Rural life in Moldova is much like it was in days gone by.
Country folk grow their vegetables in gardens and fruit on trees they’ve planted. They also raise livestock in barnyards or fields near their homes, draw water from wells or fountains, and cook in traditional ovens.
Our rural folk are the “salt of the earth” of legend – hard-working, honest and always ready to help others.
Rural life in Moldova is much like it was in days gone by.
In the Moldovan countryside, life is quieter and more authentic, and time seems to pass slower.Visitors enjoy the fresh air, the friendliness of the locals, and their traditions. One delight is spotting a horse-drawn cart or buggy on a rural road. Another, if you’re in the countryside at the right time, is seeing how reverently and beautifully country people observe holidays like Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, and Sânziene – or Summer Fairies Day. Visit Moldova’s rural areas to escape the bustle of the city, get the deepest sleep you’ve had in ages, wake to a rooster crowing, eat the yummiest chicken noodle soup you’ve ever had, and down a homemade plum spirit called tsuika in the evening. Between breakfast and dinner you can work up an appetite by picking cherries straight off a tree, helping a farmer tend cattle grazing in his field, and milk cows at sunset.
Try staying at a country inn for a few days of rest, fabulous food and incomparable Moldovan hospitality. You’ll return to the world you came from with your batteries recharged.
Explore locations in Rural tourism
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.
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.
Casa din luncă
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.
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.
Hanu lui Hanganu
A good time to visit the Hanganu resort is — well, anytime. 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. In summer you can take boat rides on the Nistru and horse-drawn carriages through the villages that flank the river. Don’t leave the Hanganu without tasting the house specialty, dwarf sarmale.
Casa de sub stanca
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.
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.
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.
La Gura Cuptorului Guesthouse
The La Gura Cuptorului guesthouse is next to the Bread Museum in Valeni and not far from the Prutul de Jos nature reserve and Lake Beleu.
If you stay, you will want to learn about Moldova’s traditional breads. This will include the difference between botcala — spontaneously leavened bread — and yeast-leavened bread. You will also learn how to create hoopoe, or mother-in-law bread, and burnacei, pigeon bread.
Your stay wouldn’t be complete without meeting Lidia Bejenaru, the Grandma of Valeni, who gained international fame as a member of a Moldovan folk ensemble. She charmed millions of Eurovision talent contest watchers with her drum-playing in 2005.
Eco Village Vаleni
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.
Casa Veche is a more than 100-year-old village house that will give you an idea of how rural Moldovans lived at the turn of the 20th Century. Its owners decided recently to turn it into a bed and breakfast for those looking for a traditional country experience, which can include seeing horse-drawn carts. The food at Casa Veche, which is close to the Dniester River and the Ukrainian border, is all-natural. An interesting story about Palanca village is that an agreement in 2012 that ended a border dispute between Ukraine and Moldova meant that many villagers’ homes were still in Moldova while their farmland suddenly ended up in Ukraine. A new border checkpoint in 2018 has made it easier for the villagers to tend those plots.
Vila Dora is a country inn with old wooden floors, huge traditional carpets and rustic furnishings near the Dniester River. The food the owners serve is not only authentic Moldovan, but as fresh as can be. The inn located in an enchanting region, both in terms of nature and spirituality. Two nearby landmarks are the Japca Monastery and Moldova’s largest Jewish cemetery in the village of Vadul-Rascov. Vila Dora is also close to the medieval fortress at Soroca and the 30-meter-tall Candle of Gratitude Monument. The writer Ion Durta came up with the idea of creating a monument to honor those who have made special efforts to preserve Moldovan culture. It was erected in 2004.
You’re in for a once-in-a-lifetime treat at the Mester Faur, a treehouse inn with thatched roof that you reach by walking up an outdoor staircase. The thatch is a great fit for Cioburciu, whose history dates back 650 years. Around the village is one of Moldova’s loveliest forests. If you love soaking up nature, then a walk through this relaxing woodland is for you. You can also go boating or fishing or tour the Purcari winery.
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.
The story of the Gandrabur’s family began long time ago. Inspired by the long cherished desire to give a second life to the old household owned by the ancestors, the Gandrabur spouses spend a few years working abroad while pursuing the idea of coming back to Moldova and investing in the restoration of the old family nest and then turning it into a hospitable, beautifully arranged guest house, serving traditional meals and local wine, carefully stored in the 17th century cellar. Welcome to rest in the old garden at Valea Stancii, breathe in deeply the magic air of countryside evenings and enjoy everything what has the name of tradition. Valea Stâncii is for you to discover local traditions, leaving behind your everyday worries and enjoying small, though important things.
Rotundu Residence is a very special place, a charming blend of pastoral and nowadays life. Catching your eyes throughout the location will be rather harmonious canvas of the traditional Moldovan style combined with the shabby chic design. In addition to delicious meals, flavored herbs tea and particularly soulful atmosphere, the hosts of the Residence will invite you to give a hand of help during special rural life events: in spring time it would be cleaning and trimming the vineyard and planting all sorts of greenery; in summer it would be fishing and harvesting seasonal fruits and vegetables; and in the fall time – welcome to harvesting grapes and winemaking.
Have you set your mind on opening a few days getaway to Orheiul Vechi accompanied by your quadruped? Then you are welcome to stop at La Popas in Butuceni. At the invitation of the hosts of the house, you could enjoy here assorted dishes of traditional cuisine served with young homemade wine.
Casa Verde Guesthouse 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 such.
