When it comes to visiting Transnistria/Pridnestrovie, different options are available.
Buses and minibuses are the most common way to move inside the country, but can be difficult to comprehend if you don't speak Russian. This is especially true outside the main routes, for example when visiting a village.
If you don't speak Russian (or Moldova, or Ukrainian), it is often easier to either rent a car or hire a taxi if you're not accompanied by a local guide.
From a city or a village to another one
Each major city has at least a central bus station, with minibuses going to other major cities, and villages of the district.
You can buy your ticket from the cashier, in Pridnestrovian rubles, and show the ticket to your driver when boarding the bus.
Some points to pay attention to:
- the COVID crisis reduced the frequency of buses, especially to villages. Make sure when buying the ticket that there is a way to return from the village to the city. Somes journeys might be shown on the website but not running on that day.
- between Tiraspol and Bendery, you can also take a trolleybus (number 19). It is a bit more comfortable but slower.
Inside a city
Both Tiraspol and Bendery have a nice network of trolleybuses. When you get in the vehicle, look at the conductor (usually they will come to each passenger to sell the tickets). It is advisable to keep a bunch of 1 ruble banknotes to pay for your ticket. They will stop at every station and you can exit the vehicle at any of them.
You can also use the minibuses, present in every city of the republic. When you get on the bus, hand the money to the driver, then take a sit (sometimes you might have to stand if the bus is packed). When you're approaching your destination, signal the driver so he will stop at the next station.
Taxi is probably the easiest way for independent travelers with a limited (or lack of) Russian language skills.
Prices are quite reasonnable. A trip in the city would usually cost 2 or 3 USD, while a return trip anywhere in the country would likely be between 10 and 60 USD. You can arrange for your driver to wait for you while you visit a place (especially in small villages where you won't get a chance to catch a taxi). The average waiting price is about 3-4 USD per hour. Short trips are charged by the meter, and longer journeys usually have a set price. Make sure to ask in advance.
We have a few apps for taxi, the most convenient one being 15-17, as it deserves the whole country. The main interface is available in English and you can select the location on the map, without typing the address. You can pay you ride in cash once at your destination. You can download the app from the Apple App Store or the Android Play Store: search for 'Taxi 1517'.
Private car/rental car
Coming with your own car or a car rented in Moldova is the most flexible way to visit the country.
To help with directions, you can download Yandex.maps or maps.me, two applications for iPhone and Android that allow you to check the maps offline (you need to download the maps ahead of your trip, and then can use boths apps without the internet). Apple maps and Google maps might not be up-to-date.
A few things to note:
- road signs are similar to most countries, but everything in written in Cyrillic.
- roads can be bumpy, potholes are common on certain portions of the road and times of the year
- in the villages, some roads might be made of gravel, dirt, or whatever. Do not expect asphalt everywhere.
- Gas stations are mostly in cities and along the main road.
- in case of accident, you need to call/wait for the police. You cannot leave the scene until they came and write a report. This can take some time if they are already busy with something else.