Transnistria 30th National Day and Gagauzia Tour
This tour coincides with not only the Transnistrian National Day celebrations, but the only Soviet-style military parade left in Europe! Officially known the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), and often referred to as the last of the Soviet Union – Transnistria is one of the four unrecognized countries and frozen conflict zones that litter the regions of the old Soviet Empire. This year will be especially big, as it is the 30th anniversary of the foundation of Transnitria!
The trip begins in the wonderful city of Bucharest which is serviced by a number of low cost airlines. During the day, we will see Ceausescu’s grave and palace before jumping on the scenic train journey to Chisinau, Moldova: the least visited country in Europe. After a one day city tour and a night in a Soviet style hotel, we head for the highlight of the trip, Transnistria, Tiraspol and a big old-fashioned military parade!
After two nights in Tiraspol, we embark on another adventure by visiting the least visited part of the least visited country in Europe: the Republic of Gagauzia, another region of Moldova previously at war with the central authorities and home to a local Turkic people with a very pro-Russian agenda.
We end the trip by heading back to Chisinau and jumping on the train back to Bucharest together — or it can be combo’d as below!
This tour is a standalone section of a much longer tour, the other parts of which can be seen below:
- Revolutionary Russia Tour
- South Ossetia National Day Tour
- War-Torn Caucasus: Chechnya/Stalingrad Tour
Interested in the whole shebang? Then sign up for our Transnistria, Russia, South Ossetia, Chechnya and Stalingrad mega-combo!
Saturday 29th August – Bucharest
- Guests arrive at own leisure and transfer to our centrally located hostel near the gara de nord area of Bucharest
- Meet at 6pm and head out for a group dinner at Caru Cu Bere in the old town of Bucharest.
- Overnight at our hostel.
Sunday 30th August – Bucharest
- For those so inclined we can arrange a tour of the People’s Palace, otherwise we will be arranging a city tour of Bucharest.
- We go and see the big fella with a group trip to the grave of former President of the Republic, Mr Ceausescu.
- Free afternoon for people to explore Bucharest.
- At night, we board the 19.35 train to Chisinau. This is a very nice train journey which includes our train being lifted whilst the wheels are changed, and is usually quite empty meaning our 4 berth cabins will be to ourselves.
- Dinner and drinks on the train.
- Overnight on the train
Monday 31st August – Chisinau
- 55 arrival with a five minute walk to our hotel, one of YPT’s favourites: the Hotel Cosmos! If you like weird communist hotels with a nice nightlife (and a decent breakfast) this is your place!
- We give you some time for a bit of rest and shower before doing a city tour of Kishinev.
- Alternatively, we can arrange a tour to the Craoiva Winery – the biggest in Europe. Surcharge for this is 35 Euro.
- City tour to include all major sites, all the old communist buildings, a great market to buy Soviet Kitsch, the Eternal Flame and the Monument to the War with Transnistria.
- In the evening, we head out for beers and food at La Plaicenta the most famous restaurant for traditional Moldovan food.
- Overnight at hotel.
Tuesday 1st September – Tiraspol
- We board the 07.20 train from Chisinau to Tiraspol, which is still the best and safest way to get into the country.
- On arrival, we check into Aist Hotel before going for our first Soviet experience of the day: registering ourselves! Aist Hotel is a VERY Soviet experience. If guests prefer to upgrade this hotel this can arranged for a small surcharge.
- City tour of Tiraspol.
- Pobedi Park (across the street from the hostel). Chance to ride the 50′s style amusement park.
- Walk down October 25th Street (the main drag) which has a large billboard of former President Smirnoff (real name) standing with the Presidents of two other Soviet breakaway Republics of South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
- October 25th St. to City Hall (government). It has a large bust of Lenin for great photos.
- Russian Orthodox Church of Tiraspol. Newly renovated with golden domes. Guests can buy inexpensive Russian Icons here. Women must wear a scarf on their head and men must take their hats off.
- Statue of Russian General Suvorov.
- The Eternal Flame Independence War Memorial.
- Parliament, housing the biggest statue of Lenin outside Russia.
- We walk to the river park. There is a walking bridge here for great panoramic photos of the river and downtown Tiraspol.
- Pobedi Park. There is a famous 24 hour beer and vodka stall here. A great place for people-watching.
- Overnight at Hotel Aist.
Wednesday 2nd September – Tiraspol
- We get up early and go to the center for a Russian Party Style Breakfast! There will be many outdoor Shashlick stands on October Street selling very cheap Russian BBQ, salads and vodka! Take your pick of a good area and sit at the many tables lining the road.
- After our Russian Party Breakfast, we walk down October Street viewing all the Soviet attractions, including live music and dancing.
- We then stop at 7 Fridays. The most popular Western Style Cafe in Tiraspol. There is a menu from around the world and cheap Russian beer and vodka. We take a private table and wait until the start of the parade.
- When the parade is about to start we go outside and walk to the center for the best view of the Soviet Style Army Parade! Bring your cameras! There will be no western journalists here, so your photos and videos will be priceless. We will also witness the speeches of the Transinistria President and Russian Diplomats from Moscow. *Maybe even Putin?*
- After the parade and speeches, we go back to the party area, where the parties continue all day and well into the night.
- After the fireworks, we go to a local bar or disco to continue the party well into the night.
- Overnight in town.
Thursday 3rd September – Comrat
- Despite the previous night’s festivities, we get up fairly early for the ride to Comrat the capital city of the Gagauzian Republic, who as opposed to Transnistria, made peace with the central authorities.
- After the 3 hour journey on dirt roads, we arrive in Comrat and transfer to Comrat Hotel.
- We now hit the tour circuit hard by going to look at an abandoned Soviet Football Stadium, the city centre, busts of Lenin and by far a highlight of the trip: the Soviet Tank Park!
- Comrat is the most famous wine region in Moldova (which is famous for its wine) so we visit a winery for dinner and drinks
- End the evening in a farmhouse partying Gagauzia style!
- Overnight in Comrat.
Friday 4th September – Chisinau
- Free morning to relax, walk around or visit another winery before we head back to Chisinau via the one and a half hour bus ride.
- We board the 16.35 train back to Bucharest, again with our own cabins, and again with dinner and drinks on board, only this time accompanied by a decent amount of our purchased wine.
- Overnight on the train.
Saturday 5th September – Bucharest
- 06.15 arrival in Bucharest and end of tour. For those with late flights we can arrange a place for you to leave your bags and an interesting communist tour of Bucharest.
- End of tour with YPT able to arrange transportation, accommodation and tours to your next adventure!
- Or you could join us on our Russian Revolutionary and South Ossetia Tour!
- Watch one of the most traditional Soviet style national celebrations in the world, the military parade, speeches and fireworks for Transnistria National Day
- Visit the Gagauzian republic, another unrecognized country but one that made peace with the central authorities, to check out more Soviet history and explore the Soviet Tank Park!
- Spend an afternoon at the Craoiva Winery in Chisinau, the biggest in Europe!
Inclusions and Exclusions
Tour price inclusion:
- Accommodation in mentioned hotel on twin sharing basis
- All transport
- Local guides
- Entrance fees for all mentioned monuments
Tour price exclusion:
- International air tickets
- Single supplement (not available on train, €150)
- Visa if needed (YPT can provide support)
- All meals
- Any personal expenses & services not included in the above
- External costs as mentioned in itinerary