12 Cool Places to Visit in Moldova

Saturday, January 27, 2018

You are interested in Eastern Europeinfo-icon but have no idea what places to visit in Moldovainfo-icon?

Let’s start with the country’s history. Moldova is an Eastern European country that celebrated its independence from the Soviets on 27th of August 1991. Before being a part of URSS, Moldova was a region of Romaniainfo-icon with which it shares the language, traditions, and a very long history. Today, Moldova is a mix of ethnic groups trying to build a European country.

There are many beautiful places to visit in Moldova, the country in the shape of a bunch of grapes. Actually, wine is probably the best product of Moldova and you can find it worldwide. On the low Moldavian hills, there are a lot of forests and wineries where you can spend a lovely time. Besides wine, you can enjoy cities loaded with history, friendly and welcoming people, and great pies and sweets. Try some special candies called “Bucuria” (the joy) and the joy will come to you for sure.

#1 Chisinau


Chisinau is the first place to visit in Moldova. It is the capital and the largest city in the country. Chisinau is the 3rd green city in Europeinfo-icon due to its large parks and forests. In terms of architecture, Chisinau is a new city. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1977, the city was rebuilt in the Soviet style. Since its independence, the constructions have followed a modern style and in the forests of Chisinau steel, concrete, and glass buildings have risen.

Take advantage of the green part of the city and visit some of the parks here. Start with the Cathedral Park, the most famous and central one. It is surrounded by the Triumph arch, built in 1841, the Government House, Stefan cel Mare Monument, and the city's biggest flower market.

Next is Rose Valley, a 9 ha park, with 3 lakes and many restaurants, then Riscani Park, 32 ha of wooded park, Botanica Park, the largest and the most beautiful of all, Valea Morilor Park, Dendrariu Park, Alunelul Park, with a memorial to the pogroms, Memorial Park, with its eternal flame in memory of unknown soldiers of World War II.

Besides parks and monuments, you can visit museums that teach you about the life and history of the country. At the Chisinau City Museum, the beautiful city panorama is a bonus. Go to the observatory room from the former water tower and enjoy the view.

#2 Bender

Bender in Moldova

Bender, alias Tighina, appears in the documents from the 14th century. This old fortress and city was a rayah of the Ottomans in the 14th century and later on, belonged to the Russian Empire. But the Moldavians always tried to retake it and they succeeded in 1918.

Today, Bender is again separated. Since 1992, although the city belongs to Moldova, Bender has been under the administrative control of Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (Transnistriainfo-icon). The city is situated just between the two entities and was witness to the heaviest fight of the war that separated Moldova and Transnistria.

Bender is one of the controversial places to visit in Moldova. But it is full of history and has plenty to see. Visit Bender Fortress, an impressive Ottoman fortress built in the 16th century. Several museums will tell you all about the history of this place. And the beautiful panorama of Dniestr River will make the day even better. You can visit the fortress by yourself or in an organized trip from Chisinau.

#3 Orhei

Places to visit in Moldova

People have been here since 1300 BC. Orhei has very old roots. Migratory peoples have given this place an oriental style. For many years, Orhei was a commercial hub, attracting people from all over Asiainfo-icon and Europe. Today, its glory has faded out, but there are still many ethnic groups living here. Russians, Ukrainians, Gypsies, Bulgarians, Jews, Gagauz are some of them.

At 20 km from the city, there is Orheiul Vechi, a museum complex known for its various archeological sites. Between the IXth and the XIIIth centuries, at Orheiul Vechi hermitages caved in stone appeared. Today, the site has around 100 stone rooms made by monks. Two of them are monasteries, with underground churches, galleries, and sanctums.

The area is full of karst phenomena that encouraged this type of sacral manifestations. Orheiul Vechi is a unique place on the list of places to visit in Moldova.    

#4 Transnistria

Streets of Transnistria

Things get very interesting whenever someone mentions Transnistria. Probably you never heard for that place or the self-proclaimed country that isn’t recognized by the UN. If you’re still unsure about the area, just check out where is Transnistria located on the map and how to get there.

Once Moldova got independence in 1992 the internal conflicts started and by agreement, the country of Transnistria was created. The things are very confusing when it comes to Transnistria, but there are some very stunning places to visit!

The non-recognized country is the home of countless ethnic minority groups where you can learn about the history and their way of living. Also, the country is located along the Dniester river where you can jump on a boat tour and enjoy the stunning nature surrounding the river. For people who’re passionate about alcoholic drinks, Transnistria is famous by its wine and cognac production, so give it a try! Don’t get surprised as Transnistrian people love to drink!

#5 Cricova Winery

Inside Cricova Winery

The stunning fact about Moldova is that the country is 20th largest wine producer and roughly 25% of its population is involved in the wine business. Crazy right?!

Wine lovers will definitely fall in love with all of that tasting and visiting different wineries, but Cricova winery is a must-visit one! Many travelers firstly come to Chisinau and this iconic winery is an only 30-minutes drive from the capital.

Cricova is not just another winery; it’s a whole underground city showing its visitors the depth and richness of Moldovan wine culture. They have a movie theater built-in, so visitors can get information about the history of the winery and wine production in the country. Inside the winery, there are more than million of bottles of wine and champagne stored. 

A stunning fact is that Vladimir Putin, a Russian president, celebrated his 50th birthday in Cricova Winery! This place had a long culture and known for the production of fantastic wine. Simply a place to visit!

#6 Tipova Monastery

Tipova monastery

The wine production does not only worldwide recognize Moldova, but it’s also known for religious people and countless monasteries and churches around the country. It’s incredible how stunning these places look and how much effort people put in building these places.

