Tourism – plan your visit

Old Orhei is one of the most iconic destinations in the Republic of Moldova thanks to its combination of historical sites and cave monasteries, together with its unique natural landscapes and biodiversity. The reservation is located just 55 km away from Moldova’s capital city, Chisinau. This distance can be traveled in one hour by car or by public transport.

Public Transport

If you choose to travel there by public transportation, you can get a ride at the the Central train Station in Chisinau.

Orarul transportului public:

To Old Orhei:

  • Chișinău – Butuceni 10:20, 15:00, 18:15
  • Chișinău – Trebujeni 08:35, 12:45, 13:45, 17:15

The price for a ticket is from 46 lei /person.

Back to the capital:

  • Butuceni – Chișinău 7:40, 12:00, 16:45
  • Trebujeni – Chișinău 06:10, 14:30, 15:00

*Note: the minibuses going to Butuceni do not cross the village of Trebujeni, and vice-versa.

International Personal Transport

Visitors from Romania and countries further away countries in Europe can arrive within 2-4 hours of crossing the boarder, depending on the chosen entry point. Visitors from Ukraine will reach the Reserve in 1-3 hours by car (see map of access routes at main customs points). After a long journey, we strongly recommend you to stay overnight at one of the authentic guesthouses in the reserve’s villages, here our hosts will comfort you with traditional dishes and provide good accommodations.

Access to
the Reserve

Visiting the general territory of Old Orhei is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Access to the core of the Reserve where the recognized points of interest are located is recommended during the daytime until the first hours of sunset in order to avoid any potential accidents. hazards

  • The recommended visiting hours, also for tours, are from 8:00 – 18:00
  • Tickets should be purchased at one of the information points or on the website
  • Following the rules for visiting

Services
and prices

Entry Tickets for Reserve

  • General admission 10 lei/per visitor
  • For scholars, students, pensioners, people with disabilities 5 lei/per visitor
  • For toddlers and preschool kids Free

Guided Tours

  • Group size 1 to 10 visitors Duration: ~1,5 hours
  • In a foreign-language (English, German, French, Italian, Russian) 150 lei
  • In Romanian language 100 lei

Parking facilities

  • Bycicles Free
  • Cars 10 lei
  • Vans 30 lei
  • Bus 50 lei

Rules
of visitation

Access for vehicles

Access for vehicles and tourists is allowed only on established and marked routes.

Parking

The parking lot is only done in places specially designed for this purpose.

Waste disposal

Waste disposal of any kind is prohibited. The waste will be disposed of at specially designated collection sites.

Alteration of the environment

Breaking, cutting, destroying or altering vegetation is strictly prohibited. In order to protect biodiversity, the visitor should not interfere in any way (even if motivated by good intentions) on plants, shrubs or trees. It is forbidden to carve on trees, rocks or cave walls.

Access by car

Access by motorized means of transport, within the protected areas, is made only with the consent of the administrator, only for activities that do not affect the favorable conservation status of species and habitats, in situations justified as beneficial for the site.

Destruction of goods adjacent to roads

It is forbidden to destroy barriers on the roads, signs, and panels that provide information about the area.

Touching the sites

Everything must be left as it was found. We will admire with our eyes and camera, without touching the cultural, historical structures and artifacts we discover.

Use of fire

The use of fire in public places is strictly prohibited. Fires destroy flora and endanger the lives of birds and other wildlife, causing imbalances in nature.

Announcement of administrators

When we observe activities that are harmful to the environment, we will immediately notify the administrator of the protected natural area that we are visiting.

Organization of competitions

It is forbidden to organize competitions and group events of any kind, courses involving access to the field in the protected natural area and camps without the permission of the reserve administration.

Pollution of water

It is forbidden to pollute the spring and the river with chemicals (detergents, oil, soap, etc.)

Things
to do

The natural setting of Orheiul Vechi (Old Orhei) with its limestone river gorge and Raut River below make it an ideal place for adventurers and travelers looking to escape the bustle of the city. Here some of the different things to do at Old Orhei and activities in the Reserve.

Local companies can provide you with the gear, support and guidance for a safe and memorable experience.

Kayaking

Kayaking along the Raut River as it winds its way through Orheiul Vechi allows you to enjoy this dramatic natural landscape of the limestone river gorge from a different angle. The standard kayaking route is 16.5 km and it usually takes around 5-6 hours to complete. For more information on what gear to bring with you and what to expect kayaking, check out this FAQ page.

Note: It’s also possible to organize customized kayaking tours by contacting Kayaking Tours in advance.

