When looking for somewhere new, Moldova is the country to go to. It's not part of the usual European tour, which makes it a great destination for those who want to avoid the crowds and just relax. Once part of the Soviet Union, Moldova took part with other territories in signing the Commonwealth of Independent States agreement in 1991. The country's economy suffered at the collapse as it took away Russian support. This made the country one of the poorest states in Europe. Its beautiful spots and other attractions, however, make it worth a leisurely visit.
Travellers on a Moldovan adventure will stare in wonder at the beautiful natural sceneries above and below ground. For those going underground, the Pestera Emil Racovita can be one of the possible destinations. Exploring this cave system will let tourists find interesting rock formations and plentiful gypsum deposits, which can form mosaic-like ceilings and walls. Some of the roomy caverns were also called with whimsical names such as ''The Room of Expectations'' and ''The Dinosaurs' Cemetery
From there, it's time to go up and see the Codru (or Codrii) Natural Reservations which features more than 1,000 species of protected plants and animals. The park also has a museum which will let travellers find out more about the site's natural history and see other collections. From there, a tour can go to the Iagorlic Reservation on the east side of Nistru River or make a detour to the Plaiul Fagului, the land of the beeches. This will let travellers rest their eyes on the lush green scenery as they hike through the woods. Another destination is Prutul De Jos for those who want to see more of the country's flora and fauna.
Wine is also another major attraction in Moldova due to its status as one of the world's best. Tourists have the selection of various wineries where they can learn about different ways of producing full-bodied varieties. A tour around the facilities, as well as the fruity smell of the vineyard can also be enticing. Follow it up with a taste of vintage wine from a generous vintner, which can be a pleasing memory to remember. All these make up a respected industry for the country.
Eating authentic Moldovan cuisine is also a must. It's such a delicious blend of various influences from Russian, Balkan, Romanian, and Mediterranean specialties. Traditional soups such as zama (a type of chicken noodle soup) can be soothing during cold weather due to its slightly sour flavour. Follow that up with mititei (grilled ground beef rolls) as well as stewed fruit compotes with wine on the side - such a menu can thrill visitors looking for satisfying meals during their stay!
How to get around within Moldova
Public transportation can be fairly reliable, even though the vehicles are old and look likely to break down. Travellers can board the buses, which leave the terminal every 15 minutes or so during peak hours. Taxis are also good options, especially if tourists need speed and convenience. Tourists must choose the yellow cabs, however, as other types of cabs frequently overcharged.
Driving to various destinations can be possible, but it will be difficult. The road conditions are poorly and there are often no lights that can brighten up the way, especially on dark nights. Drunk driving is also a chronic problem in the country, so tourists who choose to rent a car should have insurance, in case of an emergency.
How to get there
Travellers going to Moldova will most likely land on Chișinău International Airport. Airlines serving here are Aeroflot, airBaltic, Air Moldova, Austrian Airlines, Eurolot, flydubai, Lufthansa Regional, Meridiana, S7 Airlines, Tandem Aero, TAROM, Turkish Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines, UTair Aviation, and Wizz Air
Those looking for charter flights can also be accommodated. Air Moldova, Atlasjet, Ellinair, and Turkish Airlines transport passengers on a seasonal basis.
Images by Flickr/ii conte di Luna
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