MOLDOVA 9 DAYS
Group size 10 Start Chisinau
Countries 1 End Chisinau
Reviews 0 Reviews0/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Welcome to Moldova! First of all, we would like to congratulate you on your decision to explore this country, which is far from being a typical travel destination. However, this means that you will feel really rewarded for this decision. It is a rare case when the Creator bestowed so many gifts to one land, as He did for Moldova. On a relatively small territory, which is still larger than, for example, Belgium, hilly landscapes, dreamy forests, authentic-looking villages and hospitable people melded to create a true concert of feelings and experiences for a traveler. Once the famous Russian poet, exploring this country, called it ‘Southern fairyland’, but today this South-European country can offer her guests a lot more than 200 years ago. Now better known, if known at all, as “the poorest country in Europe”, Moldova refuses today to live up to her reputation anymore. You can experience a country that is ready to be awake from her sleep like a fairy-tale Snow White. So give her a decisive kiss!
- 8 x nights: 5 x Chisinau, 3 x Soroca.
- Meals: BB + 3 lunches (Palanca, Trebujeni, Comrat)
- All-route English-speaking guide.
- Transfer by modern coach throughout the whole trip.
- English-speaking city tours (or other languages required) in Chisinau, Tiraspol, Sococa, Comrat.
- Entrance+guided tours: All sacred buildings according to the program, the Ethnographic Museum in Butuceni, fortress in Soroca, fortress in Tighina, Pushkin Museum in Dolna, remains of the Heto-Dacian fortress in Old Orhei, Museum of Gagauz History and Ethnography and performance in Besalma, Manuk Bey in Hincesti, wine cellar Cricova
- Other highlights: wine tasting, visiting carpet-weaver.
- Visa Fee
- Travel Insurance
- Single Supplement
- Any meals not mentioned
- Any transfers not mentioned (e.g. first and last day)
- Any expenses of a personal nature
- Camera/video permits
- Tips to the guide and driver
Welcome to Moldova! First of all, we would like to congratulate you on your decision to explore this country, which is far from being a typical travel destination. However, this will mean only that you will feel really rewarded for your decision, because it is a rare case that the Creator lavished so many gifts on one land, as He did for Moldova. On a relatively small territory, which is still larger than, for example, Belgium, melded hilly landscapes, dreamy forests, very authentic-looking villages and inimitable hospitable people to create for the traveler a true concert of feelings and experiences. Once the famous Russian poet while exploring this country called it Southern fairy land, but today this South-European country can offer her guest even more and not only in terms of tourism. Better known, if known at all, as “the poorest country in Europe”, Moldova refuses today to live up to her reputation any more. You can experience a country on the rise, a country which is going to rouse soon from her sleep like a fairy-tale figure. So, give her the decisive kiss. You arrive in Chisinau. After check-in at the hotel we still have a couple of hours for the first acquaintance with the city. The locals call the city “the white stone flower”, though the very name is derived from “chisla noua” – “a new spring” so derived. During the city tour we will try to understand what has inspired people to resort to such a comparison. We will explore the center with the main street – Stefan cel Mare, which is the main artery of the Moldovan capital, we will see the government district and the Arc de Triomphe, we will walk through the Pushkin Park and down the “Avenue of the classics” of the Romanian Literature, visit the Cathedral of Christ’s Nativity, Constantine and Helena Church. In the evening we go to the local restaurant with Moldovan cuisine.
