Cycling to Moldova

Moldova
  • Type of the tour cycling
  • Duration 8 days
  • Difficulty moderate
  • Accommodation mostly in 3 or 4 stars hotels
  • Map Cycling to Moldova 1, Cycling to Moldova 2
  • Price €405
  • Distance 574 km., 82 km. per day - in everage
  • Starting point Kamianets-Podilskyi (reachable from Lviv or Kiev)
  • Finishing point Chisinau
  • Countries Ukraine, Moldova
Cycling to Kamianets-Podilskyi

Dniester Valley

Surrounded by ancient rocky landscapes, castles and waterfalls, the Dniester valley is viewed as one of the most interesting geo-regions in Ukraine. The picturesque Dniester has its source in Ukraine, near the Polish border, and then flows to the Black Sea. Its course marks part of the border between Ukraine and Moldova. Upon entering Moldova it separates the bulk of Moldova's territory from Transnistria. Later it again demarcates the Moldova-Ukraine border before finally flowing through Ukraine on its last stretch to the Black Sea. The Dniester River is a major trans-boundary river in Eastern Europe.

The much talked about limestone walls of the Dniester valley are not the only points of interest. Visitors can also look forward to discovering caves and grottos, breath-taking waterfalls and stretches of bryophyte covered rocks. The caves contain subtle signs of old settlements, testifying to the fact that long ago, this region was inhabited.

Cricova

Moldavian Wines

Moldova is famous for its wine. The promise of exceptional wine at bargain prices is Moldova’s main draw for tourists. Recently uncovered evidence shows that grapes grew wild in Moldova’s forests…even in prehistoric times. Considering this, you'd expect the wine to be good - and Moldova does not disappoint.

The European wines, like Chardonnay, Pinot, Riesling, Cabernet, and Aligote are produced along with local, high quality wines like Rara Neagra, Feteasca and Plavai. The names of other local wines come from either the grape or from the location where the famous wineries are located, such as in Purcari, Cricova, Ciumai, Romanesti, Cojusna and Milestii Mici.

The cognac from Moldova is Divin - that's not just the experience, but the actual name of the distilled wine. Vermouths, sparkling wines and balsamic vinegars are just some of the things Moldavians make with their grapes. The city of Cricova boasts the biggest wine cellar in the world, and the Milestii Mici cellars are an amazing 200 kilometres of natural limestone caves.

Cycling to Moldova

Moldavian Orthodox Monasteries

Holy sanctuaries were erected in Moldova in ancient times. Later, in medieval times, Moldova's Orthodox churches were carved out of cliffs rising above rivers or constructed out of wood or stone in the Codri forest. The locals used these buildings both as churches and as defensive structures where they took shelter when they were being invaded. Traditional Orthodox churches were built of wood but in the Dniester basin there are many cave monasteries on the rocky hills above the Dniester and Prut rivers. According to some records these cave monasteries existed before the ХII century. The wooden churches were designed in the typical Moldovan folk style or in the byzantine style. Later period orthodox churches - made from stone - can be found in most Moldovan villages and towns. The architectural style of these churches varies from a structure resembling a peasant house to new byzantine and national romantic styles.

There are more than 30 monasteries between the Prut and Dniester rivers. They are largely situated along the rivers or in the Codri forest in Central Moldova. Each monastery is located in remote and beautiful surroundings. Visitors will be fascinated by the monastic lifestyle and by the varied traditional cuisine and beverages that are still enjoyed by the monks and nuns today.

Visa information: Citizens of the EU are not required to obtain visas to enter Moldova or Ukraine.

The best period for cycling: June - July


CYCLING TO MOLDOVA - TOUR PROGRAM 1

Map of the Tour 1

DAY 1: LVIV - KAMYANETS-PODILSKYI (270 km. = about 4.5 hours by mini-bus)

Overnight Stay: Kleopatra VIP Hotel (4 stars)

Sightseeing: Kamyanets-Podilskyi


DAY 2: KAMYANETS-PODILSKYI - STARA USHYTSYA (55 km. +)

Overnight Stay: agro-tourism farm Sonyachna Dolyna (modest accommodations)

Sightseeing: cave monastery near Bakota village on the Dniester river bank.


DAY 3: STARA USHYTSYA - MOHYLIV-PODILSKYI (104 km. +)

Overnight Stay: Hubernskyi Hotel (3 stars)

Sightseeing: Cave monastery near Nahoryany village on the Dniester river bank.


DAY 4: MOHYLIV-PODILSKYI (UKRAINE) - SOROCA (MOLDOVA) (75 km. + optional 78 km.)

