Balanesti is the highest point of Moldova. It's a hill rather than mountain because of its low relative altitude. It's located between Balanesti and Temeleuti vilages in Codrii (Kodry) Range, about 100 kilometers west from capital city - Chisinau in central part of Moldova. On the top of the hill two radio transmitters are situated. From the top you may see nice overlook at Codrii Range and near vilages in valeys. Balanesti is not popular as a target of hiking because its low altitude and dificult access. One of the most important reasons to get to the top of Balanesti is fact that as the highest point of Moldova, it belongs to Highest Points of Europe group (also known as "Crown of Europe").
Moldova as a country exists since 1991, when Soviet Union breakuped. This small country placed between Romania and Ukraine is the poorest country in Europe (PKB per capita in year 2007 was 2962 dolars). The only place where people live in modern metropolitan style is capital city - Chisinau. Countryside is still very poor, so there are many places in Moldova where you can see nature not trasnformed by human. Turistic infrastructure is very bad so turists still very rarely come to Moldova. The most interesing places in Moldova are : Chisinau, Old Town Orhei, Cricova Winery and Soroca.
Balanesti is situated in "Codrii" Preserve Area, created in 1971 for leafed forrest protection. You can see oaks, ashes, beeches and limetrees in this area.
Getting thereGetting to Balanesti is not easy because of very poor transport infrastructure in Moldova.
Step 1 - Getting to Chisinau.
You can get to capital city of Moldova by plane from Vienna, London, Frankfurt, Budapest and many other european cities. Another ways are:
-by bus - there are many connections with Chisinau from Lviv, Chernivtsi, Odessa and Kiev
-by train - train connections with Chisinau are aviable from Moscow, Odessa, St.Petersburg and other cities but I don't recomend this option. Trains in Moldova are very slow.
Step 2 - Getting to Balanesti village
From Chisinau you can catch direct bus to Balanesti village, but there is only one connection per day. If you miss it - you can go first to Nisporeni, and then to Balanesti. Mentioned buses almost everytime are overcrowded. This implicate two problems: you may be not able to get on this bus (especially with big backpack) or if you board the bus - probably drive comfort will be very low.
Step 3 - Getting to Balanesti hill.
From Balanesti village you should go in north-east direction to near hills. The highest hill is good visible, because there are two big radio transmitters on the top. Finding the highest point is not very easy, because top of the hill is quite flat. According to the information obtained from transmitter watcher, the highest point of Moldova is just by northern transmitter.
Of course this is only proposed way. Balanesti as not high hill is accessible from all directions.
There is no red tape.
As mentioned above, turistic infrastructure in Moldova is very poor, especially in villages. There is no hotel nor camping in Balanesti area. If you want to sleep there you have two options: sleeping in your own tent or ask villagers for accomodation (it should be not difficult and very cheap). If you choose tent - you may camp in the forrest near the top.
When to climb
Because of low altitude Balanesti is accessible all year.
Moldovan turist information page: