What to do in Moldova? 10 Ideas to Enjoy This Enigmatic Country

Looking for ideas on what to do in Moldova? Look no further! This enigmatic country offers a plethora of experiences waiting to be explored. From strolling through the vibrant streets of Chisinau, the capital city, to delving into the unique history of Transnistria, there's something for every traveler. Discover the rich wine culture at renowned wineries like Cricova and Milestii Mici, or immerse yourself in the country's heritage by visiting monasteries and historical sites. Indulge in delicious Moldovan cuisine, attend local festivals, and venture into the picturesque countryside for scenic views and outdoor activities. Join us on a journey to uncover the wonders of Moldova!

1. Explore the streets of Chisinau, the capital city

Town Hall of Chișinău - Moldova
Rodion Gavriloi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Embark on a captivating journey through the vibrant streets of Chisinau, the charming capital city of Moldova. Known for its rich history, diverse culture, and picturesque architecture, Chisinau offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern allure. As you wander through the bustling streets, you will be greeted by a tapestry of sights and sounds that reflect the city's dynamic character.

From the iconic Triumphal Arch and the majestic Nativity Cathedral to the bustling Central Market and the serene Valea Morilor Park, each corner of Chisinau holds a story waiting to be discovered. Indulge your senses in the local cuisine at traditional Moldovan restaurants, where you can savor delicious dishes like mamaliga (cornmeal porridge), placinte (stuffed pastries), and sarmale (cabbage rolls). Don't forget to sample the renowned Moldovan wines, which have been crafted with passion and expertise for centuries. Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and culture scene of Chisinau by visiting museums, galleries, and theaters that showcase the creativity and talent of local artists.

Explore the city's lively nightlife scene, where you can dance the night away in trendy clubs or relax in cozy bars with a glass of local wine. Whether you are strolling down Stefan cel Mare Boulevard, exploring the historic neighborhoods of Riscani or Botanica, or simply soaking in the atmosphere of Cathedral Park, Chisinau promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler. So pack your bags, lace up your walking shoes, and get ready to uncover the hidden gems of this enchanting city. Chisinau awaits – are you ready to explore its streets?

2. Visit Transnistria, an autonomous region with a unique history

Tiraspol, capital of Transnistria
Донор, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Journey to Transnistria, a captivating autonomous region nestled between the Dniester River and Ukraine. Steeped in a rich tapestry of history and culture, Transnistria offers visitors a glimpse into a world where time seems to stand still, preserving traditions and stories that have shaped its identity. As you navigate the streets of Tiraspol, the capital city of Transnistria, you will be entranced by its Soviet-era architecture, grand monuments, and bustling markets.

Explore the iconic landmarks such as the Suvorov Monument, the House of Soviets, and the  Noul Neamt Monastery, each bearing witness to the region's complex past. Immerse yourself in the unique blend of cultures that define Transnistria, where Eastern European and Russian influences converge to create a distinct atmosphere. Sample traditional dishes like borscht (beet soup), pelmeni (dumplings), and kvass (fermented beverage), while savoring the warm hospitality of the locals. Delve into the history of Transnistria by visiting museums and memorials that shed light on its tumultuous past, including the Museum of the  History of Transnistria and the Bender Fortress.

Whether you are exploring the picturesque countryside, discovering hidden gems in small towns like  Bender or Dubasari, or simply soaking in the serene beauty of the Dniester River, a visit to Transnistria promises an unforgettable adventure filled with history, culture, and intrigue. Step off the beaten path and uncover the secrets of this autonomous region – Transnistria awaits your discovery.

3. Discover the wine culture by visiting wineries like Cricova and Milestii Mici

Mileștii Mici - Mileștii Mici - Moldova
Dave Proffer, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take part in a sensory journey through the heart of Moldova's wine country by exploring renowned wineries such as Cricova and Milestii Mici. Delve into a world of viticulture, tradition, and exquisite flavors as you uncover the rich wine culture that has put Moldova on the map as a premier wine destination. Begin your adventure at Cricova, a legendary underground winery known for its vast network of tunnels that stretch for over 120 kilometers beneath the earth's surface.

Explore the labyrinthine cellars lined with oak barrels and sparkling wine bottles, where you can witness the meticulous process of winemaking and aging that has been perfected over generations. Indulge in guided tours and tastings at  Cricova, where you can sample a diverse selection of wines ranging from crisp whites to robust reds, including the famous sparkling wines that have earned international acclaim. Immerse yourself in the history and craftsmanship behind each bottle as you learn about the unique terroir and grape varieties that define Moldovan winemaking.

Venture next to Milestii Mici, home to the world's largest underground wine cellar, housing an impressive collection of over 2 million bottles. Marvel at the vast underground galleries adorned with oak barrels and vintage wines, creating a mesmerizing backdrop for your exploration of Moldova's winemaking heritage. Partake in guided tours of  Milestii Mici's cellars, where you can witness the aging process of rare vintages and discover hidden gems in their extensive wine collection.

