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9 nights
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Bessarabia & Beyond

A unique escorted tour of Moldova and Odessa

  • 6 September 2018
  • 5 September 2019
  • History and Culture

There are few places left in the world, especially in Europe, that can be legitimately referred to as ‘off the beaten track’ but Moldova is certainly a country that can lay claim to the description. Our in-depth, escorted tour of this charming country, with its rich cultural heritage, will explore a wealth of interesting sites including Medieval fortresses, magnificent wineries and the autonomous territory of Transnistria with its Soviet architecture. Crossing into Ukraine we will visit Odessa, the ‘pearl of the Black Sea’, to admire the splendid architecture and explore the fascinating labyrinth of underground tunnels before returning to Moldova where our final days will be spent admiring the beautiful, untouched countryside and of course enjoying the local food and splendid wines of the region.

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Bessarabia - Your Accommodation

Bessarabia - Your Accommodation

We will stay in the best available hotels in the region.

View accommodation details

Itinerary

Day 1 - London Stansted to Chisinau, Moldova.

Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive this evening into Moldova’s capital, Chisinau and transfer to the Radisson Blu Leogrand Hotel, our base for the next five nights. Meet tonight for dinner in the hotel.

Day 2 - Chisinau & Capriana Monastery.

After breakfast in the hotel, we will enjoy a walking tour of Chisinau including the Central Cathedral, Parliament building and the excellent National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue on to the 15th century Capriana Monastery, the current residence of the Metropolitan Bishop and the base for many past rulers of Moldova including Stefan the Great. The monastery was closed during the Soviet rule but was reopened in the early 1990s following an extensive renovation, and is home to Moldova’s largest religious library. We return to Chisinau this evening and enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 3 - Cricova Winery, Orheiul Vechi & Curchi.

In recent years Moldova has become renowned for its wines and this morning we will visit one of the most popular cellars at Cricova, which produces some of the country’s best sparkling wine. We will learn about the production methods, which follow the French system very closely, before exploring the huge cellar network. Situated 80 metres underground and stretching out for a total of 120 kilometres, these cellars are used by both the vineyard and many wine aficionados as a personal vault. After our tasting, we continue our journey to Butuceni for lunch in a local restaurant with national Moldovan dishes on offer. This afternoon we will visit Orheiul Vechi, Moldova’s most important historical site. See the impressive 13th century Cave Monastery, carved into the limestone rock, the ruins of the Geto Dacian fortress and visit the Ethnographic Museum. We will return to Chisinau via one of the oldest Moldovan monasteries – Monastery Curchi, which was founded in 1773 and is known as one of the most beautiful pieces of Bessarabian architecture. Return to Chisinau for dinner this evening.

Day 4 - Clisova Noua & Soroca.

This morning we visit a handicraft museum in the village of Clisova Noua. Reflecting Moldavian way of life, customs and traditions, this small museum showcases samples of national objects of Moldavia’s people and culture. Afterwards, we head north towards Soroca near the Ukrainian border. Here, following a traditional lunch, we will visit the impressive Medieval fortress which played an important and key role in the defensive battle against the Turks and was one of the ‘stone belt of fortresses’ built to protect Moldova. Return to Chisinau for dinner this evening.

Day 5 - Gagauzia.

Located in southwest Moldova is the autonomous region of Gagauzia. This little visited territory is home to Gagauzians, a minority group of Turkic origin that affiliate with the Eastern Orthodox Church. We will visit the capital of the region, Comrat and, after a local lunch, tour the neighbouring village of Besalma and visit a local house to learn about life in the region. Return to Chisinau for dinner this evening.

Day 6 - Transnistria & Odessa, Ukraine.

Situated to the east of Chisinau, on the Ukrainian border, is the state of Transnistria. Officially part of Moldova, it is run as an autonomous territory and clings to its Soviet roots; statues of Lenin overlook the streets and Russian is the official language whilst the hammer and sickle flag flies from the buildings. We will start our day in Tighina seeing the impressive 15th century Ottoman fortress before transferring to Tiraspol, the capital of Transnistria. On a city tour we will see the monument of Lenin, outside of the Presidential Palace, the World War Two tanks, and the unique and typically Soviet architecture. We will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before travelling to Odessa, crossing the border into Ukraine, and arriving in the late afternoon at the Alexandrovsky Hotel, our base for the next two nights. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant this evening.

Day 7 - Odessa.

Founded by Catherine the Great in 1794, following the Russian victory over the Turks, Odessa today is a popular resort. On our tour we will see the famous Primorsky Boulevard and the Potemkin Steps which rise to a height of almost 500 feet from the sea to the upper town. Also, see the acoustically perfect Opera House which is one of the most impressive buildings in Europe. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant and this afternoon visit the Archaeological Museum. Established in 1875 it was the first museum of its kind in the former Russian Empire, housing jewellery and coins from early Black Sea civilisations. Following an early dinner, attend a ballet or music performance at the Odessa National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet (subject to schedules and availability).

