Moldova opens from a new side in the passionate interview of a GoAdventureMoldova
What would you consider to be the top attraction that drive tourists to Moldova?
Although Moldova is located in the heart of Europe, until nowadays, it remains unspoiled, “wild” and authentic in its way. For the last four years, I have been working in positioning and promoting Moldova as a tourism destination on the international focusing mainly on rural, cultural, gastronomy and wine tourism.
We, at GoAdventure, are trying to demonstrate Moldova from a different angle and show it can be fun and adventurous.
So, let’s discover Moldova together: Cricova Sparkling Cellars- is the biggest wine underground city in the world. With over 120 km of galleries with its symbolic streets: Dionis, Feteasca, Cabernet-Sauvignon, etc, at a depth of 35-80 m, keeps 30 million liters of wine. We are also proud of small wineries as Et Cetera, where it’s all about passion for winemaking and family; Purcari with its Royal Blends, MIMI Wine Castel and others – these could be discovered when walking or cycling. But if you want to feel like it was back in USSR, you definitely should visit Transnistria – a country that does not exist. Don’t miss Orheiul Vechi – the millennial museum under the sky. There are many other places from the north to the south that will surprise’ nature, food and culture lovers, but most of all Moldova is special because of its people.
Which areas would you recommend visiting? How would you describe ethnographic and gastronomic delights awaiting for tourists?
Moldova is a small country but at the same time diverse and colorful in terms of ethnography and gastronomy.
Local and fresh, I would say describes best Moldova’s cuisine. In Soroca we have the Gypsy community, with their unique lifestyle, music, dance, and gastronomy. You could even meet the Gypsy baron who will sing for you on his accordion, while his wife will treat guests with local cuisine. In the center of Moldova, you can try traditional zeama, sarmale, placinta, mamaliga, deserts like Cusma lui Guguta and others. In the south, in Gagauzia, you can try Gozleme, a Turkish pie. Moreover, travelers can learn how to prepare all these delights, while enjoying good food and wines surrounded with good friends.
Which adventures are most popular —hiking, boat, anything else?
Now the most popular adventure is Wine degustations. but we will try to embed wine with other adventures like hiking, biking, off roads, kayaking, camping, and photography. Visitors can experience Moldova by foot, by cycling, or discovering little villages on the way.
Which destinations are most popular with families?
Some may say that Moldova is not a destination for families, but there are so many interesting things to be discovered. Again, besides the Orheiul vechi, we recommend our guest to take part in traditional performances in Casa Parinteasca Craft Center or Rustic Art Craft Center to find out more about local traditions in dance, music, crafts, carpentry and our roots – the Tree of Life.
We definitely recommend visiting Hanul lui Hanganu Guest House in Lalova and Tipova Cave Monastery for leisure walking or hiking by Nistru River. This can be a great escape from the crowd. In the south, in the Purcari Region, there’s more than just wine.
While parents enjoy their wine, children can fly with a little airplane over the region; pick fruits in the orchards, cycling through the vineyards or fishing in the Nistru River.
Which type of sports activities are most popular? Any extreme sports or activities worth noting?
The most popular sport activities to experience are: biking & hiking – Moldova’s rolling hills and picturesque landscape, with woodlands, vineyards, villages, and farms are ideal to be discovered by bike or by foot. Come and visit monasteries, wineries and nature reserves; For caving we will totally recommend several caves that are possible to explore –
the “Cave of Surprises” near Criuleni, about 50 km from Chisinau, and the Emil Racovita Cave near Criva village, about 265 km from Chisinau in the Briceni district. It is the third largest gypsum cave in the world. It has a vast network of underground galleries stretching more than 89,000 m and is split across several levels;
Kayaking is possible on the Nistru River where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature on this peacefully flowing river. Natural beaches and islands create opportunities to rest or play along the way; for the rock climbing – while Orheiul Vechi is one of the most spectacular open air museums in Moldova, the rock hills that form the amphitheatre are just perfect to climb and discover this special place from a different angle. Together with a trained and professional team of rock climbers, 30 m high hills will open a spectacular view of the surroundings.
Which seasons are most popular? Why? What are seasonal activities or events that you recommend visiting?
