Come, don't worry, it's a perfect place to be. I know a huge volunteer community, and AIESEC exchange participants, who had amazing time in Moldova, fell in love with Chisinau city, and miss it much years later :). Foreigners are still rare phenomenon in Md, so they are treated with interest and respect, especially farther from capital. Check couchsurfing events, events on facebook for chisinau, Art Labyrinth, Teatru Spalatorie... you will meet a lot of interesting people and other places, travelers like you and locals speaking all languages.
Good luck and see you later!
Hello there, Dg.
I am currently in Moldova, in Chisinau, and I can say that if you are a US citizen you do not require a visa to visit Moldova for less than 90 days. I am not sure what the requirements are for citizens of other countries. I was not given Any trouble whatsoever regarding customs, etc. I should say that it is a very good idea to either have a hired translator, a good pocket translator, or decent skills in speaking Russian or Moldovan (Romanian) if you plan to communicate often with the locals. So far, I have encountered few people who speak more than limited English in banks, restaurants, stores, and on the street.
Yes, it is possible to cross the Romania/Moldova border by train. I did not ultimately use this route, but I know there are trains running daily from Bucharest to Chisinau. I believe the site that can help you there is www.wasteels.ro. Just pop in to their site and click on the Union Jack at the upper right and the site will be translated to English, should you need it. The people at Wasteels are very accomodating and professional, and speak good English.
I believe it is an overnight train, and that the wheels need to be changed at the border to accomodate the different track widths used by these countries.
It is ultimately your decision to make, but I will tell you that Transdniestr is a gamble. It could turn out fine, or it may not. It is not a diplomatically recognized region, and that being said, there is no Visa for "Transnistria" that will be honored by other countries, nor should you expect to find any embassy that can help get you out of trouble should it occur. Personally, as an American, I am content enough with the adventure of figuring out Chisinau, let alone venturing into such a place. Perhaps you could come to Moldova and make a decision then. I have just arrived in Chisinau from Prague, and Man, what a difference. It is another world here.
Cyrillic is helpful, definitely, though so far I have seen more written in the Romanian language, and I hear Romanian spoken more often than Russian, though everyone here seem fluent in both.
As far as getting to Odessa, perhaps Wasteels can help you with that, in terms of avoiding the Transdniestr region if you decide to. I know that there are trains that loop over the top of this region and back down to Odessa.
Either way, I hope you have a good trip, and that you found this helpful!
Countries that do not require a visa any longer:
European Union countries, USA, Canada, Switzerland,
Japan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,
Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
It's nor so easy to come to Moldova for some citizens! And visa is not so cheap!
Most travelers to Moldova (except CIS citizens and Romanians) require a visa. Also everyone except US, Canadian, Israeli and EU-member citizens require an invitation or proof of pre-booked accommodation from a company or organization. Visitors can get a visa at the Moldovan embassies or consulates or directly at the airport in Chisinau and at such border crossing points with Romania as: Leuseni, Cahul or Sculeni, but not at the border with Ukraine. With this country Moldova doesn't have necessary agreements and if travelers have to cross the border from Ukrainian side then they need to get a visa from Kiev or Minsk Moldovan representation. Visitors that need also an invitation have to make the arrangements that the invitation to be present at the crossing border point. Visitors that intend to come by train need to get ahead their visas.
Fondest memory: Visa costs are the following:
1. Simple, travel and business visas:
· For one visit (one month) - 60 USD
· For two visits (one month) - 75 USD
· For many visits (one month) - 105 USD
· For many visits (two months) - 150 USD
· For many visits (three months) - 180 USD
· For many visits (six months) with permanents residency up till 90 days - 240 USD
· For many visits (twelve months) with permanent residency up till 90 days - 300 USD
2. Transit visas:
· Simple transit visas - 30 USD
· Double transit visas - 60 USD
There are two types of invitation:
1. Private - for personal (friends or relatives) invitation
2. Business - that need official business invitations ($ 8)
Visit the capital Chisinau and do a short trip to Europe's most nasty 'state' Transnistria, only about one and a half hours away by bus.
Fondest memory: The fact that it is Europe's most untouristy country. It happened to me never before that I was myself for a complete three days stay in a country - most of it in its capital city - as a tourist without meeting any other tourists.
Moldavians of Romanian origin are very found of Stefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great), whose name is used everywhere for roads, squares, high schools, statues, etc., throughout all Moldova.
Stephen is considered the greatest ruler of Moldova, his over half a century reign has put Moldova on the map of Europe and has brought considerable cultural development, a period of great ecclesiastical building and endowment.
With the help of the Walachian prince Vlad III the Impaler, Stephen secured the throne of Moldavia in 1457. Menaced by powerful neighbours, he successfully repulsed an invasion by Hungary in 1467, but in 1471 he invaded Walachia, which had by then succumbed to Turkish vassalage.
