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Pretty much all roads in Moldova lead to its wine-and-food loving capital. While the city’s origins date back six centuries to 1420, much of Chişinău was levelled in WWII and a tragic earthquake that struck in 1940. The Soviets rebuilt it into what you see today: grandiose Stalinist architecture mixed with gloriously brutal modernism from the later Soviet period and a smattering of pre-WWII edifices.

Chişinău is a city of parks where retirees play chess in the shade of old-growth trees, of street festivals, and of sidewalk cafes where you can have a beverage and watch the world go by. A dozen superb wineries are within a 90-minute drive of Chişinău, and the super-central location puts the entire country within a day trip. Throw in a hip and happening nightlife, and Chisinau ticks off all the boxes for an effective weekend break.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Chişinău.