Chisinau is regarded as one of the finest cities in Europe, immersed in lush vegetation. It is also abundant in architectural marvels since it was predominantly built during the reign of the tsar and the Soviet era with the assistance of the then Italian masters. There is an abundance of sights and activities in this city, so if you plan on exploring the undiscovered gems, you will definitely need a reliable Chisinau travel guide. Therefore, here is a handy guide for you to meticulously plan your vacation.
Optimal Time To Visit
During the months from December to February, the temperature in the city remains below the freezing point. The summer months are warmer, while the springs are more mild. Thus, the most suitable period to visit Chisinau is from March until October.
Perfect Duration For Chisinau Trip
A holiday can range from a single day to even a whole week. The longer you stay, the more you can explore the city. However, a minimum stay of 5 days will allow you to experience the top attractions.
Moldova’s currency is known as Leu and is abbreviated as MDL. The banknotes come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 Lei. One Leu is divided into 100 Bani. Additionally, there are coins available in the denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50. You can conveniently exchange foreign currency at banks or exchange offices such as Casa de schimb or birou de schimb valutar. Most of these exchange offices only accept Euros, US dollars, British Pounds, Romanian Kei, Swiss Francs, Russian Rubles, Ukrainian Hryvnia, and Turkish Lira. You can also take advantage of the exchange services at Chisinau airport to have a wider range of options.
An important aspect to remember is that the Moldovan economy predominantly relies on cash transactions, so you may not always be able to pay with cards. Hence, it is advisable to keep US Dollars or Euros with you as they are widely accepted. This becomes particularly evident when you are outside of Chisinau. Furthermore, when making card payments, ensure that you keep the card in sight.
Visas are no longer necessary for entry into Moldova if your stay is less than 90 days. However, authorities diligently enforce penalties, including possible deportation, for overstaying visas. Here are some important points to remember:
- You cannot exceed 90 days within a six-month period in Moldova.
- When entering through an official entry point, your arrival date will be automatically registered.
- Residence, immigration, and work permits must be extended annually, but can be issued for up to five years. Alternatively, you can regularize your stay by applying for a work or residence visa.
- Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months and has at least one unused page.
Places To Explore In Chisinau
While Chisinau offers numerous attractions, here is a list of a few that can be visited in a day. Take a look!
1. National Archaeology and History Museum
Among the sights to see in Chisinau, this museum is a must-visit. It houses an impressive collection of artifacts from the Orheiul Vechi region, including golden horde coins and rare 14th-century ceramics. Notable pieces include a 2000-year-old Samaritan fired clay urn in the shape of a ram and a Greek jar adorned with anthropomorphic deities. The museum also displays ancient weaponry. Additionally, on the first floor, visitors can admire a large diorama showcasing the late Soviet era and the Battle of Leuseni on the Prut River during the significant WW2 last-Chisinau offensive. History enthusiasts and those interested in learning more about the region will find this place endlessly fascinating.
2. National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History
This site is featured in every Chisinau, Moldova travel guide. The main attraction is a life-size reconstruction of a dinosaur skeleton weighing 8 tonnes, similar to an elephant. This mammal lived during the Pliocene epoch, approximately 5.3 to 1.8 million years ago, and was discovered in the Rexine region in 1966. Other captivating exhibits include dioramas featuring national costumes and customs, as well as displays from various scientific fields. Visitors can even observe preserved mutated animals stored in jars.
3. Monument in Chişinău
The Arc de Triomphe, a significant structure in Chişinău, was constructed in 1841 and continues to stand proudly in the city center. Its purpose was to commemorate the triumph of the Russian army over the Ottoman Empire. Positioned in the middle, you will observe the monument adorned with a Moldovan flag, making it an ideal backdrop for photography.
Activities in Chişinău
Among the diverse range of activities available in Chişinău, these three are the top experiences that you shouldn’t miss. Read on to discover why.
1. Piața Marii Adunări Naționale
All reputable travel guides to Chişinău will highly recommend visiting this location. It serves as a bustling hub for many significant events in the city. From the national wine festival to holiday markets and protests, this square hosts numerous happenings. Historically, it is renowned as a site of revolution. Situated on one of Chişinău’s busiest and crucial streets, it is adjacent to the cathedral park and easily accessible by various modes of transportation. If you happen to visit in winter, do not miss the Christmas tree and market. Experience free music events during national festivals, cultural festivities, or holidays.
Location: Stefan cel Mare, Chişinău.
2. Turnul de apă
It was built with the intention of distributing portable water throughout the city, but over the years it has transformed into a museum. It is a renowned site where locals gather for various artistic events such as concerts, exhibitions, book signings, and more. In the museum, you will gain a fascinating insight into the city’s development over the years. The highlight of this museum is its location on the top floor, which features a balcony. When you step outside, you will be greeted by a breathtaking panoramic view of the sprawling city.
Location: Alexei Mateevici St 60A, Chisinau, Moldova
3. Asconi Winery
Visit this place to savor the local cuisine prepared by the residents of the village. The food here is fresh, sourced locally, and prepared in a distinct manner while maintaining its traditional essence. You will have the opportunity to taste authentic Moldovan cuisine. As the name suggests, the wine here is exceptional and rare, making it a perfect accompaniment to the food.
Location: Puhoi, Moldova
What To Bring
When traveling through Moldova, you won’t need to pack excessive items. However, summers can be extremely hot, so be sure to bring a water bottle. Women should also pack a scarf to cover their hair when entering Orthodox churches. Additionally, make sure to arrange suitable travel insurance and check the airline’s baggage restrictions.
Chisinau is a magnificent city that has much to offer its visitors, from its Soviet-era history to its thriving future. It’s a city that welcomes the world, so you should prepare yourself to explore this city on your next European holiday with Fred and Fuzzys.
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