Chișinău (Russian: Кишинёв (Kishinyov), Ukrainian: Кишинів (Kyshyniv), pronounced "Kishinau" with "nau" as in the English word "now") is the capital of Moldova with a population of around 790,000 plus 250,000 people coming each day for work and entertainment from all over the country and abroad. The city's territory with the nearest suburbs covers the area of 635 km (395 mi)2.
Chișinău is very wealthy compared to the rest of the country, as Moldova is not a very rich country, and the countryside is especially poor. As is common in developing countries, you are likely to see great disparities in wealth. It's also very much a post-Soviet city, with both the good and bad qualities associated with that. You'll see many modern and great buildings of steel, concrete and glass.
The majority of the middle- and working-class population lives in blocks of flats. These look standard, maybe not too nice but are not as dangerous as similar areas may be considered to be in Western Europe. Do not expect Western standards everywhere, but the situation is improving every year. There are 4- and 5-star hotels, good restaurants and cafes, coffee houses and bars. The majority of restaurants and almost all the hotels in the city accept credit cards. There are hundreds of ATMs throughout the city.
- 1 Chișinău International Airport (KIV IATA). Served by many airlines like AirBaltic, Austrian, Tarom, Turkish Airlines, with flights around the Europe and Asia, notably to Athens, Bucharest, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Madrid, Milan-Bergamo, Munich, Riga, Rome, Vienna, Vilnius, Varna, Paris, London, Bologna.
You may also want to consider flying to Iași to get a certain flight date, a direct flight or a better price from the region you start from. From Iasi, you can take an intercity bus or train to Chișinău.
Chișinău airport: transportation
The fixed fares range from 100 lei upward depending on where in the city you are going. While better than in the past, the taxi system is still not perfect and it is likely they will try to come up with a reason to charge you extra. It is required by law for taxi drivers to always use the taxi meter, but sometimes they tend to "forget". Always ask the driver to enable the taxi meter before entering the taxi, and pay based on the figure shown on the meter.
A cheaper alternative is the trolleybus 30. It leaves just out of the arrivals door and is marked by a sign with the times. Once the trolleybus is running, pay 6 lei (Sep 2023) either by cash to the person with an apron, or by wireless card reader if available. It takes you to Botanical Gardens, Ismail Street and Bulevardul Ștefan cel Mare și Sfînt (main street).
If for some reason the trolleybus is not running or you would like to multiply your options, go towards the expressway next to the terminal station, cross it, and wait at the bus station (46°56′19″N 28°55′59″E) for either trolleybus 30 or bus 33, the latter of which goes to Central Railway Station and Ismail Street.
See Calea Ferata Moldova (CFM) (Moldovan Railways).
There is only one train station in Chișinău – the Central Railway Station. Internationally, the trains depart to Europe through Romania, as well as to Ukraine.
From Western Europe, the train is much cheaper than a flight. The downside is that they are slow, particularly when crossing the borders into the former Soviet Union, where they need to stop to have their wheels changed due to different rail gauges.
There are two routes to Romania: to Iași and to Bucharest. Connection with Iași is two trains per day in each direction, taking approx. 4 hours (only seating class). From Bucharest, daily overnight trains leave Gara de Nord station at 19:20 and arrive at 08:10. The 'couchette', shared sleeper compartment, cost approximately 136 Romanian lei purchased the day of in Bucharest.
Ukrzaliznytsia – Ukrainian railway company – serves a route from Chișinău to Kyiv, departing every second day overnight.
Roads in Moldova are moderate. The road leading from Chișinău to Leușeni is OK. You are likely to be sharing the road with trucks, cars, and livestock, all moving at various speeds without a lot of regard for safety.
Because the driving and quality of the roads in Moldova is different from what a Westerner would probably be used to, it is thus better to rely on public transport, which is very cheap and (mostly) reliable.
Chișinău has three main bus stations:
- 2 Gara Centrală (Autogara Chișinău Centru), Strada Mitropolitul Varlaam 58, ☏ . Serving mainly in-country destinations including Transnistria. Buy your ticket at the Kassa. Tickets for international trips have to be bought inside the bus station instead of directly from the driver.
