European city breaks don’t come farther off the beaten track than Chişinău, the capital of Moldova, Destroyed in WWII, it was rebuilt as a showpiece of Stalinist architecture. You could happily spend a day or two idling its boulevards and parks, stopping to admire the Moldovan Arcul de Triumf (admittedly smaller than its French cousin).
For an intrepid day trip, hop aboard a train southeast to Tiraspol – seen by some to be Moldova’s second city, and by a few as the capital of the independent republic of Transnistria. This breakaway state is recognised by no-one but itself, but that shouldn’t stop you admiring the mini Presidential Palace or the giant bust of Lenin outside the Palace of the Soviets, before hopping on the return train to Chişinău.
- ARRIVE – Chişinău has flights from Birmingham on FlyOne, from Luton on WizzAir and from Stansted on Air Moldova. Chişinău-Tiraspol trains take two hours (£2); show your passport at the so-called ‘border’ and keep the receipt for the return trip.
- STAY – Jazz Hotel has rooms in a curving modern building in the centre of Chişinău.