Palanca Cycling Tour – Chisinau to Palanca
Cycling in Moldova is the perfect choice for active or amateur cyclists to explore the countryside and get up close with Moldova’s culture, nature and hospitality. The Chisinau to Palanca cycling route is unique in Moldova with its impressive distance of 226 km divided into 6 segments. It includes dozens of circuits around the best places to visit in the Codru and Ștefan Vodă regions of central and southern Moldova.
The Chisinau to Palanca bike route goes along country roads and paths away from national highways. This provides a quiet and safe cycling environment that gives travelers the chance to enjoy the landscapes of Moldova and make many stops in picturesque places along the way. The cycling route is well marked with stylized cycling signs, arrows, pillars and information panels with the inscription C1 so that you don’t get loose the cycling trail and get lost. The bike route is marked both ways so you can decide to do it either direction.
This Chisinau to Palanca cycling route guide provides all the information you need to complete either the entirety of the bike route in 4-5 days or just do specific segments as biking day trips. It shares information about visiting Moldovan wineries, local museums, historical monuments, and other cultural sites to visit, as well as practical information on accommodation and restaurants so you know where to stay and eat along the cycling route. After a day of cycling you’ll certainly look forward to eating a hearty home-cooked traditional Moldovan food with a glass of Moldovan wine.
Those wishing to cycle this route have the option to:
- Use your own bicycle
- Rent a bicycle for a few days to cover the entire route
- Rent a bicycle with delivery to a certain segment of the route
- Rent a bicycle at some of the guesthouses and wineries found along the route (these places are marked in the guide below)
Route partner – Velopoint
Adventurers who do not yet have their own bicycles are encouraged to rent them from trusted partners, such as the Velopoint specialized rental center, which has a well-maintained fleet of bicycles. Here you will be able to choose the right bike for short city walks (city bikes), bikes for long hikes (trekking bikes), active adventure bikes (mountain bikes) and electric bikes that are becoming increasingly popular.
- Opening hours: 9:00 – 19:00 (in summer until 21:00)
- Rental time: from 1 hour to several months
- Bicycles in stock: city bike, trekking, mountain, electric
- Classic bicycles – 50 – 200 Lei, depending on model
- Electric bicycles – 40 Euro/day (500 Euro deposit)
Tourist attractions of the route
Route: Chisinau - Puhoi
- Length: 27 km
- Travel time: > 2 hours
- Difficulty level: Easy
- Bicycle rental: no
Village Museum (Wooden Church)
Established in 1991 as an open-air museum (branch of the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History), the Village Museum is located in the Botanica sector, on the southern outskirts of Chisinau, at the crossroads of Valea Crucii and Aeroportului streets. The wooden church built in 1642 and brought from Hirișeni village is the main attraction of the museum. Visitors can also admire various “exhibits” among which: a replica of the Vorniceni bell tower, some old crosses (made of stone and metal), a wooden crucifix, a fountain, water troughs for cattle and others.
The first urban winery in Moldova, ATU Winery opened in 2016. Its headquarters are in Chisinau and its production cycle is complete, with the winery open for visits and events regardless of season. Wines here are produced in limited editions of 1000-3000 bottles, allowing the producer to pay maximum attention to each drop made. All wines are produced by hand, from harvest to label. Another secret of the winery is that it manages to combine the art of wine with street art, namely graffiti, a style in which the facade and interior of the winery are decorated giving it a unique character. Also, the ATU winery focuses on the production of wine from local varieties like: Viorica, Fetească Albă, Fetească Neagră and Codrinschii. At the same time, among the tourist packages offered by ATU there is a special one where visitors can taste all the wines but also attend a graffiti workshop.
Route: Puhoi - Bulboaca
- Length: 36 km
- Travel time: > 2 hours
- Difficulty level: Easy
- Bicycle rental: no
Founded in 1994, Asconi Winery is a family business that combines the wine and gastronomic traditions of the area with modern winemaking technology. Located just 30 km away from Chisinau, the winery has an entire area of rustic restaurants, with gastronomic tradition inspired by the recipes of the Puhoi village housewives, passed down through generations. Also, in the winery 12 rustic houses with traditional Moldovan architecture and a handmade thatched roof were opened. Guests can witness the entire winemaking process, from harvesting to maturation. There are several tourist attractions in the area, e.g. Valea Botnei – an area with 11 ethnofolkloric bands of traditional music and dance, Suruceni monastery built in the Moldavian architectural style of the 19th century, and the workshops of the Ulmu and Văsieni villages craftsmen.
