Moldova flag, Chisinau

8 Reasons to Visit Moldova in 2024

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If you say you’re planning on visiting Moldova, a common question you may get asked is “where is that?!”. To say that Moldova isn’t on the usual tourist trail is an understatement.

But Moldova has its charms and perks with plenty of reasons to visit Moldova if you haven’t already been.

I was a bit confused before I went to Moldova, I knew of it as a country and I knew a few things about it, but there is very little information online about travelling around the country and not much practical advice either. But now I have been once, it is a country I would go back to.

But if this if your first trip coming up, or you are still just considering it, I dive in and give you plenty of reasons to visit Moldova as a part of your travels this year.

The 8 Reasons to Visit Moldova in 2024

It’s cheap

Moldova is probably the most budget friendly destination in Europe. (This title previously went to Ukraine but I wouldn’t recommend visiting there now.) Unfortunately, Moldova is cheap because it is also the poorest country in Europe, but for travellers that go on a budget, this is a secret blessing. Dorms in hostels and small guesthouses are very affordable, especially compared to other parts of Europe.

Haggle in the markets around Chisinau and you’ll see that food is affordable if you want to cook yourself, but a meal out with a beer can be well under €10 as well.

For the budget travelling, Moldova is a dream.

Chisinau central market, Moldova
Fresh pomegranate juice at the market

You get to go to the least visited country in Europe

If you like collecting countries or going to off the beaten path destinations (of course you do, you’re reading this blog!) then Moldova is the least visited country in Europe. According to some sources, fewer than 10,000 tourists visit Moldova each year.

It’s unlikely that any of your friends have been to Moldova and seen everything the country has to offer, so why not spread the word to others after you return home!

Valea Morilor Lake, Chisinau, Moldova
Not many other people here…

Taste fantastic wine

One of the best things that Moldova is known for is its wine.

Think that France or Italy might have some of the biggest wine stores in Europe? Think again!

Mileștii Mici winery is in the Guiness World Record books for having the largest wine cellars in the world at over 2 million bottles! Buried underground, the cool temperatures in the limestone rock make it perfect for preserving the wine at the highest quality.

Cricova winery also has a massive collection and the chance to sample a few different wines when you visit their cellar door.

Wine and food at Milestii Mici winery, Moldova
The tasting menu at Milestii Mici
Milestii Mici Winery Guiness World Records, Moldova
The Guinness World Record certificate

Step back to the Soviet era

A short bus ride from the capital Chisinau lies the disputed region of Transnistria, a sliver of land on the eastern border of Moldova with Ukraine.

With the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moldova became an independent nation but Transnistria has kept its Soviet traditions with Lenin statues adorned with Cyrillic script, Russian spoken instead of Romanian and roubles being used to purchases instead of the Moldovan Lei. The flag of Transnistria even has the hammer and sickle of the USSR on the top left hand corner of it.

It really feels like stepping back into another world. I stayed at Hostel Like Home, one of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in and drank plenty of Kvint, the local cognac, whilst having a tour around the region which was one of the best things I did in Moldova.

Visit Tiraspol, Bender and see memorials of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, in one of the strangest places you’ll visit.

Lenin's head, Hostel Like Home, Transnistria, Moldova
My hostel in Transnistria

It’s outside the EU

I may be talking to a very small subset of travellers here but bare with me!

If you’re travelling around Europe, then you will know of the dreaded 90 in 180 Schengen rule.

This means that you can only spend 90 out of every 180 days within the Schengen Zone, a part of the European Union that has freedom of movement and zero passport checks. After visiting places as varied as Bulgaria, Portugal, Estonia and Denmark within three months, at some point you have to leave that zone and Moldova may just be the perfect place to visit for a while to allow those 90 days to reset.

(Another option outside of the Schengen Zone in Europe would be Albania, which is also one of my favourite countries and has plenty of reasons to visit)

Moldovan parliament Chisinau

Feel a little bit of Paris…

OK this one may need a bit more imagination, but imagine an Arch de Triumph, large boulevards and historical statues. Sounds like Paris?

Well it’s actually the main street in the capital Chisinau, Strada 31 August. When i visited on a beautiful clear autumnal day it is easy to image that the yellow of the trees, the white statues and road drenched in sunlight wasn’t Moldova at all.

Arcul de Triumf, Chisinau, Moldova
Is this Paris or Chisinau?

Friendly people

With very few tourists around, Moldovans are intrigued when you visit their country. “How did you hear about us?”  and even the classic “Why are you here?” as if you’ve entered some form of purgatory.

But with that, their natural curiosity will welcome you and you will have varied conversations, especially with the educated younger generation that look more to the west than to the east.

Chisinau beer, Moldova

Fascinating churches

Moldova has plenty of Eastern Orthodox churches and monasteries dotted around the country. In every village you pass through, a tall domed roof stands out from the sky above everything around it.

These churches are nothing like you would see in other parts of Western Europe but are similar to those found in other countries in the region. But their colours against the rest of the landscape really make them stand out as a symbol of note when visiting Moldova. Even more fascinating is the Orheiul Vechi underground cathedral. To get there, check out this guide.

Eastern Orthodox, Noul Neamt Monastery, Chitcani, Transnistria, Moldova
Eastern Orthodox Monastery, Chitcani

Summing up the reasons to visit Moldova

Moldova was a country that surprised me a lot on my travels. I hadn’t heard many things about it and information on the country was hard to come by as so few people manage to make it to this little corner of Europe.

But those that do are treated to a unique and friendly country with a fascinating array of things to see and do that you wouldn’t expect. I highly recommend to add Moldova to your list of places you want to visit soon.

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