Strong Russian influences mark the architecture and grandeur of the buildings in Chisinau. Half the sightseeing in Chisinau will be to visit museums, churches, and other magnificent old buildings. But spend your time wisely, since there will be plenty of downtime to eat at the many restaurants flooding the area and touring the grand wineries and underground cellars.
1.National Museum of History
© Andrey Shevchenko/stock.adobe.com
To discover the history of Moldova and the surrounding countries, you’ll want to visit the National Museum of History of Moldova in Chisinau. The museum’s collection includes over 1,700 square meters of objects from Paleolithic Moldova up through the 1950s. While the archaeological collection is the most impressive with over 23,000 items, the collections of coins, weapons, and photographs from all around the world are worth checking out. The Moldova-specific Historical collection looks at the history, culture, and politics of Moldova and the Moldavian people. The three primary exhibition rooms showcase objects, the Red Room, the Blue Room, and the Bronze Room.
31 August 1989 Street 121 A, Chisinau 2012, Moldova, Phone: 373-22-244-325
2.Alexander Pushkin House and Museum
© A. Bueckert/stock.adobe.com
Though poet Alexander Pushkin was Russian, he was exiled to what is now Moldova for three years by the Russian government. During his time here, he wrote many of his most famous poems. The house that still stands today is now a museum for his time in Moldova. Visitors can look through the home at prints, artwork, furniture, and pieces from his time there. While most did not belong to Pushkin, these objects are original for the period and area. While you can tour yourself, tours in English, Romanian, and Russian are available.
Strada Anton Pann 19, Chisinau, Moldova, Phone: 373-22-292-685
3.National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History
© Andrey Shevchenko/stock.adobe.com
Featuring beautiful Moldovan architecture at the entry of the building, the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History (Muzeul National de Etnografie si Istorie Naturala) is about the culture and natural history of Moldova. It looks at how man has impacted the environment and changed nature, as well as how they work together. Exhibits are broken into rooms and hallways, distinguished by specific periods and themes, such as Anthropogenic Period, the Archaeological Cultures in the Pruto Area, and the Formation and Development of Culture in Space. A documentary-feel can be found in the Big House, the Ecology of Nature and Culture, and the Biosphere exhibits.
Mihali Kogalniceanu St 82, Chisinau, Moldova, Phone: 373-22-238-848
4.Take the Trolley
Not many cities still use trolley systems, but the Chisinau trolleybus system is still an excellent transport for locals and visitors. While it is not full a tram system as it once was before World War II, the trolleybuses supplement the trains to accommodate the over 250,000 daily commuters. As of 2019, there were 22 lines that take people between all districts of Chisinau. This is considered the most cost-efficient way to explore Chisinau, and visitors should take advantage of the inexpensive fares and vast travel times. Each trolleybus sells its tickets directly, so they cannot be purchased in advance.
5.The Triumphal Arch
L’Arc de Triomphe may be the most famous military arch in the world, but that does not mean it is the only one worth visiting. The Triumphal Arch in Chisinau sits across from the Government House in the very center of the nation’s capital. This arch happens to commemorate the Russian’s win during the Russo-Turkish War. Its gleaming white stone is lit up at night so that it (and its large clock face on top) can be seen standing proudly before the Government building even in the dark. During the Christmas season, towering trees and lights are displayed all around it, providing a spectacular holiday scene.
The Great National Assembly Square, Chisinau, Moldova, Phone: 373-22-201-707
6.Stefan cel Mare Central Park
For a peek at nature while visiting Chisinau, head to the oldest park in the country, Stefan cel Mare Central Park. This park was initially planned during Alexander I's reign of Russia in 1818. It is around 17 acres large and has the nickname “The Park of the Lovers” since so many people enjoy meeting in this natural hotspot. Several paths lead through the park, including the Alley of Friendship, where many Moldavian allies have planted trees as a symbol of peace and friendship. All paths lead to the largest of four fountains in the park.
Stefan cel Mare si Sfant Boulevard, Chisinau 2012, Moldova, Phone: 373-22-201-707
One of the most popular parks in the area is Valea Morilor Park. Besides viewing the gorgeous waterfall staircase rotunda, there is plenty to do to take you away from the bustle of the city outside the gates. The locals refer to this park by the lake’s name in the center of the park: Komsomolsky Lake. Along with coffee places that dot the park, there is an outdoor theater for summer performances and several freshwater springs, which have helped keep the people of Chisinau with fresh water when tap water was unusable.
