Nestled between Romania and Ukraine, Moldova may be one of Europe’s lesser-known gems, but its landscapes hold a captivating allure that beckons to the adventurous traveler. From rolling hills and lush vineyards to serene rivers and historical landmarks, Moldova’s stunning landscapes offer a diverse range of natural beauty waiting to be explored. In this article, we embark on a virtual journey to discover the breathtaking landscapes that make Moldova a unique and enchanting destination.
1. Duruitoarea village
Exploring the Duruitoarea zone is like going on an adventure in nature, where you discover new things at every step and leave behind the busy world to enjoy the calmness of the forest. The Costești – Stânca accumulation lake, part of the Duruitoarea Reef, is a fragment of the series of reefs in the north-west of the Republic of Moldova, called Prut Toltrele. Internet users say that the cliffs of Duruitoarea Reef could serve as a natural backdrop for the movie “Jurassic Park” and remind us that hundreds of thousands of years ago, our ancestors used to hunt here. Also, you really must visit the Cave or the Old Duruitoarea Cave. This is dug into the rock above the village, at a height of 33 meters. It is known as an ancient settlement from the Stone Age.
Place to stay: Hanul cu Noroc
2. Dniester River: A Tranquil Waterway
The Nistru River, which flows through Moldova like a lifeline, offers the region both beauty and utility. Its serene waters wind their way through picturesque landscapes, creating an idyllic setting for boating, kayaking, picnics on the banks and even fishing. As you stroll along the Nistru, you’ll pass charming villages, historic monasteries and ancient fortresses that tell stories of Moldova’s rich history and cultural heritage.
Regions where Dniester is worth visiting: Molovata, Țâpova, Lalova, Soroca, Saharna, Vadul lui Vodă, Bender, Tiraspol, Dubăsari (the last 3 in the Transnistrian region).
Place to stay: Hanul lui Hanganu
3. Vineyards: A Wine Lover’s Paradise
Moldova is renowned for its winemaking traditions, and the Purcari vineyards offer a sensory journey through this ancient craft. Nestled among the hills, the vineyards stretch like a patchwork quilt, offering stunning views and a serene atmosphere. Guided tours take you through the vineyards, where you can learn about the winemaking process, from growing grapes to bottling. Of course, no visit is complete without savouring the fruits of your labour – indulge in wine tastings showcasing Moldova’s rich winemaking heritage.
You can sip a glass of wine overlooking the vineyards at Crama Mircești Purcari, Et Cetera wineries, or stay at a resting base in the bosom of nature amidst the vineyards at Hill and Valley Farm.
4. Orheiul Vechi: A Journey Through Time
Orheiul Vechi, a historical and archaeological complex, is a window into Moldova’s past. Carved into limestone cliffs, this unique site features ancient cave monasteries, rock-hewn churches, and remnants of civilizations that once thrived here. As you wander through this living museum, you’ll witness the interplay of nature and human history, all set against a backdrop of awe-inspiring landscapes. Don’t miss the opportunity to climb to the viewpoint for a panoramic vista that encapsulates the beauty and timelessness of Moldova’s landscapes.
Places to stay: Eco Resort (Butuceni village), Vila Roz, Casa din Luncă, Casa de Sub Stâncă, Casa Rândunicii (Trebujeni Village).
5. Mileștii Mici Wine Cellars: A Subterranean Wonder
Situated in the charming Moldovan countryside, the Milestii Mici winery offers stunning views that look like they’re from a fairy tale. As you walk through the huge underground cellars, you’ll be amazed by the maze-like network of tunnels filled with wine, stretching over 200 kilometers. This winery holds a special record in the Guinness World Records as having the most wine bottles in the world – over 2 million! The cozy, dimly lit caves create a magical feeling, blending together history, culture, and the world of wine, making it a fantastic place for wine lovers and curious adventurers. Every step you take through the curved tunnels reveals more of this amazing winery, making Milestii Mici a true treasure in Moldova’s beautiful landscapes and winemaking tradition.
6. The Codrii Forest
The Codrii Forest, often referred to as “Codru Reserve,” is a testament to Moldova’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage. This vast woodland covers a significant portion of central Moldova and features a rich tapestry of flora and fauna. As you explore its winding trails, you’ll find yourself surrounded by towering trees, vibrant wildflowers, and the melodies of birdsong. The Codrii Forest is a haven for nature lovers, hikers, and birdwatchers, offering a serene escape from the bustle of modern life.
Places to stay: Codru Reserve hotel
7. Beleu Lake
Beleu Lake is a picturesque haven for birdwatching enthusiasts nestled within Moldova’s serene landscapes. This tranquil waterbody offers a peaceful refuge where a diverse array of bird species find their home. As you gaze across the shimmering surface of Beleu Lake, you’ll be treated to the sight of graceful waterfowl gliding on the water and colorful birds darting through the reeds. The lake’s shores and surrounding wetlands provide an ideal habitat for various migratory and resident birds, making it a prime spot for birdwatching activities.
Place to stay: Eco Village Văleni
8. “Suta de movile”
Perched gracefully on the Prut valley slope, “The Hundred Hills” is a unique landscape stretching 8 kilometers long and 2.3 to 1.7 kilometers wide. With over 3,500 distinct hills, some reaching heights of 30 meters, this enchanting terrain in Braniste and Avrameni villages, Balti district, is a masterpiece of nature’s design. These hills form six terraces descending from 160 to 170 meters on the slope to 50 to 60 meters on the meadow, elegantly mirroring the Prut River’s flow. One local legend whispers that these hills are monuments to battles, with smaller hills for common fighters and grander mounds for leaders, weaving tales of heroism into the very landscape.
Place to stay: Eco-touristic guesthouse “La Fontal”
Moldova’s stunning landscapes, with their blend of natural wonders and cultural treasures, provide a tapestry of experiences that captivate the senses and ignite the imagination. Whether you’re wandering through the enchanting Codrii Forest, cruising along the tranquil Dniester River, or exploring the historical riches of Orheiul Vechi, each landscape offers a unique story to uncover. Moldova’s beauty is a testament to the harmonious relationship between the land and its people, a bond that invites travelers to embark on a journey of discovery and embrace the splendor of this hidden European gem.