- 3 Gara de Nord (Chisinau North Bus Station), Strada Calea Moșilor 2/1. For in-country destinations in the northern part of the country like Soroca, Rezina, and Ocnița, for travel to Odesa, Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine. Getting there: from Ismail Street northwards on trolleybus #9, #13, or #37.
- 4 Gara de Sud (Южный автовокзал), ☏ . For in-country destinations in the southern part of the country like Comrat, Cahul and for journeys to Romania. Getting there: from Ismail Street southwards on trolleybus #9.
You can check bus timetables (for in-country, and international destinations) at this website.
From specific destinations:
- Transnistria – From Tiraspol (leaving from the train/bus station: gara) and Bendery there are semi-hourly marshrutkas taking 90 min and 40 rubles. You can also pay in Moldavan lei, about 37 lei.
- Bucharest – Many companies operate 'rutieras' during the day and larger coaches during the night heading to Bucharest. The journey is 8-9 hr journey with hourly departures in the evening. There often is no toilet on the bus but several stops are made by the bus driver. Most companies run to/from the central bus station behind the Central Market. Fares start at about €25.
- Iași – Coach services are operated to/from Gara de Sud. There are nine services a day. The trip takes around 3½–5 hr.
- Odesa – The journey from Odesa takes around 5 hr and costs around US$10. The buses from Odesa go through southern Moldova, avoiding the Transnistrian region.
For those on a budget, just do as the locals do: use a trolley-bus (about 30 lines through the city), bus or maxi-taxis. A ride costs 6 lei regardless of the mode of transportation. In trolleybuses and buses, the fare is collected by a conductor who walks through the bus back and forth. Maxi-taxis are increasingly rare and unreliable. When entering one, pay the driver right away. There are few set stops for maxi-taxis. It is usually fine to just tell the driver when you want to get off, although there are new rules and drivers may not do this so much anymore but will stop on street corners, etc. More information can be found at Easyway.
There are several big taxi services operating throughout the city and its suburbs – most notably Letz and Yandex Go. Call 14222 or 14444 to get a taxi. Those who do not speak Romanian or Russian should ask a local person at a hotel or a restaurant to call a taxi, because few taxi drivers speak English. The majority of taxi drivers accept payment by credit card; ask beforehand while ordering. If you pay by cash it is better to bring small notes because usually the taxi drivers will not be able to change anything larger than 50 lei notes. Prices start from about 50 lei.
It is required by law for taxi drivers to always use the taxi meter, but sometimes they tend to "forget". Always ask the driver to enable the taxi meter before entering the taxi, and pay based on the figure shown on the meter.
- 1 Cathedral Park (Parcul Catedralei) (in the very centre). The centre is adorned with the Nativity Cathedral, the main church for the city. To the southwest is the Triumphal Arch constructed in 1841, which is the centerpiece of the Great National Assembly Square. Across Ștefan cel Mare Boulevard is the Government House. The city's biggest flower market is on the north side of the park along Bănulescu Bodoni Street. At the intersection of Ștefan cel Mare and Bănulescu Bodoni, there is a statue of Ștefan cel Mare.
- 2 Ștefan cel Mare Monument (Monumentul lui Ștefan cel Mare). The monument to Stephen III of Moldavia who, in the 15th century, achieved European fame by resisting the Turkish attacks. The monument is the gateway to the beautiful park of the same name.
- 3 Rose Valley. A 9-hectare park featuring three major lakes with pedal boats and several restaurants. It is possible to walk there to the center, and thus allows you to visit the Cathedral Theodor Tiron on the way. Otherwise, from the city center reach the more popular Southern entrances by trolleybuses 1, 4, or 8, and the less popular Northern side by bus 46.
- 4 Râşcani Park (from city center: bus 5; trolleybuses 12, 24), ☏ . A 32-hectare wooded park offering pleasant, almost secluded walks.
- 5 Chișinău Botanical Garden (Grădina Botanică din Chișinău) (Near the city gates. From the city center, take trolleybus 22 (very frequent), 30, or 4 (the latter does a substantial detour).). The largest park in Chișinău. 10 lei (including students), 5 lei for children and retired people.