When the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II launched an attack on Moldavia, Stephen defeated the invaders near Vaslui (in 1475) and again at Valea Alba (1476).
His search for European assistance against the Turks had little success, but his determination “to cut off the pagan's right hand” won him the acclaim of Pope Sixtus IV as the “Athlete of Christ.”
After 1484 Stephen had to contend not only with new Turkish onslaughts but also with Polish and Hungarian designs on Moldavian independence. Finally in 1503 he concluded with the sultan Bayezid II a treaty that preserved Moldavian independence but only at the cost of an annual tribute to the Turks.
After independence of the former soviet republic in 1991, the Romanian orthodox church sanctified Stephen the Great in a move to respond to the wishful thinking of the faithful orthodox.
Romanians often get sentimental about “Moldova” or Basarabia as it is often called, as it raises memories of a former Romanian territory. I don’t quite bet on the scope of borders, but I do believe in history. So here it is
Mid 14th century – Hungarian kings support the establishment of a principality to create a line of defence against the Tartars invasions.
1359 – Moldavia under Bogdan I rejects the Hungarian authority
1387 – Principality vassal of Poland
1457 - 1504 – Stephan the Great
1512 – Principality vassal of Ottoman Empire
1774 –Protectorship of the Russian Empire, while remaining formally a vassal of the Ottoman Empire
1812 – Moldavia loses eastern half (Bessarabia, east of Prut river) to the Russian empire, following the Treaty of Bucharest
1856 – southern districts near the Danube Delta (southern Bessarabia) return to Moldavia, following the Crimean War and the Treaty of Paris
1859 – Moldavia and Walachia unite to form the Kingdom of Romania
1878 – Romania loses southern Bessarabia in favour of the Russian empire (despite the fact before the war, Russia committed not to claim any part of Romania at the end of the war)
1917 –Russian revolution brings turmoil and independence to Bessarabia
1918 – Bessarabia votes for the unification with Romania, Soviets do not recognise the move
1924 – Soviets establish the Moldavian Autonomous Oblast, on the lands to the east of the Dniester River, in the Ukrainian SSR at that time
1925 – the Oblast upgraded to a “Moldavian Autonomous Republic” with Tiraspol as capital
1940 – Romania loses Bessarabia to the Russian empire. Stalin rules - southern Bessarabia given to Ukraine SSR, the remaining Bessarabia and the existing ”Autonomous Republic” united to form a “Soviet Republic”
1941 – German and Romanian armies attack USSR and occupy “Moldavian SSR”. Ethnic cleansing against Jews and Gipsies, under Romanian administration.
1944 – soviet army re-occupies “Moldavian SSR”
Fondest memory: 1945 – 1947 – catastrophic draught and massive deportation of Romanian/Moldavian ethnics in Siberia and throughout other regions of the USSR
1950 – 1952 – Leonid Brezhnev is the ruler of “Moldavian SSR”
1950s – 1970s – repression, forced russification & collectivisation, continuous deportation
1970s – 80s – “Moldavian SSR” receives substantial investment from the budget of the USSR to develop industrial, scientific facilities, as well as housing. Such an allocation of USSR assets was influenced by the fact that Leonid Brezhnev (the effective ruler of the USSR from 1964 to 1982) was the Communist Party First Secretary in the Moldavian SSR in 1950s. These investments stopped in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, when Moldova became independent
1990 – secession of the “Gagauz Republic” in the south, around the city of Comrat, and of the “Dnestr Republic” on the east bank of the Dniester river, capital at Tiraspol
1991 – independence of FSROM, Romanian flag, anthem and language adopted
starting 1993 – FSROM began to distance itself from Romania, insisting on a “Moldavian” identity, and to maintain poor relations with Russia over the “Dnestr Republic”
2007 – Romania imposes visa regime for FSROM citizens, 800.000 FSROM citizens believed to have applied for Romanian citizenship
Favorite thing: This analogy came to me while strolling on the streets after I stayed not longer than 5 minutes scanning the books on sale in a library opposite the government building in Chisinau. I recognise using FSROM instead of “Republic of Moldova” may not be politically correct, but it is true irrespective on how you look at it: economically, socially, geographically, ethnically and politically, the actual republic reflects rather the remains of the former Soviet Republic than the region of Moldavia, which remains split between Romania, Ukraine and the FSROM.
According to the constitution of the Republic of Moldova, the state language in Moldova is Moldavian, functioning on the Latin alphabet basis. As a state language, it is used in all political, economic, social and cultural domains.
In fact, most people speak both, Moldavian and Russian. Some people spek only Moldavian or only Russian. In Transdniestria people speak usually Russian and the alphabet in in cirilics. You may also try to communicate in French and English. At the International Ticket Train Office they usually speak some French.
