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Moldova, Ukraine & Romania Explorer

From US$ 2,555
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highlights
  • Discover the incredible biodiversity of Romania’s remote Danube Delta. Take a boat through this unique ecosystem to where the river meets the Black Sea, and observe the traditional daily life of its remote communities
  • Spend time in the least-visited corner of Moldova – itself the least-visited country in Europe – in a breakaway strip of land called Gagauzia that highlights the complex cultural and historical diversity of this region
  • Moldova is famous for its wine, so sample the local tipple during a guided tour of Mileștii Mici, sitting on top of 200km of underground cellar tunnels, making it the largest quality wine collection in the world
  • Become one of the few travellers to visit Transnistria, a breakaway republic in eastern Moldova, where Soviet values are still upheld and locals continue their fight for independence
The Moldova, Ukraine & Romania Explorer tour starts in Bucharest and ends in Kiev. The Moldova, Ukraine & Romania Explorer is an Explorer tour that takes 13 days taking you from Bucharest to Kiev and through other destinations in Europe.

Welcome to Bessarabia, a land so remote that tourism is yet to get a foothold. Escape the tourist crowds on this unique trip to Eastern Romania, Moldova and the Black Sea Coast of Ukraine. From the breakaway republic of Transnistria – where Soviet values persist – to the eerie wastelands of Chernobyl, the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster, this itinerary showcases some of the least visited sights in Europe. Get ready for an adventure.
Bună Ziua! Welcome to Bucharest. After the welcome meeting this evening, you might like to get a head start and explore the city by night, or perhaps head out for a group dinner to get a first sample of Romania's unique cuisine.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Palace of Parliament Tour - RON 35
  • Bucharest Bike Tour - EUR 20
  • Urban Adventures - Outcast Bucharest - EUR 52
  • Urban Adventures - Home Cooked Bucharest - EUR 56
This morning, head out to explore Bucharest. Romania's capital is known for its Belle Epoch architecture, thumping nightlife and communist sites. It also keeps things big – it’s home to one of Europe's biggest squares and its Palace of Parliament is the second largest building in the world. Perhaps join a guided tour around the recently restored old town. At noon take a public bus to the provincial city of Tulcea (approx 5 hours), in Romania's east. Located on the banks of the mighty Danube River, Tulcea is a typical Romanian working class town. This has been an important harbour city since ancient times, where the Danube empties out into the Black Sea. Its position has seen it under Byzantine, Genoese, and Ottoman rule before being reabsorbed into Romania at the end of the 19th century. In your free time you could visit the Azizie Mosque, an exotic and culturally rich heritage structure with quaint minarets, or enjoy the view form the Victory Monument east of town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Azizie Mosque - Free
Today, head out on a full-day excursion through the remote Danube Delta. This is a UNESCO protected area of ecologically significant lagoons, channels and marshes – one of the largest wetland areas in the world, and one that’s a paradise for birds. There are around 30 different ecosystems in this area of 4,152 square kilometres, putting it just behind the Galapagos and Great Barrier Reef in terms of biodiversity. This is the place where the Danube empties into the Black Sea after journeying 2,860 kilometres through ten countries. The Delta is also home to over 300 species of bird, so keep your eyes peeled for the avifauna that live around the floating reed islands, tree-fringed lakes, pastures, forests, sand dunes, and narrow canals lined with trees. The boat ride also gives you the opportunity to see local life from a unique perspective. The delta is home to an estimated 16,000 people, many of whom live isolated, surviving on traditional activities like fishing, and in houses that you might more readily associate with areas of Africa or Asia than with Eastern Europe. At lunch time indulge in local specialties or the catch of the day. In the late evening, return to Tulcea.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