Spring is amazing in Moldova, with lots of sun and everything blooming around. After winter has passed, everything is reviving. Because Moldova is so popular for the special taste of fruits and vegetables, in May you can already try local products and best place to find these are the local markets. In the summer is also nice in Moldova although it is quite hot. Autumns are spectacular, for being so colorful and tasty because it is the harvest season. Our guest can participate at harvest and make their own fruit jam or even wine.
Lately the tourism events have developed and are available year around. Sport events like Cricova Wine Run in January, Orheiul Vechi Mountain Bike Marathon in May, Purcari Wine Run in September, Chisinau International Marathon are taking place whenever you decide visiting us. Gastronomy and wine festivals like Underland Wine & Music Fest in January, May Day Picnic in May, the sweetest festival in Europe “Mai Dulce” in May, National Wine Festival in October. Although my favorite event is DescOPERA in June, which is the first and only outdoor Opera Music Festival in Eastern Europe.
I would say that it does not matter which season you are visiting Moldova as everyone will discover something interesting for themselves to do.
Could you tell us about your personal favorite adventure locally? Favorite track?
What I like about travelling in Moldova is the freedom and safety, you can get lost in the small villages along the main road and find new friends. One of my favorite tracks is the Culinary Bike Route in Palanca Village, Calarasi region. So it starts at Casa Parinteasca Craft Center (Parent’s House) where Tatiana Popa, the heart of this rural household, is welcoming the guests. It says that there are people who bless the place and this is the case. Tatiana Popa has turned her family home into a handicraft workshop, offering the possibility to admire the old Moldavian customs and traditions.
The guests have the chance to learn about the unique technique of carpet weaving, called “covorul in bumbi”. A forgotten tradition, but revived by the Casa Parintească.
These handicrafts have recently served as an inspiration for renowned designers in Europe. On bikes we get to travel around the village and visit 5 families, where, with every family we get to try local gems, pastry, milk products, apple based products like liquors, and home make liquors. This is a very fun and inspiring trek as you get to meet and socialize with local people, get the feeling of the local lifestyle. And most of all I like that this way we can contribute to the development of this community and share with the world local people’s passion and lifestyle
What is your favorite and most notable experience that you’ve planned?
We have had the great chance to be the first who showed Cricova cellars for travelers on bikes. Cricova cellars are an attraction for thousands of travelers, but also for famous people around the world, such as Yuri Gagarin, Angela Merkel, John Kerry, Vladimir Putin and many others, although they did not get to bike there ☺ Our guest can bike in the underground up to 5 km. Can you imagine?
Another quite adventurous experience is the Off Road in Orheiul Vechi. It is a good combination off adrenaline, amazing landscapes, off the beaten paths and freedom.
Meeting the Gypsy Baron, this is such a notable experience we’ve had. The Gypsy culture is so different but amazing at the same time. Those who like to dance are welcomed to join the dance show ☺
And, birdwatching in the southern area of Moldova, where the Prut River flows into the Danube, the Prutul de Jos Reservation – from Văleni to Giurgiuleşti, Cahul district, extends. In this region there are two large natural lakes – Beleu and Manta, located approximately 20 kilometres away from each other, while the first one is part of the scientific reserve.
Beleu Lake is a wonderful land of poultry, water lilies and unique plants in our country. It is the ideal place for those who feel good in harmony with bird, nature and chirping. The lake hosts Pelicans heading for the Danube, black gypsies, white Egrets, gray hawthorn and other birds. Between May and July, white and yellow water lilies blossom on Beleu Lake.
What are the biggest challenges of working in an adventure travel field?
Moldova is still unknown as adventure travel destination and so we have to introduce our experiences to the world. This is a great opportunity and challenge at the same time, we have to do it right, as we will not have a second chance. But at the same time it’s great to work with the local community, local service providers and teach them about new ideas and tracks, and expectations that travelers have.
How will you continue to grow your business in the future?
While the adventure travel is increasingly growing, sure we want to be on the wave. We are doing it now and we will be looking to diversify our products and experiences is the future as well. Travel industry is about change and how ready we are to adapt to this changes.
Which popular blogs on adventure travel do you follow?
Travel Tramp, Off the Path, Divergent Travellers, Expert vagabond, Epicure & Culture
Favorite quote about adventure travel or adventures in general that we could share with our Facebook and Twitter audience?
Life is Either a Daring Adventure or Nothing At All