Strada Grigore Alexandrescu, Chisinau, Moldova
At over 192,000 acres, Dendrarium Park is a must-visit while in Chisinau. This land once belonged to the Botanical Gardens of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova and has since grown in size to include over a thousand species of woody plants. Along with a wooded area, there is a lake in the corner of the park and a stream that runs through it. Bridges allow guests to cross the creek, while not imposing on the flora of the area. While there, you can admire new species of flowers and trees as they are grown for green architecture, or roll up your sleeves and help other volunteers maintain the beautiful gardens.
Strada lon Crenga 1, Chisinau, Moldova, Phone: 373-22-719-029
© Popasul Dacilor
For traditional Moldavian food, head over to Popasul Dacilor, a family-style restaurant. This award-winning restaurant serves up traditional cuisine for both large and small groups. Dishes, like potato, spinach and cheese pockets; barbequed meats; slaws; cabbages; and bors, are created lovingly and served in traditional Moldavian dinnerware. Though the food is delicious, the setting for your meal is right out of a fairytale. The lower floor has a fireplace and exposed stonework all around, while the upper level has a thatched roof, exposed beams, and open sides. This little cobblestone building will give you the feel of walking up to a Medieval castle or Rapunzel’s tower.
Valea Crucii Street 13, Chisinau, Moldova, Phone: 373-691-50-543
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10.Creme de la Creme
© Crème de la Crème
Hungry for some French cuisine? Stop by Crème de la Crème in Chisinau for some Vienna style coffee and delicious French pastries. The menu is comprised of mostly pastries, but some seasonal salads are put onto the menu. Beautifully decorated cakes are just one of the delights that can be found throughout the year. When you want something just a tad smaller, be sure to check out the petit fours, macarons, croissants, cookies, eclairs, and slices of cakes. You’ll spend so much time admiring the French-style of the restaurant and checking out the beautiful pastry displays, you may forget to order the coffee to go with your treat.
Alexandru cel Bun 98A Chisinau, Moldova, Phone: 373-22-222-011
11.Sala cu Orga
Taking in a concert at Sala cu Orga (Organ Hall) is a luxurious experience that you will never forget. Walk through the entrance, surrounded by Classical-style columns, before entering the massive concert hall, decorated in blue hues. Built in 1901, Sala cu Orga formerly housed the SSM State Bank before being taken over by the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in the 1970s. Today, guests can enjoy classical concerts with vibrant music and beautiful acoustics. The organ inside the hall, often used for concerts, is comprised of over 4,000 tubes. Whether listening to an orchestra or an operatic singer, you’ll be moved by the grace and serenity of the hall.
Stefan cel Mare si Sfant Boulevard 81, Chisinau 2012, Moldova, Phone: 373-22-222-547
12.Galeria de Arta Ou
To experience the newest and most promising artists that Chisinau has to offer, you may want to head over to Galeria de Arta Ou. Named the Egg Art Gallery (in English), you’ll find the yolk of new artists inside the shell of the earth – literally. Climb down into an old whitewashed cellar to see one of the biweekly exhibitions put together. Large eggs at the entrance to Ou can be purchased to take home an original piece of art while supporting the local Moldavian artists. Your experience will be a unique one since this little-known gem is literally and conceptually an underground museum.
Sciusev 79 Chisinau, Moldova, Phone: 373-682-17-285
The largest winery in Europe (second largest in the world), Cricova Winery opened in 1952. Beneath the raw rock of the Earth are nearly 75 miles of tunnels housing the 1.3 million bottles of Cricova wines. To get around in the wine cellar, trolleys cart tourists and employees from one area to another. Cricova creates several types of wines, including sparkling wines, prestige wines, dessert wines, and spirits. Visitors can purchase one of the tour packages that take you through the tunnels to the wine production areas and include some wine tastings. The number of tastings depends on the purchased package.
