Travel guide to Transnistria | Tiraspol | Pridnestrovie | sunflower field in Transnistria

Umm? Pridnestrovie?? Transnistria?? You never heard of it? Don’t worry. 90% of the people I meet in my travels have never heard of it, too. Now you will become the part of the “chosen ones” and will discover what you can expect from going to this place.

If you fancy something alternative, here you are. It’s one of the destinations that is entirely “Off the beaten track” which only a few people would ever consider visiting. Be one of them.


What is Pridnestrovie / Transnistria and where is it?

Transnistria (Please, don’t confuse it with Transylvania! There are no Draculas over there) got its name from River Dniestr (or Nistru). It is located on the bank of this river.  Thus, “Trans-Nistru” means “a land over the river Nistru”. 


Transnistria is the name of this place in English. In Russian it is called "Приднестровье" - Pridnestrovie, or oficially "Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic". 

This land, situated between Ukraine and Moldova, is a self-proclaimed country.


According to the United Nations, it’s just a region of the Republic of Moldova, - no any country-member state of the United Nations recognized it so far.  


But de facto, since 1992 it is a state with all its attributions such as Constitution, President, government, army, borders, custom authorities, currency and banks.



(I will not write here about the history and politics of this region, as it’s not my domain, and I leave it to the politicians and historians.


But please google about the different views on Pridnestrovian/Transnistrian past, present and future to have an idea).



Transnistria map | travel to Transnistria




In the cultural context, Pridnestrovie / Transnistria is a fusion of Moldovan, Russian and Ukrainian cultures.


It is manifested in the local holidays, celebrations, customs and local cuisine.


For example, Pridnestrovians / Transnistrians celebrate Maslenitsa (the Butter Week during which people bake bliny, thin pancakes, play games, and burn a straw “Lady Maslenitsa” as a symbol of a leaving winter), which is a common religious and folk holiday for the Eastern Slavs.


But they also celebrate Mărțișor, a celebration at the beginning of spring, common for Moldova, Romania, and Bulgaria, when people make red and white string with hanging tassel and offer it to their friends and family on the 1st day of March.



Traditions and celebrations in Transnistria | Culture in Transnistria
Martisor, Lady Maslenitsa and Bliny - intercultural spring celebration in Transnistria









So what are the reasons to travel to Pridnestrovie / Transnistria?




1 | Well, the first one is to put your foot on the ground of the country that "doesn’t exist" ON THE WORLD MAP. It’s a very valid reason :)

Transnistria symbol, travel to Transnistria


Just for the sake of this, it’s worth visiting. Believe me, it’s a special feeling: the mix of the excitement to experience something unusual with the anticipation of something risky and surreal.





2 | Travel back in time

Lenin Tiraspol Dom Sovetov travel to Transnistria tour guide


Generally, if you walk around the capital of Pridnestrovie / Transnistria, Tiraspol, the feeling of the Soviet era is present at the every step.


One of its main attributes is money, a Pridnestrovian / Transnistrian ruble.


On the coins you will see the Soviet coat of arms with accompanying symbols: hammer, sickle and star. Other symbol of Pridnestrovie / Transnisria with the USSR heritage is it's flag which is an exact copy of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic flag dating from 1952.


Next, the monuments of the leader of the world proletariat, Lenin, stand on the main squares in towns and you can find the slogans and the mosaic in the spirit of the USSR inside and outside of many buildings.


Some streets in Pridnestrovie / Transnistria are named after revolutionary socialists such as Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin and Karl Liebknecht.


To further deepen your experience of traveling back in time, you can take a ride on the old soviet trolleybus and spend a night at the “Aist” hotel, which still keeps archaic soviet furniture in the rooms.



3 | Pay in shops with plastic money

Plastic money Transnistria, Tiraspol


It may sound like a joke, but it’s not!


To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the national currency in 2014, the Pridnestrovian / Transnistrian Bank issued coins in denominations of 1, 3, 5 and 10 rubles made of composite.


This type of plastic money is not produced anywhere else in the world.


Coins have different geometric shapes and colors.


You can pay with plastic money in any shop in Pridnestrovie / Transnistria.





4 | Drink Kvass from a giant jerrycan

Drink Kvas in Transnistria
Kvass is a traditional drink and it was invented by the Slavs in the last millennium


Kvass… I am sure you will like it! It’s so refreshing, especially if you drink it on a hot summer day.


Kvass is a healthy and tasty fermented drink made from black bread. It is a non-alcoholic beverage as the alcohol content from fermentation is typically around 0.5 %. 


In Soviet times, kvass was sold on the streets in giant jerrycans and you still can find it in Pridnestrovie / Transnistria.




5| Taste Mamaliga, Okroshka and ....

