Wine, culture, food, religion, wine… I’ll be honest. It was wine that brought us to Moldova, and wine that kept us keen. Every year, during the first weekend of October, this eastern European country hosts a wine festival to promote its (very tasty) wine.

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This year, protests forced a change in proceedings, and instead of setting up stalls in the main square, the organisers transported visitors to the wineries themselves, for tours, tastings, and special events.

We based ourselves in the capital city of Chișinău, and did day trips to small towns and wineries throughout the country. While wine logically held pride of place, we also enjoyed our visits to the breakaway republic of Transnistria and the northern town of Soroca, famous for its fortress.

Moldova once formed part of the USSR, and declared independence on its dissolution in 1991. Since then, it has been largely unnoticed by the rest of the world, but that’s starting to change. It signed an Association Agreement with the European Union in 2014 (causing problems with Russia) and is rapidly opening up. Budget flights even fly there now — so you have no excuse not to head there next October to take part in the wine festival.

In the meantime, enjoy these Moldova Instagram photos. While you check them out, take a listen to our Moldova podcast: hit play below or find episode 309 in iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud:

Chișinău

Delicious and beautiful fruit in the market of Chisinau.

A photo posted by Craig and Linda (@indietravel) on

Balloons at Chisinau city day celebrations yesterday. Happy birthday, Chisinau!

A photo posted by Craig and Linda (@indietravel) on

Wine

Old wine vats and flowers at Asconi Winery, Moldova.

A photo posted by Craig and Linda (@indietravel) on

Cheers from Moldova! This is young wine (must) similar to sturm in Austria and Germany.

A photo posted by Craig and Linda (@indietravel) on

Soroca

Transnistria

Orheiul Vechi

A goat at the Orheiul Vechi monastery in Moldova.

A photo posted by Craig and Linda (@indietravel) on

Another angle of the monastery at Orheiul Vechi, Moldova… Such a beautiful place.

A photo posted by Craig and Linda (@indietravel) on

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