Rediscover the Southern Moldovan Countryside

  • Starting point: Chisinau
  • Ending point: Eco Village Văleni Guesthouse
  • Route length: approximately 300 km, up to 6 hours by car. Distance calculated connecting the main points of interest mentioned on the route.

During a weekend, you will have the opportunity to discover Moldova from a totally different perspective. You will visit destinations you never heard about or maybe you want to visit for long, but you still don’t find time for it. A trip in the South of Moldova will impress you due to special and memorable destinations. Besides the wineries included in this route, you will have the opportunity to explore the culture and the traditions of Moldova, collecting unforgettable moments that will make you want to return on this route as soon as possible.

Tourist attractions of the route


Founded in 1897, Comrat Wines is one of southeast Moldova’s oldest vintners. It has weathered tragedies to retain its great wine-making reputation. The first tragedy was the destruction of Comrat’s vineyards during fighting on its grounds in World War I. The second tragedy was there was no attempt to resurrect the wine-making operation for 40 years. The Soviets finally brought it back in the 1960s when they...
Founded in 1897, Comrat Wines is one of southeast Moldova’s oldest vintners. It has weathered tragedies to retain its great wine-making reputation. The first tragedy was the destruction of Comrat’s vineyards during fighting on its grounds in World War I. The second tragedy was there was no attempt to resurrect the wine-making operation for 40 years. The Soviets finally brought it back in the 1960s when they started a collective farm on the property that included grape and wine production. Today, Comrat makes dozens of wine varieties, sells them in its own retail stores across Moldova, and exports them to Europe and Asia. Visitors rave about the combination of Comrat’s wines and the local Gagauz cuisine, a blend of Bulgarian, Turkish and Moldovan fare. Comrat Wines produces both standard and rare vintages, including a Rosu de Comrat 1996 and a sweet white Auriu 1994.

Gagauz National Museum of History and Ethnography


The Gagauz National Museum of History and Ethnography presents unique exhibits of Gagauz national costume, traditional women's jewelry, work tools, household items and ethnography of Gagauz peasants from the 19th century. You will also learn about the traditions and customs of the Gagauz people and get acquainted with their wedding customs. In fact, the Gagauz are the only Christian Orthodox people of Turkish origin.
The Gagauz National Museum of History and Ethnography presents unique exhibits of Gagauz national costume, traditional women's jewelry, work tools, household items and ethnography of Gagauz peasants from the 19th century. You will also learn about the traditions and customs of the Gagauz people and get acquainted with their wedding customs. In fact, the Gagauz are the only Christian Orthodox people of Turkish origin.

In the village of Beshalma, there is a Living Carpet Museum. The handmade carpets created following 150-year-long traditions are the pride of the village. Besides the history of this craft that can discovered during a visit to the museum, the visitors can learn about all the stages of making a carpet. The aim of the museum is to preserve the inherited ancestral traditions and to inspire the...
In the village of Beshalma, there is a Living Carpet Museum. The handmade carpets created following 150-year-long traditions are the pride of the village. Besides the history of this craft that can discovered during a visit to the museum, the visitors can learn about all the stages of making a carpet. The aim of the museum is to preserve the inherited ancestral traditions and to inspire the new generations to love and preserve the elements of the cultural heritage.

If you go to Congaz, which the locals have dubbed the largest village in Europe, you must stay at the Gagauz Sofrasi rural guesthouse. Its authentic wooden houses amount to a miniature version of a traditional Gagauzian courtyard. The complex, which can accommodate 20, is built entirely of natural materials. All of the architectural trappings repeat, in the smallest detail, what locals of 100 years ago saw...
If you go to Congaz, which the locals have dubbed the largest village in Europe, you must stay at the Gagauz Sofrasi rural guesthouse. Its authentic wooden houses amount to a miniature version of a traditional Gagauzian courtyard. The complex, which can accommodate 20, is built entirely of natural materials. All of the architectural trappings repeat, in the smallest detail, what locals of 100 years ago saw in their homes. These include stoves with lejanca — extensions where you can lie down — plus small wooden windows, hanging rugs, and traditional wool carpets.Spend the night at Gagauz Sofrasi, enjoying the traditional costumes and dances, savoring Turkish meat dishes such as kavurma, and munching on gozleme bread, pizza-like pide and manga pie.

