Winters in Moldova tend to be dry which makes ideal weather for wrapping up on city sightseeing tours and seeking out warming bowls of ciorba (soup). The Black Sea has a big part to play in Moldova’s climate helping to create milder winters and longer summers, perfect for grape growing and rich agriculture. The best time to visit Moldova for walking with wildflowers or bird watching is May to June but remember a raincoat as heavy showers can be frequent. Independence Day at the end of August is also worth experiencing, and October finds the countryside alive with colour but, again, don’t forget your mac and brolly.



Things to do in Moldova...

Whether you’re sightseeing in Chisinau or enjoying lunch at a pension in Butuceni, learning more about the secrets and quirky back story of Moldova is much more enjoyable when it comes from a charismatic local guide. From ecclesiastical insight into Capriana Monastery to discovering the trails around Codrii Nature Reserve, exploring with a guide is definitely the best way to find out more about a country that most people couldn’t place on a map.

Cross the border. Thanks to Moldova’s rather cosy proximity to Romania and the Ukraine crossing either border is a great way to hem the cultural threads of this pocket of Eastern Europe, with extended explorations into Belarus opening up opportunities still further. Overnight train journeys from Minsk to Kiev and onwards to historic Lviv offer travellers every chance to maximise their time away with overnight stays in the Eastern Carpathians certainly not to be missed for interested hikers.

Wine production is big business in Moldova with Cricova’s underground wine cellar well worth a visit, if only for the subterranean train ride that takes in many of the storage facilities and tasting rooms that have been visited by a long list of visiting dignitaries. Smaller, family-run wineries also offer fascinating insight into the deep relationship that Moldovans hold with the land as well as lazy afternoons on the terrace enjoying the sunshine, the food, and the harvest.

Things NOT to do in Moldova...

Search for posh nosh. Food in Moldova is usually quite simplistic, rustic fare and includes a lot of meat alongside stuffed cabbage and vine leaves, and freshly made breads and pastries. Sauces tend to be exceptionally flavoursome although not all that spicy, just very tasty. Several posh restaurants offer international fare at international prices but you’d kind of be missing the point as there are loads of excellent and affordable options offering a much more authentic taste of Moldova.

Overlook the birdlife. Herons and wild fowl feature prominently within the wetlands of Moldova with the Padurea Domneasca (Royal Forest) reserve offering old growth forests which also hide a small herd of rewilded bison. The bird life along the River Prut, close to the Romanian border, are akin to what you’d expect to see along the Danube Delta with pelicans, cormorant, spoonbills and terns massing around Manta Lake to get twitchers all of a tizzy.

Bother brushing up on your Russian. Although Moldova was part of the Russian Empire on and off since 1812, the relationship with Romania is far stronger and Romanian is the official language of Moldova apart from in Transnistria. Salut or buna (hi or hello); buna dimineata (good morning); la revedere (goodbye); da (yes); nu (no); multumesc (thank you); scuza-ma (excuse me); unde este…? (where is the…?) and cât costa asta? (how much is this?), are just a few phrases to get you started.
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Linda Maguire, travel consultant at our supplier Undiscovered Destinations, shares some travel advice and personal experiences of Moldova.

City sightseeing

“Chisinau is very diverse and safe, and contains several examples of Soviet architecture interspersed with parks and green spaces, as well as several wide, three-lane boulevards aligned with mulberry and acacia trees to support well-maintained roads and a good public transport system.”

How much does it cost?

“Prices, even in the capital, are reasonable with a three course meal in a decent restaurant costing around 20 Euros. I'd recommend taking US Dollars or Euros rather than Sterling as I found exchanging British Pounds quite difficult; and although there were a couple of ATMs, it's probably better to bring currency rather than relying on credit and cash cards.”

Be brave with food

“There are lots of different dishes to try that might not sound particularity appealing at first but are actually rather delicious; prune based desserts, for example.”

Consider Transnistria

“Transnistria is a breakaway republic and has its own border. The people consider it to be part of Russia and as such a separate country. They speak Russian as their first language although English is also spoken, and it is this outlook and allegiance that makes it different to the rest of Moldova. It’s an interesting place to visit with overnight homestays offering a unique insight into rural life.”
Photo credits: [Temp chart background : Zserghei] [Help desk: Alexandru Panoiu] [City sightseeing : Myrabella] [How much does it cost: Andreas Lehner] [Be brave with food: Ion.bostan] [Consider Transnistria: Clay Gilliland ]
Written by Chris Owen
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