Discover the center of Moldova, a region known for outdoor adventures, traditional crafts, excellent Moldovan wineries and old monasteries.
The Center of Moldova
Discover the center of Moldova, a region known for outdoor adventures, traditional crafts, excellent Moldovan wineries and old monasteries.
Central Moldova has something for every type of adventurer, from hiking and cycling through Plaiul Fagului and Codrii Moldovei nature reserves to kayaking on the Nistru River near Molovata to rock climbing and bird watching at Orheiul Vechi. The beauty of traveling in central Moldova is that you can combine this light adrenaline during the day with visiting extraordinary Moldovan wineries like Chateau Vartely and eating delicious traditional Moldovan food, perhaps even deep in a limestone cave like at Brănești Wine Cellars.
Those interested in Moldovan traditional crafts can see how carpets are woven using traditional looms at the Rustic Art Center in Clișova Nouă village. Each time you see a handwoven carpet in Moldova after this you’ll have a whole new appreciation of the expertise and work that goes into creating one.
Another important and popular place to visit in central Moldova is Orheiul Vechi with its old monastery, cave churches and nearby villages of Butuceni and Trebujeni where you can stay in a family-run guesthouse and enjoy traditional Moldovan food. We’ve created a separate travel guide dedicated to visiting Orheiul Vechi with all you need to know to plan your trip there.
As you see, there’s no shortage of diverse experiences for a well-rounded holiday in central Moldova. This region is located close to Chisinau, so while it’s easy to get to as a day trip from Moldova’s capital city, we suggest you stay a little longer to enjoy visiting central Moldova to its fullest. If you really want to learn about Moldovan wine, check out the Codru Wine Route that visits some of the Moldova’s top wineries and takes you past some of the region’s best sites.
This central Moldova travel guide includes details on all the best places to visit in central Moldova, including a map highlighting all the top things to see and where they are located. We also share information on where to stay in central Moldova, as well as local festivals and events. You’ll find many of these sites included in the Rediscover the Center of Moldova road trip.
Locations in the center of Moldova
If you like folk crafts — particularly hand-woven rugs — you will love the Rustic Art Crafts Complex in Clisova Noua village. Yes, Moldovans still weave authentic Bessarabian rugs on hand looms. You can see how they do it, and how they make traditional costumes, when you visit this area, which is on the Chisinau-Lvov road.
The Plaiul Fugal Nature Reserve is northwest of Chisinau, near the town of Ungheni. The serene area is rich in flora and fauna, hosting more than 900 types of plants, 40 animal species — including deer — and 140 kinds of birds. Plaiul Fagului is part of the Codru Forest.
In addition to nature and wildlife, you will find quaint villages in Plaiul Fagului, such as Bahmut and Cornesti. Besides camping, fishing, cycling and hiking the Codri Forest’s 1.5-kilometer and 3-kilometer trails, you can visit the Veverita, or Squirrel, Monastery. If you want to just chill out, you can stay in a comfortable hotel, such as the Bahmut Club.
The village of Molovata, a little more than an hour from Chisinau, offers picturesque views of the Nistru River, a waterfall and a cave with an intriguing local legend. The Nistru is exceptionally wide at Molovata — more than a kilometer. Those who make their way to high ground are rewarded with a panoramic sweep of the river at Molovata, a community that dates to 1574. In addition to climbing rocks and absorbing stunning vistas, you can explore the Cave of Unfaithful Women at Molovata. Legend has it that a group of men spent four years in the cave extracting stone to build a church without going to the village to see their wives, fiancees and girlfriends. When the men finally returned, they discovered their partners had left them for others. So they concocted a curse: “Let unfaithful women who enter this cave be unable to find their way out.”
Manuc Bey is a French-style castle with a winter garden, guard towers and a well-maintained park. Designed by Alexandru Bernardazzi, it was built during the second half of the Nineteenth Century. A recent renovation ensures that its dazzling architecture will captivate a new generation of visitors.
If you like climbing, but don’t want a grueling or death-defying excursion, you will enjoy ascending Mount Balanesti, at 429 meters – or 1,400 feet – Moldova’s highest peak. The trek will start at the village that carries the mountain’s name and wind through a peaceful landscape of wheat and corn fields. When you reach the top, you will find a breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside. Because the climb is only moderately taxing, when you return, you will feel energized, not exhausted.
Guesthouses in the center of Moldova
Hanul lui HanganuSee on map
A good time to visit the Hanul lui Hanganu guest house is — well, anytime. Take a virtual tour of the guest house to see for yourself. In summer you can take boat rides on the Nistru and hike to Tipova monastery or take a horse-drawn carriage through the villages along the river. In winter, you can skate on the frozen Nistru River. The Tipova waterfall is also frozen then, and what a sight! It looks like an ice kingdom from a movie. After you’ve traipsed around outside for a while, your cottage stove will warm you right up. Don’t leave Hanul lui Hanganu without tasting the house specialty, miniature sarmale.
