The world is finally waking up to the charms of this little nation wedged between Romania and Ukraine. Famously dubbed “the world's least happy place” in a bestselling book by the Dutch sociologist Ruut Veenhoven, Moldova is increasingly known more for its unspoiled countryside and superb wine tours.

As one of Europe’s least visited countries, Moldova retains a certain off-the-beaten-track charm. But even that’s changing as budget flights from almost all European cities make the capital, Chişinău, a popular weekend break.

Chişinău is Moldova’s largest and liveliest city. Although both the centre and outskirts are dominated by utilitarian (and frankly not very attractive) buildings in Soviet style, the city does have a few architectural gems remaining. Take a stroll in Chişinău’s two parks, Parcul Catedralei and Grădina Publică Ştefan cel Mare şi Sfînt, which are very peaceful little patches of greenery.

Those looking to plant the flag in a land few others have visited, still have their Shangri-La in the form of the breakaway republic of Transdniestr, where the Soviet Union still reigns supreme. This mini-State does not officially exist! Visitors can go there in complete safety, and will be stunned by this small idiosyncratic region.


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