A practical foreign exchange and currency guide on sending money and travel to Moldova
As one of Europe’s least visited countries, Moldova retains a certain off-the-beaten-track charm. But even that’s changing as budget flights from London and other European cities make the lively capital, Chişinău, a popular weekend break. Tree-lined Chisinau is one of Eastern Europe’s wildest party capitals where you’ll never be far from a glass of excellent Moldovan wine. East of Chisinau is the self-declared republic of Transnistria, a flashback to Soviet-style communism, which has its own currency, police force, army and independence day.
Moldova is proceeding slowly to a cashless society, however some sectors are still only accepting cash payments.You can expect to be able to pay with your credit or debit card in places like malls, large stores, restaurants, some bars.ATM’s are spread across the city of Chisinau but we don’t recommend relying on extracting your cash from them. The banks seem to charge large commissions at ATM’s when extracting the money from abroad. There are no ATMs to be found outside the capital city. Cash is king in Moldova and you can easily change dollars or Euro, pounds not so easily. You can also change Romanian Lei and Ukraine Hyenda a lot of places. US dollars are accepted without conversion by quite a lot of businesses even taxis. Also all along Stephan cel Mare (main street) there are money changers exhibiting their rates.
Inside Chisinau trolleybus rides or taxis are inexpensive. Try to make a habit of calling taxis rather than waiting at official stands if possible as it’s much cheaper. Travelling outside Chisinau is never a problem as plenty of minibuses ferry travellers to just about any Moldovan border in a few hours. Orheiul Vechi can be reached by public transport but it’s better to organise a guide to interpret. Trains in Moldova serve international destinations such as Bucharest, St Petersburg and Moscow.
Few Moldovans speak English so a few words of Romanian or Russian will go a long way. Moldova has a moderate continental climate; summertime temperatures have been known to soar to mid-30°C in recent years and can sink as low as a chilly -10°C in winter. The annual Wine Festival in early October is one of the country’s calendar highlights. Accommodation is limited in Moldova. Chisinau has a decent range of hotels but outside the city hotels tend to be soviet-style and gloomy. You’ll need your passport to check in. There are no hostels in Moldova. Camping sites are few and far between but wild camping is generally OK. Rural and city homestays in Moldova are on the rise.
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend Moldovan leu.
24 Nov 2021
09 Sep 2021
08 Dec 2020
09 Dec 2016
11 Dec 2011
13 Dec 2001