Food in Transnistria
Mamaliga, shashlik, zarkoe (roast meat) and okroshka


If you like discovering new dishes when you travel, you will definitely find something yummy in Pridnestrovie / Transnistria.


The specificity of cuisine in this region is that, thanks to the multi-nationality of its population, it’s a fusion of Moldovan, Ukrainian and Russian dishes with different variations of recipes.


My favorites are mamaliga, borscht and okroshka. I recommend you eat at the village-styled Kumanek restaurant, Tiraspol, Sverdlov street, 37.






6 | Shop for ecologically-produced Black caviar

Black caviar in Transnistria, travel to Transnistria


If you are an animal welfare defender, please skip this part.

For others, whose ethics doesn’t prohibit eating caviar, there is something for you.


You can find in Pridnestrovie / Transnistria not only the remains from the past, but also modern shops and production sites like one of the world´s largest sturgeon recirculation facility, Aquatir.


This farm breeds fishes and produces black caviar with the innovative “no-kill” method: the caviar is extracted without killing the fish.


You can buy the caviar in the shops in Tiraspol at the producer’s price which is many times lower before it’s exported abroad.





7| Find out why there is a Turkish fortress in Pridnestrovie / Transnistria

Bendery fortress in Transnistria. tour guide in Transnistria


Bender Fortress, located in the city of Bendery, attracts history buffs from all over the globe.


It was founded by the Turks in the XVI century, but restored and opened to the public only several years ago.


Built as a bastion, the fortress served as a protective structure for the troops of the Turkish Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, who captured at that time Moldavian Principality.


Many have tried to recapture the fortress, but it was possible only in 1770 by General Panin during the Russian-Turkish war. 


You will learn more about the colorful history of this fortress and the region during your visit of the fortress.


It is open every day from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m. and on the weekends from 10 a.m. till 3 p.m.


In the fortress you can also visit two museums and a souvenir shop.





8 | Learn what “the Commonwealth of Unrecognized States-2” is and visit the embassies of other unrecognized countries

Diplomatic representations in Transnistria, Tiraspol
The flags of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia


No any country in the world recognizes Pridnestrovie / Transnistria as a state.


Except some other unrecognized countries, such as south Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhazia.


To support each other, they even created the Commonwealth of Unrecognized States in 2000, a sort of international organization for cooperation between the unrecognized states.


You can visit their diplomatic missions, - the Representations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Tiraspol, 25 October street, 76.






9 | Come for a degustation of local wine at the Bottle Museum

Wine tasting in Transnistria


Enter a giant bottle of 28 meters height and you will find 6 beautiful rooms that house more than 10 thousand bottles of different types of alcoholic beverages from 105 countries of the world. 


You come across unique items, such as a bottle, which is 300 years old, or a bottle which was brought from the bottom of the sea, or another one, discovered during archaeological excavations.


Here you may not only look at the rare and exclusive bottles, but also taste wine and brandy of local producers.



The Bottle Museum is situated in Tiraspol, Ternovka, Karl Marx street, 13.






10 | Discover new unique landscapes

Dniestr river, Transnistria, Tiraspol, travel to Transnistria


Go to the Pridnestrovian / Transnistrian countryside and you will find dreamy and peaceful landscapes of the River Dniestr, the fields of sunflowers, apple gardens and vineyards.

One of the picturesque areas is near the Stroienti village in the north of Pridnestrovie /  Transnistria.


Go there to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and to forget about all the urban problems.


You will see springs, streams, hills with vineyards, a mysterious "tower of the winds", which has its own legend, an old mill converted into a cozy restaurant, a little monastery and their bee-garden and an authentic village.


Nearby there is another village Rashkov, a place of three religions (Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Judaism).


Other places surrounded by beautiful nature and worth visiting are Kamienka and Cioburciu.





And..!  A bonus, 11th reason to go to Pridnestrovie / Transnistria

is to experience an authentic hospitality of Pridnestrovian / Transnistrian people! 

Pridnestrovie / Transnistria is a not-touristic place and local people don’t meet here many foreigners, especially from the Western countries.


That’s why when you get in contact with them, in the beginning, Pridnestrovian / Transnistrian people may seem cold, reserved, distant and not-smiling.


But after a few moments when you make a connection with them, they will be truly interested in you, ready to help, to show you around and to invite you for dinner at their place.


And you will receive a true smile “not for everyone”.



Alexandra Naslin, the Alternative Travel Guide

Some practical information


There is no visa required to enter  Pridnestrovie / Transnistria.


If your passport allows you to come to Moldova or Ukraine, then you can travel to Pridnestrovie / Transnistria, too.


However, at the Pridnestrovian / Transnistrian border you will have to register indicating the duration, the place and the purpose of your stay.

If you are coming as a photographer, you’ll have to receive the accreditation in advance.

