Moldova is a small landlocked state in southeastern Europe – one of the most highly populated republics of the former USSR. To the north, east and south Moldova, is bound by Ukraine; to the west by Romania. The River Prut constitutes the border with Romania. The country has rich pastures and wooded slopes, ideal for wine-growing.
Dress should be casual but conservative. For official engagements, men should wear a jacket and tie. The country is famous for its tradition of folk arts and there are many lively musical groups (Tarafs), which play a variety of rare folk instruments including the tsambal (not unlike a dulcimer), cimpoi (bagpipe), fluier and nai.
5 to 10 per cent will be gladly accepted.
The threat from terrorism in all parts of Moldova is low. Visitors should be vigilant to petty crime, particularly in Chisinau. Caution is advised if traveling to Transnistria.
Moldova’s national airlines are Air Moldova (9U) and Air Moldova International (RM). Moldovian Airlines, Tarom (Romania’s national airline), Transaero (Russian airline) and Tyrolean Airlines fly regularly to Moldova. There are also charter airlines operating between Chisinau and some major destinations in the CIS, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, The Netherlands, Romania and Turkey.
Approximate flight times
From London to Chisinau is approximately seven hours, with a stopover in Moscow. From Moscow to Chisinau is two hours, from Kiev is one hour 30 minutes and from St Petersburg is three hours.
Chisinau International (KIV) is 14km (8.5 miles) from the city center (travel time – 15 to 25 minutes). There is a regular bus service to the city. Taxis are also available. Moldova-Tur offers a courtesy pick-up by prior arrangement (see General Info section). Facilities include bank, post office, left-luggage and duty free shops.
There are daily train services between Chisinau and Moscow, Russian Federation (travel time – 22 hours), Odessa, Ukraine (travel time – five hours) and Bucharest, Romania (travel time – 13 hours). Other, less frequent, destinations include Minsk (Belarus) and St Petersburg.
Moldova can be entered from Ukraine (although the self-proclaimed ‘Republic of Transdniestria’ area around Tiraspol should be avoided at present) and also from Romania via the border crossing at Leusheni, Sculeni and Giurgiulesti. From Chisinau to Odessa is 183km (114 miles).
The following goods may be imported into Moldova by persons of 18 years of age or older without incurring customs duty:
200 cigarettes; 1l of spirits and/or wine; a reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use.
There is over 1145km (715 miles) of railway track in use in Moldova. Trains run daily to Ocnita, Tighina and Ungheni, and there are connections to most areas of the country. For more details, contact the information service of Moldovan Railways (tel: (22) 252 737/5;
The road network covers 13,622km (8500 miles). Bus: These run between most of the larger towns and cities. For further information, contact either Chisinau Main Bus Station (tel: (22) 542 185) or South East Bus Station (tel: (22) 723 983). Taxi: These can be found everywhere. Fares should be negotiated in advance, though drivers prefer to charge per hour. Taxis are requested by calling 900 or 905-8. Car hire: Self-drive cars can be obtained for self-drive or with an English-speaking driver. Avis car hire is represented in Chisinau. Documentation: An International Driving Permit is required.
Buses, trolleybuses and minibuses are cheap but notoriously crowded and unreliable. They all operate from 0500-2400 with services every 15 minutes. Tickets for buses and trolleybuses can be purchased from kiosks or on board the vehicle. Minibus tickets are bought from the driver.