Obligatory motives of each trip to Moldova
The density of the well-preserved monasteries makes Moldova a desired country for pilgrimages. Most are interesting from both religious and architectural point of view. They look more like fortresses, for in course of their centuries-long history they often served as a protection for the inhabitants from invading hordes. In Codrus we visit the Capriana Monastery, which was built in the 15th century and was once the residence of the Metropolitans. For many years the monastery was closed and only after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was reopened. Thus, the monastery is considered as the symbol of the rebirth of the whole Moldova. Afterwards we go to the small village Dolna, the Country Estate of former Zamfir Ralli Arbore. The most famous Russian poet Pushkin spent there three years in exile. Thus, we will visit the Pushkin Museum in the village and learn among other things, about his great love in this Moldovan village. There is a wonderful park with a garden cottage, flowerbeds, Zemfira spring and Pushkin monument. The Ralli-Arbor’s manor house is an architectural reminder of its owner’s Greek heritage with peculiarities of Moldavian rustic architecture. During the walk we can enjoy the magnificent panoramic view and the unity with the quiet and beautiful nature. In the museum we learn about the great love of the poet to the gypsy Zemfira and get acquainted with the authentic interior of the house from Pushkin times. Finally we visit in Hincesti the country residence of the Ottoman prince Manuk Bey in Hincesti. The building was erected in 17th century and its design definitely reveals Armenian roots of its owner. In the evening we come back to Chisinau.
Traditions and nature
Today we explore how the Moldovans harness the rich and varied natural resources of the country. Our first stop is Codru Natural Reservation, the largest nature reserve in Moldova. The number of natural forms and species impresses even during a short walk in the woods. The reserve Codru protects almost 100 species of plants. The most important tree species are beech and oak. The fauna of the reserve represents typical forest areas of Central and Western Europe. There is a picturesque floodplain and a rich natural museum in reserve, which of course we visit. Next on our way is a stop at the Private Museum of Crafts ”Casa Părintească” (”Parents’ home”). Four rooms are decorated in traditional style and equipped with old national handmade items. The owner of the guest house takes us through her museum with various craft products, through her household and we see the dairy, jam and juice production. Afterwards we will be surprised at the rustic lunch with culinary specialties as well as with wonderful tea from local herbs. The afternoon we dedicate to acquaintance with a small apiary where the owner shows his property and gives a short various kinds of honey. The next stop is a pottery. A very talented potter presents his art in front of the guests and tells interesting details about his ceramics and pottery. This famous and respected person has revived the traditions of Moldovan pottery. After sightseeing and so many impressions, we cover a long distance north to the hotel in Soroca where we have dinner and overnight.
Old-believers and gypsy villages
After breakfast we explore Soroca. The main landmark of the city is of course the fortress from the end of the 15th century, a “real pearl of architecture”. Not everyone knows it, but the fortress owing to the perfect design of its five defense colons that have an identical distance from each other, is considered to be a perfect castle of South-Eastern Europe. And once again we will talk about storks and grapes. According to a beautiful legend, once when the fortress was occupied the storks saved the inmates from starvation by bringing them grapes. Further you will see the “Thanksgiving Candle”. The monument was erected on a steep rock on the bank of the Dniester River. On the top one can read the inscription: “Wayfarer, stop! Light the candle thanksgiving. If you ever in your life was grateful to someone – rise and pray and continue your way! “After a short walk through a gypsy quarter in Soroca with many huge houses, all extravagantly decorated, we will drive a few miles further to get to the village Pokrowka – an ancient village of Old Believers in the north of the Republic. Enjoy here national colour – coal samovars and tea with raspberry jam, the ancient recipe of which is traditionally passed from generation to generation. The next point on our program is Monastery in Rudi, the Trinity Church from the 18th century. Geography lovers will also be delighted to see the geodetic survey point by Struve. In the evening we come back to Soroca.
Through a gypsy village to artisans
Right after breakfast we take a short walk through a gypsy quarter in Soroca with many huge houses with all kinds of decoration. This gives you the impulse for colorful impressions of this day. Afterwards we will visit a carpet-weaver. Today we can take a look behind the scenes of this craft. The craftswoman leads us through her studio, where she tells the story and the origin of every single object that she was able to collect in Moldova and kept carefully and with special love. Her collection includes numerous carpets from Bessarabia, from every corner of Moldova, old-fashioned looms, old pottery, robes, wool and cotton items. In the afternoon we visit the nearby granite mine – the only one in Moldova. It is also in operation up to now. The inhabitants of the neighboring village are known for their stone art. They produce religious and ritual-related things as well as very practical objects of applied art. You will be able to attend the mining and working process as well as talk to the foremen. For the night we come back to Soroca.
