Feature: Off the Beaten Track

Moldova has several playgrounds for lovers of the great outdoors. The bird-laden Prutul de Jos (Lower Prut) Biosphere Reserve in the country's extreme southwest corner was recognized as a Unesco site in 2018. You can base yourself near the reserve at Costel Hostel in the village of Roşu, near Cahul, and spend a few days enjoying genuine countryside living. Owner Constantin is a permaculture maverick who cooks traditional meals with ingredients sourced from his bountiful garden. His relatives in Slobozia Mare, about 40km south of Roşu, lead informal row-boat tours on the reserve's Lake Beleu.

Other outdoorsy highlights around the country include multiday kayaking and camping expeditions on the Dniestr River in the northern Soroca District; and the Plaiul Fagului (Land of Beeches) Natural Scientific Reserve, where you can bike through beech forests or climb Moldova's highest peak (430m). Outdoor shop X-Style sometimes has open trips going to these places, or tour companies like Tatra-Bis can set them up.