Sample exquisite wines like Feteasca Neagra, Rara Neagra, and Traminer, each showcasing the unique flavors and aromas that reflect the region's distinct terroir. Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Moldovan wine culture by visiting these iconic wineries, where tradition meets innovation to create unforgettable experiences for wine enthusiasts. Whether you are a seasoned oenophile or a curious traveler seeking new tastes and discoveries, a visit to Cricova and Milestii Mici promises a journey filled with passion, history, and unparalleled hospitality. Raise a glass to the beauty of Moldovan wines.

4. Explore Monasteries

Old Orhei Cave Monastery Peștera - Butuceni - Moldova

Take part in a spiritual and cultural journey through the picturesque landscapes of Moldova as you discover the hidden gems of its ancient monasteries. Nestled amidst rolling hills, lush vineyards, and serene countryside, Moldovan monasteries offer a glimpse into the country's rich religious heritage and architectural splendor. Begin your exploration at the iconic Capriana Monastery, one of the oldest and most revered monastic complexes in Moldova. Founded in the 15th century,  Capriana Monastery boasts a harmonious blend of Byzantine and Moldovan architectural styles, with its stunning frescoes, ornate iconostasis, and tranquil courtyards inviting visitors to step back in time and experience a sense of peace and spirituality.

Journey next to the Saharna Monastery, perched atop a rocky cliff overlooking the Dniester River. Known for its breathtaking natural setting and sacred springs believed to have healing properties, Saharna Monastery is a place of pilgrimage for both locals and travelers seeking solace and spiritual renewal. Explore the monastery's chapels, caves, and lush gardens as you immerse yourself in its serene atmosphere. Venture further to the Orheiul Vechi Monastery Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled within a stunning limestone cliff overlooking the Raut River.

Dating back to the 13th century, this unique monastery complex features ancient cave churches, monastic cells, and panoramic views that offer a glimpse into Moldova's rich history and cultural heritage. Immerse yourself in the spiritual traditions of Moldova by visiting these sacred sites, where centuries-old rituals and customs continue to be practiced with reverence and devotion.

Whether you are seeking moments of reflection, artistic inspiration, or simply a deeper connection to history and faith, exploring Moldovan monasteries promises a transformative experience that will leave a lasting impression on your soul. Soak in the beauty of these architectural marvels, breathe in the tranquility of their surroundings, and let the spirit of Moldova's monasteries guide you on a journey of discovery and enlightenment. Open your heart to the whispers of history and tradition as you explore the sacred sanctuaries that have stood the test of time in this enchanting land.

5. Visit the Kvint factory to learn about local brandy production

Step inside the historic walls of the  Kvint Factory in Tiraspol, where a rich tapestry of aromas, flavors, and expertise awaits your exploration. From the moment you enter, you will be immersed in a world of oak barrels, copper stills, and meticulous craftsmanship that have been honed over decades to produce some of Moldova's finest brandies. Embark on a guided tour of the Kvint facilities, where knowledgeable experts will lead you through each stage of the brandy-making process – from grape selection and fermentation to distillation, aging, and blending.

Witness skilled artisans at work as they transform locally grown grapes into liquid gold, using time-honored techniques passed down through generations. Delve into the history and heritage of Kvint as you learn about its origins dating back to 1897 and its evolution into a world-renowned producer of premium brandies.

Explore the vast cellars lined with aging barrels, where rare vintages patiently mature to perfection, acquiring depth, complexity, and character that set Kvint brandies apart. Indulge your senses in a tasting experience like no other as you sample a selection of Kvint's signature brandies, ranging from smooth and mellow VSOP blends to rich and complex XO reserves. Discover the nuances of flavor, aroma, and finish that distinguish each expression, reflecting the terroir and craftsmanship that define Moldovan brandy production.

Immerse yourself in the spirit of Moldovan hospitality as you explore the Kvint Factory, where passion for quality, dedication to tradition, and a commitment to excellence come together to create an unforgettable journey through the world of brandy. Whether you are a seasoned enthusiast or a curious novice, a visit to Kvint promises an enlightening and enriching experience that will deepen your appreciation for this timeless spirit.

6. Drive around smaller cities or regions like Gagauzia for a different experience

Organize a road trip through the lesser-known cities and regions of Moldova, such as  Gagauzia, to uncover hidden treasures, immerse yourself in local culture, and experience the charm of off-the-beaten-path destinations. Hit the open road and explore the diverse landscapes, rich history, and unique traditions that await you in these smaller, yet captivating corners of the country.

Begin your journey by driving through the picturesque countryside of Gagauzia, an autonomous region known for its distinct cultural heritage and warm hospitality. As you traverse the rolling hills and vineyard-dotted landscapes, you will encounter charming villages, traditional houses adorned with colorful motifs, and locals going about their daily lives with a sense of tranquility and pride.

