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Moldova travel guide

About Moldova

Moldova is a largely overlooked destination, as yet untouched by the budget airline brigade. But it shouldn't be. In this land-locked Eastern European country, you can wander round vast monasteries, trek through ancient forests, or sample the local wines. Rich with history and fertile soils that produce abundant vineyards, Moldova is a special country despite its lack of fame, and one well worth getting to know.

Despite remaining one of the poorest countries in Europe, the people are friendly and welcoming, and the main hubs, such as the capital Chişinău, have everything a visitor could need. Although few outsiders have heard about it as a viable city break destination, Chişinău has plenty going on. There's a buzzing cafe-bar and restaurant scene, while its cathedrals, monuments and museums have survived despite the city taking a serious pounding from aerial bombardments during World War II. One such survivor not to miss is the house where the writer Pushkin spent his days in exile penning some of his most famous works.

The most obvious selling point of Moldova is probably that it's almost the least known spot in Europe. With only a few thousand visiting the country in every year – even neighbouring Romania and Ukraine see far higher foreign footfall – it's mainly favoured by intrepid backpacking completists. But there's much more to the country than this.

A largely unspoilt, natural hinterland with plenty in the way of traditional culture and village life still going, Moldova can feel like a fragment of old Europe, at least if you get beyond the cities. Cross the Dniestr River, and you'll find yourself in the beguiling separatist Russian-speaking province of Transdniestr, all Soviet architecture and Lenin busts.

Then there's the wine. The Moldovan grape's slowly fermenting fame means that the wine tourism industry is just beginning to emerge. The upshot? You can try one of Europe's best, most unique wines in a hidden land that will surely have more than its fair of tourists in the years to come.

Key facts


33,800 sq km (13,050 sq miles).


4,062,862 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

104.9 per sq km.


Chisinau (Kishinev).



Head of state:

President Maia Sandu since 2020.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Dorin Recean since 2023.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Areas where FCDO advises against travel

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice.


FCDO advises against all travel to Transnistria.

There is widespread military activity in Ukraine, including close to some Moldovan borders. Transnistria is outside the control of the Moldovan government.  

FCDO’s ability to offer support is extremely limited and will be more limited if there is military action on or near the Moldova-Ukraine border.

Do not attempt to cross into Ukraine from Moldova.   

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and see support for British nationals abroad for information about specific travel topics.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

If you’re travelling to Moldova, FCDO advises you to also read Ukraine travel advice.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Moldova set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Moldovan Embassy in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Moldova. 

Passport validity requirements

Your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 3 months after the date you plan to leave Moldova, and one blank page.

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

You do not need a visa to enter Moldova for stays of up to 90 days in a 6-month period. You must be able to show a return or onward flight ticket.

You need a residence or work permit for stays of more than 90 days. See more information on residence and work permits

The Moldovan authorities will automatically register your arrival date. They strictly enforce penalties, including fines and expulsion, against foreign visitors who stay in Moldova longer than allowed. Please contact the Moldovan authorities with any additional questions.

Vaccination requirements  

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s Moldova guide.

Border crossings

Moldova-Romania border

Check for updates on border crossings with Romania with the Moldovan Border Police.

Entering and leaving Transnistria

FCDO advises against all travel to Transnistria.

There is no official border between Moldova and Transnistria. However, there are border control points established by the de facto Transnistria leadership between Moldova and Transnistria. Passports will be controlled but will not be stamped. When entering Transnistria, you will need to fill in 2 copies of a migration card for the de facto authorities – keep one copy to show them when you leave. The de facto authorities may ask the purpose and length of your visit, and where you will stay. They may also deny you entry. 

All border crossings between Ukraine and Transnistria are temporarily closed. FCDO does not know when they will reopen.     

The train service between Odessa and Chisinau is suspended.

Entering Moldova from Ukraine

Check for updates on border crossings with Ukraine with the Moldovan Border Police.

If you enter Moldova overland from Ukraine, do this at an internationally recognised border crossing point. These are in the north and south of Moldova, excluding the Transnistria region.

If you have travelled to Moldova from Ukraine and need assistance, call (+373) 22 225 902 or contact FCDO online.

If you’re near a Ukraine-Moldova border crossing point and need assistance, call our consular contact centre on +44 1908 516666, selecting option 2: consular services for British nationals.     

Entering Ukraine from Moldova

Check for updates on border crossings with Ukraine with the Moldovan Border Police. This is particularly important around Transnistria, which is outside the control of the Moldovan authorities. Read FCDO’s Ukraine travel advice.

Security situation in Ukraine

If you’re travelling to Moldova, FCDO strongly advises you to also read Ukraine travel advice.


FCDO advises against all travel to Transnistria.

Moldova declared a state of emergency on 24 February 2022. This ended on 30 December 2023, with no further extension. 

Read more about the risks in Transnistria.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Moldova

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Moldova, attacks cannot be ruled out.

Political situation

Since autumn 2022 there have been regular political demonstrations in central Chisinau, and occasionally elsewhere. These are likely to continue. They have been small-scale and generally peaceful and well-policed. However, there have been organised attempts by certain groups to use these demonstrations as a cover for causing disturbances. Stay away from all political demonstrations.