- 6 Village Museum (Muzeul Satului). Next to Botanica, if you head west after you exit the gates, you can find a path which will take you towards a couple of wooden churches built in Northern Moldova and re-assembled in Chișinău. There is a new wooden gate with traditional carvings leading up to the churches.
- 7 Valea Morilor Park (Parcul Valea Morilor). Very large park with a lake which offers acres of largely untouched landscape scenery in the heart of the city. There is a popular 2.5-km running and cycling marked circuit of the lake.
- 8 Parcul Dendrariu, Strada Ion Creangă 1, ☏ . A large park in Buiucani. Costs about 10 lei to enter. Nice gardens, lake, forests and sports field.
- 9 Alunelul Park (Parcul Alunelul), ☏ . Recently renovated, has a water fountain and a memorial to the pogroms in Chișinău in the first part of the 20th century.
- 10 Jewish Cemetery (in Buiucani). The Jewish Cemetery is still in use. It contains new and very old graves. It used to be one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe. At one point, between 40% and 60% of Chișinău's population was Jewish. The Jewish Cemetery also contains an old destroyed synagogue and a monument for the Torah scrolls. The street leading to the cemetery (Milano Street) is one of the last remaining stone-paved streets in the city.
- 11 Memorial Park. A little way out of the center is is a memorial commemorating the victory of the Soviet army in World War II. There is also an eternal flame in memory of Chișinău's unknown soldiers who died in World War II. It is behind the military and civilian cemeteries. Reach by taking trolleybus 9 or 13 from Ismail Street.
- 12 Pushkin Museum (Casa-muzeu „Pușkin"), Str Anton Pann 19. You can visit the house where the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin lived when in exile from Russia from 1820 to 1823.
- 13 National Archaeology & History Museum, Str 31 August 1989, 121A. Summer: Sa-Th 10:00-18:00, winter: Sa-Th 11:00-17:00. Spend a few hours exploring the exhibits, and pay attention to the walls, floors and roofs of the building. There are some explanations in English. 10 lei (5 students), 10 lei (or 5) more for temporary exhibitions, 15 lei extra fee for photos or video.
- 14 National Ethnographic and Natural History Museum (Muzeul național de etnografie și istorie naturală), Str. M. Kogălniceanu 82. Summer: Tu-Su 10:00-18:00, winter: Tu-Su 11:00-17:00. The palaeontological part of the exhibition includes a skeleton of Deinotherium, a fearsome prehistoric relative of elephants. There is a good collection of traditional dresses, and a scale model of Moldova. Even if you don't enter the Islamic-inspired exterior facade is quite stunning, particularly late afternoon when it catches the sunshine. 10 lei.
- 15 National Museum of Fine Arts (Muzeul Național de Artă), 115, 31 August 1989 St, email@example.com. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. 10 lei.
- 16 Chișinău Water Tower (Muzeul de Istorie a Orașului Chișinău - Turnul de Apă), ☏ . Location of a small local history museum.
- 17 Military Museum (Muzeul Militar), Strada Tighina 47 (Courtyard on the corner of Str. 31 August and Str. Tighina). Daily 10:00-16:00. Containing all sorts of Soviet-era military vehicles, such as tanks and a MIG fighter jet. 10 lei.
- 1 Opera and Ballet Theatre (Teatrul de operă și balet). Catch a show of one of the top ballet companies in Eastern Europe. The company has toured all over the world, from Tokyo to Johannesburg. Show times and information can be found on the website.
- 2 Mihai Eminescu Theatre, Stefan cel Mare si Sfant Blvd 79. This beautiful old theatre has floor seating and two balconies. They have multiple productions running at the same time, so if you are staying for a week, you may have four different plays to choose from - and films in the 'studio'. Comedies tend to communicate better if you don't know the language.
- 3 The National Philharmonic, Str. Mihai Eminescu (just north of Stefan cel Mare si Sfant). Temporarily closed because of a fire.
- 4 Cineplex. Check for 'In Original English Language'. If not, it might be dubbed in Russian with Romanian subtitles.
There are many shops, malls and markets in Chișinău.