Price:
600 – 750 Lei/visitor
Period:
February - April
Service providers:

Mountaineering and Rock Climbing

There are different forms of admiring the greatness of Moldova’s landscapes, one of the bravest is mountaineering or rock climbing. Join the rock climbing expeditions in the Reserve and you will learn the basic technique and receive plenty of useful advice from qualified instructors. You’ll have an opportunity to explore Old Orhei’s dramatic limestone river gorge and cliffs up close. This activity has all the elements meant to create a memorable escape outside the city, and the final point of the expedition could be dinner at one of the welcoming guesthouses.

Price:
600 Lei/person, 3000 Lei/for a 5-8 hikers group
Period:
All year round
Service providers:

Paragliding

Paragliding is a way to truly experience the full natural setting and beauty of Orheiul Vechi and its limestone river gorge by jumping off the top of the hillside and floating down to the river valley below. This sport has a high dose of adrenaline and fun. You certainly won’t forget a paragliding experience at Orheiul Vechi.

Price:
A flight of about 15-20 minutes – 400 lei/person
Period:
April – September
Service providers:
Paraplan Moldova

Cycling

Cycling is one of the best things to do in Old Orhei as it allows visitors to see and experience more natural and historical areas, while also having a bit of an adventure. There are several hiking and cycling routes marked in the Reserve so you can cycle tens of kilometers through picturesque villages, nature and along the Raut River. If you don’t have your own bicycle with you, you can rent one from the administrative complex of the Orheiul Vechi Cultural-Natural Reserve located at the entrance to Butuceni village. In addition, many of the pensions and guest houses in the area also have mountain bikes for use (see list below)

View the of the Old Orhei cycling routes across the Reserve to explore different historical, cultural and natural sites.

Hiking

If you are a lover of walking or trail running, then you should know that trails were marked at Old Orhei. Discover the beauty of the Moldavan land step by step, stop at the foot of a cliff, or at its top for a picnic and enjoy the scenery. You can opt for a half-day or full-day hike by joining the groups of passionate adventurers who have visited many beautiful places around the world.

Hiking in the Orheiul Vechi Cultural-Natural Reserve is a great way to connect with nature while also exploring many of the historical sites and cave monasteries. The hiking trails on the territory of the reserve are marked. You can discover the beauty of Moldova’s landscapes step by step, taking time out for a picnic to enjoy the scenery. Go on your own or opt for half- or full-day group hikes organized by passionate hikers and outdoor adventurers.

Price:
Free of charge for unassisted hikes,
500 lei per person for organized expeditions
Period:
All year round
Service providers:

Let’s work together

This activity has remained as a legacy of our ancestors, for hundreds of years, maybe even thousands. We help each other voluntarily in household affairs. You can join friends or family in spring to clean the vines and plant vegetables. In summer together we will go picking cherries or fishing. And in autumn, we will create the right homemade wines for the traditional dishes prepared in the wood oven during the workshops of the housewives in the village.

Price:
Free of charge for residing guests
Period:
All year round

Music and Dance

For the good people, the hosts from Old Orhei guesthouses provide performances with folk music and dances specific to the area, and once a year we invite you to an event that will take your breath away – DescOperă, here we managed to remove the opera from the traditional scene by bringing it into the bosom of nature. Together with hundreds of people you will admire the wonderful view and classical music performed by renowned opera artists from Moldova and abroad led by Austrian conductor Friedrich Pfeiffer.

Price:
1000 lei / Show
Period:
All year roud

Birdwatching Routes

On the territory of the Reserve there are around 100 species of birds, totaling one third of the total number of bird species in Moldova. You can find many of these birds by going through the six birdwatching routes that explore their natural habitats — the forest, meadows, waters, villages and agricultural fields. Equip yourself according to the recommendations of the season, mark your map with your desired trails, prepare the binoculars and camera, and then start the themed birdwatching hike. If you do not have binoculars, the guest houses in the reserve loan this for free to guests.

Explore the nearby birdwatching routes.

Price:
Free of charge for residing guests
Period:
All year round
Service providers: All guesthouses in the reserve

Discover our Local Traditions

Our guest houses involve the guests in interesting activities throughout the year. For example, hosts can organize an excursion into the local winter customs like caroling, river skating or horse sleigh rides. In spring, you can participate in decorating easter eggs while in summer you will learn to bake pies and bread in the oven with local cooks. And in autumn, you will help us pick the long-awaited grapes and squeeze the young wine.

Price:
1000 lei/ Show
Period:
Around traditional celebrations

Horse and Carriage Rides

Guests visiting the more secluded places of the country have the chance to admire the rural atmosphere by asking the house owners of our villages to organize a carriage ride. Admire the beauty of oak trees and feel the fresh air of the forest. Make a stop in a meadow, lie down in the grass and admire the dramatic Moldovan sky.