When you enter the Karaman House Restaurant, you get the idea you are in a country home built a century ago. And the cooking matches the atmosphere. It consists of traditional Moldovan dishes that are hearty and scrumptious. If you want to learn how to make some, the staff will teach you. To gain an additional feel for local country life, you can help tend gardens. To top off your visit, try a relaxing boat ride on the Dniester River.
Participates in activities in the rural entourage of Moldova
Bird watching trails
The cultural-natural reservation “Orheiul Vechi” has become a pilot area for birdwatching, as nesting there are around 100 species of birds, i.e. one third of the total number of birds that can be observed in the Republic of Moldova. Do not miss the chance to watch the birds in their five natural habitats: in floodplains, forests, waters, villages and farmlands, along the six birdwatching trails. With a bit of luck, you will be able to take a shot of a red bird (Oriolus oriolus), bee-eater (Merops apiaster), blue gull (Alcedo atthis) and great egret (Casmerodius albus) – some of the rarest species on earth.
The biking route Chisinau – Palanca is unique in Moldova, with a total length of 226 km, it includes 6 segments and dozens of local routes around tourist points in the Codru and Stefan Voda regions. The tourist route provides cycling travelers with the opportunity to visit authentic wineries, rest the nights in rural guest houses, discover the valuable pieces of local museums and monuments, contemplate eye-catching landscapes and other varieties of attractions in the center and southern regions of the country.
- Distance: 226 km
- Nr. of segments: 6 segments
- Difficulty level: depending on segment
Pottery is one of the oldest occupations of mankind, transmitting the traditional elements of each culture from generation to generation. In Moldova you can find various potters – those who follow and respect traditional techniques and motifs, but also those who have adopted a modern and minimalist style. We suggest you explore the works of these artists and get a souvenir in which you will keep a particle of the warmth of the Republic of Moldova, wherever you are. And if you have a few hours, then you must go to a pottery masterclass where you will have the opportunity to create your own work of art, giving life to clay.
Eugenia Burlacenco began to learn the art of pottery at the young age of five. Now the craftswoman specializes in creating decorative ceramic objects, made of white, glazed clay. You can easily recognize Elena’s works by noticing their elegance and finesse, as the craftswoman usually decorates the upper part of her works with figurines, birds and butterflies in pastel colors. She can offer you a refined gift for any occasion.
Items sold: Elegant decorative ceramic, made of glazed white clay. Vases, crockery, figurines.
“Scutelnic Brothers” Artistic Pottery and Pottery WorkshopIaloveni, Moldova
The emblem of the Scutelnic brothers is a house, a motiff that is found in many works of craftsmen. At the same time, their collections also outline the theme of wine that takes the form of figurines, presses, jugs or wine mugs. The brothers have adjusted their techniques to meet the visitors who visit them often, namely, they have adopted a minimalist style to allow tourists to take a small souvenir home with them, even with bags already full.
Items sold: House motiff , souvenirs, cheerful. Traditional, minimalist style.
House of potter Vasilii GoncearHoginești, Calarasi, Moldova
The talent and passion for the art of pottery is passed down from generation to generation in the family of Vasilii Gonciari, who in turn inherited the occupation from his father. Vasilii managed to gather a huge collection of ceramic elements at his workshop in Hoginești. Here tourists come to admire the clay objects, including the largest clay jug in the region measuring over two meters, but also to participate in master classes organized by the talented craftsman.
Items sold: Pitchers, pots, dishes. Traditional style.
Ceramica Triboi handcrafting CenterCiorești, Nisporeni, Moldova
At the “Ceramica Triboi” Center you can participate in a pottery master class with master Zaharia who learned this art 30 years ago, but also his son Adrian, who is committed to combining old pottery traditions with modern and minimalist trends. In Ciorești you can admire the collection of handicrafts, buy or order a personalized clay creation. The center also has a restaurant where visitors can enjoy delicious traditional dishes.
Items sold: Decorative objects, souvenirs, crockery. Mixed style.
Planeta Moldova Hand MadeStrada Columna 106, Chișinău, Moldova
If you are ready to get rid of boredom, we recommend spending a few inspiring hours at a pottery masterclass hosted by Carolina and Ruslan Grimovici, right in the heart of the capital. The craftsmen organize workshops for everyone, and most often the children who come here step on their doorstep to develop their creativity and spend their time in an interesting way, giving life to clay.
Items sold: Souvenirs, jewelry, crockery, personalized works. Mixed style.
Clay and ceramic objects
When you look for inspiring art objects as home decorations, artisanal moldovan pottery craftings are great selections because of the authentic style decorations, you also may choose to acquire glasses, plates, jugs, toys and of course the traditional clay and ceramic pots which will enrich your dishes with the warmth of the countryside cooking legacy.
- Phone: (+373) 602 30 541
- Town: Chișinău, Moldova
- Web: www.facebook.com/people/Sveatoslav-Buza/100007525927020/
- Items sold: Pitchers, mugs, vinyl motif, souvenirs. Traditional style.
Prividiuc lvan și Nina
- Phone: (+373) 601 61 117
- Town: Chișinău, Moldova
- Web: www.facebook.com/Ceramica-Savi%C8%9Bki-1881185695325024/
- Items sold: Decorative objects, souvenirs. Mixed style.
Stoica Alena and Simion
HORSE RIDING IN THE FOREST
If you like forest walks, then go to the racetrack in the city of Chisinau and rent a horse to explore the surroundings. Gentle and quiet, the horses will perfectly complement your promenade through the capital of Moldova. Admire the beauty of oaks, ash trees and feel the fresh forest air. Make a stop in a glade, lie on the grass and admire the sky. The sky in Moldova is particularly beautiful!