Despite being a season less visited, winter has it’s own charm and perks. Overall the moldovan winters are somewhat unpredictable now showcasing varieties of warmer days with degrees above zero and others lower temperates under zero, with or without snow, sometimes even heavy one. The lowest temperature that can reach is about -25 degrees Celcius, but this usually lasts for about a week or maximum two throughout the whole of winter. Due to such conditions we ask that if you’re planning to visit Moldova in winter, please keep the following things in mind:
- dress up warm (hat, gloves, scarf, winter jacket, non slippery + water resistant shoes)
- icy roads – in the city or driving across the country
- some areas are harder to reach or visit due to snow and ice (hiking areas specifically) and some amnieties are closed throughout winter, for example Soroca fortress.
- due to unforseen weather some tours, events, roads can be closed so allow space for flexibility and changes
Now what about happens in Moldova during winter? What things can you see, do and how does it look? Here are some examples to keep in mind when you’re planning your journey here:
Christmas Market in Chișinău takes places every year between the 15th of December until the 15th of January. The whole winter decorations are spread throughout 3 areas of the city centre: main Christmas tree in front of the government building, a little family fair in front of the Opera & ballet Theatre and the Christmas Market on the 31st august 1989 street.
You will find a variety of activities to occupy your time here. From merry-go-round to booths which traditional Moldovan pies and food, snacks and sweets, traditional goods made from leather and wool, plenty of balloons and toys for kids and even mulled wine (plenty of wine!) for the adults. On weekends there is live music at the main stage which offers a programme of folk winter songs and also modern music. Last but not least, plenty of decorations and space for taking pictures and an ice rink for those that wish to skate.
As about the rest of the country, well, just like the capital they offer their own entertainment. The bigger cities will have decorations and events going on.
Visiting villages around Christmas celebrations is quite interesting because you can experience our winter traditions. Kids go around houses carolling, then around New Years with the “Sorcova” and “Plugușorul” to bless who they visit. They all wear specific clothing or traditional elements when doing this. If you’re staying overnight in some of the villages you can experience the “soba”, our traditional heating system which warms up not just the wall and the stove, but it’s also a bed on which you can have the sweetest sleep. Daytime if the weather is nice you can join the children to ride the sledges or if available have a ride with a horse sledge.
The holiday season ends around the 14th of January and the country gets back to it’s usual routine, including the children as they finish their winter holidays. The rest of January tends to be more quiet, but then comes February which brings 2 holidays celebrating love: Valentine’s Day and Dragobete – traditional romanian Valentine’s day celebrated on 24th of February. Most restaurants, bars, clubs and even wineries offer various offers, concerts and events to celebrate these, so if you’re visiting around this time, you will find something to do. Also as spring is approaching, you will start seeing loads of white and red threads being sold across the cities, “Mărtişor” a traditional symbol that is given from 1st of march to celebrate the coming of spring.
So despite sounding like winter may complicate your travel and prevent you from visiting or doing certain things, it offers also an alternative to those – experience winter traditions and life of the region. And then come back during warmer season to see a complete different life!