In February we spent a week on a winter holiday in Romania and as part of that trip we hit the slopes in Poiana Brasov. It was a ski resort that was unknown to me before booking our tour with Untravelled Paths but was the perfect location to combine with the rest of the tour. In this post I’ll share my thoughts and recommendations for a ski trip to Poiana Brasov
What to expect from snowboarding in Poiana Brasov
This ski resort is located around three hours from Bucharest where you’ll find the nearest international airport. The drive there is relatively easy although best avoided on the weekend as many other Romanians also head for the slopes during this time. You’ll find less traffic on your drive Monday – Thursday.
Poiana Brasov is a quick ten minute drive from the city of Brasov (you can get a train here from Bucharest) and as you ascend the mountain it feels like you’re entering a winter wonderland. During mid February there was plenty of snow on the ground and fresh snowfall had landed just days before our arrival. It had been so intense that some of the chairlifts and gondolas were out of action. Thankfully, there was nothing but blue skies during our stay and the weather could not have been any more perfect.
Where to stay in Poiana Brasov
There are plenty of options for accommodation in Poiana Brasov from hotels located at the bottom of the slopes with all the facilities you could wish for, to further out spots that will cost a fraction of the price. As part of our tour with Untravelled Paths we had three nights at Ana Sport Hotel and it was honestly amazing.
From the moment we arrived it was easy to see why the tour company had raved about this hotel. Despite being a huge complex, it felt homely and welcoming with an abundance of festive lights outside and warming fires inside. The hotel bar was the perfect spot for warming up after a spell outside especially with their delicious hot chocolates and Papanași (a sweet donut).
Our room was a decent size with space for a small sofa and coffee table as well as a double bed. We were lucky to have a slope facing room so every time we looked out the window we were reminded of the fantastic place we were in. The hotel also had a huge swimming pool, sauna, steam room and outside hot tub. We made the most of these facilities everyday, there was no better way to relax the muscles and warm up after a day on the slopes.
Each morning included a delicious buffet breakfast with more choice than I could ever get through in three days. Finally, it had a ski storage for all boards and equipment as well as a hire shop attached. This did close quite early each day so we often ended up having to take our boards to our room.
What to expect from the slopes
When we arrived in Poiana Brasov we didn’t really have any idea what to expect from the slopes. After studying the map it seemed like there was something for everyone, there were two beginner slopes, some blues, greens and blacks. Everything opened at 9am and closed around 4.30pm during February.
Of the two beginner slopes, one was located outside Ana Sport and another a 15 minute walk across the resort. These slopes had button lifts to climb to the top and the slope was fairly wide so generally there was enough space for everyone. However, we both found button lifts extremely difficult with a snowboard and so we spent much of our time walking up the slope. That aside, we did find the slope enjoyable for our beginner level and the perfect spot to practice some of our techniques.
What we then learnt was going from the beginner slope to the blue runs was a rather large jump! Not being regular snowboarders meant we hadn’t realized many resorts have red runs as an in between. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case at Poiana Brasov and therefore limits those who are at a level where you want more than a beginner slope but not confident to take on trickier things.
Through our tour guide we got a recommendation of a local guy who could offer us a private lesson for £50 an hour. As it had been years since we last got on a slope we booked this for two mornings of our stay. It was worth every penny and we felt like totally different snowboarders after those lessons.
Poiana Brasov also has many ski schools which offer a range of packages.
Where to eat?
We tried a whole range of restaurants while in Poiana Brasov and none of them disappointed.
Vânătorul would be our top pick, a gorgeous restaurant that felt like walking into someone’s house rather than a place to eat. The menu was incredible with plenty of deer, boar and beef options to choose from. It had a brilliant atmosphere and service was fantastic.
Karoly KurtosKalacs was also a surprisingly delicious spot, we stumbled in here not really knowing what was on the menu but we were served hearty homemade food and the decor of this unique cabin only added to the experience.
Capra Neagră is also worth a mention for a cheap but filling meal with traditional food and familiar western food on the menu.
We also ate at many of the little log cabins surrounding the beginner slope by Ana Sport hotel. The incredible platter we had from one of them was certainly a highlight.
The evening buzz seemed to vary hugely depending on what day of the week it was. We arrived on Saturday night and when we found ourselves at Club Rossignol the music was pumping and party in full swing. This was definitely your typical Aprés Ski experience. However, the next night we rocked up it was like any other quiet bar.
Final thoughts on Poiana Brasov
This was the first time we had ever done the whole ski resort experience and we loved it. Although not everything was perfect about the resort, there were plenty of parts we loved and would certainly return again. I’d probably try to book in more weekdays so that the slopes and restaurants were a little quieter but the weekend did have a good nightlife. Despite our beginner level we managed to get down the entire mountain on our boards and the view from the top was breathtaking. So much so we took the gondola up more than once to take it all in.
It’s hard to cost up our ski experience due to it being part of our tour, however, everything we did pay for was in line with the reasonable prices of Romania. This ski resort certainly doesn’t come with the prices for the more iconic spots in France, Austria Etc.