Bahmut ClubSee on map
The Bahmut Club is a good jumping-off point for hiking through the Plaiul Fagului nature reserve. In summer it also offers outdoor movies, jazz evenings and soul-soothing bonfires. A good way to get to the resort from Chisinau is by train. It stops right at Bahmut village.
Fata MorganaSee on map
The Fata Morgana guesthouse is on the eastern shore of the widest part of the Nistru River. It’s so wide there — more than a kilometer — that locals call the area the seaside. The resort actually does have a beach, complete with wooden chairs and big sun umbrellas. In summer you can ski, jet-ski or fish on the Nistru. So many people walk away with fish that it is considered an angler’s dream. If you need to recharge your batteries, take in the sweeping views of the river from high ground. Or climb rocks or explore the Peştera Femeilor Infidele — the Cave of Unfaithful Women. Another attraction is the Green Waterfall, which is eight meters high and 25 wide. Not only does watching it mesmerize you, but in summer its mist cools you off.
Conacul MieriiSee on map
If you love honey, and are curious about how bees are raised, you will adore the Conacul Mierii – or Honey Mansion – inn. Surrounding the inn are fruit trees that burst into bloom in spring and dozens of brightly painted boxes containing bee colonies. You will find the area quiet, except for some soft buzzing. Your hosts, Victor and Ana Ciolacu, work daily with the bees to produce the sweetest and healthiest honey you will ever find. They love to tell their guests – including curious little ones – about the bees’ everyday lives and how they produce honey.
Casa Parinteasca MuseumSee on map
It is in Palanca village in the Calarasi area near Chisinau. Your visit will start with an introduction to one of Moldova’s most beautiful women — your hostess, Tatiana Popa. She will welcome you to the home of her parents, whom the communists banished after seizing their possessions.
After years of effort, Tatiana was able to recover the home and turn it into a museum. To enhance the flavor of yesteryear that the structure invokes, she brought back handicraft traditions. Palanca’s mostly ethnic Ukrainians, known as Hutsuls, celebrate their rituals at this landmark, passing them on to their children. You will not only get a glimpse of traditional Ukrainian life in the community, but also taste the Hutsuls’ special dishes. They start with white cherry jam served on cherry leaves. Next are potato pancakes, a green-tomato jam, cherry pie, and a scrumptious cheese pudding. As for drinks, Tatiana is likely to serve you socata, a refreshing brew of elderflowers, sugar, lemon and water. Or a peppermint liqueur, brandy or tea made from plants in her garden.
Hill & ValleySee on map
Hill & Valley is a family friendly farm and agtourism destination, available for private events only. The eco farm and vineyard complex are located only 30 minutes from Chisinau offering rest and relaxation in a beautiful area on the edge of Codru with trails down to a peaceful lake while the terrace overlooks a gorgeous valley, old nut orchards, and the tranquil village of Telesau. Their mission is to provide modern facilities to modern families and to, eventually, provide farm-to-table food in a sustainable environment supported by the local community to facilitate and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.
Casa RânduniciiSee on map
Guest house Casa Rândunicii is found in an area with unique landscapes in Moldova, between the rocky banks of Trebujeni village, which became an attraction in the Cultural-Natural Reservation “Orheiul Vechi”. The guest house is built near the parental home and was designed in accordance with local architectural traditions, but with modern interior finishes that offer comfort to the most demanding tourist. “Casa Rândunicii” has an accommodation capacity of 4 rooms, a summer terrace and a playground for children, a closed terrace for organizing events and a traditional wine cellar. The hosts will be happy to welcome guests with traditional and area-specific dishes, prepared on the basis of local vegetables and food.
Casa VerdeSee on map
Casa Verde Guest House is right in the heart of Orheiul Vechi cliffs, just look for house number nine from the entrance to Trebujeni village. Here you could dive into the surrounding beauty, feeling calm and cozy thanks to the hospitality extended by the hosts as well as by the atmosphere of ancient history. At Casa Verde you could sip your coffee out in the flower garden, on the terrace, and if it happens to be on a holiday – then you will be welcomed to Casa Mare. Moreover, besides tasting and enjoying traditional meals, you could also participate in cooking classes or other ways to learn about traditional Moldovan cuisine.
Casa de sub stancaSee on map
This pension got its name from its location under the most beautiful rock formation in the village. In addition to enjoying traditional food and dance, going on carriage rides, and participating in cooking workshops at Casa De Sub Stanca, you can learn how to knit dolls and hats from corn husks — a traditional craft.
Casa din luncăSee on map
The Benzin family created the first rural guesthouse in rural Moldova, which they dubbed Casa Din Lunca. In addition to good food, you will find a pool and children’s playground. If you want to do more than just relax, there are bicycle trails near the guesthouse. To top off a great day, try a sunset boat ride on the Raut River.