Since English is not widely spoken in Pridnestrovie / Transnistria, the best option is to come here accompanied by someone speaking Russian or to hire a guide either from Chisinau or Tiraspol (or to find a local friend via couchsurfing) to avoid any misunderstandings with local border authorities and for help with logistics. 


If you have a question about the practical side of traveling to Pridnestrovie / Transnistria, feel free to post it in the comments section.


Happy and safe travels!



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Hi, nice to meet you! I'm Sasha, a “free spirit” and a world citizen at heart who was born in the country that does not exist: Transnistria. I am on my adventurous journey to discover alternative, quirky, unique and unusual things to do and to visit in cool cities around the world. Join me and try something new! I write in Globish, since English is not my native language, so feel free to correct me or to make fun of me :).


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Write a comment

Comments: 14
  • #1

    Chris (Tuesday, 12 July 2016 21:08)

    I am glad to know that now I belong to the chosen ones!

  • #2

    Mike (Sunday, 09 April 2017 10:18)

    I found your website referred in a National Geographic article and found your country very interesting. If I ever get out your way I'll be sure to visit.

    Please be very careful how you grow. I'm from Marbella, a city on the south coast of Spain and greedy realestate speculatkon nearly killed all our charm. We got a second chance with the global crisis to change our economic model, not rip off the tourists and aspiring new residents. You have an interesting country from what one sees online. Hopefully I can see it for myself one day!

  • #3

    Rod Carradice (Sunday, 09 April 2017 14:47)

    Very special and interesting.

  • #4

    Dustin (Saturday, 15 April 2017 18:20)

    very interesting I hope to be able to follow you on facebook, I live in the USA ,
    am an elder gentleman, who is a disabled veteran.. your country is very interesting to me thank you for sharing...

  • #5

    Cahul (Saturday, 22 April 2017 11:18)

    Tiraspol at the producer’s price which is many times lower before it’s exported abroad.

  • #6

    Wren (Sunday, 23 April 2017 12:57)

    Thank you for your information, I would like to visit Transnistria.
    But .. Transnistria is also a country where unfortunately is much corruption and criminality, like in several former Soviet states. And there are no embassies or consulates for our security when travelling there. A pitty, for I see that you love your country, and there surely are many reasons to enjoy it for us travellers.

  • #7

    Sasha (Sunday, 07 May 2017 10:06)

    Hello, Wren :) please name a country where there is no corruption and criminality :-)
    You are right, Transnistria is a very "special" region, but just use your common sense and you will be fine. I know many foreigners who visited Transnistria and had an amazing experience.

  • #8

    Mariana & Dag (Monday, 31 July 2017 20:19)

    We are from Norway, and will visit Transnistria late August / beginning of September. We want to visit Kvint, Divins, wines and beverages of Tiraspol. Hope to find a good hotel and restaurant near by. I believe we need to change to local money. Can we do that on the border? How many bottles of devin are we allowed to bring out of Tiraspol (in toMoldova)?

    Thanks :)

  • #9

    Sasha @ The Alternative Travel Guide (Tuesday, 01 August 2017 10:00)

    Hello Mariana & Dag,
    yes, there is a currency exchange office at the border. Regarding the duty-free allowance of alcohol, you can take up to 5 liters of beer, 5 liters of wine, and 2 liters of spirits :)
    You can check for more information about custom rules here:

    Enjoy your trip to Pridnestrovie!

  • #10

    Transnistria (Thursday, 14 September 2017 11:43)

    You can buy a set of plastic coins for around 40 roubles from any bank on the main street, a nice souvenir. That Ukranian restaurant is amazing btw, nice tips!

  • #11

    HiG (Thursday, 01 February 2018 22:43)

    Hey :) thanks a lot for you guide, I enjoed reading it :) I was wondering if you had any unformation about how to go there as photograper. What do you mean with "accreditation" ?
    thanks in advance for your time ! :)

  • #12

    Dirk (Wednesday, 03 April 2019 12:54)

    Thanks for your article.
    We are visiting Transnistria next week.

  • #13

    JERRY W PATTON (Friday, 21 June 2019 03:31)
    Hi I've traveled 43 countries independently. Including 13 countries in Africa. S. America, Eastern Europe and all of Western Europe. I've been stuck in Sacramento California for too long. I'm considering leaving the United States and found your hidden gem. If you get my message. I would like to have contact with you. Thank you and hope your days are wonderful.���

  • #14

    Susana (Friday, 02 August 2019 21:53)

    I just crossed from Moldova to Transnistria today. I don’t speak any of the regional languages. No guide, no local friend. The stop at the border went really smooth and pleasant, the border agent spoke English and was fast and friendly. You need to tell them where you will be staying (hostel address is ok), and how many days you will stay. They give you a little paper piece with your information that you have to keep till you leave. No payment needed. So don’t heasitate, you can go by yourself!!! :)