CIS and EU countries for the period not longer than 3 months. The only requirement for entering the country is a valid international passport.
The tourists entering the country from the territory of Ukraine must register in the city within 3 days.
The tourists entering the country from the territory of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic can face problems with Moldova authorities as they do not recognize the Pridnestrovian Republic a border and do not acknowledge their requirements.
You can import duty-free to Moldova the following goods:
- personal belongings and jewelry (up to 5 items for a person);
- alcohol and tobacco;
- camera, video camera, electronic devices (1 item for each traveler) and mobile phones (2 phones for each person);
- goods not for sale (for the total cost of 200 Euro maximum);
- foreign currency (up to 10.000 Euros or its equivalent).
You must declare the following goods when entering the country:
- National currency of Moldova;
- personal belongings and souvenirs exceeding 200 Euros.
It is prohibited to bring into the country:
- birds and pets without an international vet certificate;
- any materials containing the propaganda of war, racism and violence;
- medications without a doctor's prescription.
The tourists are not allowed to export from Moldova more than 50.000 Euros.
Moldovan cuisine is very simple. The staples are meat, grains, vegetables, brynza, spices, and aromatic herbs.
Meat is the main ingredient in the majority of old Moldovan recipes. We recommend trying wine marinated roast pork Costița and smoked lamb. You will appreciate the taste of Moldovan Golubtsy (stevia and ramson leaves stuffed with boiled and chopped meat); cîrnăţei (roast black pudding); mititei (beef sausages with blood) and drob (minced lamb's offal wrapped in caul and roasted).
In the local cuisine, there are over a dozen of Moldovan soups. The Moldovans cook not only hot broths but also cold soups with kvas or fermented dairy products. We would recommend Zeamă (chicken noodle soup), Ciorbă (thick rich soup with mutton and fresh vegetables) and Güveç (ragout soup with vegetables and several types of meat).
A unique national dish is Mămăligă. This is a thick porridge made of maize flour. It is often eaten instead of bread.
Poultry has a special place in the Moldovan cuisine. Rasol, a jellied chicken, is prepared for holidays. In any eatery, the tourists can order a vegetable salad with duck liver. The ingredients for the salads are brynza cheese, aubergines and wine stewed chicken. Stuffed vegetables are very popular among the locals. They bake tomatoes and aubergines with cheese, stuff them with rice and turkey.
Moldova is a paradise for wine enthusiasts. Different sorts of grapes are grown here and you can choose good wine for any dish. As for non-alcoholic drinks, the Moldovans prefer kvas, drinkable yogurts, berry and fruits drinks and juices.
Those who have a sweet tooth should try a Moldovan desert Cușma lui Guguță (stacked pancake rolls filled with jam). Local pastry chefs make delicious pies with brynza and nuts, apples, quince or pears. Do not leave Moldova without trying fruit jams, jellies and marmalade made of thick grape juice.
The national currency in Moldova is the leu (MDL) and it is subdivided into 100 bani.
The Moldovans have in circulation:
- bank notes (1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 MDL);
- coins 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 bani.
There are many exchange offices in large cities of Moldova and the tourists can easily exchange rubles, hryvnias, dollars and Euros. You can exchange the currency at banks, in exchange offices at the airport, railway station and in malls.
There are ATMs in the capital of the country and some other Moldavan cities.
Most of the hotels, large stores and restaurants accept credit cards, so the tourists can take with them Visa, MasterCard and Maestro. However, if you are planning a trip to small cities, make sure you have enough cash with you. You can cash traveler's checks in international banks or in large travel agencies.
If the tips are not included, it is recommended to give 5-10% of the total sum.
Moldavia is relatively a safe country but you should not forget about general safety rules.
Details of interest
Moldavan Customs and Traditions
At the beginning of March, the Moldovans celebrate
At the beginning of October, the Moldovans celebrate the Wine Day. The tourists from all over the world come to Moldova on this day. In all the cities and villages, the winemakers present their wines. The celebration traditionally ends with a contest and the winner receives a lamb as an award.
Sightseeing in Moldova
On the territory of Moldova, there is a unique natural site under UNESCO protection. This is the Struve Geodetic Arc. In Moldova, there are two more sites which are the candidates to the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the village Trebujeni in the Orhei District, the tourists can see a historical and archaeological complex the Old Orhei. It is located 60 km from Kishinev. In the districts Falesti, Riscani and Glodeni, the tourists will enjoy the beauty of the Beltsy Steppe.
In Moldavia, there are many other sights which are not included in the World Heritage List but present a great interest.
- In Cricova and Purcari, go to an excursion to a vineyard and in Mileştii Mici, the tourists can see 200 km of wine cellars.
- In Kishinev, make a picture of the monument to Stefan cel Mare which is in the central park. Curious, but the park was earlier called the Pushkin park. Have a look at the Water Tower built in 1892 or take a picture of the Presidential Palace. A trip to Kishinev will be interesting for theater lovers as they can visit the National Theater 'Mihai Eminescu', the Republican Theater 'Luceafarul',the Theater of Eugene Ionescu, the Russian Chekhov Drama Theater and Satiricus Caragiale and Ginta Latina Theater.
- You will surely be impressed by your trip to the Ţipova Rock Monastery.
- Coming to the Old Orhei, the tourists will learn about the culture, history and the life in Moldova.
Traditional souvenirs from Moldova are wine, cotton and linen clothes, national costumes and painted pottery.
Buy wines in wine-producing regions. In Cricova, you will buy the best wines with a stork on the label. The greatest variety of wines is in Mileştii Mici.
The tourists also buy cognac in a gift package with 30 small bottles.
Go to Tiraspol and Beltsy region to buy national and modern clothes.
If you happen to be in Bender and Soroca buy beautiful painted pottery and woven baskets.