This morning, travel by private transport to Moldova and on to Valeni, our first stop in Moldova. Here you will be treated to a traditional lunch and some live music by a locally famous grandmother. In the afternoon continue to Comrat, the provincial capital of the Republic of Gagauzia. A small strip of land, Gagauzia once vied for independence from Moldova alongside Transnistria, but gave up its aspirations when it was granted a special legal status in 1994. The official name is now Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia. Gagauzia is home to Turkic-speaking people. Theories vary as to why, but many believe that Gagauzians are descendants of Seljuk Turks who migrated here in the 13th century. When you arrive, take some time to wander around the compact town centre. Walk down the main street, still named after Lenin, and see the statue of the revolutionary leader that stands paradoxically near a memorial to the victims of Communist repression. Pass the monument to soldiers who died in the Russian-Afghan War or just absorb the atmosphere of this unique little town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Lenin Monument - Free -
  • Monument to the Afghan War Soldiers - Free -
  • Cathedral of Saint John Baptist - Free -
After breakfast, you’ll make your way to Chisinau (pronounced Kishi-Now), Moldova's bustling capital city (approximately 2 hours). Upon arrival visit the buzzing local market, where you can barter for your lunch. Chisinau is a perfect example of a city almost entirely rebuilt in a Stalinist style with pre-manufactured concrete slabs, as it was completely destroyed by three events within two years: Soviet occupation and an earthquake in 1940, and then the takeover of the city by the Nazis in 1941. While Soviet high-rise buildings dominate the city, there is a wide main boulevard (named after the great medieval king Stephan the Great of Moldovia) which bisects two large green parks and along which the main museums and sights lie. You can wander through the central park to the Victory Memorial of the Soviet army, and on to the Eternal Flame, dedicated to the unknown soldiers from the city who died in World War II. The park also houses the Cathedral of Christ’s Nativity, an important gathering point for celebrations or protests. Nearby is the local market, a feast for the senses. Why not shop here for lunch before continuing your exploration of the city. The Museum of Ethnography and Nature has an almost Islamic inspired exterior, while the grand National Archaeology & History Museum has displays from settlements dating back to 10,000 BC up to the Soviet era. This evening, be sure to sample some Moldovan wine, little known worldwide but famed for its quality.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Victory Memorial and Eternal Flame - Free -
  • The Cathedral of Christ’s Nativity - Free -
  • National Museum of the History of Moldova - EUR 1
  • National Army Museum - EUR 1
Head out of town to the little village of Orheiul Vechi, where you'll visit archaeological sites and a 14th-century monastery (approximately 1 hour). This is the country’s most important historical site, a World Heritage contender that’s also a place of remote, stark beauty. Here through the ages the Răut River has carved its way through the landscape, creating a valley with high rocky ridges that served as an easily defendable site to settle. Archaeological excavations have uncovered remains of ruins and fortifications estimated to date back as far as the 6th century BC. The most impressive and memorable sights here relate to its use as a religious site. Atop one of the hills is the church of the Ascension of St. Mary, which has some interesting murals inside, but the real treat is the cave monastery. Below a squat bell tower is a black door, behind which steep steps lead down to caves that are still used by monks 700 years after the site was dug into the cliff. Admire the views across the valley and another local feast at a family home. Later in the afternoon, you have the opportunity to taste Moldova's famous wine on a tour of Mileștii Mici winery. With more than 200 kilometres of underground passages – 55 of them lined with around 2 million bottles and given street names – Mileștii Mici is home to the biggest wine cellar in the world. Enjoy a tour of some of the tunnels (drivable by car!) and sip on exceptional wines.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
An early morning drive (approximately 3 hours) takes you across the border into Tiraspol, the capital of the breakaway republic of Transnistria. This thin strip of land east of the Dniester River, officially known as the Prednistrovie Moldovan Republic (PMR), declared independence after the Soviet Union broke into pieces, and unlike Gagauzia, is continuing the fight to this day. Transnistria is only recognised as an independent entity by other unrecognised former Soviet breakaway republics. It is, however, 'de-facto independent' from Moldova – with its own parliament, police force, currency and coat of arms among other things – and still upholds Soviet values. In 2014 the head of the Transnistrian parliament asked to join the Russian Federation. Upon arrival, head out on an orientation walk around town along October 25th Street, greeting the Lenin statue standing high on its pedestal outside the Supreme Soviet (Parliament) Building. You’ll see old Russian cars on the street, Orthodox churches, hammers and sickles, memorials, and brand new constructions sitting next to crumbling soviet apartment buildings and homes. This is a place where around one corner it’s the present day, around another it feels like 20 or 30 years in the past.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