If you are just visiting Chișinău, consider buying a special brandy selection of about 30 small bottles, with different sorts of brandy. It can make a nice gift. Moldovan wines are deservedly famous across the former Soviet Union, yet are little known in Europe. Take the opportunity to sample them. Cigarettes are also much cheaper in Moldova than in the EU, so you might do well to stock up before leaving the country (although the number of cigarettes you can bring across an EU border is restricted).
- Chișinău Souvenir Bazaar. – The city's main artisan market. One can find handmade crafts, paintings and relics from the Soviet days. English is limited, but many products have a marked price. Negotiating prices is acceptable. It's in the Nativity Cathedral Park, behind the cathedral, along Columna Street.
- 1 UNIC (Magazinul Universal Central), Stefan cel Mare si Sfant Boulevard 8, ☏ . An all-purpose shopping center in Chișinău, built by Soviet standards but recently renovated. (more recent malls are MallDova or Sun City). One can buy just about anything needed when in Moldova. The selection on souvenirs is smaller and many will not be handmade. It's on the corner of Ștefan cel Mare and Ismail.
- Ștefan cel Mare boulevard. – This is Chișinău's main street. Not only is it great for sightseeing, it is also lined with numerous shops and restaurants.
- 2 Central Market (Piața Centrală), Mitropolit Varlaam St 63, ☏ . Outdoor market. Alight at Armenească Street while on the main boulevard, and walk in the direction where everybody goes.
- MallDova. – The largest western-style mall in Chişinău. Most stores and products are generic and can be found at many malls in other countries.
Chișinău is a good place for food lovers. There are plenty of good places to eat all over the city. The cheap, tasty food that is very popular with the locals is served in most places. For better service and a more diverse food selection, there are a lot of small restaurants and cafes. Some restaurants have prices comparable to Western Europe, although if you eat only in those you may find yourself being ripped off. For a quick lunch, try fast food stores and pizzerias, which can be found on nearly every corner. Beef is often listed under the veal part of the menu.
For groceries, there are small shops all over. Some are in front of the apartment blocks just a few steps away from their entrances. For harder-to-find items, go to a supermarket. You will frequently also see markets or even one or two people selling fruit and vegetables, and sometimes other products such as honey or "brînza" (type of cheese). The majority of these are fresh and perfectly safe to eat and frequently better than what is found in a supermarket.
For fresh fruits and vegetables, open-air markets are the best option. 'Piața Centrală' (Central Market) is in the city centre and runs more than two city blocks. Other districts, such as Ciocana, also have large markets. Most of the items for sale are locally produced, but there are a lot of sellers who sell imports; mostly oranges, bananas and other tropical fruits and vegetables. It is best to buy fungible products (meat, dairy, etc.) from supermarkets or shops because they are much safer for nearly the same price.
The vendors at the open market will let you taste the cheese prior to your purchase so you can decide if it is something that you want to eat. When you first walk into the 'cheese halls', it may look like all of the vendors standing next to each other are selling the same product. For hard cheese which tends to be re-sold from larger distributors, it may be the same. However, for locally-made cheese, there are variations that arise from even slight differences in technique, variations in the level of salt for curing, and differences in feed. 'Oaie' means sheep, so this will have a slightly different flavour than cow 'vaca' or goat 'capra' cheeses. 'Caș' is a softer cheese, that is not aged like some of the other 'brînza' which tends to be harder and saltier and is recommended for Mamaliga (corn polenta). If you are uncertain about how to communicate the quantity you want, you can start by giving the vendor 20 lei or 40 lei depending on if you want a smaller or larger piece. Or, when they suggest a certain piece that might look too large, you can say 'jumatate' which means 'half', and then they will weigh it and tell you the price. You can ask them to write it down by showing a pen and paper.
A classic 'fast-food' is the 'langos' which are fried dough with either 'cartofi' (potatoes), 'brînza' (cheese), 'varza' (cabbage) or 'ficat' (liver). These are all made in the bakery in the second storey of one of the buildings near the market and are sold by different vendors in identical glass wheel carts in different parts of 'Piata Centrala'.
