Formerly, Moldova was known to have a controversial travel destination. In the past, Moldova has been brushed off due to being one of the poorest European countries and landlocked by other nations.
But the facts are that Moldova has grown, changed, and has come a long way to become an up-and-coming travel destination.
From their decreasing crime rate to their friendly people, Moldova will leave every tourist wanting more of this wine-loving country. If you haven’t decided whether Moldova would be right for you, here are some reasons why we love this developing travel destination.
Over the past few years, Moldova has morphed from an unfriendly location to greenery full of hospitality. More recently, tourists have reported that the country is now booming with offering accessible vineyards tours, historical landmarks, wildlife nature reserves, and increased local hospitality.
Due to this shift in attitude, tourism boomed in the past two years. In 2021, tourism doubled and reached a whole 762,900 nights booked. The tourism boom has also coincided with a decrease in crime rates.
Moldova has relatively good public transportation with bus capacities as low as 15 passengers. Due to the small population, both small minibusses and large 24-seater buses and coaches are available throughout the city depending on the destination’s popularity.
Popular tourist attractions include Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, and Orheiul, a popular open-air complex with fantastic archeological structures. The Cricova Winery is also a popular tourist attraction with tasting rooms and guided tours. The best part is that Orheiul and Cricova Winery are both located within 30-40 minutes away from Chisinau.
These public buses are relatively cheap, and the price of one ride converts to 21 cents in USD. Bus travel can be an excellent option for travelers on a budget. Not to mention, Moldovan buses are typically always on time!
You’ll find the European cafe experience of your dreams within Moldova’s capital. How does this experience differ from the rest of the world?
European coffee is consumed strategically throughout the day. Where coffee with milk is considered a breakfast item and black coffee is an after 12 pm event. The coffee is also stronger in flavor and consumed in small cups rather than 12 oz coffee mugs.
Surrounding Cathedral Park, you’ll find shops lining the outer perimeter. Here you can find and sample placinta, a warm flakey local pastry native to Moldova. Other popular Moldovan foods include zeama, cusma lie guguta (Guguta’s hat cake), and spritati cookies.
You can even experience a good cup of strong local Moldovan coffee while enjoying the free Wi-Fi offered at the park. The amenities and delicate ambiance make it a great place to visit with family, friends, or alone.
The park offers a great outdoor scene for all the digital nomads to work on their laptops while sipping Turkish coffee. Tourists have the opportunity to experience Turkish coffee and other imported delicacies due to the nation’s landlocked borders.
Surrounding nations unite to sell resources that cannot be provided by Moldova’s land. For this reason, Moldova has Russian gas to power their country, Ukrainian seeds and soil, and other imported resources.
As the Moldovian people hope to cater to the rise of tourism in their country for more revenue growth, their attitude has evolved to embrace their visitors with time.
Moldovan tour agencies and travel groups are welcoming tourists to take historical and lifestyle tours to visit their monasteries, wineries, vineyards, and unique festivals. Moldovan festivals surround themes such as classical music, folklore, and even fitness!
Many tourists claim that Moldovans are warm and friendly people eager to share their culture with others. Moldovans often share their experiences with tourists and explain how Moldova manages to thrive as a landlocked country. For those who don’t know, Moldova is blocked off from natural resources from neighboring countries such as Ukraine and Romania, forcing it to rely on other nations.
Imported natural resources that Moldovans rely on are seeds, soil, gas, and fuel. Without importations, Moldovans would lack power in their homes and be unable to continue powering their vineyards and wineries.
Moldova is more famously known for its wine exports and for having one of the highest alcohol per capita in the world. If you are an adult who enjoys wine and learning about the effort that goes into crafting quality wine, this is the place for you.
Popular bars and wine tasting rooms include the Carpe Diem Wine Shop and Bar, Escobar, and Marlene. Each location offers wine, mixed drinks, and beer to its guests, the wine being the most popular choice.
Aside from local bars, tourists can take advantage of local wineries such as Cricova, KaraGani, and Et Cetera. Cricova is most famous for its expansive wine cellars; KaraGani is family-owned and almost feels like home, while, Et Cetera offers quality wine and humble owners.
The night scene can be a bit hectic, but be aware that drunks are unavoidable in an area with the highest alcohol per capita in the world.
It is important that travelers avoid engaging with the local drunks as this can pose a safety threat. Regardless of the claims that Moldova has calm drunks, engaging with people in a drunk state always comes with a risk. Along with being cautious of others, tourists should be cautious of getting too drunk themselves in unfamiliar locations, especially at night.
Due to the small economy of Moldova, you can find most items for pretty cheap. With just 1 leu equating to 0.21 USD, the conversion rate is excellent for tourists.
Reportedly, a beer at a restaurant can cost you a little over 4 leu. 4 leu is the equivalent of about 0.90 cents in USD. For backpackers and budget travelers looking to travel on a shoestring budget, Moldova offers great prices all-round.
With differing customs and pay rates, some countries require tipping and other countries can find tipping to be offensive. To avoid offending your waiter, research what is customary in the area you are visiting.
Moldova is home to many rivers, climbing locations, and cycling trails. The best part is that these amenities are offered sporadically around the country with smaller Moldovan cities offering the bulk of climbing locations and trails.
In Criva, travelers will find Emil Racovita Cave, one of the longest caves in the world. In Cobani, climbers will find their safe haven with multiple climbing options; meanwhile, river enthusiasts will find the Dniester river running through 4 key cities and draining into the Black Sea.
When visiting Chisinau, Moldova’s capital, tourists will encounter recreational activities such as skydiving, kayaking, hot air balloon rides, and ATV tours. These area tours typically include scenic routes perfect for all types of photographers, casual or professional.
Moldova is home to many traditional festivals involving wine, street food, folklore, and music.
Popular festivals include Victory Day, Wine Day, Bitei, and Velo Hora. Most celebrations involve Moldovan culture and traditions except for Velo Hora. Velo Hora unites individuals to cycle together to promote healthy and active living.
Aside from culturally enriching festivals, Moldova also hosts classical music festivals and combines them with their popular wine festivals.
Moldova is known to have a temperate continental climate, hence you’ll find Moldovan summers long and hot while their winters are short and mild.
Moldova’s hot summers open the window for tourists looking to escape winter in their countries for a long and hot tropical getaway for a long stretch of time. Their summers usually last from June to September, giving tourists a large enough window to experience the great Moldovan Summer.
In the past 20 years, Moldovans have seen a crime decrease of 80%. The decreasing crime rate credits itself to the ongoing police reform movement.
With the Police Development Strategy, Moldova has increased police presence in regard to nightlife, crime scene investigations, and laboratories. In addition to providing more security presence, Moldova now has 15 police departments that each contribute to community policing.
Travelers should continue to practice common safety measures such as avoiding being out late and getting too intoxicated. While there is more police coverage in the nation, travelers should not rely on the police to be their only line of safety.
Moldova has grown exponentially over the years and is giving their other neighbouring countries such as Romania, a run for their money. From its beautiful season changes, low crime rate, and budget-friendly adult scene, Moldova is developing into the next big tourist attraction.
The next time you’re wondering where to go on vacation, consider visiting the small country of Moldova. Moldova will welcome you with open arms and wallet-friendly prices. Who doesn’t love to travel without breaking the bank?