Skip to Content

20 Best Things To Do In Moldova For A Quirky Getaway

Sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. Many people forget that Moldova is part of the Old Continent and many people don’t even know it exists. It’s also one of those countries that everyone forgets it was a part of the Soviet Union. It’s a small, charming and underrated country covering only 33,800 square kilometers with 3.5 million residents and it’s one of the least visited countries in the world and the least visited country in Europe with only 121,000 visitors per year and only those who visit know that there are actually a lot of fun things to do in Moldova.

That’s why I like to refer to Moldova as The well-kept secret of Europe. Hopefully, this list gives you at least 20 reasons why should you visit Moldova.

Walk In A 200 km-Long Wine Cellar

Why should you visit Moldova

We start this list of the best things to do in Moldova with Milesti Mici. You probably didn’t know this but Moldova produces some of the finest wine in the world. Moldova is also home to the world’s largest wine cellar in Milestii Mici. There are nearly 2 million bottles in there and this fascinating underground cellar is over 200 km long! Moldovan wine is delicious and affordable: an amazing combination. A lot of Moldovans work in the wine industry and agriculture accounts as the main source of income for almost 40% of the country’s working people.

Wine used to account for $162 million, or 20% of the total exports a few years ago. But after Russia banned Moldovan wine over a political dispute, the wine exports plummeted for over 50% since Russia was the largest importer of Moldovan wine. Finally, you won’t be surprised to hear that they have a day devoted to celebrating wine on the 17th of September. If you’re around during this time of the year, this is something you shouldn’t miss!

Go Back In Time To Soviet Russia


Most Moldovans have Romanian descent and these two languages are almost identical. However, the eastern part of Moldova is inhabited by Russian and Ukrainian speakers. So, after Moldova gained its independence from the Soviet Union and started developing closer ties to Romania and other western European countries, the people in the eastern part of Moldova unilaterally declared independence from Moldova in 1990.

This region today is known as Transnistria and it’s even less developed than the rest of Moldova. Transnistria isn’t recognized as a country by any UN member but it’s still an autonomous region that looks an awful lot like Soviet Russia.

Find A Hidden Monasteries More Than 2,000 Years Old

Orheiul Vechi

This list of the best things to do in Moldova couldn’t be complete without its oldest monastery. You might think Moldova is a Catholic Christian country, like most of the countries in eastern Europe but that’s not the case. Most Moldovans are Orthodox Christian and you’ll find some fascinating monasteries in locations forgotten by the rest of the world. Moldova is home to one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world- Orheiul Vechi, a breathtaking monastery in the middle of nowhere which is more than 2,000 years old.

Visit Chisinau’s Time Capsule

National History Museum chisinau

Located in the heart of Chisinau, this museum is a historical hive buzzing with stories from Moldova’s past. The building itself is a one of Moldova’s most fascinating architectural gems and the exhibits you’ll find inside are the creme-de-la-creme of Moldovan history. The World War II diorama is the main showstopper and the Soviet propaganda collection is also not to be missed. The best part? This museum doesn’t believe in daylight robbery. The entry fee is so modest, your wallet barely feels lighter.

Walk Under Moldova’s Gateway to History and Pride

Chișinău arc de triomphe

Visiting the Triumphal Arch in Chisinau is one of the best things to do in Moldova. It might not be the oldest triumphal arc (it’s actually one of the newest ones) but it’s pretty darn nice. It’s 13-meter high, it was built in the 1840s, and it’s a celebration of the Russian Empire’s victory over the Ottomans. This arch is practical, doubling up as a fancy bell tower with a twist. The bell inside? It’s a recycled work of art, cast from the cannons captured from the Ottomans. Talk about turning swords (or in this case, cannons) into plowshares!

Take A Break In Stephen the Great Park

Stephen the Great Park chisinau

First, the name: Stephen the Great- he’s a Moldovan hero, the kind who wins 34 out of 36 battles and gets a park named after him. The park, like the man, is no slouch in the impressiveness department. Stroll through and you’ll bump into the Alley of Classics. It’s like Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, but for Moldovan literary and political stars. And if you’re lucky, you might stumble upon a concert or art exhibition; this park is as multifaceted as a diamond, with a new sparkle at every turn.