A quick meal can also be put together with the marinated or pickled dishes that are sold at 'Piața Centrală'. Depending on the vendors, you might find marinated eggplant/aubergine with onions, marinated shredded carrot, squash or mushrooms. There are also re-hydrated sea grasses in white or green curly varieties in bunches, or smoother grasses that are more shredded.
- 1 Gălbenuș, Alexander Pushkin St 22, ☏ . Offers a selection of dishes paid per weight. Open 08:00-21:00, 20% discount after 19:00.
- 2 Foișor, Strada Columna 102, behind the Cathedral, ☏ . For cheap blini (pancakes/crepes) and zeama.
- 3 Cantină, Strada Petru Rareș 18. In the basement of the court building in Banulescu Bodoni Street is open from 11:00-12:00 and 13:00-16:00. The simple food is a good value (25 lei for soup, main dish, and chefir; 40 lei maximum for a meal; 2 lei for tea as of 2010). Walk up the street from the two parks, the court building is on the right just before ASEM University (Academia de Studii Economice din Moldova) on the left.
- 4 Star Kebab, str. Ismail 84. Chain of fast food restaurants in the style of McDonald's, serving kebab & falafel. 30-40 lei.
- 5 Nr1 Supermarket, Stefan cel Mare si Sfant Boulevard 132, ☏ . In Dacia with Bucaresti has a 30% discount on prepared food between 21:00 and 23:00 (as of Dec 2020)
- 6 Andy's Pizza, Alexander Pushkin St 32, ☏ . A fast food restaurant which is found all over the city. The quality of the food is very good depending on which dish and which outlet you go to, with some of the food being absolutely gross, especially the pizza.
- 7 Pizza House, Bulevardul Moscova 14/1, ☏ . 10:00-23:00. Serves a variety of dishes including pizza, pasta and local dishes. They have a lunch special for about 50 lei. Prices for a full meal range 40-100 lei.
- La Placinte, Bd Moscova 9 1, ☏ . Another restaurant owned by the same people, serving traditional Moldovan cuisine. The quality of the food is far more reliable and good, at decent affordable prices below that found in Western Europe. Bright, colourfully decorated place.
- 8 La Taifas, Str. Bucuresti, 67, ☏ . Daily 10:00-23:00. Traditional, family-run Moldovan restaurant in a cellar serving Moldovan specialities. English-language menu. It caters to tour groups and parties, so calling ahead to reserve is a good idea. Excellent list of Moldovan wines, many by the glass. Mid-range to splurge.
- 9 Sălcioara, Str. Pushkin, 39, ☏ .
Drinks such as vodka are served on their own. So don't be surprised if your Vodka Sprite is served as two separate drinks. Also, club soda seems difficult to procure, at least in English.
- Wines. Moldavan wines, cognac, liquor and juice are all on par with the best of Eastern Europe. For one thing, manufacturers tend to use only organic products. Secondly, these products are made in the traditional way. Restaurants tend to sell only local wines, but only those of the highest standards. One of the very best wines of Moldova is from the wine plantation of Purcari.
- Beer. Moldovan beer is one of the best in Europe. A very famous is named "Bere Chişinău". It was awarded with the Nr.1 Gold Medal at the Nuremberg beer competition in 2007, beating German, Czech and others. It can be found in all the bars on every street in Chişinău, so finding a place for a drink is not a problem. However, good bars and restaurants with a pleasant atmosphere can be difficult to find. So watch where you stop.
- Beer House. Bar and restaurant on bd C. Negruzzi, has a wide range of beers (some brewed on the premises) and a good menu. Prices for a full meal with drinks range from 150-500 lei.
- 1 Keller Holz Gastropub, Stefan cel Mare si Sfant Boulevard 71, ☏ . An Austrian-Moldovan brewing company's restaurant with its craft beer and snacks.
There are more than 40 nightclubs in Chişinău, making its nightlife vibrant and dynamic.
- In the main train station, there is a decent hostel. Just enter the train station and ask the guards there. The price is 220 lei per night.
- Hotel Turist is close to the centre and charges 440 lei a night for a double room with shower and WC (price as of August 2008).