Cooking Classes

Many guest house hosts will offer cooking classes to teach you how to bake traditional bread with homemade yeast, roll sarmale (sauerkraut or vine leaves filled with rice, vegetables and meat) and prepare colțunași (moldovan version of ravioli) with sour cherries like in true Old Orhei style. The patience and culinary skills of the women hosts from Butuceni and Trebujeni will make you fall in love with Moldovan cuisine.

Price:
100 – 500 Lei
Period:
All year around
Service providers: All guesthouses in the reserve

Hiking
trails

Hiking in Old Orhei is a good starting point to get to know the nature of the central Moldova, the ancient caves that managed to survive over the centuries and the archaeological sites that hide the mysteries of ancient civilizations.The team of Orheiul Vechi Reserve and our partners have implemented several projects for marking themed hiking routes. This includes placing information panels, documenting points of interest, and arranging overlook points. Even if we still have a lot of work to do regarding the tourist infrastructure for our visitors, we invite you to discover the Reserve on foot or by bicycle.Below is a selection of digitally marked hiking trails and recommended themed routes where you can discover some attractions along the way.

Easy Hiking Trails

We urge visitors who prefer short escapes away from the urban hustle to explore the easy hiking routes located in the center of the Reserve, near neighboring villages or near the Dniester (Nistru) River. The 1-2-hour easy hikes with minimal equipment will delight with picturesque landscapes and rural tranquility. You will be able to enter the cave monasteries, admire family mansions, ancient ruins, and the traditional architecture will surprise you with its authentic ornamentation of old, painted gates and houses.

Following the Footsteps of the Past Route

The core of the reserve segment

The core of the reserve segment

  • Distance: 7.5 km, circular route
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Duration: ~3 hours if walking
  • Points of interest: 12
See the route on the map
Hiking to the hermitage of Bosie

Hiking to the hermitage of Bosie

  • Distance: 3 km circular route
  • Difficulty level: hard
  • Duration: ~1 hour if walking
  • Points of interest: 2
See the route on the map
The landscape reserve - Trebujeni segment

The landscape reserve - Trebujeni segment

  • Distance: 3,4 km, circular route
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Duration: ~1.5 hours if walking
  • Points of interest: 3
See the route on the map

Mansions and Wine Route

Village Piatra segment

Village Piatra segment

  • Distance: 4 km
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Duration: ~1.5 hours if walking
  • Points of interest: 4
See the route on the map
The Brănești cellars segment

The Brănești cellars segment

  • Distance: 2,7 km
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Duration: ~1 hour if walking
  • Points of interest: 2
See the route on the map
Ivancea Village segment

Ivancea Village segment

  • Distance: 2 km
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Duration: 0.5 hours if walking
  • Points of interest: 2
See the route on the map

Banks of the Dniester Route

Molovata village segment

Molovata village segment

  • Distance: 8,5 km
  • Difficulty level: hard
  • Duration: ~3 hours if walking
  • Points of interest: 5
See the route on the map
The village of Mărcăuți segment

The village of Mărcăuți segment

  • Distance: 3 km
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Duration: ~1.5 hours if walking
  • Points of interest: 2
See the route on the map

Birdwatching Routes

Old Orhei reservation has become a pilot area for birdwatching as around 100 species of birds live in the area, representing one third of the total number of birds that can be seen in the Republic of Moldova. Don’t miss the chance to catch birds in their five natural habitats: in meadows, forests, waters, villages and agricultural fields. If you are lucky, you can see the oriole (Oriolus oriolus), the persecution (Merops apiaster), the blue seagull (Alcedo atthis) and the large egret (Casmerodius albus). These are some of the rarest species at the Reserve.

Getic Fortress Butuceni Trail

Getic Fortress Butuceni Trail

  • Distance: 7.5 km, circular route
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Duration: ~3 hours if walking
  • Bird species: 12
See the route on the map
Butuceni – Piatra Trail

Butuceni – Piatra Trail

  • Distance: 22.25 km
  • Difficulty level: medium
  • Duration: ~7.5 hours if walking
  • Bird species: 43
See the route on the map
Morova Gorge Trail

Morova Gorge Trail

  • Distance: 15 km
  • Difficulty level: medium
  • Duration: ~6 hours if walking
  • Bird species: 35
See the route on the map
Piatra Poplars Alley Trail

Piatra Poplars Alley Trail

  • Distance: 4 km
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Duration: ~1 hour if walking
  • Bird species: 39
See the route on the map
 Medieval Town Trail

Medieval Town Trail

  • Distance: 6.4 km
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Duration: ~2.5 hours if walking
  • Bird species: 25
See the route on the map
 Trebujeni-Furceni Trail

Trebujeni-Furceni Trail

  • Distance: 8 km
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Duration: ~3 hours if walking
  • Bird species: 37
See the route on the map

Orheiul Vechi reserve interactive map