Firmly wedged between Romania and Ukraine, tiny Moldova can rightly lay claim to being one of Europe’s least spoiled destinations. Since author Tony Hawks famously played the entire Moldovan international football team at tennis for a bet, the country has emerged to become one of Europe’s most engaging and intriguing travel destinations. Still a place for the purist, Moldova’s rolling landscapes are home to some of the most productive vineyards in the world and beneath its fertile hills you can find, quite literally, miles of underground wine cellars that are amongst the largest anywhere in Europe.
Well and truly less trodden, the roads through Moldova take you across a land still boasting the unique charms of a more easygoing existence, where the hospitality is infectious and the food is honest and rich. And then of course there is the wine. How many other countries have a national holiday to celebrate their favourite tipple? Steeped in Romanian tradition and with a history that encompasses Turkish and Russian expansionism, the country is richly blessed with ancient fortresses and a rich and varied cultural diversity. And a short trip across the Dniester River brings you to the self-declared republic of Transnistria, without doubt one of the oddest spots anywhere on the European mainland.