Strada Petru Ungureanu 1, Cricova 2084 Moldova, Phone: 373-22-604-035
Another winery in the Chisinau area is the Milestii Mici located in Laloveni. Similar to Cricova, Milestrii Mici houses an underground network of roadways and wine rooms. You can visit the aged barrels where wine is currently fermenting, see the old Feudal castle style, and the awesomeness of an underground city. Take a tram through the city, though a walk through the underground roadways is suggested for maximum excitement. To visit, you must pre-schedule your tour and tasting. Be sure to schedule the tasting, since the grandeur of the tasting halls can only be enjoyed in person with the snacks or meals that best accompany your selections.
Milestyii Mici, Laloveni, Moldova, MD 6891, Phone: 373-67-402-400
15.Grab a Drink
With so many wineries around, there should not be any surprise that there are excellent bars and places to grab a drink in Chisinau. No matter your preference of environment, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for within the city. If you would like to spend some time at a nightclub setting, check out Kira’s Club. If you’d like a more formal setting with music and atmosphere, then Art Labyrinth or Piano Bar is your place. If you’d like to socialize and enjoy tasty food to accompany your drink, check out TapRoom 27: A Hoppy Place or Black Rabbit Gastro-Burrow.
16.Orthodox Church of Moldova
© Dmitry Erokhin/stock.adobe.com
When you’re ready to get away from the crowds, you should head to a peaceful church setting. The place to do this is Chisinau is Metroplois of Chisinau and All Moldova. The Moldovan Orthodox Church is part of the Russian Orthodox, or Eastern Orthodox, Church. While a different sect of Christianity, these churches still believe in Jesus Christ and His resurrection but follow a different set of guidelines from the modern Catholic Church and its Roman papacy. Visit the grand Metropolis of Chisinau to find peace in your religion or to observe the culture and beliefs of another.
119 Bucuresti Street, Chisinau, Moldova, Phone: 373-23-20-73
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When in Chisinau, you must consider visiting Castel Mimi, built in 1893. Listed under the top 15 most beautiful wineries in the world, you can believe your visit to Castel Mimi will be like one you have never experienced. If you want to visit Castel Mimi, you must consider staying at the resort, which includes small cabins or 14 luxury suites inside the castle. On top of a wonderful wine tasting experience, you can also savor their restaurant and a walk through the lush and beautifully maintained gardens. Get the maximum experience by scheduling a Castle and winery tour. Feel like royalty as you step into this late-nineteenth-century castle.
Strada Dacia, 1, Bulboaca 6512, Moldova, Phone: 373-620-01-893
© Vatra Neamului
Vatra Neamului is often used for events, like catering weddings or christenings. However, private dining and take out are also options worth considering for tourists. Dining in provides a great atmosphere with musicians performing traditional Moravian music, warm lighting, stained glass windows, and a comfortable dining room. The traditional Moravian food is exceptional, and the classic sour chicken soup id reviewed as the best in town. Flambé dishes and desserts add to your dining experience, but be aware that some of the more traditional Moravian desserts may be sweeter than to what you are accustomed.
Alexander Pushkin Street 20B, Chisinau, Moldova, Phone: 373-22-226-839
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For a truly Moldavia feeling meal, stop into Gok-Oguz. The interior of God-Oguz is traditional and warm, with wooden chairs, exposed beams, arched stained-glass windows, and blankets on the wooden chairs. You’ll feel as if you’re stepping into a Medieval castle or church to dine. While the atmosphere lends its charm, the food is the reason patrons keep coming back. Lamb is the top-served dish, with the restaurant claiming that once you’ve tried it, you’ll be a lifelong customer. Try the mutton shashlik or the sour milk soup with greens. The portions delivered to the table are substantial and worth the price.
Strada Calea Orheiului 19/A Chisinau, Moldova, Phone: 373-22-46-88-52
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When you’re craving an exotic experience outside the Moldavian tradition, head over to Caravan. Caravan is an authentic Uzbeki restaurant that serves up signature and traditional dishes. The inside of the building is as unique as the food. Along the walls, several alcoves have been carved out for seating, where curtains are tented to give the feel of eating in a tent in the desert. There are even hookah tables set up for a full-Uzbeki experience. Salads, dumplings, rice pilaf, and kabobs are worth the trip, but traditional dishes, like shurpa, lagman, and bull’s testicles, are the real experience.
