Chisinau Moldova – poverty is eased with few tourist attractions and good local cognac


It felt we needed ages to reach Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. Due to our broken shock absorber our travel plan needed to be change – no off-road exploration until the car is fixed, what will not be before home. At least we planned to spend 2 days in Chisinau, where the car will have a short break from the potholes on Moldova’s roads.

Chisinau Moldova, Moldova Chisinau, Chisinau Moldavia

Chisinau Moldova map

Chisinau hotels

Before we reached Chisinau, we booked a hotel room, as we did not want to drive around with the car and looking for a perfect place to stay. Our main criteria was the same as for Bucharest, Romania – we needed free parking for the car, breakfast included in the room rate and free WI-FI, if possible. Luckily we managed to get everything for a pretty good price in Hotel Cosmos. Hotels in Moldova are pretty expensive or in a very bad shape. Not many tourists come to this Moldovan capital.

Chisinau Moldova, Moldova Chisinau, Chisinau Moldavia

Hotel Cosmos (Chisinau Moldova)

Hotel Cosmos had a typical Soviet look, which was already visible from the front doors. The smell, the look, the furniture and employees… It looked like the time stopped there decades ago. But even though, the Hotel Cosmos was a bargain deal and you just cannot argue when all the »must haves« are ticked off.

Chisinau Moldova, Moldova Chisinau, Chisinau Moldavia

Room in hotel Cosmos (Chisinau Moldova)

Walk around the Chisinau to get the right vibes

Chisinau is not a traveler’s paradise, as it does not offer much to do. The best thing is just to wander around the city center and see hustle and bustle of this Moldovan capital. Having a hotel in the center of Chisinau was a great decision, as we could walk around freely the whole day, not worrying about parking or traffic.

Chisinau Moldova, Moldova Chisinau, Chisinau Moldavia

View from Hotel Cosmos (Chisinau Moldova)

Local market, cognac and Chisinau central train station

Just few steps from the hotel Cosmos, was Chisinau central train station, so even if you are traveling around Moldova by its public transport, the location of the hotel is perfect. Just steps away are restaurants, grocery stores and even a local market. We could say the market was a flea market, but for people living in Chisinau this market mostly represents their daily bread.

Chisinau Moldova, Moldova Chisinau, Chisinau Moldavia

Local market (Chisinau Moldova)


Chisinau Moldova, Moldova Chisinau, Chisinau Moldavia

Side streets in the capital (Chisinau Moldova)

One of the main things to do when in Chisinau, is trying cognac. Their national brand is called Kvint, which comes from the self-reclaimed Transnistria republic in the south part of Moldova. If you like to do, what locals do, than have a long swift of cognac with your morning coffee.  It is ridiculously cheap and if you want to bring it home as a souvenir, the Kvint shop is on the same square as the Chisinau central train station.

Chisinau Moldova, Moldova Chisinau, Chisinau Moldavia

Do as the locals do – drinking Kvint Cognac (Chisinau Moldova)

Chisinau can be cheap

Comparing Chisinau to the rest of Moldova, it is a little bit more expensive, but still very affordable. You can eat a basic meal (soup and main dish) for about 2,00-2,50 EUR. These lunches are called “business lunch” and are actually very good. Maybe the down side is that you might end up in some strange looking room – our was behind the meat shop and it did not smell very attractive, but the food (especially meat) was good and fresh.

Chisinau Moldova, Moldova Chisinau, Chisinau Moldavia

Business lunch (Chisinau Moldova)

Chisinau has many good restaurants too and the food is still affordable. There is lots of Russian cuisine, which is very tasty.

Chisinau – not like other capitals

Chisinau is not an ordinary European capital. A formal communist atmosphere can be still felt here. You can see and feel the poverty and it is said that Chisinau has also a lot of crime. Luckily we had not got any bad feeling  or experiences even though we walked around at night. Also our car was parked on a not secured parking place and it was fine. The only feeling that Chisinau might be a dangerous place, was from the guards in front of banks, restaurants, cafés and shops, always checking your bag for weapons.

Chisinau Moldova, Moldova Chisinau, Chisinau Moldavia

Chisinau Moldova

Chisinau tourist attractions

Chisinau does not get many tourists and who would blame them. There is not much to see or do here, so your best choice is to walk around the city center and get to know the vibe.

Chisinau Moldova, Moldova Chisinau, Chisinau Moldavia

Triumphal arch (Chisinau Moldova)


Chisinau Moldova, Moldova Chisinau, Chisinau Moldavia

Nativity Cathedral (Chisinau Moldova)


Chisinau Moldova, Moldova Chisinau, Chisinau Moldavia

Nativity cathedral (Chisinau Moldova)

Chisinau did not really impress us. We prefer colorful and vibrant cities and Chisinau was not really like that. It did have some relaxed feeling or did we get this feeling just because of cognac drinking? Who knows?! Nevertheless, Chisinau is interesting on its own way – it is different and it definitely stands up when comparing it to other European capitals. If you are already in Chisinau, you will love the fact, that the world known Moldovan tourist attraction is in a vicinity of it – wine cellar Milestii Mici is actually registered in the Guinness Book of World Records, as having the biggest wine collection in the world. It makes it a great half day trip.

Costs in Chisinau:

  • Hotel Cosmos: 32,00 EUR/night – double room with breakfast, free parking and free WI-FI
  • Large beer: 0,60 EUR
  • Coca-Cola 0,5L: 0,53 EUR
  • 10 years old cognac in a café: 2,20 EUR
  • Business lunch: 2,00-2,50 EUR

Subscribe to my Newsletter

If you want to get more interesting travel stories as the one above, please subscribe to my newsletter below:



  1. avatar

    you have obviously not researched chsinau properly before going on your trip. not much to do? how ignorant. from the art market where painters / artists display their work, to the multitude of parks such as stephen the great central park, the various monuments like the ”focul vesnic” i.e. the fire that always burns etc I could go on and on. none of these are on your list. you have only described the poverty and took pictures of the run down neighborhoods, when chisinau has reborn as a fun, modern city.

    • avatar

      Hi there!
      You are right, we were in Chicinau just one day and a half and we did not see everything, but our first impression was as it is written… But that does not mean we did not enjoy it there… we are actually thinking to travel to Chisinau again and explore it more. 🙂 Thanks for the heads up. 🙂

Leave A Reply