Discover Chisinau’s Street Art And Architecture

things to do in moldova

Chisinau’s walls are splashed with colors and stories, making the city a living, breathing art book. The best part? This art doesn’t need hushed tones or contemplative stares; it’s as casual as a chat over coffee. You might stumble upon a mural near Hotel Cosmos that throws you back to rural life in 1970s Moldova, or one near the Jewish Cemetery serenading you with visual symphonies of music.

As for architecture, it’s a mixtape of styles, from Soviet brutalism to charming 19th-century gems. The city’s skyline is a quirky playlist, with hits like the Romanita Collective Housing Tower – a round block of flats that looks like it’s straight out of a sci-fi flick. There are government buildings that scream Soviet grandeur and old houses that whisper tales from the Russian Empire – low, detailed, and utterly charming.

Explore A 16th Century Fort That’s Still Standing

tighina fortress

Nestled in Transnistria, Bendery is a portal to a time-worn tale, with its fortress standing as the grand narrator. The city itself is a blend of green tranquility and historical scars, where bullet holes from past conflicts are as much a part of the landscape as the trees and rivers. The city’s highlight is the Bendery Fortress– a colossal stone guardian, perched on the banks of the Dniestr River. Built in the 16th century, this fortress have seen the Ottomans, the Russians, Moldovans, and more.

Discover The Cultural Heritage Of Gaugauzia

gaga people

Venturing into Gagauzia is like opening a storybook where each page flutters with vibrant cultural hues, distinct yet harmoniously woven into the fabric of Moldova. This autonomous region, nestled quietly in the southern part of the country, is a cultural cauldron where history, tradition, and identity simmer together. Most Moldovans speak either Romanian or Russian but in Gagauzia, there’s also another regional language- Gagauz. It’s a Turkic language classified as critically endangered by UNESCO. So, if you thought Moldovans don’t have a very rich culture and fascinating traditions, music and dances, you’re wrong!

Visit Saharna, Where Nature and Spirituality Embrace

Saharna moldova

Nestled in the embrace of lush landscapes, Saharna is a quaint village, a stone’s throw from the bustling world where the Holy Trinity Monastery sits as a serene sentinel. Walking through Saharna is like stepping into a painting where every brushstroke is a leaf, every hue a shade of green. The River Saharna, with its 22 waterfalls is one of the main highlights in the area but Saharna’s real magic lies in its footprint – believed to be the Virgin Mary’s – a mystical imprint that turns the village into a pilgrimage site.

Admire Nature În Padurea Domneasca

Padurea Domneasca

This list of the best things to do in Moldova couldn’t be complete without Padurea Domneasca, Moldova’s largest nature reserve, home to a forest over 450 years old. Here, birdwatchers and nature lovers can witness a theater of biodiversity. From the herons nesting near the river to the mysterious landscape of ‘One Hundred Hills,’ it’s like walking through a living, breathing encyclopedia of flora and fauna.

Take A Day Trip to Moldova’s Monastic Marvel

Manastirea Curchi

Nestled serenely in Moldova’s heartland, Manastirea Curchi is like a scene from an old-world fairytale. Think ornate domes piercing the sky, walls whispering tales of yore, and gardens where peace is planted in every petal. Upon arriving, the first thing that strikes you is the monastery’s stunning beauty. It’s like a Renaissance painting brought to life, only better because you’re actually there. The centerpiece is The Mother of God Church, an architectural marvel that caps the 19th century with a divine touch.

See Another Monastic Marvel Built Into A Rock

Tipova Monastery

This list of the best things to do in Moldova can’t be complete without Tipova Monastery. Tucked away in a scenic, almost secret corner of Moldova, this cliffside monastery is where history, spirituality, and nature meet. The monastery is carved into a cliff overlooking the Dniestr River and comprises a trio of complexes that seem to have grown right out of the stone.

The oldest part, the Church of the Feast of the Holy Cross, dates back to the 11th century – a time when history was written not in books, but in stone and spirit. Then there’s the Church of St. Nicholas from the 14th century and Horodiste from the 16th, each a chapter in a saga spanning centuries.