Tipova Monastery is definitely a place that out beats all of them - it’s built in the rocks! The monastery is located on the western part of the Dniestr river and Tipova river. It’s a very astonishing fact that the whole complex consists of three main components which are all dug in the rocks. 

The biggest complex dates from the 11th century, while the other two were built in the 14th and 18th century respectively. Another interesting fact is that the whole complex was mainly used by the Christian refugees who were hiding from might Tartars during the 13th century. 

Once you set your foot to Moldova, we definitely recommend you to see this historical, but natural place! Not to forget, there is a stunning waterfall on Tipova river which makes this place a perfect getaway from the city! 

#7 Saharna Monastery


Saharna is a small village located roughly 110 km north of Chisinau. You may ask why are we suggesting you to visit a small village in the middle of nowhere? Well, Saharna is the home of the famous Holy Trinity Monastery that is visited by the people around the world regularly. It’s believed Virgin’s Mary foot is engraved in one of the stones surrounding the monastery. 

Anyway, if you’re not much into the religion and exploring monasteries and churches isn’t your thing, don’t worry since Saharna is surrounded by stunning nature - wild rivers, few waterfalls, mountains, and never-ending forests. 

A stunning fact is that Saharna river is a home of 22 waterfalls! The biggest waterfall is actually located just next to the monastery and it’s about 10 meters tall forming a big gulf that locals called ‘Gipsy Hole’. 

#8 Curchi Monastery

Curchi Monastery

Curchi Monastery is located about 45 kilometers north of the capital which makes it an ideal place to visit if you’re limited with time. Also, you can combine Saharna and this place since these two are on the same path! Many travelers agreed on one thing - if you have time to visit only one place, make your way to Curchi Monastery!

The monastery is built around the end of the 18th century and the surrounding valley and wild river make this place ideal for nature-lovers. The art inside the monastery is simply stunning so the walls are decorated with pictures of Russian kings along with other saints. It’s fascinating fact that in the orthodox religion, it’s believed when the king passes away he becomes a saint. 

The whole complex consists of 6 churches that were built over time. Although, the largest church which is the most visited one is dedicated to the Mother of God and you can see this one from a far distance. 

#9 Soroca Fortress

Soroca fortress

The eastern part of Europe is trendy by fortresses and castles since many conquering tribes and nations were active in the past around these places. However, Moldova has only two remaining fortresses till this date and Soroca fortress is one of these that will definitely give you a great history lesson.

The fortress was built on the banks Nistru river and it was mainly used as the protection of the country’s borders during the history. An amazing fact is that the fortress and all surroundings were first built entirely from the wood, but lately they built it in stone. Can you imagine a fortress that protects the borders to be made from the wood? Pretty crazy right?

The size of the fortress isn’t huge, but it’s well-preserved and its simple construction makes this one very attractive to the visitors in Moldova. An iconic Gypsy Hill is just a few hundred meters away from the fortress so you can observe this stunning hill in nature too. 

The best time to visit Soroca fortress is definitely sometimes around the summer months since the local outdoor market is opened offering traditional food, drinks, and souvenirs. 

#10 Padurea Natural Reserve


Nature lovers will definitely find their place somewhere in Padurea Domneasca natural reservation. Nature there is ancient and the place is literally untouched, but an interesting fact is that the place became a reserve just 25 years ago. It’s the biggest natural reserve of Moldova which is also one of the most visited places around this small country. 

Glodeni is the home of the reserve and we must tell the whole park has some stunning nature including countless lakes, rivers, thick forests and even 500 years old oak tree. People who enjoy watching the birds and learning about new animal species has the chance to observe herons in their natural habitat. 

The reserve is the home of stunning rolling knolls that is the very odd formation of landscape and till this date, scientists just speculate how was this landscape formed. The Moldovan people called this phenomenal place ‘One Hundred Hills’

#11 Codru National Reserve

Codru reserve in the autumn

Like you probably realized, Moldova is the country of stunning nature, so what could be a better trip for nature lovers than visiting the oldest nature reserve in the country called Codru Nature Reserve. 

The biodiversity inside the park is enormous with over 1,000 plant species, around 150 bird species, and approximately 50 mammal species. All of these species have the natural habitat in reserve and it’s possible to observe these beautiful animals and plants. 

People who’re interested in nature and its formation have a chance to visit an educational Natural History Museum that is located in the reserve. Also, this natural reserve is literally in the middle of the country which won’t take you too long to reach from the capital of Chisinau. 

#12 Kvint Factory

Kvint factory

We already mentioned it a few times, but for the good alcohol there is never enough mentions - Moldova produces one of the most amazing wines and cognacs in the world!

Kvint factory is the place where Europe’s best cognac is produced since 1897. There are many daily tours organized with the educated people who’ll explain to you the history of this place along the details when it comes to making one of the best world’s cognacs. 

The place is often visited by famous people who’re craving for the bottle or bottles of a tasty and worldwide recognized cognac. You can buy a bottle at the factory which can be a perfect souvenir for your loved ones who enjoys a glass of cognac along with a good company.

Oh, not to forget, this factory produces roughly 10 million liters of cognac per year! People simply love to drink! 

Moldova is struggling to regain its glory. On the list of places to visit in Moldova, there are natural landscapes, secular forests, ancient historical places, and pleasures of modern life. The people in Moldova will always invite you to get to know them at a glass of wine.

They are proud of their land and besides all internal and external battles, they are enjoying life. Countryside seems to be frozen in past ages. Seeing the hills covered in vineyards, you can only imagine how their life would have been if instead of Moldova this place's name would have been Sicily.

Monica Radulescu a freelance writer for aSabbatical.com
Travelling is a joy. It's a way to become a better and wiser person. Mountain paths and road trips are my favourites.