Central Moldova Hiking Trail: Nisporeni to Balanesti Hill (Highest Point in Moldova)
This hiking trail in central Moldova is created for those who love to connect with nature, hike through and to admire the wild landscapes of the forest, and admire the rolling and man-made landscapes with hills covered with colorful vineyards, or/and farmlands. The hiking trails and walking circuit around Nisporeni have been designed to take you through unexplored natural places like with The red hiking trail route passes through Codri protected area, and along ridges filled with beautiful overlooks over the landscape below. However, the hiking trail also goes along country roads and through villages to meet local people and get a glimpse of life and culture in the Moldovan countryside.
In order to get to the trailhead, start on the green trail by climbing the stairs from Nisporeni to Mârzoaia Hill. At the top of the hill take the red trail that goes north.
You will pass through Landscape reservation Dolna, Natural Reserve Forest Cobac, La Fag and Landscape Reserve Cazimir-Milesti. These reservations are populated by more than 50 species of birds, 15 species of reptiles and amphibians and 15 species of rare insects. At the same time, the natural and fundamental stands of Beech trees and rare plant populations.
Tourist attractions of the route
- Length: 40km
- Travel time: 2-12 hours
- Difficulty level: Medium
- Bicycle rental: no
- Starting point: Mârzoaia Hill
- Ending point: Milești Villge
Gate to the village Cioresti
The first stop along this way is at the Cioresti village entrance where you’ll find the largest gate in the whole of the Republic of Moldova. It is carved from oak and is five meters high and nine meters wide. This gate is the visit card of the village and the locals are very proud of it.When you pass under this gate, stop for a minute to realize how small we all are in this world.
From this hill opens an amazing view to Ciorești village and its surroundings. The hill is 323 meters above sea level and can be a perfect spot to rest or have a snack.
Guesthouse “La Nașu”, village Cioresti
The family guesthouse is located in the center of the village Ciorești, in a picturesque place, charged with positive energy and hospitable people. The guesthouse can offer accommodation in traditional country houses. Also, you can stop at the guesthouse for a traditional Moldavian cuisine, to taste the local dishes from this area. Be sure to call ahead to let them know you are coming so that they are prepared for you.
Zaharia Triboi Potter's House, Cioresti village (pottery workshop)
Mr. Zaharia is one of the last remaining potters in Moldova who makes black ceramic vessels. He opened his own workshop – Triboi Ceramics – in Ciorești in 1988. Since then, the whole family has slowly become part of this family-run business built on passion for this craft and tradition.. Today, Triboi Ceramics combines old pottery traditions with new, experimental trends, and modern, minimalist ceramics. Moreover, this passion for pottery also attracted women in the family, who abandoned their professions in medicine and law to become potters. You can visit the workshop to see and purchase finished items. If you want to make your own ceramics and custom vessels, the craftsman will be happy to show you how to shape and paint pottery in a masterclass (book in advance).
An area where the beauty and grandeur of nature combine well. Cobac Lake is a picturesque place in the Cobac Reserve forest where you can stop for recreation at any time of the year. You will find some gazebos with tables, chairs and barbecue to relax or maybe enjoy some snacks. From the lake you will continue on the forest path through Cobac Reserve.
Beech tree protected by the state (La Fag, Cobac Reserve)
The beech tree from Ciorești forest is the biggest and oldest beech tree in the Republic of Moldova at more than 300 years old. The tree is located in the Cobac forest west of Ciorești, in the middle of a slope with a northeast exposure. Although the trunk was struck by lightning, which caused cracks, the tree is categorized as a healthy one.
Top of the Balanesti Hill
Also known as Miron’s Peak, Balanesti is the highest geodetic point in the Republic of Moldova at 429 meters above sea level. However, it does not look like a sharp mountain peak, but rather like an earthy round belly. The hill dominates the plains from the Codri Plateau, but also the village Balanesti located further northeast, from which it borrowed its name. From its top opens a 360-degree panorama that is special in any season. As you come off Balanesti Hill, you will walk on the trail through Balanesti village and then to Milesti village below. If you are tired, you can always stop in Balanesti at one of the family guesthouses mentioned above. Otherwise, continue walking to Milesti where you can catch transport or overnight in the camping grounds.
Cazimir Dendrological Park, Milesti village
Cazimir Dendrological Park is a national monument of landscape architecture built in the second half of the 19th century. It is 150 years old and is the symbol of the village. Although not very large in size, it is distinguished by its picturesque places, but especially by its dendrological richness.The park is based on the ancient Roman “rustic villa”. The ray-shaped alleys delimit various secular trees, in the composition of which are accentuated two Ginkgo Biloba trees, one specimen is female and another specimen is male. The locals affectionately call these trees “Adam and Eve”. Ginkgo from Milesti are some of the oldest trees of this species on the territory of Moldova. They are over 100 years old and have a height of 14-15 meters. The dendrological park in Milesti is currently the only place in the south-east of the European continent where ginkgo seeds can be collected for the multiplication of the species. Descendants of the ginkgo trees from Milesti grow in several parks in the republic, as well as in other botanical gardens in countries on the European continent.
Cazimir Mansion - Milesti village
The history of Milesti village is closely related to the family of Bessarabian nobles from the Casimir family. Teodor Cazimir built, in the second half of the 19th century, a mansion and other buildings on the southeastern edge of the village of Milesti and planted the park and the orchard.
So far, only the mansion and a three-storey building opposite it have been preserved, as well as traces of an orchard. However, it is an interesting place for those who love to create stories about the past: how this family lived here, what was their routine, and what they liked most about living in their mansion and in this beautiful landscape.
Camping Pe Toloacă
A perfect place to spend the night after a long day of walking is the camping grounds in the village of Milesti. You can rent a tent that is already set up and outfitted. The tents are large, placed on a wooden platform and with beds, mattresses, sheets and everything you might need to enjoy a peaceful sleep.
The owners also offer a number of activities – picking fruit from their own garden, bathing in a huge wooden tub in the center of the campsite, excursions to the source of the river Bâc, board games and much more.
In the evening, after finishing the hiking trail , you can sit around the fire, sing songs and make a grill. Make sure you rent your tent and dinner in advance so that there is a guaranteed place for you.