- 1 Hotel Chişinău, 7 Negruzzi blvd. (at the southern end of the main street), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel Chişinău claims to be the oldest central hotel in the city. An "aging beauty" with friendly staff and clean rooms. Rooms from about €28.
- Retro Moldova Hostel, Strada George Cosbuc 3, Apartment 24. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. €12/night for dorm bed. Silent and central location with very friendly and helpful staff. Laundry service. Wi-Fi and lockers are available. The hostel is in a large flat in a lovely communist-style apartment block. Interior is a lot nicer than the exterior. Some of its interior such as wall posters dates back to Soviet times. The entrance is in the backyard and not towards the street. A small sign is sprayed on the concrete at the entrance and that is the only hint you get that there is a hostel inside apartment 24 of that gate.
- 2 Tapok Hostel, 27a Armeneasca Street, Chisinau (15-minute walk from the central bus station, or take marshrutka 192. If the central bus station bustle can be confusing on arrival, it is in a horseshoe shape, both ends lead to Tighina Street, turn right towards the hostel), ☏ , email@example.com. Friendly and helpful English-speaking hostel, with Wi-Fi, fans, lockers, kitchen and washing machine as well as the usual facilities. From €8 for basic dorm to €11.50 p.p. for twin private.
- 3 Hotel Bella Donna, Strada București 9, ☏ . It's a new hotel with comfortable rooms and nice staff in the centre of the Chişinău. The prices are low, beginning from €50 for a room, including breakfast, Wi-Fi, and TV. €60.
- 4 Hotel Cosmos. Clean rooms and friendly staff, some of whom speak English. Now the hotel Cosmos has a slightly derelict appearance, and receives relatively few guests. However, the rooms are clean and the staff are friendly and helpful. Around the immediate area are some nice shops and restaurants. Rates from €29/night.
- 5 Hotel Edem. A rather new hotel with comfortable rooms and a swimming pool. Rates start at €60/night.
- 6 Hotel Luna. A nice hotel with comfortable rooms and good services. From €75 twin.
- Hotel Stella De Lux. A tiny hotel that costs €50/night and offers small and rather spartan rooms (some are windowless). Service is poor and visitors are not allowed to enter the hotel.
- 7 Hotel Vila Iris. A small nice hotel with comfortable rooms and accessible prices. Costs around €50/night. The price includes breakfast, internet Wi-Fi, parking, and laundry.
- Hotel Villa Muntenia. A cosy hospitable hotel offering excellent services. Breakfast, internet, TV, parking, and laundry included. The hotel provides 11 rooms, each with a telephone and a minibar. A shower, cable/satellite channels and a hair dryer are also provided. On-site dining options include a restaurant. Chisinau International Airport is less than a 25-minute drive from Villa Muntenia Hotel. Prices from €40/night.
- 8 Wine Hotel, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. €50/night.
- Club Royal Park 5* Hotel.
- 9 Flowers Hotel 4*, Str. N. Anestiade 7, ☏ . A very posh but small (18 rooms) hotel close to the airport. Excellent service and good food, with extremely large rooms and comfortable beds.
- 10 Hotel VisPas. A very cozy 4-star boutique hotel about a 15-minute walk to the city center. It has a good restaurant with mid-range prices. A full meal with drinks will cost about 300 lei.
- 11 Jolly Alon Hotel 4*. A very nice hotel in front of Chişinău's central park on a street with no traffic. Superbly quiet. Rooms are at the minimum of 4-star standards. This hotel also has a gym which is only accessible to guests.
- Leogrand Hotel & Conventions Center 4* (formerly Dedeman Grand Hotel).
- 12 Manhattan Hotel. A smaller 4-star boutique hotel in the centre. A few quirks but a good hotel. Opened early in 2010.
- 13 Hotel President. Newest 5-star hotel in Moldova.
- 14 Weekend Boutique Hotel, Strada Arborilor 7, ☏ . Modern, located in the centre.
Important phone numbers:
- Emergency (calls can be made even by mobile phones with no SIM card) – 112
- Gas intervention – 904
- Telephone directory service by Moldtelecom – 1189 (taxable)
Pedestrians should pay attention to the vehicles on the roads, because driving skills tend to be rather poor and no one really follows normal traffic laws. Accidents often occur, and pedestrians should be very careful while crossing streets.
