Riven by ethnic and political tension, Moldova is an enigmatic country attempting to forge its own identity. Sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, the former Soviet state has plenty of natural attractions but little infrastructure.
The capital Chisinau encapsulates the contrast between those that have and have not, with sports cars, smart restaurants and fashionably dressed locals enjoying the highlife in what is still one of Europe's poorest destinations. Stroll the tree-lined avenues and enjoy the city's joie de vivre whilst bearing in mind the experience isn't representative.
Outside the capital take a trip to the striking thirteenth century Monastery Orheiul Vechi, carved into a remote limestone cliff by Orthodox monks. Descend into a labyrinth of tunnels below Cricova to discover a vast winery and sample some of Moldova's well-regarded dry white Sauvignon and sparkling red wine or take a trip to the Lower Dniester National Park to hike or canoe in the forests and wetlands found here.