In generally the whole Moldova look like this picture...
Fondest memory: Small hills, all in green (or black land in the autumn), vineyards.
I can almost feel the smell of this place just by looking at that picture.... ahhh..
Most of the people in Moldova unlike the rest f the Europe live in villages.
And the village life of course is something apart from the cities, not that I can tell that in Moldova there are lot's of cities (officialy more then 50 cities and towns), but I can mention just 5-6 real towns.
So, about the village...
The real Moldova you are about to get to know is in the country life!
Fondest memory: People!
The language spoken in Moldova is Romanian. Although officialy the goverment invented the 'Moldovian Language' which is exactly as Romanian. (communist rule!) And the official language is Moldovian.
People usualy say 'Limba de stat' (in rom. - state language) or 'Limba Noastra' (in rom. - our language) if they don't want to get in trouble by saying that's Romanian language.
We even have a holiday called 'Limba Noastra' on August 31 and celebrate the thing that we can talk in our own language! Have you seen something like this in other countries? Although since last year when communists took the power we haven't got this chance.
Fondest memory: For some people Romanian is not associated with Latin languages. But it is. Most simillar to Romanian is Italian. Latin languages: Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguesse, Catalanian, etc.
Some think that Romanian is a slavic language, that of course is not true, and actually Japanese hearing me talking in Romanian thought I speak Russian ... :) others instead were convinced I speak Italian.
Most of the people on this planet nether heard of Moldova!
I heard of people going to Moldova, and after that being proud that they have been to a country of which noone heard!
Of course I would like more people to find out about this small beutiful country...
Fondest memory: Most of the people who never heard of Moldova, when they first time hear something about Moldova say: 'Pardon me, I'm not strong in geography, is it somewhere in Africa?'
Sure it is, just check this map!
The country with old traditions in Wine.
The spirit of the country is in great people and there traditions. And one that traditions is wine.
Practically anyone in this country have it's own wine! Even in the cities, in Chisinau there are cellars, the most common is under the garage. People generaly do not drink wine from the bottle, but from their own wooden (or know-days some metal) 'butoi'. If you go to Moldova your travel will be not only on surface but you will have to go down to the cellars often too!! :)
Even more then 2000 years ago it is known that the ancestors of know-days local Moldovan's (Romanians) - Geto-Dac's, and in this specific region (our-days Republic of Moldova or also known as Basarabia) - Tiraget's where cultivating the vineyards here on the banks of Nistru (Dniester) River. Note: Old greek name for the river - Tiras.
The pants on the Nistru River are perfect for wine cultivating.
You probably heard of geto-dacs king BUREBISTA who ordered the vineyards to be distructed. Since then there was some people who tried to tell us not to cultivate wine :) Can you believe that?
During the Soviet Union Period the MSSR (Moldavian SSR) was supplying with wine literary the whole USSR.
Fondest memory: I can talk a lot about Moldova being a wine-country, but all the words are worthless when it comes to taste the Divine drink, to be in Moldova, to communicate with people... and that my friends is the meaning of life!
IN VINO VERITAS (lat.)
'The truth is in the wine'
If you want to remeber Moldova as a wine-country what would you say about a trip to UNDERGROUND TOWN OF WINE? A big town with streets called as the wine on this streets: Cabernet Str., Sauvignion Str., Aligote Str.. Tens of kilometers under the ground. Actualy you can get in by car or travel with the bus! You will then taste different wines, see some of the oldest collection of wine in Europe, and in the world. All this in CRICOVA.
Also big cellars can be found at Milestii Mici and Cojusna.
visit the Capital of Moldova, Chishinau, and contemplate it's streats and parks.
Fondest memory: When I am away from Moldova, I always miss the people who live here, because you can never meet such people anywhere else in the world.
When visiting Chisinau, you MUST see the band Zdob si Zdub. They are a most incredible Moldavian/Hard Rock band. They perfectly blend the two polar opposite styles of music. They Rock!
Moldova in general needs to be taken in with a long breath. It is a rich land. Visit some farms, taste the excellent wine...
If in the east, visit the monastaries on the Dniestr River. They are awesome.
Fondest memory: I have a wonderful memory of the Centru district in Chisinau. It is the cultural melting point of Russian and Moldavian cultures. It makes one think that they have traveled into the past but remained fixed on the modern world. The Centru District is a great example of a nation that is trying to be all that it can be.
I booked one of the rooms on the floor where the rooms were meant to have been refurbed. You would...more
Trebujeni, Orhei, MD-3552, 300 meters from the bridge (entrance to the village) nearby Orheiul Vech
Good for: Couples
"JOLLY ALON" is a luxury hotel located in the heart of Chisinau. The "JOLLY ALON" caters to foreign...more
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