Humanitarian support workers

The UK supports the multilateral humanitarian effort led by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and offers practical bilateral support. If you’re considering providing humanitarian support to Ukrainians in Moldova, check information on existing ways to assist on the GOV.UK Russian invasion of Ukraine page and the Moldovan government’s information (largely in Romanian and Russian). This is particularly important if you’re considering bringing in humanitarian supplies (information in Romanian and Russian only).


Protecting yourself and your belongings

Be alert to:

  • street crime and petty theft, particularly in Chisinau
  • pickpockets and bag snatchers in crowded areas
  • credit card and ATM fraud – keep sight of the card when paying a bill

Keep your valuables and passport in a safe place, such as a hotel safe. Carry a copy of your passport’s photo page for identification.

Streets, pavements and public paths are not well-maintained or well-lit, including in Chisinau and other cities. Consider carrying a torch.


Although most visitors experience no difficulties, some Asian and Afro-Caribbean visitors have reported being stared at, verbally abused, assaulted, denied entrance into some clubs and restaurants, and police harassment.

Laws and cultural differences

Police checks and ID

There are frequent police checks and police officers have the legal right to ask for ID on the street. Always carry a copy of the photo page of your passport with you.

Exporting art and antiques

You must get permission from the Moldovan Department of Monuments to take any artwork or antiques out of the country. If you do not, customs officials could seize the art or antiques and you could face criminal charges.

Using cameras

Avoid taking photos of military and government facilities, including airports and power stations. You’re likely to be detained for questioning or arrested if you’re caught.

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex sexual activity is not illegal in Moldova, but the Moldovan government does not formally recognise same-sex partners. There is an active social and lobbying group on gay and lesbian issues in Chisinau. Public attitudes are less tolerant and open displays of affection can receive unwanted attention. Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.


Child surrogacy is strictly prohibited throughout Moldova. Comply with local laws and note that the British Embassy will not be able to provide support.

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

There is zero tolerance for possession or supply of illegal drugs. If you have even small quantities of drugs (class A, B or C) you could get a long prison term as well as heavy fines.


You may not always be able to pay by card, particularly outside the capital, Chisinau.

The most widely accepted foreign currencies are US dollars and euros. Carry some euros in cash.   

Notes should be in perfect condition, or they may not be accepted. It’s not always easy to exchange British pounds for local currency.

ATMs in Transnistrian banks will not accept cards from non-Transnistrian banks. The currency used in Transnistria is the Transnistrian ruble. Outside Transnistria, you cannot exchange Moldovan lei or other currencies into rubles, or rubles into other currencies. Attempting to pay in Transnistria in currencies other than the ruble is considered illegal by the self-declared authorities.

Transport risks

Road travel 

If you’re planning to drive a hire car or a UK vehicle, see information on driving abroad and check the rules of the road in RAC’s Moldova guide. The guide lists driving regulations and other legal requirements.

You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in Moldova. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence or get the correct version of the international driving permit (IDP) as well.  

You must declare your vehicle to customs if you enter Moldova by car. You can take vehicles into Moldova without paying import taxes for up to 90 days in a 365-day period. The British Embassy cannot help you with bringing vehicles into Moldova. Contact the Moldovan Embassy in the UK.

If you’re driving a private vehicle owned by someone else, you need permission from the owner, translated and notarised.

Road conditions and driving standards

Driving standards are poor and roads are of variable quality. There are many traffic accidents, including fatal ones. Avoid driving outside urban areas, particularly at night.


Drink-driving is a serious offence in Moldova. If you are tested and found to have more than a third of England’s legal limit of alcohol in your system, you may get a fine and possible imprisonment. 


Official-looking taxis can be unlicensed. Do not share taxis with strangers or flag down unofficial taxis. If there is no meter, negotiate a price before getting into a taxi. Where possible, ask your hotel to order you a taxi or give you the number of a reputable company.

Extreme weather and natural disasters 

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards.


Moldova has insignificant earth tremors throughout the year. The last significant earthquake occurred in 1986, causing deaths and damage to buildings.   

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency website has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

This section has safety advice for regions of Moldova. It only covers regions where the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has specific advice.

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and safety and security advice.


FCDO advises against all travel to Transnistria.

Transnistria is outside the control of the Moldovan government. There is widespread military activity in Ukraine, including close to some Moldovan borders. There were explosions in the region in 2022.     

All border crossings between Ukraine and Transnistria are temporarily closed.

The self-declared Transnistrian parliament has increased powers for prosecutions and pre-trial detentions against people regarded as extremists. They interpret extremism as including many activities that British nationals would consider legitimate, including moderate protest or freedom of expression.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 112 and ask for an ambulance.

Staff may only speak Russian or Romanian.

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccinations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip check:

Water quality

Only drink bottled or boiled water.

HIV risk

The UNAIDS 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic estimated that around 12,000 adults aged 15 or over in Moldova were living with HIV. The prevalence was estimated at around 0.4% of the adult population compared to the UK rate of around 0.2%. Take normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV and AIDS.   


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare facilities in Moldova

State medical facilities in Moldova are generally poor. Private clinics and hospitals offer a better standard of care. If you are involved in an accident or taken ill, it is likely that you would be taken to a state hospital.

Most medical service providers in Moldova will expect cash payment for their services at the time of treatment. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation.

FCDO has a list of medical facilities in Moldova where some staff will speak English. 

There is also guidance on healthcare if you’re living in Moldova.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Moldova

Telephone: 112 (ambulance, fire, police)

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you’re in Moldova and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Chisinau.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

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