This morning take a trolley bus (a mix between a bus and a tram) a short distance outside the city to the regional town of Bender, in the buffer zone between Transnistria and Moldova. Drop by the 16th century Ottoman Tighina Fortress, an impressively stout construction on the right bank of the Dniester River. The three miles of walls are dotted with defensive towers and gates, all topped with bright red conical roofs. Once back in Tiraspol the rest of the day is free for you to experience this unusual city. Explore the memorials and the military-themed Museum of Headquarters, check out the impressive House of Soviets (Parliament) building complete with Lenin's bust out the front, or visit the golden domed Nativity Church. Perhaps head to the bridge at riverside De Wollant Park for panoramic photos of the river and downtown Tiraspol, or embark on a boat tour along the Dniester River itself. Near the university, Pobedi Park, with an old amusement park in the middle, is a great place for people-watching. You may want to check out the Kvint distillery to learn about the famed local rocket fuel, which is available at any bar throughout the territory. At the headquarters of this 1897 company, you can taste award-winning brandies made from grapes from the nearby ancient Bessarabian wine region.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Kvint Brandy Distillery Tour and Tasting - EUR 30
  • House of Soviets - Free - EUR 30
  • Museum of Headquarters - EUR 1
  • Soviet Guided Tour of Tiraspol - EUR 25
A train or bus ride today will take you across the border to Odessa, Ukraine, an underrated gem located on the Black Sea (approximately 2.5 hours). The city was founded at the end of the 18th century by Russian ruler Catherine the Great, who sought to create an architectural getaway on the sea shore. Russian aristocrats flocked to this city of Baroque and Renaissance buildings and shady tree-lined streets to cool off in the summer, and today many sun lovers still make their way to this cosmopolitan city for the sandy beaches. The great buildings were neglected during the Soviet years, but now much of the fine plaster and marble work has been restored to its former glory. After an orientation walk with the group, wander down Primorskiy Boulevard, where babushkas shuffle alongside fashionable mums. Make sure you check out the famous Potemkin Steps, which lead from the street down to the waterfront. The sweeping stairway is famous for its part in Sergei Eisenstein’s classic 1925 film, ‘Battleship Potemkin’, the scene where Russian soldiers massacre Odessans during a 1905 anti-tsarist uprising. A pram rolling down the steps after the mother has been shot is one of cinema’s most iconic images. Alternatively, spend some time hanging out in the city's parks or the charming Old Town. There are several beaches within the city should you wish to cool down a bit.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Today is a free day to explore the pretty town of Odessa and it's surroundings. Take your time to stroll around the streets and admire the Neoclassical and Baroque buildings – the National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre is grand enough to rival any in Central Europe, with rococo style columns, arches, sculptures and intricate mouldings. Wander down the pedestrian Deribasovskaya Street and feel the history, then stop the nearby Sculpture Garden at the Literary Museum, where a new statue is unveiled every year. To see a completely different side to the city, head to the unique underground Museum of Partisan Glory 12 kilometres outside the city. Odessa is built on limestone, and much of it was carved out during the construction of the city in the 1800s. This left some 2,500 kilometres of labyrinthine catacombs running beneath it (that’s more than the distance from Odessa to London), which attracted those who wanted to work in the shadows and hide from those in control. After the Nazis forced the Soviets out of the city during WWII, dozens of rebel groups remained in the catacombs, trying to live a normal life and waiting to strike. The catacombs later housed smuggling and criminal groups, and today it’s groups of explorers. A small section of the tunnels are officially open to the public in Nerubayske, offering a glimpse into the lives of the soldiers who lived and fought here. You'll be free until the late evening, when you’ll board an overnight train bound for Kiev (approximately 10 hours). Ukrainian trains are very comfortable, with four passengers per cabin and ample space for luggage.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Sleeper Train
Optional Activities
