Congratulations! Just by making it to this page you know more about Moldova than 99% of the people in this world. To say that Moldova is an obscurity to most people is an understatement. The former Soviet Republic - wedged in between Ukraine and Romania like a piece of corn stuck in your teeth - doesn't see too many tourists. If you do make it to Moldova, you will visit a land that most people have never heard of, let alone even thought of visiting.

Moldova is a poor country, the poorest in Europe. If you leave the capital Chisinau and go to the rural villages you will be transported back in time. People still get around by riding in carts pulled by oxen. This isn't to say that Moldova is a backwards place. Its cities are like most in the former Soviet sphere. There are wide avenues, sterile parks and apartment buildings that you can't tell whether they are in the process of being built or if they are in the process of falling apart.

People in Moldova largely speak Moldovan (Romanian) but in the biggest cities and in the breakaway region in the east there are a number of Russian speakers. No matter the language, you will undoubtedly enjoy the Moldovan wine. It was the wine capital of the former Soviet Union and for a buck or two you can consume large quantities of the stuff. Some of it is quite good.

What to do

The capital of Chisinau has its charms although not too many obvious tourist attractions outside of its archeological museum. Balti is the second largest city and it's also somewhat unspectacular, but it has a pleasant Old City and main square.

Getting there

You can try to book a flight into Chisinau Airport (code: KIV), but fares tend to be high. You might consider flying into Bucharest (code: OTP) and taking the overnight train from there, which will cost much less than flying directly into Moldova.

Where to stay

There are hotels in Moldova, but not a lot of hostels. Even for a former Soviet Republic, things are moving slowly here so it might be a few more years before the tourism infrastructure starts to be properly built out.