Due to historical circumstances, Moldova, has lost most of its cultural and historical sites and heritage. Even so, this country in the South-East of Europe is a place where one can blend with the nature, rich traditions and the welcoming people that are always happy to show, give and make anyone that steps into their home feel as they are part of that family.
If you think or consider traveling to this hidden place, be aware that in the villages, sometimes in the cities and towns people speak only Romanian and Russian. If you don’t posses any of these languages, please do learn some of the basic phrases, because this will make your travel experience easier and more pleasant 🙂
There’s no best time to go in Moldova, whenever you choose to go, you’ll be welcomed, but some of the things you should keep in mind: July-August, winter holidays and Easter are high seasons, therefore, expect high prices for accommodation, tours and flight tickets.
December, January and February there’s a very high chance that you’ll freeze, but walk on the snow 🙂 There are winters that are harsh, and when I say harsh I mean temperatures below 0 (-10C to -35C), so be well prepared.
If you want to taste from our reaaaally delicious fruits and veggies, then your travel time should be somewhere between June and October 🙂 In June there are plenty of cherries of different sorts and colors. Have you heard about sweet sour cherry, white cherry, pink cherry, bitter black cherry or yellow-red cherry? Well if you’re curious about these, you have one option: go there during June month. For the first wine tasting and moooore veggies and fruits, late September – early October is the way to go.
Autumn in Moldova is very rich in events and Festivals. One that started to gain more attention from the media and people is Gustar Festival. It is held on the one of the most scenic places in Moldova – Orheiul Vechi. The very nice part of it is that foreigners will have the chance to meet locals, try traditional food and even buy some handcrafted souvenirs from the people who are making them! Also, if you have a tent, you can sleep in it and save money for accommodation.
The Festival will be held between 24th and 25th of August 2013. For more information please, click here Gustar Festival. The National Day and Language Day – 27th and 31st of August. During these two days in the Chisinau main square will be held concerts, a fair with local products and at the end of the day fireworks! The events are open to the public free of charge and start from 9am until 12am!
In October there are two events: every year on the second Sunday of October is the Celebration of Wine or Wine Festival. During this day many of the local wine producers will have their exhibition places with free wine tasting and with the chance to buy some of the wine they have there. For the wine lovers and collectors that is a real chance to find old wines or high quality wines at reasonable prices. There will be stalls with local food, non alcoholic drinks and even local honey. My boyfriend really loves the honey, he said it’s nicer than the one you can buy in the Netherlands 🙂 14th of October is Chisinau Day! Another day of concerts and free events all over Chisinau. A fireworks show will begin, somewhere between 11pm and 12am, make sure you are in the right spot to see them! The best place to be is the main square 🙂
For events that have the main theme art, food, music, sports, rural and national holidays, please click on the theme you’re interested the most.
Christmas and New Year’s Eve is celebrated TWICE! Why? In Moldova the main confession is Christian Orthodox, but the church is split: one is following the Gregorian callendar the other one is following the Julian calendar. 🙂
Other holidays are: Easter, 8th of March, 1st and 9th of May.
Some more tips here:
- Try to book in advance all your flight tickets and hotels/hostels/ apartments. If you travel in 2 to 4 people then the cheaper accommodation for you will be to rent an apartment for all of you, because the price is per apartment and not per person! Therefore, when you split the cost it comes cheaper! Also, there are some agencies that offer tickets for breakfast, this means by renting a flat with them you have free breakfast included. I would recommend Suisse, 4rent, CVS, Rental. If you rent a flat from 4rent then most of the time you’ll have breakfast included and the restaurant offers 3 choices for breakfast (Continental, Russian and American! ) 🙂
- Be careful with your belongings. Some people might take the opportunity and try to get your stuff, therefore leave all your expensive things in the locker at your hotel/apartment/hostel, etc.
- Keep small money in your exterior pockets and the credit cards and the rest of your money inside your jacket or inside your bag. Never show that you’re in possession of a large amount of money!
- Try not to split (if you are in a group) and always stay together. Don’t get distracted by people who are asking you directions, different kind of information, etc!
- Travel ONLY with authorized means of transportation. If you need a taxi, call one from your hotel or hire a taxi that has clear logo and phone numbers on it. Just in case, ask driver’s name, take the car’s plate number and the taxi company name. These information will be useful for the unlucky case of leaving something behind/ forgetting something in the car. For a better result and in order to get your things back, you’ll have to call the taxi company within the shortest possible time! This will increase your chance to get your things back. Sometimes drivers get other passengers that can take your stuff without declaring about their finding!
- Check in advance if you need a visa or not. For more information about this very IMPORTANT aspect, please go here or check the page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration.
- For those who want to buy some souvenirs, Moldova is offering a wide variety of handcrafted items : from paintings to wood and stone carvings and sculptures. Please go here to read more about this and maybe find your unique souvenir.
- Wine tours – there are more than one tour agencies that offer such a service. My advise to you is to go on such tour during working days – it’s way cheaper! If you want to know more about these tours, please go here. You can go there by car, by taxi or pay extra to your tour agency.
What is Moldovan cuisine like?
Cuisine of Moldova is based on a variety of fruits, vegetables, grain varieties, cattle breeding and fresh water fish. If you ask me what is your country food like, I will say that the cuisine is very diverse and it took elements, cooking techniques and dishes from Greek, Slavic, Byzantine, Mediterranean and Turkish cuisines.
If you travel to Moldova during late July early August, and stop somewhere in the country side, then you have a high chance to try fresh sweet corn cooked on coals or boiled. It depends on the place you are or the restaurant you go, you can taste fried, baked, filled and served as stand-alone treat or as a side-dish mamaliga/ polenta. We have different types of desserts and pastry made of corn flour. Give them a try! By the way, you’ll be very surprised when you’ll discover the wide range of pastry products that you can find in a big supermarket. The bread has a unique taste here, try the “Borodinski” bread with a cup of warm milk , you’ll be in heaven. 😉
Some of the restaurants and bistros I will recommend you to try, now that I speak about food, are :
- Galbenus – str.A.Puskin, 22 – the CHEAPEST food!
- Eli-Pili – St. Bucureşti, 68 (btw St. Puskin & St. Banulescu Bodoni)
- Robin Pub – St. Alexandru cel Bun, 83 (at St. Alexandru Diordiţă)
- Str. 513 – Blvd. Ştefan cel Mare, 79 (Entrance from St. Mihai Eminescu)
- Delice d’Ange – 31 August 1989 str. 117/2
- Creme de la creme – Strada Alexandru cel Bun 98
- Caramel – Strada Mitropolit Gavriil Bănulescu-Bodoni 4
- La Placinte
- The Flying Pig
- La Taifas
- MallMoldova 4th floor
I hope this post and the links that you can find in it will offer a wider information about what you can see, where to eat and stop over.
One last suggestion: find local friends and your holiday in Moldova will not be the last one there! 😉
Travel safe and wise!