  • National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre - Free -
  • Nerubayske Catacombs and the Museum of Partisan Glory - UAH 6
  • Pushkin Museum - UAH 5
  • The Odessa Museum of Western and Oriental Art - UAH 2
Upon your early morning arrival into Kiev, drop your luggage at the hotel and embark on an orientation walk around this magnificent city. Many travellers say that Kiev is a diamond in the raw, just waiting to be discovered. The city boasts a vibrant energy through it politics, art and culture - it’s a place where Soviet grandeur is mixed in with medieval architecture and religious monuments. Make sure you visit the 11th-century Lavra Monastery overlooking the Dnieper River. The exterior of the ‘Monastery of the Caves’ is visually stunning, with tiered frescos of Saints and towers topped by bright gold domes that glisten in the sun. It’s also a wonder underneath, with kilometres of catacombs below where reclusive monks worshipped, studied, lived and died, their bodies preserved by the caves' cool temperature and dry atmosphere. To get an insight into the country’s history, a stop at The Ukrainian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War is recommended. No visit to Kiev is complete without a stroll along Kkreschatyk Boulevard, spending time at Maidan square, where evidence of the recent historic events (like the 2014 revolution) are still visible, and then an amble down church-lined Andriivsky Descent. This street lined with vintage stalls, arts and crafts shops, small restaurants and hidden bars is sometimes called Kiev’s Montmartre, and is one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of the city. Kiev has great places to try Ukrainian food, and is a city that knows how to party, so get out and experience it tonight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Head out of town on a full-day trip to Chernobyl. At Dytyatky, which sits on the edge of the 30-kilometre exclusion zone (the circle drawn around the town after the 1986 accident) you'll pass the first checkpoint. After a short introductory and safety briefing, embark on a tour of Chernobyl town, passing the robots and vehicles used to clean the radioactive fallout. Then, after another checkpoint, hear the slight click-click of the Geiger counter while you stand in front of Reactor Number 4, now covered by the huge new sarcophagus, the largest moveable land-based object in the world. The undisputed highlight of today is the visit to the ghost town of Pripyat, where Chernobyl workers were rapidly evacuated 36 hours after the disaster. There’ll be time to explore Lenin Street, the main square, the Palace of Culture, Polissya Hotel, a supermarket, the famous ferris wheel, a school and a swimming pool. Wander the eerie, abandoned streets and get a real sense for what happened here. After lunch at the Chernobyl canteen – all ingredients are brought from outside the zone and are ecologically clean – visit the village of Paryshiv to meet the self-settlers (people who chose to come back to their homes after the evacuation), and see the once top-secret Duga 3 (the so-called 'Russian Woodpecker', a military radar). Return to Kiev for your final night of a memorable adventure, perhaps delving in the city’s nightlife with the group.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Today your trip comes to an end. As no activities are planned, you are free to depart your accommodation at any time. There is so much to see and do in and around Kiev, so you may want to consider extending your stay here. We are happy to book additional accommodation for you, subject to availability. Please enquire at the time of booking.
Optional Activities
  • WWII Museum - UAH 10
  • St Sofia Cathedral - UAH 70
  • Motherland Monument - UAH 200
  • Museum of One Street - UAH 30
  • Pirogovo Folk Architecture Museum - UAH 30
  • St Michaels Golden-Domed Cathedral - Free - UAH 30
  • Chornobyl Museum - UAH 16
what’s included
Accommodation
  • Hotel and Pension (11 nights), Overnight train (1 night)
Meals
  • 11 Breakfast, 4 Lunch
Transport
  • Train , Local bus , Private vehicle , Taxi , Boat , Overnight train
Included Activities
  • Danube Delta Boat Ride
  • Traditional Lunch and Music in Valeni
  • Orhei Monastery
  • Milestii Mici Winery Visit & Tasting
  • Bender Fortress
  • Day Trip to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to Bucharest and from Kiev are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Moldova, Ukraine & Romania Explorer tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Tour details
Booking Type Instant Booking  
Duration 13 days
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 12 participants
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends Bucharest/Kiev
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Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for Moldova, Ukraine & Romania Explorer
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Good to know Payment

