Wine Festival Experience in Moldova
Be part of Moldova’s renowned Wine Festival – a gathering of nearly 100 wineries, thousands of visitors, including tourists from all around the world who gather in the central square of Chisinau. The Wine Festival is an excellent opportunity to discover one of the pillars of Moldovan society. After the festival, you’ll go out to explore the history and local life in the Moldovan countryside.
An old tradition gets its formal recognition: when the wine fermentation process is over, the wine producers invite everyone to appreciate the quality and taste of their new wine. It is a great opportunity to try different types of wine, enjoy barbecue, meet people, and get an unforgettable uniquely Moldovan experience. Folk music and dance events are planned in an open-air area and participants can even engage in the traditional “hora”, a group dance symbolizing unity. Nearly 100 wineries and thousands of visitors, including tourists from all around the world gather on this day in the central square of Chisinau. Remember – the Wine Festival is an excellent opportunity to discover Moldova.
- Day 1Chisinau City TourYou’ll meet your local guide and driver at the airport. After check-in you’ll have a city tour around the capital of Moldova - Chisinau. This includes a visit to the Museum of Natural History and Ethnography, the Central Park and the Alley of Moldovan literature classics, the monument of Stephen the Great and Saint, Great National Assembly Square, the Triumph Arch, the “Nativity” Cathedral, the Organ Hall, the market of souvenirs, etc. Dinner in a local wine bar specializing in promoting quality Moldovan wines produced by small wineries. This is just the introduction to your Moldovan Wine Experience! Accommodation in a 4-star hotel.
- Day 2Wine Festival & Cricova Wine CellarsAfter breakfast we'll go to the Wine Festival. This event includes: the parade of winemakers, the Fair of Wine, public and professional wine tastings. Nearly 100 wineries, thousands of visitors, including tourists from all around the world gather on this day in the central square of Chisinau. Free lunch.
In the afternoon, we'll visit the world famous Moldovan Cellars at Cricova, which is a real underground wine city with wide streets, warehouses, tasting rooms. The total length of its galleries is 120 km. The constant annual temperature of +12ºC and 82-95 % humidity are perfect conditions for aging quality wines there. Cricova is also well known for brilliant sparkling-wines produced by the classic French method. Optional: visit to Milestii Mici Winery, mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records. The length of the winery is 200 km at a depth of 40-85 meters. The constant temperature of 12-14ºC and the humidity of 85-95 % of this "kingdom of wine" ideally contribute to the full revelation of natural characteristics of elite wines. Free dinner, same accommodation.
- Day 3Orheiul Vechi Cave MonasteryAfter breakfast, we’ll continue with the Wine Festival. In the afternoon you’ll visit one of the most visited sites of Moldova - Orheiul Vechi (Cave Monastery Complex), located 55 km from Chisinau. This Cave Monastery is arguably Moldova’s most fantastic sight. Here you’ll see an Orthodox cave monastery called “St. Maria Dormata” expanded and modified inside the cliffs by the monks over the centuries and preserved in a functional state nowadays. After touring about this fascinating complex, you’ll have lunch with folk program in a Moldovan family pension located in the neighboring village. Next stop - the touristic complex “Chateau Vartely” - 20 minutes’ drive from Old Orhei. Excursion and wine tasting. Return to Chisinau. Free dinner. Next stop – the Museum of Bender Tragedy. In 1992, during the bloody conflict at the time of the Soviet Union’s collapse, 1,000 people, both military and innocent civilians, died. A memorial museum of the Bendery Tragedy opened September 1, 1997, on the fifth anniversary. In the evening, let’s pay a visit to the Noul Neamt Monastery. Dinner in the monastic style is quite an experience. A local monk will guide us around, showing the monastery library, giving us wine from the Monastery Cellars and explaining to us how religion survives in the Last Soviet Frontier of Europe. Same accommodation in Tiraspol.
- Day 4Transnistria - The unrecognized countryToday we invite you to discover Transnistria - the old USSR is still alive and well in this autonomous region. It is a breakaway territory within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova. The first city to be discovered is Bender, where we will visit its medieval fortress. The fortress was built in one the most powerful medieval cities of Moldova - Tighina (old name of Bender), which was an important trade outpost. In 1538, the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent conquered the town, and renamed it Bender. Its fortifications were developed into a full fortress under the same name under the supervision of the Turkish architect Koji Mimar Sinan. The Ottomans used it to keep the pressure on Moldavia. Next stop - the Museum of Bender Tragedy. In 1992, during the bloody conflict at the time of the Soviet Union’s collapse, 1,000 people, both military and innocent civilians, were lost near Bendery. A memorial museum of the Bendery Tragedy opened on September 1st, 1997, the fifth anniversary of the tragedy. In the afternoon we will enjoy a light lunch accompanied with a brandy tasting at “Kvint”. This distillery is one of the oldest Moldovan enterprises established in 1897 which produces a large variety of divines for everyday consumption (3-5 years old) to superior quality and collection divines (5-50 years old). City tour of Tiraspol and accommodation in 4-star hotel in Tiraspol. Free dinner.