Crime is relatively low although usual precautions apply.
When entering some buildings at night, you will have to walk through unlit alleyways. So when traveling through Chişinău, always carry a small torch. The street lights are quite sparsely positioned and it is a good idea to plan your arrival for day-light hours.
Watch out about nightlife: the U.S. State Department warns about Russian dating schemes being also common in Moldova and another kind of financial scams. However, the average backpacker has very little to worry about unless looking for a Russian bride.
There is occasional police corruption aimed at foreigners. This will usually involve getting arrested for something ridiculously minor, with extra fictional offenses added on for dramatic effect, in an attempt to scare you into paying a "high" bribe (maybe a few euros). Most police will not speak any English, and you can expect a lengthy lecture in Romanian/Russian. Always carry at least a good quality photocopy of your passports. However, this corruption is rare and usually only happens after being caught doing something illegal.
Stray dogs are increasingly problematic in the city, with control of the population getting out of hand in the late 2010s. Take caution while walking in the city to avoid this hazard. If you are bitten, there is an anti-rabies clinic at the "Centru" Centrul Consulativ Diagnostic (public health clinic), located at Strada 31 August 1989 #63 (i.e. building #63 on 31st August 1989 Street). The anti-rabies clinic is in Office ("Cabinetul") #101; go in the main front doors and turn left down a short hallway to find it. The staff generally only speak Romanian/Moldovan and Russian, but at least one physician in the anti-rabies clinic has a working knowledge of English.
English is spoken in some restaurants and markets, and some taxi drivers speak a little English. Young people are much more likely to speak English than the older generation. In Moldova, most people know Russian and Romanian. In Gagauzia, a Turkic language (Gagauz) is spoken, but the main communication language is Russian. Only 30% of the people in Moldova speak some English and the country is far behind with schools that teach the English language.
There is only a single national broadcast television station. For the most part, TV channels are piped in from Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Georgia. Euronews, Eurosport, CNN, Discovery Channel, etc. are on cable. Not every home in the city has continual hot water so ask if staying in a private home.
There are many embassies and consulates in Chişinău, including:
- Cricova – A Chişinău suburb close to the city. Famous for its fabulous winery with an underground cellar over 100 km (62 mi) long. A tour, including tasting the dishes in its restaurant, plus wine souvenir will cost you 500 lei. Tours must be booked before arriving. Tours booked on the same day as the tour do not include tasting of wine or food.
- Ghidighici – A lake and Chişinău suburb close to the city in its northern part. It is 9 km (5.6 mi). in length and at about 1 km (0.62 mi). in width. Ghidighici is also, called as "Chişinău sea". There are many resorts and recreation facilities along its shores. One of the most preferable places for recreation for city locals.
- Orheiul Vechi – One of the most visited sites outside of Chisinau and a one-hour bus ride from the capital. It features a nature reserve, monasteries, museums, and archaeological sites.
- Mileștii Mici – With over 200 km of underground roadways, Mileștii Mici is registered in the Guinness World Records as the biggest wine collection in the world. It may be easier to book a tour through a travel agency as one must provide a car for the tour. Website, phone: +373 22 382 333.
- Transnistria – This unrecognized, de facto republic claims eastern Moldova; visiting it comes closest to what life in a communist state in the Cold War must have been like.
- Bucharest – The capital of nearby Romania, in which megalomanic monuments, including "House of the People", built during Ceaușescu's reign, overlook medieval neighbourhoods. Many companies operate 'rutieras' during the day and larger coaches during the night heading to Bucharest.
- Iaşi – The second largest Romanian city, it was the capital of the Moldavian principality until 1861 and then briefly the capital of Romania. Today it remains one of the major economic and cultural centres in the country. The contrasts between Chişinău and Iasi are quite significant and that makes this trip an interesting option if you are heading into Romania from Chişinău. Coach services are operated from Gara de Sud.
- Odesa – Relaxing Ukrainian city on the shore of the Black Sea.