See Lesser-Known Attractions in Chisinau


Now that we covered most of the best things to do in Moldova, let’s focus a bit more on its quirky capital which also, by the way, happens to be one of the greenest ones in Europe. Here are a few quirky places you won’t find in most tourist guides. To add to that, the countryside surrounding the capital is gorgeous and the life in the villages is really interesting and something you won’t find anywhere else in Europe. In Moldova, there’s a saying that translates to The one who failed to build a home, raise a son, and plant a tree has wasted his life. That’s probably one reason why Moldova is so green.

Soviet Mosaics: A Silent Storyteller: First on our offbeat tour are Chisinau’s Soviet-era mosaics. Scattered across the city like breadcrumbs, each mosaic is a piece of a puzzle, a silent whisper from the past. Near Hotel Cosmos, for instance, there’s a mosaic that’s a time capsule of rural life in 1970s Moldova.

Quirky Cafes: Where Aroma Meets Ambiance: Next, let’s take a caffeine detour. Chisinau’s café scene is a budding romance between coffee and culture. Places like Tucano Coffee and Invino Wine Bar offer a glimpse into the city’s heartbeat.

Forgotten Historical Nooks: Whispers of the Past: Chisinau is sprinkled with historical tidbits that often escape the tourist’s eye. There’s the Jewish Cemetery, a solemn ground narrating tales of a once-thriving community. And the best way to explore these places is by

Taking A Walking Tour

ore moldova

Speaking of the best things to do in Moldova, we should also mention a few of the best walking tours you can find across the country.

Chisinau’s Cultural Promenade: Start in Chisinau with a walking tour that’s like a crash course in Moldovan culture. Wander through streets lined with Soviet-era architecture, stumble upon vibrant mosaics that tell stories of the past, and sip a coffee in quaint, burgeoning cafes.

Tiraspol’s Time Warp Trail: Next, let’s tread into the intriguing land of Transnistria, particularly its capital, Tiraspol. This walking tour is akin to stepping through a portal into the Soviet era.

Orhei Vechi’s Scenic Steps: For a nature-infused journey, head to Orhei Vechi. Hike through green pastures, alongside the Raut River, to reach the ancient cave monasteries on an unforgettable spiritual journey.

The Vineyard Ventures: No walking tour list in Moldova is complete without a vineyard stroll. Whether it’s the sprawling, underground wine city of Cricova or the historic cellars of Milestii Mici, each step is a foray into the world of winemaking.

Bender’s Historical Hike: In Bender, the walking tour is a journey through chapters of conflict and resilience. The tour around Bender Fortress is a trek through centuries of battles and stories of survival.

Go On A Moldovan Gastronomy Adventure

moldovan food

One of the best ways to explore and learn about a country is through its cuisine and fortunately, Moldovans love sharing their food with foreigners and you can find a lot of exciting food tours around. Some of my favorites include the Cricova wine tour and this food + wine tasting gastronomy tour.

Taste Moldova’s Finest Wines

moldova wine

Coming to Moldova and not tasting its wine is like going to visiting Italy and not trying pasta– you miss out on an essential, soul-stirring experience that is central to the very spirit of the place. Moldovan winemaking traditions are hundreds of years old and their wines are some of Europe’s most underrated varieties.

See The Gypsi Hill Of Soroca

soroca hill

For being the poorest country in Europe, it’s very surprising to see a bunch of rich people flaunting their wealth in the town of Soroca. They have built some astonishing houses that look like replicas of some of the national landmarks, like Peter’s Basilica and the Bolshoi theatre. Today this town is commonly known as Gypsy Hill and is becoming a hot tourist attraction with tourists from around the world coming to admire this replica town.

Get The Most Out Of Your Money


If you’re a budget traveler and are planning to visit Molodava, you’ll definitely have a great time. Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. This means everything is a lot cheaper than you can even imagine. The average salary in Moldova is 4,900 Moldovan Lei, which is equal to $250. A one-way ticket for the tramway in the capital, Chisinau costs 7 cents. A monthly pass costs around $10 USD. 500 ml of beer will cost you 75 cents in the shop and $1.5 USD in the bar. There are hostels for $6 USD per night and hotels for $15 USD per night, which is really cheap for European standards.

