Like most European cities, walking is the best way to explore the city. Get ready to lose yourself for a couple of hours and wander through Moldova’s fascinating past. Experience the country’s leading National Museum of History with over 265,000 exhibits, spend some time at the Alexandr Pushkin House and Museum, once home to the famous Russian poet, and pay a visit to the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History. Architecturally unique in its oriental design, this is the oldest museum in Moldova hosting some vast collections dedicated to flora and fauna, as well as to customs and traditions. Among the many thousands of exhibits, be prepared to see the complete skeleton of dinoterium gigantisimus, a gigantic mammoth-like prehistoric animal.
National Museum of History: Strada 31 August 1989 121 A, Chișinău, +373 22 244 325
Alexandr Pushkin House and Museum: Strada Anton Pann 19, Chișinău, +373 22 292 685
National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History: Strada Mihail Kogălniceanu 82, Chișinău, +373 22 238 848
Take the trolley
Although it is possible to get around the city on foot, do not miss the chance to try the trolleybus for just one leu. Since it always gets crowded, this is the perfect way to enjoy the special ambiance and mix up with the locals. The conductor walking from one end of the vehicle to another adds to the unique atmosphere that brings memories of the past.
Walk in the shadows of the Triumphal Arch
Also known as the Holy Gate, this monument marks the center of the city. Chișinău’s own Triumphal Arch dating from the 1840s was built to commemorate the victory of the Russian army over the Ottoman Empire. While you’re there, walk in its shadows before you continue to explore the nearby area.
Smell the roses
Visiting a park is always a great idea in Chișinău. Go to Stefan cel Mare, also called the Park of Lovers, in the heart of the city to read a book by the lovely fountain or take a ride to Valea Morilor, the only park with both a lake and a small beach, and lose yourself in the amazing woods and the jazz melodies of the street musicians. Finish your tour in Dendrarium Park where you can play sports, fly a kite, explore its wonderful ponds filled with water lilies, or just watch the squirrels.
Stefan cel Mare Central Park: Bulevardul Ștefan cel Mare și Sfînt, Chișinău
Valea Morilor: Strada Grigore Alexandrescu, Chișinău
Dendrarium Park: Sectorul Buiucani, Chișinău
Enjoy a meal
With a great variety of low- to mid-priced restaurants, the city is perfect for foodies. Taste the delicious Moldovan cuisine, a mix of traditional European gastronomies at one or more of the city’s best eateries. At Popasul Dacilor, the authentic decor, the top-notch local dishes and the staff dressed in traditional costumes will take you for a journey back in time. And since the perfect meal needs the perfect dessert, do yourself a favor and enjoy a french croissant at the famous Parisian-style patisserie Crème de la Crème.
Creme de la Crème, str.Alexandru cel Bun 98A, Chişinău, Moldova, +373 22 22 20 11
Go to a concert
The city’s leading cultural and artistic institution is situated in a wonderful building in the center. One of the most beautiful concert halls in Europe, the Organ Hall gives you the perfect chance to attend one of its frequent events. Notorious soloists of the National Chamber Orchestra, organ recitals, fine art exhibitions, and concerts dedicated to famous artists will offer you an evening to remember.
Visit a gallery
To get a bigger picture of the local art scene, visit one of its small, lovely galleries. There you will be able to enjoy some excellent works, created mostly by Moldovan contemporary artists. Whether you are an art collector yourself or not, you will definitely be surprised by the outstanding exhibits.
Explore the kingdom of wine
Moldovans like to point out that the country has a shape that resembles a brunch of grapes. It is true that wine in this region is considered to be some of the purest in the world. While you are in the capital, you should certainly taste some of the finest and cheapest wine you can ever find. Although you may as well do it at one of Chișinău’s numerous wine shops and bars, if you want a true experience, you need to visit one of its wineries, Mileştii Mici and Cricova being the most popular. Built from limestone quarry and having more than two hundred kilometers of underground tunnels, the former has made the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest underground winery with a collection of more than two million bottles. Book a tour package and enter the infinite world of wine.
Cricova: Strada Petru Ungureanu 1, Cricova, +373 22 604 035
Milestii Mici: Milestii Mici Village, Ialoveni District, +373 22/ 382 333
Grab a drink
Well known for its vibrant nightlife, Chișinău has such a large number of clubs, discos, and bars that it’s easy to find one that suits your taste. Whether you want to spend some unforgettable moments with your family and friends or meet some locals, the city’s venues will be a nice surprise. In case you prefer alternative places, do not miss Tipografia 5. Grab a drink and enjoy the authentic Moldavian nightlife to the fullest.
Tipografia 5: Strada Vlaicu Pârcălab 45, Chișinău, +37379464647
Get away from the crowd
If you feel tired and need some isolation, there is no better place than the Orthodox Cathedral of Christ’s Nativity. No matter your religious beliefs, this neo-classical building right in the city center will offer you some shelter in a peaceful atmosphere.