Moldova is a remarkable and unique country in the far east of Europe. And after the micro-states of Lichtenstein and San Marino, it’s the least-visited country on the entire continent. The relatively small nation, landlocked between Romania and the Ukraine, is also the poorest in all of Europe. However, for several reasons, Moldova is an absolutely wonderful country to visit.

Culturally, Moldova is a fascinating place. Aside from the capital city of Chisinau, much of the country consists of small villages with a powerful sense of family and community. Moldova’s strong Orthodox tradition is undeniable as well; with astonishing and ornate cathedrals and monasteries dotting the countryside. Visiting the cultural village and cave-monastery of Orhei Vechi is one of the best things to do while visiting Moldova.

Aside from the captivating cultural aspect, Moldova is know for its booming wine industry. Following recent embargoes from Russia, Moldovas wine industry has been changing rapidly to appease the European palette. If you visit Moldova for any reason at all, be sure to experience the incredible wineries.

For a truly unique experience in Moldova, take a trip to Transnistria, a country that technically doesn’t exist. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the resulting independence of Moldova, civil war broke out in the country’s east. Following a ceasefire in the early ‘90s, the separatist nation, of Transnistria was formed. This unparalleled country, still under the flag of the Hammer and Sickle, while technically part of Moldova, has it’s own government, military and currency. It’s an experience that should not be missed.