Located in Anenii Noi, Hotel Korona offers guests 3 outdoor swimming pools and a restaurant. Free parking and Wi-Fi are also available.
Route: Bulboaca - Causeni
- Length: 41 km
- Travel time: >4 hours
- Difficulty level: Medium
- Bicycle rental: no
Castel Mimi Winery begins its history in 1893, the year when Constantin Mimi planted the first vineyard on the place that has now become legend. The winery was renovated and reopened in 2016 and in a very short time it reached the top of winelover preferences. The love and work dedicated by the last governor of Bessarabia, Constantin Mimi to this winery convinced his descendants to protect the Castle from the curse of time. Castel Mimi is also a cultural center of excellence of the Republic of Moldova, the place where Bessarabian wine, gastronomy and traditions can be discovered in a new formula. The tourist complex combines historical with modern, each detail carrying an energy, or hidden symbolism, characterizing the millennial culture of the Pruto-Nistrian space.
Terasele Hagimus winery
A family winery in Hagimus, a village with a long and rich history, the first official mention of which dates from 1725. The vineyards of the winery are spread on a hill, from which you can admire the view of the Dniester, but also the town of Tighina in the distance. Positioned to the South-East, the locality enjoys favorable natural weather conditions for harvesting high quality grapes. The “Terasele Hagimus” brand was recently launched by winemaker and owner Serghei Gerghelejiu, and in the near future plans to receive guests at the winery. Until then, you can admire the beautiful view from the vineyards while tasting one of the special locally produced wines.
Sfintele Femei Mironosiței Marta și Maria Monastery
The „Sfintele Femei Mironosițe Marta și Maria” Monastery is located 400 meters from the Causeni – Tighina highway in a place of rare beauty. The holy place offers pilgrims the opportunity of prayer and spiritual silence in the heart of nature. The Hagimus Monastery was founded in 1997 by Archimandrite Andrei Cotruța. He first built a church dedicated to the Shroud of the Mother of God (Acoperământul Maicii Domnului) and a number of monastery cells as well as the school where, in 1998, a Theological Seminary for girls was opened. In the autumn of the same year, the settlement of Hagimus became a nunnery, Father Andrei being appointed clergyman of the monastery. Since 1999, the monastery is run by abbot Marta (Cușnir). Currently, the monastery has 56 people: 3 minister priests and 53 nuns.
At the Litas Hotel in Causeni you will find a place to rest and a hot meal, to get the forces necessary to carry on cycling.
Acoperământul Maicii Domnului Church
Unique architectural monument in the eastern Carpathian space, the “Adormirea Maicii Domnului” Church in Causeni is built at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This church is amazing and provides an optical illusion: although it looks small on the outside, the interior surprises with the generosity of its space. The church is located below ground level (being “semi-buried”), as Causeni was part of the Bugeac raya, respectively was subject to Ottoman laws that provided that churches should not be higher than the base of the roof of mosques and should not exceed a certain size. The paintings of the building date since 1763, being the work of painters Stanciul Radu and Voicul.
Route: Causeni - Cioburciu
- Length: 68 km
- Travel time: >8 hours
- Difficulty level: Mediu - advanced
- Bicycle rental: yes
The story of love and passion for the art of wine of the beautiful Gogu winery is over 15 years old. In 2004, founder and main winemaker, Ilie Gogu, decided to experiment in the field of homemade winemaking after graduating from the Technical University of Moldova, with the a winemaker-technologist specialization. Despite the modern approach to the winemaking technology, the philosophy of Gogu winery is represented by the aspiration of communicating local traditions and peculiarities of the grape growing region. While making the most of the terroir’s character, the winemaker obtains a lush aroma and intense taste in the usual varieties, relying in this case on relief, soil and climate, while exclusively using wild yeast in the fermentation process.