Explore the capital city of Comrat, where Soviet-era architecture blends seamlessly with modern developments, creating a fascinating juxtaposition of past and present. Wander through bustling markets, sample local delicacies like shashlik (grilled meat skewers) and plăcintă (stuffed pastry), and engage with friendly residents eager to share their stories and traditions.

Venture off the beaten path to discover hidden gems in smaller cities like Ceadîr-Lunga, Vulcanesti, or Taraclia, each offering its own unique charm and character. Visit historic sites, museums, and cultural landmarks that shed light on the region's history and heritage, from ancient fortresses to traditional craft workshops. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Gagauzia by attending local festivals, concerts, and events that showcase traditional music, dance, and cuisine. Experience the warmth and hospitality of the  Gagauz people as you interact with artisans, farmers, and storytellers who embody the spirit of this enchanting region.

Whether you are seeking a peaceful retreat in nature, a cultural immersion in local traditions, or simply a different perspective on Moldova beyond its main cities, driving around smaller regions like Gagauzia promises a rewarding and enriching experience. So pack your bags, hit the road, and let the hidden gems of Moldova's lesser-explored destinations unfold before you on a journey filled with discovery, authenticity, and unforgettable moments.

7. Visit Balti, the Second Largest City in Moldova

Piața Independenței - Independence Square - Bălți - Moldova
Independence Square - Avereanu, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover the vibrant city of Balti, a bustling urban center brimming with history, culture, and charm. As the second largest city in Moldova, Balti offers a unique blend of old-world allure and modern dynamism, inviting visitors to explore its diverse attractions and immerse themselves in its lively atmosphere. Begin your journey in the heart of Balti, where you can stroll along the bustling streets lined with Soviet-era architecture, colorful markets, and cozy cafes.

Admire landmarks like the iconic Stefan cel Mare Monument and the ornate Nativity Cathedral, which stand as testaments to the city's rich heritage and architectural legacy.

Explore Balti's cultural scene by visiting museums, galleries, and theaters that showcase local artistry and creativity. From traditional folk performances to contemporary exhibitions, there is no shortage of opportunities to engage with the vibrant arts community that thrives in this dynamic city.

Indulge your taste buds in Balti's diverse culinary landscape, where you can savor traditional Moldovan dishes like mamaliga (cornmeal porridge), tochitura (meat stew), and plăcintă (sweet or savory pastry). Don't miss the chance to sample local wines and spirits that reflect the region's viticultural heritage and craftsmanship.

Venture beyond the city center to discover hidden gems in Balti's surrounding areas, from picturesque parks and gardens to historic sites and rural villages.

8. Visit Soroca, the Roma Capital

Soroca Fort - Soroca - Moldova

It would be a pitty if you leave Moldova without visiting Soroca, known as the Roma Capital of Moldova, where history, tradition, and vibrant heritage converge to create a captivating destination like no other. Nestled along the banks of the Dniester River, Soroca beckons visitors to explore its rich tapestry of  Roma culture, architectural wonders, and warm hospitality.

Admire the iconic Soroca Fortress, a medieval stronghold that has stood the test of time and offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside.

Explore the unique blend of architectural styles in Soroca, from Orthodox churches and synagogues to mosques and Roma palaces that reflect the city's diverse cultural influences. Marvel at landmarks like the Candle of Gratitude Monument and the  Gypsy Hill, which pay tribute to Soroca's multicultural past and present.

9. Enjoy Rural Tourism Experiences

Exploring Moldova's countryside offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the country's rich culture and local lifestyle. Life in rural Moldova reflects traditions of bygone eras, where residents tend to their gardens, harvest fruits from their trees, and raise livestock near their homes. Drawing water from wells and cooking in traditional ovens are commonplace activities.

Moldova's rural communities epitomize the spirit of hard work, honesty, and hospitality. Often referred to as the "salt of the earth," these individuals are always willing to lend a helping hand. It is their dedication that truly embodies the essence of Moldova's warmth and authenticity.

For a full list of locations where you can live an authentic rural experience,  check the Moldova.Travel official website.

10. Visit Butuceni Eco-resort for a nature retreat

The  Butuceni Eco-Resort offers a picturesque and welcoming retreat for visitors seeking a unique experience in nature. Situated in one of the most scenic areas in Moldova, the Butuceni Eco-Resort captivates visitors with its natural beauty, surrounded by rocky landscapes and lush greenery.

Guests can choose from cozy rooms or cottages within the resort, providing a comfortable and inviting stay for those looking to immerse themselves in nature.

For dining, the Eco-Resort offers a culinary journey for guests to savor, with the opportunity to enjoy delicious meals prepared by welcoming chefs. Visitors can also participate in culinary masterclasses to learn more about local cuisine.

Families can enjoy a mini zoo within the resort, providing a delightful opportunity to spend a day together surrounded by animals and nature, making it an ideal destination for family outings.

The Butuceni Eco-Resort promises a pleasant and immersive stay for guests, combining natural beauty, comfortable accommodation, gastronomic delights, and family-friendly activities to create a memorable experience in Moldova's picturesque surroundings.