Day 8 - Odessa, Purcari & Chisinau, Moldova.

Today we visit the fascinating Odessa Catacombs. The sandstone on which Odessa stands is riddled with approximately 1000 kilometres of tunnels, quarried out for building in the 19th century. They have been used by smugglers, revolutionaries and World War Two partisans. Our morning tour includes a visit to one of the network of tunnels in Nerubayske village on the north-west edge of Odessa, which sheltered a group of partisans during World War Two and now has been turned into the Museum of Partisan Glory, also known as Catacombs. Leaving Ukraine, we return to Chisinau and en-route visit the Purcari Winery where we can appreciate the local wines. Here, a unique micro-climate, the location of the vineyards on the south-western and southeastern slopes, proximity to the Black sea and closeness to the Nistru River provides ideal conditions for the creation of high quality wines. Enjoy a tour of the cellars, the oldest in Moldova and unchanged since 1827, and a tasting before lunch at the winery. After our visit we continue our journey back to Chisinau where we will check in to the Radisson Blu Leogrand Hotel for a two night stay. Enjoy dinner at the hotel this evening.

Day 9 - Manus Bei & Milestii Mici Winery.

After breakfast we journey to The Manuc Bei estate and manor house which is located in Hincesti. Manuc Bei (1769-1817) was a wealthy merchant, diplomat, and inn-keeper during the period of the Ottoman Empire. In 1812 he played a major role in negotiating the signing of the Treaty of Bucharest between the Russian and Ottoman empires. Towards the end of his life, he retired to his estate of Hincesti where his son later built the manor house which was designed by famed architect Alexander Bernardazzi in the style of a French chateau. It is now a museum with more than 20,000 artefacts, which we will explore with our guide. After our visit we continue to Milestii Mici Winery which is renowned as having the largest cellar in the world with nearly 200 kilometres of caves situated 80 metres underground. There are now over one million bottles stored here and we will explore the cellars and have a tasting before enjoying lunch at the vineyard. Return to the hotel this afternoon and enjoy some free time before meeting for our farewell dinner this evening in a local restaurant.

Day 10 - Chisinau to London Stansted.

After breakfast we will check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for our return scheduled flight to London Stansted.

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
6 to 15 September 2018
Category Price
Twin £2495
Single £2795
5 to 14 September 2019
Category Price
Twin £2575
Single £2925

Tour Reference Code: LABESSARABIA

PRICE INCLUDES: Economy class scheduled air travel • Seven nights hotel accommodation in Chisinau and two nights hotel accommodation in Odessa as described (or similar) on a bed and breakfast basis • Lunch and dinner daily • Excursions • English speaking local guide • Noble Caledonia Tour Manager • Gratuities • Transfers.

Not Included: Travel insurance.

Bessarabia - Your Accommodation

We will stay in the best available hotels in the region.

 
  • Radisson Blu Leogrand Hotel, Chisinau
    Radisson Blu Leogrand Hotel, Chisinau
  • Radisson Blu Leogrand Hotel, Chisinau
    Radisson Blu Leogrand Hotel, Chisinau
  • Radisson Blu Leogrand Hotel, Chisinau
    Radisson Blu Leogrand Hotel, Chisinau
  • Radisson Blu Leogrand Hotel, Chisinau

    Located next to Central Park and close to all major government buildings, the hotel's home in Chisinau, Moldova offers close proximity to a variety of nearby attractions such as shopping malls, theatres and business centres. The recently renovated pedestrian street and the Arch of Triumph are just a 5-minute walk away. Enjoy modern accommodation and true 5-star hotelier hospitality right in the heart of Moldova’s capital.

    Hotel Rooms

    The hotel has 143 rooms and suites with stylish décor to enjoy a restful night’s sleep. The 5-star hotel provides elegant interiors and thoughtful amenities like individual climate control, coffee and tea provisions, international television stations and fully equipped bathrooms. Stay connected with Free high-speed, wireless Internet, and maintain work obligations at the spacious work desk. The warm design of the rooms marries a classic style with wood accents and modern touches. Connecting rooms are available, and smoking preferences are taken into consideration.

    Dining

    The contemporary restaurants at this hotel serve a variety of cuisines and international favourites in environments ranging from formal dining in the Japanese restaurant to a relaxed setting in the pub.

    Start your day with the breakfast buffet at the Ambassador Restaurant. Delicious breakfast items include cereals, fruits, nuts and seeds, yogurt, fish, meats, vegetables, jams, spreads, baked goods and drinks.