Alexei Mateevici Musem House
Located in the village of Zaim, Causeni, the Alexei Mateevici house-museum was founded in 1988, on the poet’s centenary. The current museum building was built by the poet’s father, the priest Mihail Mateevici. The museum has six rooms that reveal the poet’s contemporary atmosphere through paintings, sculptures, household objects and documents, a library of rare books and antique furniture. In one of the museum’s halls you may find the “Table of Silence”, which stores both soil from the graves of Romanian literature classics such as Mihai Eminescu, I.L. Caragiale, George Coșbuc, Mihail Sadoveanu as well as from the graves of Alexei Mateevici’s parents. The Museum holds over 7000 articles, photos and personal items.
The Salcuta is the only winery in Moldova with a heritage passed down three generations and endowed with a unique terroir from the Ștefan Vodă wine region with Protected Geographical Indication. It is also one of the best wineries in Moldova for producing high quality wines, promoting the traditions and excellent quality of local wines, supporting the image of the Republic of Moldova as a wine country in the international arena, and for contributing to the development of Moldovan wine tourism. Inside the winery, you can enjoy a trip where you can see the production room and also taste local wines.
Popular Craftswoman Parascovia Cotoman – the Art of Sowing
In Ermoclia, Stefan-Voda district, you may visit folkloric craftswoman Parascovia Cotoman who has been weaving carpets for almost 50 years now in a loom she inherited from her grandmother, using an ancient weaving technique. Ms. Cotoman is one of the last craftswomen in Moldova to practice the art of weaving in the loom. She has countless sowings woven from cotton and wool, the largest one reaching five meters in length. The craftswoman’s daughter helps her sell the works online, however, those who want to buy her handicraft work or see Parascovia’s collection can contact her at 068979214.
Leuntea Vin Winery
With a mansion, archaic cellars and 18 hectares of vineyards, Leuntea winery is a family business. Leuntea wines are preserved in the oldest cellar in the Balkans, dating from 1817, the tunnels leading to it having been built in the 16th century by the Turks. Throughout history, these tunnels were visited by many prominent personalities, and now you can also visit this unique winery.
Gradina Turceasca landscape park
One of the oldest preserved natural areas in Europe, the “Gradina Turceasca” (“Turkish Garden”) landscape reservation is located between the villages of Leuntea and Copanca, Causeni district on an area of 224 hectares. It consists of the Turkish Garden itself and the “Adajia” woods. The natural area includes the old Nistru riverbed with a floodplain forest, including species of poplar, pedunculate oak, ash, willow and tree varieties. In addition to the colonies of heron, it hosts rare and relict plants: floating fern, water chestnut, water chickweed and others.
The “What the Soul gives, the soul bears” museum
Located inside the “Ștefan Ciobanuț” theoretical high school in the Talmaza village, Stefan Voda district, the museum has a collection of over 1000 objects, including carpets, embroideries, beds, pillows, national clothes, military clothes, samovars, boxes, watches, icons, towels , vessels, and many historical pieces. The museum has several main thematic areas: Casa Mare (Guest house), Cămara Gospodarului (the master’s den), the Puppet Museum.
Tihon’s Mill Monument
This strange mill reminds us that once the windmills of Talmaza lured hundreds who brought their wheat or corn to the mills in the region. Tihon’s mill was located on the edge of the hill from where a beautiful landscape of the Dniester valley opens. The mill was the most popular due to its special construction and quality production.
Route: Cioburciu - Purcari
- Length: 22 km
- Travel time: >3 hours
- Difficulty level: Medium
- Bicycle rental: yes
Meșter Faur Guest house
Open to all nature lovers, the guesthouse is an enticing refuge from everyday worries. A special point of the guest house is the Bungalow, a wooden house covered with reeds located 6 meters above the water. At Meșter Faur visitors can practice active rest: outdoor walks, fishing with fishing, boat trips, visiting the points of interest in the area, cart rides through the forest or even artisanal weaving occupations in the lottery, guided by the hosts of the house.
A geological (i.e. paleontological) monument, Albu’s ravine is located on the southern outskirts of Cioburciu village, Ștefan Vodă, in the ravine along the road to the village. It has an area of 2.85 hectares. The fossiliferous site in the Cioburciu ravine was discovered in 1909 by geologist Florov. Several scientists, including Bessarabian ones, have dug and explored the area. The name comes from a nearby local.
