Poiana Brasov: skiing in Romania

by Cal28

Romania is an up-and-coming holiday destination but have you ever considered skiing there? Read my guide where I tell you why you should, and why Poiana Brasov is the perfect place to start

Both my partner and myself have been skiing a number of times previously and we would consider ourselves as intermediates.

We were looking for a skiing holiday that wouldn't have our bank managers on the phone and had been deciding between a few destinations in Europe. We stumbled across Romania while we were looking through a brochure and, although it hadn't been anywhere in our thoughts, we took a chance and were very pleased we did.

For the past few years the snow had been patchy in many resorts in Europe, so we were pleased that on arrival that the snow was falling thick and fast. The downside to this was the long transfer, although this is common place in a number of European ski resorts.

Location

We stayed at a group of hotels - ANA Hotels - which included the Bradual, Poiana and Sport. All of these were located at the foot of the nursery slope and therefore required no shuttle bus transfer, a big plus. These were all next door to each other and while we stayed in the Bradul Hotel - in a front facing balcony room over the nursery slopes - we often went into the Sport for lunches (the Steak sandwich was fantastic!) and to collect our skis every morning. Although I cannot comment on the rooms in all three hotels we were happy with ours, it had simple white walls and wooden furniture; the beds were comfy, just what you need after a full day on the slopes! Only one TV channel was English but I tend not to go on holiday to watch TV. People in our ski schools were spread across these hotels and not one of them had any complaints.

The staff were great and were very friendly, particularly our ski instructor who was fantastic. Officially our lessons were four hours however he took us skiing all day if you didn’t want to leave after lunch. He did his best to push us to becoming better skiers whist still considering the weaker members of the group.

When we stayed, the hotels were run on an 'all inclusive' basis, which included breakfast, evening meal and all drinks after 4pm until midnight. Also included in the cost was ski hire, lift passes and tuition all for less than £400ppn! (Jan 2008).

Lunches were available on the slopes or at the hotel and were less than you'd pay for a McDonald's back home, all the food was of a good standard and you had a choice of local food or other worldwide foods such as pizza, steaks etc. We ate at a few restaurants on the slopes and I couldn’t fault a single one of them. Club Rossignol http://www.clubrossignol.ro/index.html was one of these and there was also fantastic small café at the top of one of the major lifts. It was hidden away down some wooden stairs although was very popular with the instructors and locals so I would recommend asking if they know about it.

The ski town of Poiana Brasov is relatively small with a picturesque wooden chapel (perfect to get married in before it becomes too commercialised!)  -  http://www.pixdaus.com/single.php?id=27914 there are a few small convenience shops and restaurants in the area, all of which are good value, as well as a quad biking hire area. However on our visit it was still a relatively small place and you would need to go down to Brasov if you wanted to do any real shopping.

The ski area isn't far from the local town of Brasov itself which you can access easily, and cheaply on a local bus (this was the #20), which stops at the foot of the slopes on the main street.

In the main town there are a number of both traditional and modern shops as well as many beautiful buildings and churches, including the Black Church to photograph and admire. You can also visit the discos at night if you fancy a lively evening or even just a change from the restaurants in the ski area.

Other trips you can take include a trip to Bran (Dracula's) castle to hear about the history and the legend. There are a few small stores here that sell the tourist gifts; one I found that was well received was a Bottle of Dracula’s Blood (red wine). You will need to take some cash if you wish to purchase anything as there were no cash machines in the area. Activities may vary on this trip but for us this also included a horse driven sleigh through snow and waterfalls which was very romantic! We went on this with the tour operator which was Airtours.

All in all I found this was one of my favourite ski holidays out of the number I have taken so far, as well as the best value for money. The slopes were quiet, the ski instruction was wonderful and it hadn't been damaged by the commercial side of tourism, and the food was far better quality and value than I had experience elsewhere in Europe.

Cal28

I've been lucky in my travel experiences and have visited a number of countries so far. Having worked in travel sales (tailor made RTW & package holidays) during my time as a student I like to think I have a good awareness of destinations. I'm not very good at sitting still when on holidays and I like to go to places where there are lots of things to do or places to visit.