Mihai Eminescu Street 64, Chisinau, Moldova, Phone: 373-22-222-405
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21.View Cafe & Restaurant
If you’ve been traveling for a while and want to steer away from traditional Moldavian food, View Café & Restaurant is a great place to go for a fusion of Italian and French cuisine. Located on the top floor of the Nobil Luxury Boutique Hotel, you’ll be treated to gorgeous views over Chisinau. The food is elegant and tastefully prepared to order. Are you feeling like fish? Try the tempura scallops, roasted sturgeon, or halibut in pastry. More of a meat-eater than a pescatarian? Check out the Gratin Chicken Breast, sucking pig, or rabbit in Dijon mustard sauce. Dessert has the most offerings, with light and tasty creams and pastries.
55 Mihai Eminescu Street, Chisinau, Moldova, Phone: 373-68-400-480
Tucano Coffee is an international coffee chain that serves some delicious coffee blends. Their motto – Love.Peace.Coffee. – is essential when choosing where you want to purchase your coffee. Tucano makes sure to use 100% SCA selected specialty Arabica beans from Africa and Latin America, which use untreated beans and a hand-picked process. Though coffee is their specialty, they offer teas as well as sweets to go along with your beverage. Not only does Tucano make sure that every coffee shop maintains consistency between shops, but they also offer specialty coffees, such as the cannabis coffee, which comes with condensed milk and cannabis seed syrup.
Alexander Pushkin Street 15, Chisinau 2012, Moldova, Phone: 373-699-43-275
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© Morimoto Sushi
Sushi is a popular dish around the world. Morimoto Sushi in Chisinau serves up more than just sushi. For those who are not raw fish lovers, there are plenty of cooked fish options, as well as meats. No need to settle for one of those choices as the main entrée, though. Consider starting with a delicious soup entrée and yakitori. Or dive into a big noodle bowl, such as eel and bean noodle bowl with unagi sauce. When you’re ready for dessert, Morimoto has got you covered. Cheesecake, green tea ice cream, sesame rolls, and Belkato cake are some natural choices. But if you feel daring, try the fried bananas with red currant ice cream or the chocolate mousse sushi rolls.
Shidinau, Modlova, Phone: 373-600-90-909
© El Paso
Mexican cuisine is loved the whole world over. Head over to El Paso when in Chisinau and in the mood for Mexican. The atmosphere in the area is warm and inviting as Latin music pumps from the speakers above. The smells of cumin, chilies, and spices will get your mouth watering for some fajitas or quesadillas. Make sure to add rice and beans with your selection to make a whole meal. While at El Paso, you can treat yourself to some tequila or Corona beer to intensify the favors of Mexico.
Armeneasca Street 10, Chisinau, Moldova, Phone: 373-22-921-166
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24 Best Things to Do in Chisinau, Moldova
- National Museum of History, Photo: Andrey Shevchenko/stock.adobe.com
- Alexander Pushkin House and Museum, Photo: A. Bueckert/stock.adobe.com
- National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History, Photo: Andrey Shevchenko/stock.adobe.com
- Take the Trolley, Photo: Ungureanu/stock.adobe.com
- The Triumphal Arch, Photo: Jakub/stock.adobe.com
- Stefan cel Mare Central Park, Photo: frimufilms/stock.adobe.com
- Valea Morilor, Photo: Dmitriy/stock.adobe.com
- Dendrarium Park, Photo: frimufilms/stock.adobe.com
- Popasul Dacilor, Photo: Popasul Dacilor
- Creme de la Creme, Photo: Crème de la Crème
- Sala cu Orga, Photo: DeshaCAM/stock.adobe.com
- Galeria de Arta Ou, Photo: arianarama/stock.adobe.com
- Cricova, Photo: frimufilms/stock.adobe.com
- Milestii Mici, Photo: frimufilms/stock.adobe.com
- Grab a Drink, Photo: beeboys/stock.adobe.com
- Orthodox Church of Moldova, Photo: Dmitry Erokhin/stock.adobe.com
- Mimi Castle, Photo: psychoshadow/stock.adobe.com
- Vatra Neamului, Photo: Vatra Neamului
- Gok-Oguz, Photo: Gok-Oguz
- Caravan, Photo: zukamilov/stock.adobe.com
- View Cafe & Restaurant, Photo: stock.adobe.com
- Tucano Coffee, Photo: Johnstocker/stock.adobe.com
- Morimoto Sushi, Photo: Morimoto Sushi
- El Paso, Photo: El Paso
- Cover Photo: frimufilms/stock.adobe.com