Summary Of Things To Do In Moldova

best things to do in moldova

In conclusion, Moldova seems like a country stuck in an eternal transition. The transition from communism to democracy certainly didn’t go as planned and Moldova is drowning in poverty and it’s the least visited country in Europe. Some travel bloggers even say that they regret ever visiting Moldova and describe the people as too rigid and robotic. Don’t expect people holding doors for you or saying “thank you” and “you’re welcome”.

That’s the case in most former Soviet countries but once you make some Moldovan friends you’ll get to see how warm and hospitable people they truly are. I guess it’s just part of their culture to be more reserved. You need to understand their culture in order to fit in. And understanding different cultures is one of the main reasons for traveling.

Moldovan people are really hospitable even though they might come across as cold in the beginning. However, once you get to know some of them you’ll see that they are very cheerful and like to sing and dance much more than other Eastern European people. Moldovan girls are also one of the most beautiful girls in the world but there are a lot of tourist scams involving these beautiful girls, so be careful.

Get up to 20% off on car rentals in Moldova by using this link.

Looking for travel insurance for your upcoming trip to Moldova? Compare travel insurance carriers and their offers before booking.

Use this Booking special offer to get the best accommodation deals in Moldova. 

And last but not least, don’t forget to check whether you need a visa for Moldova. If you do, you can easily obtain it through Ivisa. I used their services in the past and I always recommend them

Did this article give you enough reasons why should you visit Moldova? Let us know in the comments! 

Like it? Pin it.

8 Reasons to visit moldova
8 epic reasons to visit Moldova

Auleen Heffron

Tuesday 21st of January 2020

Thank you for the review. We were there in February and March 1998 to adopt a beautiful 10 month old baby. We are finally going back so she can experience her birth country, which we learned has changed tremendously. When we travelled there in 1998 it was not considered too safe for Americans. We are traveling this April. We have several friends and contacts in Moldova because we have hosted two young women from Moldova as part of a professional sharing program in North Carolina, which is a sister city, and have met many Moldovans that migrated here. They are wonderful loving and kind, exactly as you have described.

Passport Symphony

Tuesday 4th of February 2020

That's so nice of you! I wouldn't know how it was in the late 90s as I was only 5 years old in 1993 but things sure have changed. Thank you for sharing your experience and I hope you get the chance to visit again :)

Archana Singh

Tuesday 27th of November 2018

I have been wanting to go to Moldova for a long time. In fact, I do have two friends from there who keep talking about the 200 km long underground cellar. Being a wine lover and a Food & Wine magazine writer, this is top on my 2019 list.

Passport Symphony

Tuesday 27th of November 2018

If you're a wine lover, you'll definitely love it. I hope you get the chance to visit someday.

Ami Bhat

Saturday 24th of November 2018

Moldova is such a surprise package. The Hidden monasteries, the greenery and the whole culture in general. Nice to know about their language nuances as well. The post was an interesting read

Passport Symphony

Saturday 24th of November 2018

Thank you, Ami

Soumya Gayatri

Saturday 24th of November 2018

I was not aware that Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. So obviously, that makes it an easier destination for our pockets. I havent read much on Moldova. So this was an eye opener for me. The country looks beautiful. And I would love to visit some of those hidden monasteries with tonnes of history. And that wine cellar looks interesting as well.

Passport Symphony

Saturday 24th of November 2018

Yes, it is, which, as you said, makes it pocket-friendly. I hope you get the chance to visit soon


Saturday 24th of November 2018

Thank you for this informative post about Moldova! I have never considered visiting there, but you have intrigued me to reconsider. The town of Soroca sounds so interesting with it's Gypsy Hill expensive recreations of historical places. The beautiful red gold autumn colors you mentioned always call to me. That sounds like the perfect season to visit! Thank you for presenting an opinion of the country that differs from the norm.

Passport Symphony

Saturday 24th of November 2018

Thank you, Sierra! I'm really glad to hear you liked the article.