Costs for traveling in Moldova: what do you pay for a glass of wine & a bed?
You’re gonna travel to Moldova, the least visited country in Europe. But do you have any idea how much your budget for Moldova should be? Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe, so for most basic needs like groceries and public transportation you don’t pay much. But if you wanna travel to the countryside and stay in guesthouses it can be more expensive, especially if you travel by yourself. There are not a lot of accommodations outside of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. Also some wine tours can be expensive, so if you join these the costs will be much higher as well.
If you travel with your partner of a friend it’s a cheap destination, even if you travel outside of Chisinau. For solo travellers it is more expensive because you have to pay for a rental car, gas and private rooms all by yourself. But even with those costs Moldova is really affordable. In this article I will share some of the costs during my trip in Moldova. Keep in mind the prices can always change in the future.
But first: how do you actually pay in Moldova?
Moldova is situated in Europe, but you can’t pay here with euros. It can be useful to have some emergency cash in euros, because in the worst cases they will probably take your money. But in almost all places you can’t pay with it. In Moldova they pay with Moldovan lei, or MDL. The plural of leu is lei. €1 euro was more or less 19,4 lei (October 2019).
Make sure you always have enough cash with you when you’re traveling in Moldova! In the capital Chisinau you can pay in most shops and restaurants with a debit card or credit card. Also there are many ATM’s where you can collect some cash money. With my regular Dutch debit card I pay a lot for withdrawing money, so I prefer to you my Visa prepaid creditcard of N26 for that.
Outside of the capital there are barely any ATM’s or banks where you can get some cash. Some of the cities where I saw them are Orhei and Chiscareni. Also it’s not really possible to pay by card in the local guesthouses and restaurants on the countryside. So if you have bad luck you have to drive at least 50 kilometers further to find an ATM.
Money in Transnistria
If you’re traveling to Transnistria, a Moldovan region that declared itself independent, you need to exchange money as well. They use Transnistrian rubles in Transnistria. You can’t withdraw money in Transnistria, but you can exchange your Moldovan lei, dollars or euros for Transnistrian rubles at an exchange office. Most you will find in the capital Tiraspol. €1 euro is more or less 15 Transnistrian rubles.
Exchange your Moldovan lei before you leave!
Outside of Moldova it’s quite hard to exchange your Moldovan lei for other money, like euros or dollars. Moldovan money is not really popular, so most exchange offices don’t wanna have it. With some luck you can exchange money in Bucharest in Romania (I found one at Piata Unirii), but most offices denied my exchange. So exchange your Moldovan money before you leave in Chisinau, at the airport or at the border control (if you go by bus).
Costs in Moldova
1. Accommodation in Moldova
Hostel in the capital Chisinau: 120 – 150 lei (€6 – 8 euros)
Private room for 2 persons in a guesthouse, breakfast included: 600 lei (€30 euros)
Night train from Bucharest (Romania) to Chisinau: €30 euro (136 Romanian lei)
2. Costs for food and drinks in Moldova
Dinner in a restaurant in Chisinau: 100 – 200 lei (€5-10 euros)
Dinner in a guesthouse on the countryside: 100 lei (€5 euros)
Americano in a coffee place: 25 – 35 lei (€1,50 euros)
Local beer, 500 ml: 20 lei (€1 euro)
3. Moving around in Moldova: public transport & more
Small rental car: 450 lei per day (€23 euros)
Big or luxury rental car: 700 lei per day (€35 euros)
Gasoline: 19 lei per liter (€1 euro)
Bus ride of 1,5 hours from Chisinau to Tiraspol: 37 lei (€2 euros)
Taxi ride from cathedral to train station at night: 70 lei (€3,5 euros)
Taxi ride from Chisinau to ASCONI Winery for 30-40 minutes: 200 lei (€10 euros)
Train trip from Chisinau to Odessa (Ukraine) for 3,5 hours: 160 lei (€8,50 euros)
4. Other costs in Moldova: museums, sights, souvenirs and more
Visa: a visa is not necessary for a lot of travelers. For example European Union citizens, Australians, Americans and most citizens in South America do not have to arrange a visa beforehand. You get a stamp in your passport at arrival and you can stay 90 days within a period of 180 days in Moldova for free.
Monasteries: free to visit
Also read: the 8 most beautiful monasteries in Moldova
Wine tour at Cricova, without a tasting: 350 lei (€17 euros)
Wine tour at ASCONI, with a tasting: 200 lei (€10 euros)
Hopefully this blog helped to check how much money you need for your trip to Moldova. Like I said before: it’s a pretty cheap country, but some things can make it expensive. Do you have more questions about Moldova or budgets? Let me know in the comments!