Overnight Stay: Central Hotel (3 stars)

Sightseeing: Haidamaka Yar Geological reserve, Casauti Monastery, Soroca Fortress + 2 additional monasteries (optional)


DAY 5: SOROCA – REZINA (SAHARNA) (104 km. +)

Overnight Stay: hotel Hanul Lui Hanganu (3 stars)

Sightseeing: Tipova and Saharna monasteries, canyons, waterfalls.


DAY 6: REZINA – ORHEI (105 km. +)

Overnight Stay: Chateau Vartely hotel (4 stars)

Sightseeing: Tipova monastery - on the rocky side of the Dniester River. This is the biggest Orthodox cave monastery in Moldova and Eastern Europe. The Tipova complex is absolutely unique in its size and number of carved out areas, connected by numerous passages. It is interesting also to hike through Tipova nature reserve. In ancient times (IV-III c. BC) there was a Geto-Dacian fortress here. Its remains can still be seen today.


DAY 7: ORHEI - ORHEIUL VECHI - CRICOVA - CHISINAU (56 km. +)

Overnight Stay: Favorita Apartments

Sightseeing: Cricova, home of Moldova’s second largest wine cellar with over 120 kilometres (75 miles) of underground roadways. Orheiul Vechi - Moldova's best known attraction is a 13th century Cave Monastery. Just up the road is a tourist centre with a small museum, restaurant and hotel. +373 235 34 242. In the vicinity are huge cliffs that contain another six complexes of interlocking caves. The remains of a Turkish bath house are also just off the river.


DAY 8: CHISINAU – MILEŞTII MICI – CONDRICA AND CAPRIANA MONASTERIES – CHISINAU (75 km. +)

Overnight Stay: Favorita Apartments

Sightseeing: Mileştii Mici wine cellars - Stretching for 250 km (currently only 120 km are in use), the Mileştii Mici cellar complex is the largest in the world. In 2007 the Mileştii Mici wine cellars were noted in the Guinness World Records 2007 Yearbook, for having the largest (2 million bottle) wine collection in the world. There are several museums in downtown Chisinau, including the museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, the museum of Natural History, and the National Museum of Fine Arts.


map of moldova

CYCLING TO MOLDOVA - TOUR PROGRAM 2 (start from Bacău in Romania)

Map of the Tour 2

Cycling to Moldova

DAY 1 (23.06) BACĂU

Bacău is the main city in Bacău County in Romania. It has a population of 144,300 making it the 15th largest city in Romania. The city is situated in the historical region of Moldavia, at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, and on the Bistrița River (which meets the Siret River about 8 kilometres to the south of Bacău). The Ghimeș Pass links Bacău to the region of Transylvania.

Accommodation: Hotel Dumbrava (3 stars)


Cycling to Moldova

DAY 2 (24.06) BACĂU - VASLUI (86 km.)

The main tourist destinations on the way is the city of Vaslui. The tourist attractions are, among others, the medieval and early modern churches and monasteries, as well as the region's natural riches.


Accommodation: Hotel Racova (3 stars)

Map of day 2 | Map of day 2a (via Iasi)
Cycling to Moldova

DAY 3 (25.06) VASLUI - CĂPRIANA MONASTERY - CODRICA MONASTERY - CHISINAU (140 km.)

Huși is a former capital of the disbanded Fălciu County in the historical region of Moldavia, Romanian Orthodox episcopal see, and home of some of the best vineyards of Romania. The city is located on a branch of the Iaşi-Galaţi railway, nine miles west of the Prut River and the frontier with the Republic of Moldova. In 2000, the city's population was 33,320.

Hînceşti (Cyrillic: Хынчешть) is situated on the Cogalnic River, 33 km southwest of the Moldovan capital, Chişinău. Since 2003 it has been the seat of Raionul Hînceşti (Hînceşti District). In Hîncești we visit the Manuc Bei Hunting Palace and the Manuc - Mirzaian Manor Palace (similar to Manuc's Inn in Bucharest).

Accommodation: Maxim Pasha Hotel (5 stars)

Map of day 3 | Map of day 3a (via Iasi)
Cycling to Moldova

DAY 4 (26.06) CHISINAU - MILESTII MICI - CRICOVA - CHISINAU (about 60 km.)

Wines Industrial Complex Mileștii Mici was founded in 1969 to store, preserve and mature high-quality wines. Local ancient underground galleries reach the Chişinău borders. The limestone in the galleries maintains constant humidity (85–95%) and temperature (12 °C – 14 °C) throughout the year. The longer some specific red wines are stored in such ideal conditions, the more they improve. Some wines are cellared for several decades before being sold.

The cellars extend for 200 kilometres, of which only 55 kilometres (34 mi) are currently in use. In August 2005, Mileștii Mici was registered in the Guinness World Records as the biggest wine collection in the world. Overall, the complex holds nearly 2 million bottles. More than 70% of the stored wines are red, 20% are white and about 10% are dessert wines. The most valuable items of this collection, worth €480 a bottle, were produced in 1973–74; they are now exported only to Japan. Wines are exported from Mileștii Mici to Sweden, Japan, the USA, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, Germany, Denmark and Finland.