A deposit of 400 USD is required to confirm this tour. For any departures within 17 June 2018 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Moldova, Ukraine & Romania Explorer tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Moldova, Ukraine & Romania Explorer tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this Moldova, Ukraine & Romania Explorer tour. You can cancel the tour up to 58 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 57 days of departure.
Trip Details
  • Last modified (date)

    18 Apr 2018

  • Trip title

    Moldova, Ukraine & Romania Explorer

  • Trip code

    WMST

  • Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2018 to 31 Dec 2018

  • Introduction

    Welcome to Bessarabia, a land so remote that tourism is yet to get a foothold. Escape the tourist crowds on this unique trip to Eastern Romania, Moldova and the Black Sea Coast of Ukraine. From the breakaway republic of Transnistria – where Soviet values persist – to the eerie wastelands of Chernobyl, the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster, this itinerary showcases some of the least visited sights in Europe. Get ready for an adventure.

  • Style

    Original

  • Transport

    Train,Local bus,Private vehicle,Taxi,Boat,Overnight train

  • Physical Rating

    2

  • Physical preparation

    This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.

  • Joining point instructions

    Trianon Hotel is located 20km from Bucharest Henri Coanda Otopeni International Airport. Take bus 783 from the bus stop underneath the arrivals hall. It departs every 30 to 40 minutes. The closest bus stop to the hotel is Piata Universitatii. From there it is a 15 min walk to the hotel. Alternatively you can travel by train from the airport to the main railway station Gara de Nord. You will need to take a bus from the airport to the airport train station. Please look out for the Bilete CFR sign in the arrivals hall to purchase tickets. The train station is located a 20 minute walk from the hotel.

    Pre booked arrival transfer from the airport: If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, your transfer driver will be holding a board with the Intrepid Logo or your name at the arrivals hall. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the emergency phone number: +4 0721 133 577.

  • Finish point instructions

    By public transport to the train station take metro line 1 (red line) for 4 stops from Khreschatyk station to Vokzalna station (Main Train station). To Kiev Borispil International Airport (KBP) you can catch an airport shuttle bus called Sky Bus. It costs 50 UAH one way. Buses depart from the main train station and also stop at Khreschatyk near our hotel. The easiest way to get to Kiev Zhulhany International Airport (IEV) is to take a taxi. Ask hotel reception to organise it. The cost should be around 50 UAH.

    Pre booked departure transfer to Kiev Borispil International Airport (KBP): You will be collected at your accommodation 2 hours and 45 minutes before your flight departure time. In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the emergency phone number: +380 980 675 694.

  • Group leader

    All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

    Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

  • Visas

    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.

    Visits for up to 90 days to Romania and Moldova are now visa free for citizens of the UK, USA, Canada, EU member countries, Australia and New Zealand. Ukraine has recently relaxed its visa regime, and citizens of the UK, USA, Canada and EU member countries can now visit up to 90 days without a visa. Australian and New Zealand passport holders still need to obtain a visa before arrival, however an invitation letter is no longer required in order to apply.

  • Is this trip right for you

    CHERNOBYL: Please remember that on the Chernobyl day tour you will be exposed to some radioactivity. Given the short amount of time you'll spend in the area, radiation levels shouldn't be harmful or unsafe (just don't go touching lots of stuff). Still, if this is of concern to you, you are free to opt out of this activity. Please also note that the army effectively regulates visits to Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone, so last minute alterations can impact the itinerary.

