Moldova is a land that is slowly growing in popularity, particularly with more flight route options direct from Western Europe. Although, when it comes to tourism, some of you will be pleased to know that much of the luscious natural beauty of this unspoilt land found nestled between Ukraine and Romania, still remains untouched. Moldova is famous for its wine, and it's not too uncommon if you have grown up here to have had a small vineyard in your own backyard! Winemaking is ingrained in much of the culture and yet many still know so little of what this Moldova has to offer. And since Winerist has it's roots here, it only makes sense for us to tell you of the must-do experiences whilst you're on your wine holidays here. So, we asked our CEO Diana Isac for her list of the best things to do in Moldova and here’s what she gave us...
Wine Tasting in Moldova... with fruit!
Photo credit: worldatlas
Naturally, as a nation that's famous for its wine, it only made sense that wine tasting should start off the list as one of the top things to do in Moldova. And wine lovers are certainly in for a treat when they discover the many unique ways to sample this treasured produce. We often pair wine with many things, including meats, fish, cheese, pasta, and the list goes on... But one pairing that offers a particular bold combination is wine and fresh fruit. Head over to ATU Winery and energise your palate with the refreshing and unusual pairing. It's a great choice if opting for a healthy summer snack, a refreshing dessert or a choice of aperitif!
There are many other exceptional wine tours in Moldova that you can attend too, that are organised at Chateau Vartely, Cricova, Mileștii Mici, Et Cetera and Chateau Cojusna wineries, located close to the capital of Moldova, Chișinău. Another great winery to visit is Purcari in the south-east, close to the Black Sea and the river Dniester. See our 7 wineries you need to visit in Moldova.
Take a Walk Around the Capital
The areas surrounding the Moldovan capital of Chișinău have been used since medieval times for cultivating grapes and fruits and the beautiful city itself is considered to be one of the greenest capitals in Europe. Take a walk through ‘the Alley of Classics’ in Ștefan cel Mare Park, which is like an open-air museum celebrating the greatest writers and political figures of the country, before heading down towards the Triumph Arch.
Go on a Tour at Milestii Mici Winery
Photo credit: Alexander Spatari
If you're someone who likes to explore new spaces and expand your mind with fascinating new discoveries, you'll definitely enjoy a tour at Milestii Mici Winery - home to the Golden Collection. Mileștii Mici is described as the ultimate playground for wine lovers and for good reason. It has 2 million bottles of wine amongst its cellars hidden 85 metres deep which featured in the Guiness Book of Records. Enjoy wine tastings from 20-30 year old bottles and have a traditional Moldovan meal to enjoy it with. Milestii Mici has majestic limestone cellars, wine barrels and winding tunnels in what feels like an underground city - each tunnel has it's own street name so you can identify where you are. Fun fact - the streets are named after different types of wines!
A Visit to the Chisinau State Circus
Photo credit: socialist modernism
This building has a remarkable history of a more light-hearted nature, once offering audiences a space to view top circus acts in the biggest auditorium in the country. The Chişinău State Circus brought in the best talent from all over Europe since opening in 1981 and housed a staggering 1,900 seats. But after the economic crisis Moldova faced, this monumental circus venue had to close its doors in 2004. Now, ten years later, and with funding provided by the Ministry of Culture, Chişinău State Circus is being restored. This space is slowly, but surely sprouting back to life with the smaller room within the venue having space for up to 300 people to sit and be amused by spectacular acts such as clowns, animals, gymnasts and acrobats who hope to bring the magic back to all who come to watch!
Traditional carpet weaving workshop at Rustic Art Community Centre
Photo credit: Go Adventure
Fall in love with the intricate designs of Moldovan carpets which each tell their own story. Just like wine, carpets are also a dear part of Moldovan culture, with only a few communities out there who have still managed to preserve authentic Moldovan traditions with the use of antiquated machinery. One of the best things to do in Moldova is to take part in the culture and you can do this by getting to weave your own Moldovan-inspired carpet! Rustic Art, located in Clisova Noua, is a carpet-weaving centre which still follows those old and preserved traditions and allows you to take part in it too. After exploring the small carpet museum and feeling inspired by all the designs, head straight into a master class of carpet weaving. Once done, you will be handed a glass of homemade wine, delicious walnuts and other treats.
National Wine Day
Witth wine being such an integral part of Moldovan culture, is it any surprise that there is a National Wine Day? It takes place in the Great National Assembly Square of Chișinău on the first weekend of October and marks the end of the grape-harvesting season. The event aims to bring together producers and consumers and every year it paves the way to potential business partnerships. If you find yourself at the celebration, expect traditional Moldovan dancing and music, traditional dishes served with new and older vintages of Moldovan wines, and the handmade souvenirs crafted on the spot by skilful locals! Just to make things easy, travel agencies also take part in the festival and offer sightseeing and wine tours which you can book there and then.
First underground restaurant at Cricova Winery
Photo credit: Argophilia
We hope you're hungry because you're in for a special treat when you sit down to a fantastic meal at the first underground restaurant in Moldova. Hosted by Cricova Winery - the few wineries left that still produce sparkling wines according to the traditional Champeonoise method. Treat yourself to a special sparkling wine tasting while you're here and learn about where the wine is aged. Whether the occasion is for the purpose of business or pleasure, this historical restaurant at Cricova Winery is a great spot. Fun fact - in the impressive 70 km underground cellar, the innumerous bottles are held at a specific angle waiting to be shaken to become crystal clear! Want to see more of what this spectacular winery has in store? Why not embark on a bike tour of Cricova Winery?
If you've enjoyed reading about the best things to do in Moldova, you'll definitely enjoy how to eat and drink like a local here too! And if it's the wineries that have sparked your interest, why not have a read of a guide to the best wineries to visit in Moldova to learn more about their fascinating wine history before you go!? Discover more about this interesting destination with 5 reasons to fall in love with Moldova for its wine.