The wine cellars of Cricova is the second largest wine cellar in Moldova, after Milestii Mici. It boasts a mere 120 kilometres of labyrinthine roadways, tunnels have existed under Cricova since the 15th century, when limestone was dug out to help build Chişinău. They were converted into an underground wine emporium in the 1950s. The territory used to be a mine for limestone, a building material. In some branches excavation is still active, so the cellar is still growing.

Accommodation: Gloria hotel (4 stars)


Cycling to Moldova

DAY 5 (27.06) CHISINAU - ORHEIUL VECHI - ORHEI (80 km.)

The Orheiul Vechi Monastery Complex is unquestionably Moldova's most fantastic and picturesque sight, drawing visitors from around the globe. The complex is carved into a massive limestone cliff in a wild, rocky, remote spot, 10 km southeast of Orhei in Orheiul Vechi ('Old Orhei').

The Cave Monastery inside a cliff overlooking the gently meandering Răut River, was dug by Orthodox monks in the 13th century. It remained inhabited until the 18th century, and in 1996 a handful of monks returned to this secluded place of worship and are slowly restoring it. You can enter the cave via an entrance on the cliff's plateau. Ancillary attractions include remnants of a 15th-century defence wall surrounding the monastery complex, an ethnographic museum in the nearby village of Butuceni and newly opened caves across the valley.

Accommodation: Chateau Vartely hotel (4 stars)

Map of day 5
Cycling to Moldova

DAY 6 (28.06) ORHEI - TIPOVA MONASTERY - HOTEL HANUL LUI HANGANU - SAHARNA MONASTERY (70 km.)

Though Tipova Monastery is Eastern Europe’s largest cave monastery, it doesn’t hold a candle to Orheiul Vechi. It dates from the 10th to the 12th centuries, and is famous as the place where Stefan cel Mare got married. The caves are burrowed into the cliff and are more accessible than most of the caves at Orheiul Vechi.

Twelve kilometers further north is the Orthodox Saharna Monastery. This day we arrive early to the hotel and go to explore it. Founded in 1495, the church standing today dates from the 19th century. The valley has several walking trails, offering picturesque views of the monastery complex, and one leading to the Virgin Mary’s footprint in rock (protected by a glass covering). Nearby is a charming waterfall tumbling off an overhanging cliff. The Day of the Holy Trinity (8 September), a holiday throughout Moldova, is particularly lively here, including evening concerts. Both of these monasteries are in a remote corner of the country on the western banks of the Dniestr River.

Accommodation: hotel Hanul Lui Hanganu (3 stars)

Map of day 6
Cycling to Moldova

DAY 7 (29.06) HOTEL HANUL LUI HANGANU (LALOVA) - BALTI (135 km.)

Balti is Moldova’s fourth-largest city, full of industrial ugliness and that about sums it up. It’s a major mafia influenced area and predominantly Russian-speaking, offering little beyond being a convenient stopover en route back to Romania; locals and ex-pats alike report that they ‘feel dirty just going into the city’. Fittingly, the name ‘Balti’ comes from the Romanian word for ‘swamp’. The only upshot that I can offer is that the city has the best nightlife in Moldova outside of Chisinau.

Accommodation: Lidolux Hotel (4 stars)

Map of day 7
Cycling to Moldova

Day 8 (30.06) BALTI - IASI (90 km.)

The large city of Iasi has been a cultural and political hub since the 15th century. Everything orbits the Golden Plateau, bookended by the Palace of Culture and Union Square, and packed to the brim with churches and palaces galore. Iasi has significant Jewish history. The first Yiddish-language newspaper was published here, and the 17th-century Great Synagogue is the oldest surviving synagogue in Romania.

Accommodation: Unirea Hotel & Spa (4 stars)

Map of day 8
Cycling to Moldova

Day 9 (01.07) IASI - BACĂU (130 km.)

Hadâmbu Monastery is a Romanian Orthodox monastery located 30 km southwest of the city of Iaşi, the monastery, dedicated in 1659, was built by the Greek cellarer Iani Hadâmbul on a place donated to him by Prince Gheorghe Ghica. Left in ruin for many years, the monastery was reopened in 1990. The monastery is listed in the National Register of Historic Monuments.

Accommodation: Hotel Dumbrava (3 stars)

Map of day 9

To book cycling to Moldova please fill in an event booking form or, alternatively, send us a message.

After the confirmation, we'll ask you to pay a deposit – 50% of the price. The rest could be paid upon the arrival.

We could offer you to stay a few days after the tour in Lviv. Here you can find information about the hotels and city tours.