The Lower Dniestr National Park
Moldova has one (almost) national park: the Lower Dniestr National Park (Parcul National Nistrul Inferior), administered by the nonprofit environmental organisation Biotica.
Just so there’s no confusion, this place still isn’t officially open. When I last spoke to the people at Biotica, they indicated their efforts at pushing park plans forward had been at a stand-still for years, due to the government reneging on promises of support. Hence there is no tourism infrastructure in place. But hey, where in Moldova do they have a decent tourism infrastructure anyway? That said, rural homestays already exist in the area and you can visit private vineyards and village artisans to see them at work making wicker baskets or furniture. Organize excursions may be possible soon. So if you’ve got a hankering to see a nascent national park, by all means get down there. Eventually, canoeing, hiking, wine tasting and camping will all possible in this lovely area, shimmering with possibility.
One guesthouse that’s been set up to accommodate tourists is Mester Faur (+373 (0) 242 35 259; address Str Stefan cel Mare 100) in the village of Cioburciu. The guesthouse is run by Pavel Taranu, who promises a splendid time in the remote Moldovan countryside, with boat tours, visits to local village enterprises, wine tasting and relaxation galore. Note: no English is spoken here.
The proposed park will cover over 50,000 hectares of land southeast of Chisinau, hugging the Dniestr River southward to the border of Ukraine. In addition to this, there are five scientific reserves (totalling 19,378 hectares) and 30 protected natural sites (covering 22,278 hectares). Additionally, there is the Codru Reserve, Moldova’s oldest and most frequently visited, with 924 plant species, 138 kinds of birds and 45 mammals. Biotica can provide all information about trips to these sites.