Vila RozSee on map
The name Vila Roz comes from its owner’s love of roses, which she grew in her garden. Visitors can stay in the resort’s guesthouse or — if they feel like roughing it — in a nearby camping area. Vila Roz’s specialty is croissants with jam — and the staff will teach you how to make them if you want. The resort has bicycles for those who would like to pedal around discovering the Old Orhei. If you come at Easter, the resort offers egg-painting workshops.
Eco-Resort ButuceniSee on map
If you don’t have time to visit all of Moldova, but want to get a feel for what life is like in much of the country, try Eco-Resort Butuceni. All of its cottages are made of natural materials. Lucky guests can even sleep on a lijanca — a toasty bed that is an extension of a stove. Be ready for the Butuceni staff to put you to work. You will feed the animals, milk the cow, collect eggs from the henhouse, and perform other tasks that capture the charm of country living.
You can also attend cooking workshops. In one of them you will knead dough and make bread with your own hands. Food at Butuceni is phenomenal, and local music and dance add spice to the menu. If you’re an outdoorsy type, you can climb the Orheiul Vechi rocks. And in the evening you can relax in the guesthouse spa. If you come at Christmas, you can ride a horse-drawn sleigh and listen to traditional carols.
“Trei Pastori” Tourist GuesthouseSee on map
“Trei Pastori” is a relatively new Guesthouse. Why relatively new? Because until recently it was a summer camp for children. In 2020 it went through major renovation and turned into a comfortable hostel offering room to accommodate 30 tourists. It is located amidst the nature, while on its territory there is a nice lake / outdoor swimming pool, terrace, patio, barbeque. The guesthouse is built in a rustic style, while each room is decorated with traditional elements (carpets, stoves) and the bathroom. In the guest house there is also a restaurant where you can pre-order delicious traditional dishes. If you want to break away from the urban agglomeration and spend a weekend in an area with traditions, in a picturesque and hospitable environment, then this is a perfect place to go.
La PrisacăSee on map
La Prisacă is an agro-tourism complex under construction near the forest, which includes a porch and bee products, a guest house, huts for rest in the summer season, and playgrounds for children.
Tourist guest house La NistruSee on map
La Nistru guest house is located in Molovata Nouă, a special location, on the Left Bank of the Nistru River, in Codru vine and wine area. It all started back in 1970, when the location was known as the summer camp on the Dniester River. It was here that children rested during their summer holidays. Its history takes on a different scale in 2019, when at the initiative of the proprietors, the construction of an agro-tourist guest house was launched, which currently offers accommodation, restaurant, terrace, patio and playground for children. The business is also proud of its bakery that provides the camp and the guest house with fresh goodies all year around.
MUZESee on map
The elements of comfort and rationality are defining for the interior and exterior of the MUZE Guest house. The building is already in a rustic setting, so combined constructive elements have been used to offer guests a unique experience. The guest house has a generous lawn and views of the Nistru River. Guests can park bicycles, cars and other types of transport in the parking lot adjacent to the Guest house.
The pension has an accommodation capacity of 14 numbers, of which the smallest number has an area of 16 square meters, and the largest is close to 36 square meters. In total, the pension could accommodate up to 42 people. All numbers have a bathroom and toilet. The furniture is minimalist and purchased from domestic manufacturers.
Curtea de PiatrăSee on map
The guesthouse offers a range of amenities, including accommodation in private rooms, complimentary breakfast, excursions, bicycle rides, and courses on making traditional plum brandy (“țuică”). They specialize particularly in Moldovan traditional cuisine and encompass a wide array of culinary products.
Curtea ȚărăneascăSee on map
Tired of the hustle and bustle of the city? Do you want to enjoy quiet days in nature? Curtea Taraneasca agritourism centre is ready to open its doors to you! Here you can not only relax from the hustle and bustle of the city, but also live in authentic traditional rural houses and experience the atmosphere of the past.
Saharna – ȚiglăuSee on map
The story of Saharna-Tiglau Resort and its cottages began several years ago when Victor Lupascu the owner and host, discovered the place by chance when hiking in the area. He was impressed by the natural landscapes and dramatic views over the Dniester River from a height of 90-100 meters. T...
The story of Saharna-Tiglau Resort and its cottages began several years ago when Victor Lupascu the owner and host, discovered the place by chance when hiking in the area. He was impressed by the natural landscapes and dramatic views over the Dniester River from a height of 90-100 meters. Then, he was intrigued by the discovery of some old early 20th century mines dug underground by hand. And finally, Victor was impressed by the rich history and cultural heritage of the territory with archeological excavations discovering traces of a prehistoric Iron Age settlement dating back to the 10-9th century BC.