Buses from Chisinau to Transnistria (Tiraspol) leave frequently, around every 30mins and depart from the bus station just behind the city market. The bus is parked at the platform on the far side of the station but to be sure its always better to ask someone as there are buses here there and everywhere.

My bus was parked up at platform 12 and the driver will point you to the ticket kiosk where you will pay around 46lei (£2) for the trip. Once done you will be able to sit back until the checkpoint.



A border officer will come onto the bus and inspect passports so unless you are Moldovan, Russian or Ukrainian you will have to leave and get a visa. The process is simple, queues very short so don’t expect it to take longer than 5 or so minutes.


  • 46lei.
  • Platform 12.
  • Behind market and behind bus station.
  • Ticket at ticket office.


A border officer will come onto the bus and inspect passports so unless you are Moldovan, Russian or Ukrainian you will have to leave and get a visa. The process is simple, queues very short so don’t expect it to take longer than 5 or so minutes.

Sheriff Stadium in Tiraspol, Transnistria. A day in Transnistria


  • Population = 480,000.
  • You can now stay for 45days.
  • There are embassys here for two other disputed countries – South Ossetia and Abkhazia.


Tiraspol is much like Chisinau and the Soviet influence is very much obvious. I felt it was necessary to arrange a guide for my trip as I was short on time and it was a country I had very limited knowledge of.

Andre met me at the bus station and we headed off for the tour. We spent around 4 hours visiting all the sites of both the capital Tiraspol and also the smaller city of Bender.

Residential buildings in Tiraspol, Transnistria. A day in Transnistria
Bridge over the Dniester River in Tiraspol, Transnistria. A day in Transnistria


There was recently a referendum albeit unofficial which offered the people of Transnistria 3 options;
Become part of Moldova
Become an independent nation
Become part of Russia

The population voted to become part of Russia which surprised me somewhat. But due to Russia’s relationship with Moldova which they wouldn’t want to jeopardise they are happy as things are. Probably until Moldova allows for an official referendum. Which to be honest might be unlikely as Transnistria holds with it the power of Moldova in its power plants which powers much of Moldova


Something that can be hit or miss in a place like this and if I’m honest I was expecting a complete miss! Andrey took me to USSR themed café called Stolovka in this derelict building. Bizarre walking through a building that is completely run down apart from one small restaurant up stairs.

Andrey done the ordering for me, breand and chicken. You can clearly see it didn’t look like much but was more than edible. I’m always keen to try new food but had I been given that at home I’m not sure I would’ve been so happy to eat it.


Andrey left myself and the other guide off at the Bendery Fortress and made his way on. It was stunning and is best described as the castle from Super Mario World. The best part was without doubt the torture room and was frightening to think what some people were put throughout.


Walking through the city of Bender you can still see the effects of the wars as bullet holes line some of the buildings. War broke out here in 1992 and continued on for almost 6 months. Since then the Russian army and UN peace keepers have been active here to ensure violence doesn’t breakout again. I felt no tension at all and generally thought the checkpoints of which some had tanks, were unnecessary but I’m lead to believe it’s like a comfort blanket for the locals


The trip back was a formality and I made another stop at the same resto for a bite before heading back to the Christmas market. This time round it was really kicking off, full of couples and families. I have been here without the market and it really changes the dynamic of the city as without it there just aren’t any options.


Chisinau’s day market is impressive if you buy anything from children’s toys, to biscuits, fruit, fish or clothes. It’s were most do their shopping. There are far too many people (60+) wandering the streets selling some of the most pointless products when really they should really be retired. It can be hard to watch as you know they are going through hardship and at their age there is only so much they can do.

Aerial view of Bendery Fortress in Transnistria. A day in Transnistria


Getting back to the hostel I found out I finally had a room mate after having almost every hostel room to myself. I was a bit unsure on this one as he had no bags or belongings and I caught him staring at me several times. When I said how are you doing, he was nice enough to reply with the same words in the same accent. Not sure if he was mocking me or had poor English so could only copy what I was saying.

Anyway turning off the main light and getting ready for bed I noticed yet again he was staring but this time I could see nothing but his eyes peering through the curtain. Part of me was thinking this could well be it, what a way to go.


If you are ever going to Transnistria I would recommend the tour. It’s very affordable – I paid €40 for 4 hours. They offer up to 20different tours so if you let them know of your desires they will be able to arrange something to suit. You can WhatsApp Andrey on +373 694 27 502

Birds eye view at night in Chisinau, Moldova. A day in Transnistria


Looking at the check points and the presence of the UN it’s clear there are problems. But take them away and you would be hard pushed to notice anything untoward. It’s great these 2 countries can continue on and allow travel between the 2 unlike Karabakh. These 2 countries are probably the last in Europe to feel the influence of the western world but will be better for it.


Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Cyprus for 3 days beach hoping and then Northern Cyprus which will be country number 141. Click to read.


This post is part of The Disputed Series, click to explore or for episode 1 click here.
To watch the video of my trip, head to my highlights on my Instagram.

Question Time

  • Have you been to Transnistria, what was your experience like?
  • What did you do?
  • Did you try their food?

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