Moldova: Making the Most of It

Moldova: Making the Most of It

Unpopular. Last picked. Bottom of the list.

Moldova’s not-so-shiny news that it’s the least-visited country in Europe might bring tears to some tourism marketers. But no, not brave little Moldova. It’s the little engine/country that could. Uphill, all the way.

A road less traveled in rural Moldova <br>Photo credit: Joanna Millick

A road less traveled in rural Moldova
Photo credit: Joanna Millick

Village church in Moldova <br>Photo credit: Joanna Millick

Village church in Moldova
Photo credit: Joanna Millick

Road Less TraveledMoldova is crowing its unpopularity to the press, hoping its rough edges, dearth of visitors, and Soviet kitsch will draw intrepid travelers to this landlocked part of the world tucked between Romania and Ukraine. Consider Moldova before the rest of the world does, and changes it forever. Lonely Planet readers voted Moldova as the in the world, and experienced travelers know that once a country is bestowed such an honor it may never be the same again.

Cooling fountains in Chisinau park <br>Photo credit: Joanna Millick

Cooling fountains in Chisinau park
Photo credit: Joanna Millick

Chisinau, the country’s tree-filled capital, hides miles of underground tunnels used for wines – most of them reds. Another Moldovan treasure is its cave monastery in Orhei Vechi, a place hard to get to independently but much easier on a tour.

Inside Moldova's Orhei Vechi Monastery, which is carved into a remote limestone cliff <br>Photo credit: Joanna Millick

Inside Moldova’s Orhei Vechi Monastery, which is carved into a remote limestone cliff
Photo credit: Joanna Millick

With vineyards galore, wine flows freely in Moldova <br>Photo credit: Joanna Millick

With vineyards galore, wine flows freely in Moldova
Photo credit: Joanna Millick

The Wines Are FineOnce a Soviet republic, Moldova is building its tourism infrastructure with outside funding, including USAID. Recent legalization of small wineries is boosting the number of wine-related events, such as the increasingly popular Moldova Wine Festival in October. For die-hard Soviet fans, the breakaway republic of Transdniester inside Moldova is still awash in nostalgic Soviet kitsch, Lenin statues, and communist roots.

Milestii Mici wine cellars in Chisinau, Moldova <br>Photo credit: Joanna Millick

Milestii Mici wine cellars in Chisinau, Moldova
Photo credit: Joanna Millick

Rolling hills of Moldova <br>Photo credit: Devin Connolly

Rolling hills of Moldova
Photo credit: Devin Connolly

Outdoors OasisAn agri-tourism movement encourages travelers to explore the countryside, a place once dubbed “the garden of the Soviet Union.” Biking Moldova’s rolling hills, exploring its cave monasteries and wineries, horseback riding, and hiking are insider experiences for off-the-beaten-path travelers willing to have patience in their travel plans to Moldova. Hospitality? In spades.   

Moldovan singing quartet in traditional costumes <br>Photo credit: Joanna Millick

Moldovan singing quartet in traditional costumes
Photo credit: Joanna Millick

A rainbow fountain in Chisinau, Moldova <br>Photo credit: Joanna Millick

A rainbow fountain in Chisinau, Moldova
Photo credit: Joanna Millick

Moldova is making the most of it, not so much turning lemons into lemonade as it is turning the grapes of misconception into rich wines of adventurous experiences for the most intrepid of travelers.


Travel To Moldova with MIR
Learn more about Moldova on MIR tours that take an in-depth look at the unsung countries of Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. You can also book a custom private journey to this region.

(Top photo credit: Joanna Millick)

PUBLISHED: November 12, 2013

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