Moldova, visiting the least visited country in Europe


I admit I barely knew anything about Moldova before I got there. I expended my geographical knowledge by travelling around in last two years, because before that I'd probably rater even position it somewhere closer to Armenia and Georgia, rather than between Romania and Ukraine. But that's where it is, and with Ukranian land obstructing it on the South side, only 10 km from the Black sea.

Sometimes refereed to as Romania's little brother that was part of the Soviet Union, it's pretty fascinating how majority of people is actually bilingual, speaking both Romanian and Russian. And perhaps English as well, which makes them fluent in 3 major language groups. Still, Moldova is the poorest country in Europe and also the least visited one. Or as my friend said to me before coming ''With 100 £ you'll live like a king!". And so it was.

Moldovan parliament
Everything there seemed ridiculously affordable. Perhaps the easiest comparison you can made are tobacco prices: while in UK you'd pay 8£ and more for just one box, a packet of fanciest cigarettes in Moldova would cost you around 2£.
You'd spent 20 cents for a city bus in Chisinau, while you can already get a little pack of cookies for  10 cents.

Chisinau, the capital

Still, there's more then enough to see and do while there. Center of Chisinau is full of interesting buildings. By the main street of Bulevard Ștefan cel Mare we can find nice shopping promenade, different governmental buildings, national theatre, monument of Stefan the great and even small Arc de Triumph opposite the majestic government house.

Arc de Triumph with government house in the background

South of it there are several museums, such as art, ethnographic and history one. The latest was, in time of my visit, also holding a very futuristic robotic exhibition, with many interesting inventions to test.

Further down, by the state university, still stands an old water tower, now transformed into museum, with a great view over the city from the top.

Water tower hidden behind spring blossoms

Close by we can also find Valea Morilor park, with majestic staircase leading to the lake. During warmer days it offers great opportunity for a swim or rowing around.
Majestic staircase leading to lthe lake in Valea Morilor park

On the other side, by the International exhibition center, stands ''Vladimir Lenin hall of fame'' his full size statue and busts of Marx.
Lenin's statue in Chisniau


Cricova winery

Despite being small and unknown, Moldova is actually 20th greatest producer of wine, so one shall not leave this place without trying at least some. Beside hectares of vineyards all around the country, you can also find the largest wine cellars in the world, such as Mileștii Mici and Cricova. I visit the latest, that is only about 30 minutes drive north from the capital.


The Cricova winery spreads 100 m deep on over 110 km of tunnels, 80 km of which are used for storing the wine. It's like an underground city, full of streets with meaningful names, such as Dionysus, museum, tasting halls, shop and even a cinema. 

Beside different wine sorts they're also producing their own sparkling wine by traditional method where ageing is done fully in the underground cellars, during which each bottle is turned by hands.

Second most interesting thing is their impressive collection of more than 1.3 million bottles of rare wines, including ''Easter Jerusalem'' and ''Jan Becher'', created in 1902. Important personas from all around the world, such as Vladimir Putin,  are also storing their collections in Grand cellar of Cricova on everlasting temperature of 12°C.

Grand cellar of Cricova winery with rare wine's collections
Our wine tour started with a ride in a train kart to the cinema, where we could enjoy video presentation and a glass of sparkling wine, continued trough different facilities, including the sparkling wine cellar and ended with museum and tasting of several different sorts, combined with some traditional snacks and pastry.

One of the tasting rooms in winery



Where to stay and eat:

I spent my nights at Amazing Ionika hostel, located in center close to all the mentioned attractions and about 20 minutes walk from the main bus station. With private backyard, wonderful hyped interior design, very cosy beds and lovely breakfast. It's a small place with extremely friendly staff that will give you many great recommendations and offer to help you out with whatever you need. The stay cost me 6€ per night with breakfast included.


Restaurant La Placinte, located next to Cathedral park opposite the government building, offers great range of traditional food (such as placinte) and desserts, with a beautiful interior, filled with various local decorations.

Traditional decoration at La Placinte

Donuts & Coffee is hipster styled place that, besides several meals, of course serves donuts and coffee of all kind of flavours. It's relaxing environment with inspiring decoration would also create a great place to work from if needed.

Cappuccino and hazelnut donut at Donuts & Coffee


   

Comments

  1. I would like to visit Moldova asap!
    Kisses, Paola.

    Expressyourself

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  2. I'd love to visit Moldova some day. I'm sure it's a lovely country. I learned something new from your post. I didn't know Moldova was a wine producer. That's interesting! I don't drink wine but I'in interested in wine production and culture.

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  3. would love to visit here one day!! great post! xx, -Lauren
    https://vandifair.com/

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  4. I have a friend from Moldova. She has told me so much about her country.

    www.fashionradi.com

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  5. Thanks a lot :D

    super interesting post my friend

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  6. I see it is really interesting to visit the least visited country in Europe. Thanks for sharing - it makes sense to put it on the own travel list!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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  7. I would love to visit this one day
    Thanks for sharing

    Much Love,
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  8. ¡Hello!
    Beautiful photos. Great post.
    I'm your new follower. Follow for follow?
    Aprovecha La Vida Cada Día
    ¡Kiss!

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  9. Moldova is very close with my home country, I would really love to visit it one day and drink the wine :)
    Thank you for a bunch of beautiful pictures!

    XOXO ♥ MYNOCTURNALITY

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  10. Such an interesting post, this is lovely
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  11. I've heard of Moldova but sure can't remember what I've heard :/ What a little gem and the fact that it's so incredibly affordable is a huge bonus. Obviously they're very up with the times, having a robotic competition, and that they're the 20th largest producer of wines is amazing! The restaurant look so inviting and I'd love to do the wine tour. Thanks so much for sharing this little private place with us!

    Ruth
    www.VogueFauxReal.com

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  12. Great post. Thank you for sharing! :)
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  13. I don't understand why people don't go to Moldova, it appears to be mesmerizing! <3
    Btw, would you like to follow each other? I'm following you on GFC and Bloglovin' now! <3


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  14. Moldova sounds amazing! How I wish I visit a gem of a place just like this. I always go for places that are not swarmed by other tourist.

    sarahrizaga.blogspot.com

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  15. Thanks a lot :D

    super interesting post my friend

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  16. What a stunning country. I never thought to visit Moldova but now I think I need to add it to the list

    Sxx
    daringcoco.com

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  17. I didn't know it was the least visited, but it looks interesting I hope you had a lovely weekend!
    PerlaGiselle | iamperlita.com
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  18. haha, they still have soviet union stuff leftovers.. =) check out youtubemp4

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