- Day 5Purcari & Et Cetera WineriesIn the morning we will start with a visit to Noul Neamt Monastery and then leaving Transnistria, head to the southeast of Moldova. The first wine adventure for today is at Purcari winery. Centuries-old traditions in viticulture and winemaking are preserved at Purcari. The Purcari wine-making enterprise looks like a real chateau and it is the only place where people can get a notion of peculiar natural conditions along with the knowledge about the history, secrets, and traditions of making legendary Purcari wines. You’ll be impressed by the combination of the chateau’s royal-like interiors and modern technology. Excursion, wine tasting, and lunch.
Later we’ll drive to Old Orhei, Moldova’s most picturesque and important historical site. We’ll start with a local lunch with a farmer and continue by visiting Old Orhei, famous for the cave monasteries located there. This zone was ideal for the primary monasticism of early Christian community. It was isolated from the outer world. At the time when Christians came here there should have been smaller and bigger caves in the calcareous rocks cut by pre-historic tribes living on this territory. Today the monastery is inhabited by only one monk. Here we will have a typical Moldovan lunch in a nice cozy Moldovan house. Later we’ll drive back to Chisinau. Check-in and farewell dinner in a local wine bar specializing in promoting quality Moldovan wines produced by small producers.
Following that, we'll be visiting the vineyards of “Et Cetera”, which were planted in 2003 in the village of Crocmaz, Stefan Voda region, a unique micro-zone, ideal from its climatic condition for growing the best grapes. The winery was built in 2009 and at the moment it is surrounded by 50 ha of vineyards, giving a picturesque view for visitors. The owners of the winery are two brothers - Alexandru and Igor Luchianov, professionals and real amateurs of their work. Accommodation at Et Cetera and Purcari Chateau. Dinner at Et Cetera.
- Day 6Return to Chisinau & Castle MimiOn the way back to the capital let’s have a cheese tasting at Popeasca farm. This is one of the first few registered organically-made cheeses in Moldova. The sheep run freely on the fields here, the cheese produced is either salted, or flavored with small cut bell peppers, herbs or spices to produce a special taste. Next stop is The Castle Mimi, which is currently listed among the most beautiful architectural masterpieces in the world of wine. The story of the castle begins in 1893 when Constantin Mimi, the last governor of Bessarabia, planted the first grape vines on the place that would become legend over the years. The area of Codru, where the winery is placed, has a unique microclimate and a very good terroire, as a result having intense and aromatic wines. Today the Castel Mimi winery produces classical wines like: Chardonnay, Pinot Gri, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, but also indigenous varieties as Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Neagra and Rara Neagra. The biggest attraction of the winery is, of course, the chateau and its cellars, that are built in a very old technique, so that all year round the temperature is the same: 14° C. Excursion, wine tasting and lunch is in the castle. Arrival in Chisinau. Accommodation is at a 4-star hotel. Free time and dinner on your own.
- Day 7DepartureCheck-out. Transfer to the airport with your guide.
Packing List for The Soviet Experience in Moldova (recommended)
- Weather of fall in Moldova can be warm during the day and cool at night. Pack accordingly.
- Comfortable shoes for walking
- Cash (credit cards are commonly accepted in Chisinau and ATMs are easy to find there too, but outside of the capital it’s always a good idea to carry cash)
- Remember to pack light; you’ll have to carry your own bags.
Accommodation will be in 3-4 star hotels. Guests of the same gender will be paired in twin rooms. Those wishing to stay in single rooms can opt for the single supplement which costs $235 extra.
Our trip provider: “Ways Travel” – is a company situated in Chisinau, in the Republic of Moldova, specializing in group travel throughout Moldova and surrounding countries Romania, Ukraine, and Bulgaria. They offer set itinerary trips groups as well as custom-tailored private tours. Ways Travel will help you discover unforgettable places that are unique in their own way. So let’s discover Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union together and we will change the way you think about successful vacations and opinions about traveling in this corner of Europe.
Cancellations and Refunds
If you must cancel your reservation for a tour and/or its extension, we will refund your payment, less the following fees per tour and/or extension:
|Days Prior to Trip Start Date||Trip Cancellation Fee Per Person|
|31 – 60 days||50% of trip price|
|0-30 days||100% of trip price|
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