    Enjoy casual American cuisine and beautiful views at the New York Restaurant. The American casual menu includes organic and healthy options, dry-aged steaks and meat, Mexican specialties, salads, burgers, pastas and desserts. 

    Our contemporary Japanese eatery inspires and impresses guests with exclusive Asian cuisine. After a delicious meal, relax at the 24-hour Aptys Pub over a drink with friends. 

    Services

    The Radisson Blu pays attention to the details and provides an extensive list of services. Utilize the on-site beauty salon for a fresh haircut, or pamper yourself at the SPA and Jacuzzi. Free and valet parking is convenient, free high-speed, wireless Internet access is available throughout the hotel and international travellers appreciate the convenience of outlet adapters.

    • 24-hour room service 
    • Airport transfer and transportation
    • Beauty salon
    • Business center
    • City tours
    • Coffee shop
    • Computer rental
    • Concierge desk
    • Copy service
    • Courtesy car 
    • Fitness center
    • Free parking
    • Gift shop 
    • Laundry and dry cleaning services
    • Medical information
    • Outlet adapters
    • Valet parking 
    • Wake-up service
    • Wellness center, SPA and Jacuzzi
    • Wine tours
  • Alexandrovsky Hotel, Odessa

    The Alexandrovskiy Hotel is a 6-storey building located in the heart of Odessa, close to Deribasovskaya Street, City Garden, Cathedral Square, Primorsky Boulevard with Potemkin Stairway and the Opera House.

    All rooms are equipped with air conditioning, LCD satellite television, free Wi-Fi Internet, telephone, mini-safe, minibar, bathrobes and slippers, bathroom with bathtub or shower, a set of mini cosmetics.

     

  • View all tours
  • Radisson Blu Leogrand Hotel, Chisinau

    Located next to Central Park and close to all major government buildings, the hotel's home in Chisinau, Moldova offers close proximity to a variety of nearby attractions such as shopping malls, theatres and business centres. The recently renovated pedestrian street and the Arch of Triumph are just a 5-minute walk away. Enjoy modern accommodation and true 5-star hotelier hospitality right in the heart of Moldova’s capital.

    Hotel Rooms

    The hotel has 143 rooms and suites with stylish décor to enjoy a restful night’s sleep. The 5-star hotel provides elegant interiors and thoughtful amenities like individual climate control, coffee and tea provisions, international television stations and fully equipped bathrooms. Stay connected with Free high-speed, wireless Internet, and maintain work obligations at the spacious work desk. The warm design of the rooms marries a classic style with wood accents and modern touches. Connecting rooms are available, and smoking preferences are taken into consideration.

    Dining

    The contemporary restaurants at this hotel serve a variety of cuisines and international favourites in environments ranging from formal dining in the Japanese restaurant to a relaxed setting in the pub.

    Start your day with the breakfast buffet at the Ambassador Restaurant. Delicious breakfast items include cereals, fruits, nuts and seeds, yogurt, fish, meats, vegetables, jams, spreads, baked goods and drinks.

    Enjoy casual American cuisine and beautiful views at the New York Restaurant. The American casual menu includes organic and healthy options, dry-aged steaks and meat, Mexican specialties, salads, burgers, pastas and desserts. 

    Our contemporary Japanese eatery inspires and impresses guests with exclusive Asian cuisine. After a delicious meal, relax at the 24-hour Aptys Pub over a drink with friends. 

    Services

    The Radisson Blu pays attention to the details and provides an extensive list of services. Utilize the on-site beauty salon for a fresh haircut, or pamper yourself at the SPA and Jacuzzi. Free and valet parking is convenient, free high-speed, wireless Internet access is available throughout the hotel and international travellers appreciate the convenience of outlet adapters.

    • 24-hour room service 
    • Airport transfer and transportation
    • Beauty salon
    • Business center
    • City tours
    • Coffee shop
    • Computer rental
    • Concierge desk
    • Copy service
    • Courtesy car 
    • Fitness center
    • Free parking
    • Gift shop 
    • Laundry and dry cleaning services
    • Medical information
    • Outlet adapters
    • Valet parking 
    • Wake-up service
    • Wellness center, SPA and Jacuzzi
    • Wine tours
  • Alexandrovsky Hotel, Odessa

    The Alexandrovskiy Hotel is a 6-storey building located in the heart of Odessa, close to Deribasovskaya Street, City Garden, Cathedral Square, Primorsky Boulevard with Potemkin Stairway and the Opera House.

    All rooms are equipped with air conditioning, LCD satellite television, free Wi-Fi Internet, telephone, mini-safe, minibar, bathrobes and slippers, bathroom with bathtub or shower, a set of mini cosmetics.

     

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