Route: Purcari – Palanca
- Length: 32 km
- Travel time: >3 hours
- Difficulty level: Sijmple
- Bicycle rental: yes
Purcari Winery is located in an amazing landscape, hidden among lakes and vineyards. The local cellars were built in 1827, when, by Special Decree of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, the first specialized winery in Bessarabia was established in Purcari. Since then, the Purcari cellars have managed to preserve and protect the precious wine bottles of historical importance. Purcari is one of the most famous wine brands in Eastern Europe and the official supplier of the Royal Houses of Romania and Great Britain. The wine cellar also offers accommodation and a restaurant serving traditional and modern dishes. Château Purcari is the place where comfort meets tradition.
Et Cetera Winery
The Et Cetera Winery is a family adventure where love and care play a paramount role. The owners take great care of the land and it rewards them plentifully. Et Cetera winemakers closely follow every stage of production, from the cultivation of grapes by purely organic methods, to the fermentation and maturation of wine in oak barrels to the offering of the finished product to the guests of the winery. This way, they share their knowledge in the field and develop the culture of wine consumption. At the winery you can find a restaurant and hotel as well as the chance of a trip and wine tastings or a gourmet pie cooking workshop.
Museum of History and Ethnography
Founded in 1986, with objects of historical interest, first donated by the family and neighbors of the founders, then by students and villagers, the Ethnography Museum in Crocmaz village, Stefan Voda district, has become a true cultural center, oriented towards collecting, preserving and promoting the history of the locality, the ancestral traditions and customs.
Spread over 50 hectares, the “Togai” swamp is a mixed state protected nature reserve located east of Crocmaz village, 100 meters from the Nistru riverbed in the Olanesti forest district, Stefan Voda district. The flora is represented by about 700 species of aquatic and steppe plants, wetland plants, many of which are endangered. Also, there are various reptiles, species of fish, mammals such as the great egret, the gray heron, the wood sandpiper, the cormorant, the black stork, the Eurasian bittern, the wild boar, the deer, the badger.
La Bunici museum and Tudora Guest house
Covered with reeds and surrounded by a blue belt, the “Grandparents” Museum is a place with traditions and a lot of history hidden in the corners, combined with a multifunctional center for children. It is located on a small street in the center of Tudora, next to the church. The books, monographs and works of writers and remarkable people from this village are on the shelves of the museum waiting to be browsed through. Recently, the multifunctional museum began to offer accommodation at the new “La Tudora” guest house. Traditional pillowcases, wall hangings, carpets, veils, shirts tell guests about the great day wear of our grandparents and great-grandparents, inheriting the stories of those who wore them.
Râpa de Piatră (“Rocky Ravine”) natural monument
The Râpa de Piatră (Rocky Ravine) geological/paleontological monument is located in the northwestern part of the Tudora village, Ștefan Vodă, on the right bank of the Nistru, 190 m from the river, and is the easternmost protected area of this type in the country. It has an area of 7.27 hectares according to recent estimates. The geological structure of the ravine begins with light clay sands at the bottom, about 8 m thick, of Chersonian age and with remnants of Bulgarian Mactra molluscs. Above are the sandy clays from the Meotian age, with skeletal remains of representatives of the Upper Valesian-type hyperionic fauna of Western Europe, discovered in 1914 by scientist Frolov.
Casa Veche (The old hut) Guest house
Here you can find shelter away from the urban bustle, in the natural setting of the village of Palanca at the southern tip of Moldova. The house and the courtyard of the guest house are decorated in a rustic style with an ornament specific to the region, the eaves of the house thoroughly worked in wood with a distinct symbol, symbiotic with the chiseled roof, also made of wood. The guest house, friendly to families with children, has 6 rooms that can accommodate 20 people and 2 covered terraces with a capacity to seat 60. The charm of the guest house is complemented by a stone cellar and a garden.
Casa cu Hulubi (House of Pigeons) Guest house
The guest house, located at Victor Covalenco’s house, offers the possibility to visit an impressive pigeon farm, with the important mission of trying to restore a rare breed of Bessarabian pigeons that disappeared in the 90’s.