Old villages and ancient Orhei
Our next highlight for today is the Curci monastery, which is said to be founded owing to a beautiful story of the conversion of robber gang to Christianity. Subsequently we drive to Orheiul-Vechi (the Old Orhei) a 40,000 years old amphitheater. Traces of many ancient civilizations including those of the Dacians, to whom the present Moldovans are believed to be related, have been found there. The ruins of the Geto-Dacian fortress are also to be seen here. You will visit the ruins of a medieval town and the unique cave monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary from the 13th century carved high above the river Reut in the rocks. The river here flows through the S-shaped plateau, with the up to 60 m high slopes riddled like Swiss cheese. Our lunch we will enjoy in Trebujeni – a small village nearby. You will not only savour the Moldovan traditional cuisine, but also get a chance to visit a private household, which will give you an insight of the Moldovan lifestyle. We will continue our acquaintance with the Moldovan country life in the ethnographic museum in Butuceni. We would recommend you to visit the wine cellar and taste the local wines, because wine is an obligatory motive of each trip to Moldova. Wine-growing areas account for 25% of the total territory of the country. Even on the geographical map, the country has the form of a bunch of grapes. A stork with a bunch of grapes in its beak is the symbol of Moldova. For example, you can visit the Cricova winery. It is a pearl of the Moldovan wine that represents a unique underground city well-known all over the world by its huge labyrinths. The corridors in the basement are almost 200 km long. Of course, an extensive wine tasting is waiting for you there. Overnight in Chisinau.
Day in Transnistria
Our destination for this day is Transnistria – an unfaithful region in the south of the country. From the political perspective Transnistria is involved in a long-lasting conflict with Moldova. Certainly, your guide will share with you profound knowledge on the topic. Though under the international law Transnistria is considered as part of Moldova, de facto since 1990 it is independent from the central government in Chisinau. Not a single state or international organization has recognized Transnistria as a sovereign state. Deeply upset by this fact, Transnistria has founded the community of non-recognized states. Prepare to learn many more curiosities from our tour guide. Further, on the way, we see a Memorial Complex commemorating those fallen in the battle of Chisinau in the Second World War. In Tighina (Bender) we explore a fortress, built around 1408, which is now a Russian army base. Afterwards, we will have a little walking tour in the center of Tiraspol, which is known as a capital of Transnistria. It looks like a huge open-air museum of relics from the Soviet Union. A discarded tank and Lenin’s marble bust serve as examples of grief over the collapse of the Soviets. All this atmosphere creates an extremely interesting image for Western visitors. Under the impression we set off back to Chisinau. In the evening enjoy your free time in the capital.
Trip to Gagauzia
We start our day with visiting central market in Chisinau. Among these huge halls you can taste and buy local specialties or just walk through this eastern-style melting pot. Afterwards we head to the autonomous region of Gagauzia. There are only about 200 thousand Gagauzians in the whole world, three-quarters of whom live in Moldova. The roots of this ethnic group are still not completely known. In any case, we know that the Gagauzians speak Turkic language, they are Orthodox Christians and they have been living in this region for many centuries. Now they have partial autonomy within Moldova. In the middle of Budzhak steppe lies a capital of Gagauzia, Comrat. Interestingly that this region was named after the horse of folk hero. We will have a brief walk at the city center and then head to the neighboring village Besalma, where we visit National Gagauz History and Ethnographic Museum. Here you can get to know with customs of this ethnic group. Afterwards a brief folk performance will wait for us, during which, be there mood and inspiration, you can get involved in the show. In the evening we come back to Chisinau where we have a farewell dinner with our group.
Our program comes to its end. In the morning you will still have a couple of hours to enjoy a stroll through the city center of Chisinau, buy the souvenirs or to send a few postcards to your friends or family. We hope you have discovered Moldova, its culture, traditions and nature, and will keep this emotions for your lifetime. We are always happy to become your devoted companion for your future travels!