    TRANSNISTRIA: The security situation in Transnistria is unpredictable as the region is not under Moldovan control, and tensions may be heightened reflecting developments in eastern Ukraine. Many Western countries do not have an embassy or consulate in Moldova. Usually embassies in Russia or Romania provide consular assistance to travellers in Moldova, however they do not have any recourse inside the territory of Transnistria, and will only be of very limited or no assistance in the case of an emergency. Medical care is almost non-existent in Transnistria, especially for non-citizens. Please choose carefully when shopping for your travel health insurance, and make sure it is valid in Transnistria. Please also be aware that international credit/debit cards and traveller's cheques are not accepted anywhere in Transnistria.

    As there are potholes and cobblestones in many Eastern European cities, it's recommended that you leave any wheelie bags or cases at home and bring a backpack instead.

    Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited on this trip (over 40°C). It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

    As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can. However, if you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details. Also, please note that hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together.

    While we have thoroughly researched this area of the world to put together this adventure, please be advised that this is a relatively new trip for Intrepid. To be frank, things may not always go to plan. When we head to new destinations, we usually find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, but the warning is sincere. If this concerns you, we recommend you wait a year until the trip has been ironed out.

  • Health

    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

    Medical care is almost non-existent in Transnistria, especially for non-citizens. Even if you have travel health insurance it will often not be valid in Transnistria (even though it is valid in Moldova), and your insurance might not cover you for any expenses incurred or any stolen items. Please choose carefully when shopping for your travel insurance.

    We advise passengers carrying important medication to check country laws on the amounts and types of drugs allowed prior to the trip and possibly obtain a translation of their prescription into a local language.

  • Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

    Vegetarians might find the menu selection less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and generally the choices are basic, involving vegetables, soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.

    There are some basic breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar).

  • Money matters

    CURRENCY
    The official currency of Romania is the Romanian New Lei (RON), that of Moldova is the Moldovan Leu (MDL), and Ukraine uses the Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH). Euros are readily exchanged in each of these countries. Please note that the break-away republic of Transnistria has their own currency, the Transnistrian Ruble, which is only available once within the country, and is virtually useless outside of the territory. Please also be aware that international credit/debit cards and traveller's cheques are not accepted anywhere in Transnistria.

    CASH
    The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money in Europe is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied. You can withdraw local currencies easily at airports, major train stations and most city centres, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning. When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place. Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. We recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services.

    SPENDING MONEY:
    When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

    BUDGET
    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. We suggest EUR 440.00 for meals not included on this trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

    TIPPING
    If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: In local markets and basic restaurants and cafes - round your bill up to the nearest €1. In more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill. Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest €2-€3 per day for local guides. You may also have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest €1-€2 per day for drivers. You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €2-€4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. In total, we recommend you budget approx €5-€10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

    CONTINGENCY FUNDS:
    We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

  • Climate and seasonal

    SUMMER
    Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

    SHOULDER SEASON
    In contrast, weather in shoulder season can be unpredictable, and snow is not unheard of at higher altitudes. If you travel at the start or towards the end of the European season please pack accordingly with warm and/or waterproof clothes (preferably layers). The advantage of travelling during this time is that there are less tourists around.

  • A couple of rules

    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders, local operators or locals.

    Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.

  • Accommodation notes

    OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

    TWIN SHARE BASIS
    Accommodation on this trip is on a twin share basis (unless noted otherwise in the day-to-day itinerary). Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite.

    CHECK-IN TIME
    Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

    PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
    If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

    FACILITIES
    Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

  • Transport notes

    TRANSPORT IN EUROPE
    Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that's why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a train in Spain, cycling past a historic chateau in France, or encountering the world's most extravagant public transport system on the Moscow Metro. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.

    Overnight trains in Europe are a comfortable way to travel from one city to another without losing valuable time to explore the destinations. Compartments usually consist of 4 berths (2 bottom bunks and 2 top bunks) with lockable doors, communal bathroom facilities at the end of each carriage (sink and toilet), and plenty of space for luggage. All trains have heating for the colder times of year, however they generally do not have air-conditioning, and windows can't be opened.

  • Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

    SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

  • Itinerary disclaimer

    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Essential Trip Information a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

  • Accommodation

    Hotel and Pension (11 nights),Overnight train (1 night)

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