History Museum of the village of Slobozia Mare


The History Museum of Slobozia Mare is a small, but very beautiful museum with 11,000 exhibits. In fact, it wasn’t always a museum. During the Second World War, the Village Hall and the Border Guard Unit Headquarters were in this building. After the war, there was a hospital for typhus and dystrophy patients in it, then a school, and it was legitimized as a Museum in 1988....
The History Museum of Slobozia Mare is a small, but very beautiful museum with 11,000 exhibits. In fact, it wasn’t always a museum. During the Second World War, the Village Hall and the Border Guard Unit Headquarters were in this building. After the war, there was a hospital for typhus and dystrophy patients in it, then a school, and it was legitimized as a Museum in 1988. In the Peasant House hall, visitors often get lost in details and things. The Memory Room, dedicated to the organized famine, the deportations and the participants in World War II, is dramatic. This museum represents a valuable resource for those interested in the history of the locals.

Vulcanesti is a place where many ethnic groups live side by side, offering visitors a view of a tapestry of cultures. One of those ethnic groups is the Gagauz, who put great food on their tables, along with good will, hospitality, generosity, and noisiness. The Kara Gani winery will serve up all of these, plus a good glass of wine. Some visitors prefer rosé, others grape brandy....
Vulcanesti is a place where many ethnic groups live side by side, offering visitors a view of a tapestry of cultures. One of those ethnic groups is the Gagauz, who put great food on their tables, along with good will, hospitality, generosity, and noisiness. The Kara Gani winery will serve up all of these, plus a good glass of wine. Some visitors prefer rosé, others grape brandy. You’re sure to find one you like. And Gagauz food? Everything they serve is yummy. This includes cheese made from sheep’s milk; pide, a pie containing cow’s cheese; gozleme, a pie filled with a mix of cow’s and sheep’s cheese; shorpa, a spicy lamb soup; mangia, a tomato and pepper stew that can include chicken; and bulgur — or wheat — with sheep's offal.

Ilie Davidescu laid the foundation for Vinăria din Vale Winery decades ago when he made wine for his family from a handful of grapevines in his yard. His son, Vladimir, turned the hobby into a business 20 years ago, although he stresses that it is still a family winery. Every family member works in the operation, which hires about 500 locals a year to harvest the grapes...
Ilie Davidescu laid the foundation for Vinăria din Vale Winery decades ago when he made wine for his family from a handful of grapevines in his yard. His son, Vladimir, turned the hobby into a business 20 years ago, although he stresses that it is still a family winery. Every family member works in the operation, which hires about 500 locals a year to harvest the grapes for the wine. Vinăria din Vale is in one of the most picturesque regions of southern Moldova. Not only does the Davidescu family love having visitors see its operation and taste its wine, but it also eager to show nature buffs the nearby Prutul de Jos Natural Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Beleu, Moldova’s largest lake, is on UNESCO’s list of global habitats that should be preserved for their biodiversity. Part of the Prutul de Jos reserve in southern Moldova’s Cahul district, the lake is at its most captivating when its white and yellow water lilies are flourishing. You can see them up close on a boat ride, which you can line up at the Bread Museum in Valeni...
Beleu, Moldova’s largest lake, is on UNESCO’s list of global habitats that should be preserved for their biodiversity. Part of the Prutul de Jos reserve in southern Moldova’s Cahul district, the lake is at its most captivating when its white and yellow water lilies are flourishing. You can see them up close on a boat ride, which you can line up at the Bread Museum in Valeni village. Another attraction is pelicans, which flock in by the thousands looking for food. A tip for pelican watchers: Stay overnight in a tent on the lakeshore so you can get good views of the birds at sunrise. After they eat, many fly to the Danube for more feasting, returning late at night.

The owners of Eco Village Valeni will not only provide you with lodging, but also wooden boats you can use to glide across Lake Beleu, one of Eastern Europe’s most pristine bodies of water. In the boats you can float among water lilies so lovely that it looks like they have been painted on the lake’s surface. If you like fishing, try your luck! An amazing sight...
The owners of Eco Village Valeni will not only provide you with lodging, but also wooden boats you can use to glide across Lake Beleu, one of Eastern Europe’s most pristine bodies of water. In the boats you can float among water lilies so lovely that it looks like they have been painted on the lake’s surface. If you like fishing, try your luck! An amazing sight is flocks of water birds arriving in Lake Beleu, particularly pelicans. The village of Valeni offers delights as well. You can watch traditional carpets being made on sturdy old looms or visit the Bread Museum, which contains dozens of varieties of this Moldovan staple. Another intriguing spot is a wine cellar with a secret chamber where the women of Valeni hid from invading soldiers in both world wars.


Recommendations

For this route, we recommend that you arrange in advance for transportation for the entire trip. Do not forget about: cash, warm clothes and comfortable shoes. Bring your camera, as you can capture magic sunsets along the route.