I can't help but associate Poiana Brasov with my childhood spent in Romania. Poiana Brasov is a part of Brasov County and is a popular ski resort in the country. Due to the cheaper prices, many tourists come to ski in Poiana Brasov from all over the world. Once the winter is gone, Poiana Brasov becomes a green jewel full of hiking opportunities for soft adventure lovers. It's a great place for a weekend away, picnic in nature and outdoor photography. Poiana Brasov is where I used to spend summer weekends with my grandfather, bbq-ed together and read countless books under the pine trees.
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About Poiana Brasov
Poiana Brasov continues to be featured as a great European ski resort by telegraph.co.uk. In 2011, it received over 25 million Euros in investment and in 2013 it hosted the figure skating, alpine skiing and short track in the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival. If you love to ski, know that Poiana Brasov has a total length of ski domain of 24.5 kilometres. It is close to several major locations, including Bran Castle and Brasov City.
Poiana Brasov is the most popular ski resort in Romania and has 7 slopes for you to enjoy. The first documented attestation of Poiana Brasov dates back from 1427. The first important competition held in Poiana Brașov was the ‘Academic Winter Games’ in 1951. Ever since it attracted countless tourists from all over the world. For those interested in luxury at an affordable price, Poiana Brasov is the place to be.
Poiana Brasov is located at about 1020 meters above sea level. You can expect a temperate continental climate with summer averages of around 20C and winter averages of -4C. Ski enthusiasts note, there is a snow cover of 50-60 cm which lasts from mid-November until mid-March. It starts snowing from around September, although the depth might not be good enough for skiing until November time.
How to get to Poiana Brasov?
Poiana Brasov is located in the Carpathian Mountains, less than 200 km away from the capital city, Bucharest. It is about 8 km away from the city of Brasov and 10 km away from Rasnov. The resort is situated at an altitude of 1020 m and it is surrounded by four mountains: Postăvaru (1799 m) Piatra Craiului (2238 m), Bucegi (2505 m) and Piatra Mare (1843 m).
To get to Poiana Brasov you have several options:
You can rent a car from Bucharest and drive for about 3 hours to Poiana Brasov. Once you park your car at your hotel, pretty much everything is within walking distance and there are shuttle buses to the slopes.
If driving is not your thing, then take a train from Bucharest to Brasov, then take a bus to Poiana Brasov. The train takes approximately 2.5 hours and it leaves from Gara de Nord (Northern Train Station which is the main station in Bucharest). You should get a ticket for the intercity which costs about £10 per person (one-way) in second class. From Brasov train station you can take a bus called "Poiana Express" (line 100) which costs £1 per person. The bus runs at the following hours: 10.05, 11.20, 12.05, 15.35, 16.20 and 17.00. From Poiana Brasov to Brasov railway you can take the same bus at the following hours: 11.20, 12.00, 12.45, 16.15, 17.00 and 18.00.
If you arrive at a time when the express bus is not available, you need to take bus number 4 from the railway to Brasov city centre (at the Livada Postei station). From Livada Postei you need bus number 20 which takes you to Poiana Brasov. One ride with bus 4 costs £0.50 per person and one ride with bus 20 costs £1. Please remember to buy your ticket from a RATB kiosk as you can not buy it from the driver. If you plan on travelling during Saturday, Sunday or bank holidays, buy tickets in advance as the kiosks will be closed. Once on the bus, don't forget to stamp/validate your ticket.
Another option is to take a dedicated coach from Bucharest to Brasov. This takes just under 4 hours and it costs £2 per person. However, the coach will stop in Brasov City Centre where you will need to take a local bus to Poiana Brasov (see above).
When to visit Poiana Brasov?
Poiana Brasov is the most popular ski resort in Romania, which means it gets pretty busy. Romanians love spending Christmas and the New Years Eve in the mountains, so if crowds are not your thing, perhaps it's best to avoid visiting during the winter holidays. Make sure you book your accommodation several months in advance to take advantage of low prices. If you do decide to spend the winter holidays in Poiana Brasov, make sure to take note of opening and closing times for local shops as most tend to be closed for 2-3 days during Christmas and for the New Years Eve.
For cheaper prices, January and February are a great option. January is the coldest month in Romania, so much so, that sometimes it gets to -20C degrees (-4F). That's when the scenery transforms into a beautiful winter wonderland, full of white snow and gorgeous wooden chalets.
I also recommend visiting Poiana Brasov during Spring, Summer or Autumn as each season is incredibly special. Of course, you won't be able to ski between mid-March till mid-November, but Poiana Brasov is perfect for all sorts of outdoors activities, including cycling, hiking and riding.
Spring in Poiana Brasov can still be a bit chilly, but you can see a carpet of violet flowers, as well as the mighty snow drops. Summer is the nicest time to visit if you love sunny hikes. Everything is great and glorious, and sometimes it gets so hot you can even sun bathe and get a superb tan! In Romania, we have this saying that mountain tans are the best as they last the longest and look most beautiful. Summer is also the time for picnics and outdoor photography.
Autumn is my favourite season, and Poiana Brasov looks stunning during September. On the way there, you will photograph a tremendous amount of red carpets and perfectly orange hued trees. The weather is a bit nippy, with pleasant days and cold nights.
Where to stay in Poiana Brasov
There are several hotels, lodges, chalets and B&Bs available in Poiana Brasov. Some will offer all inclusive accommodation, whilst local hosts may only include breakfasts or offer rooms with shared bathrooms. Depending on your budget, there is something for everyone. You can also find hostels and apartments in the area. The trick is to book quite a bit in advance for the lowest prices.
What to do in Poiana Brasov
There are plenty of things to do in Poiana Brasov, starting with skiing, through eating epic food, to cycling through the forest. Whatever you decide, Poiana Brasov is tailored to the outdoors lovers and it has activities to suit any fitness level.
Ski in Poiana Brasov
Many come to Poiana Brasov to ski as the resort is sometimes nicknamed the Alps of Romania. Of course you won't be skiing in the Alps but in the Carpathian mountains, still rich in forests, flora and fauna, including the brown bear. Poiana Brasov is cheaper than other ski resorts in Europe and with the latest investments, it now offers comparable amenities. There are several slopes available in Poiana Brasov which I will describe further below.
You can ski from the end of November till the end of February. As Poiana Brasov is the most popular ski resort in Romania, I recommend getting your hotel and sorting your transportation in advance.
Hike through the epic forests
Spring, Summer and Autumn are perfect for hiking in Poiana Brasov. For hiking lovers, I recommend trekking to Peak Postravaru which is at 1799 m. You can hike it or take the cable car to the top. The cable car is around £7 per person for a return journey. You can enjoy incredible views from above and take some spectacular photographs. An option is to take the cable car to the top to enjoy the views and hike back down on foot.
If you wish to check some more hiking opportunities click here.
Cycle around the mountains
Fancy a little cycling through the woods? You can join a cycling tour in Poiana Brasov or rent your bike and go exploring. You can, of course, bring your own bike, but note that if you take the train and the bus, you might not always be allowed to board with your bike. There are plenty of cycling trails, some easy (up to 30 km), medium (up to 70 km) and difficult ones which are over 135 km. Just make sure you check the weather and bring the right gear for your adventure.
For more details on mountain biking click here.
Horseback Riding in Poiana Brasov
During the warmer season, you can ride a horse through the forests Poiana Brasov. This is especially great for a family with kids. It's not just great for exploring the outdoors, but also a great way to work on your leg muscles and correct your back posture. There is a dedicated riding centre in Brasov. You can read more on their official website but note that you will need to make use of Google Translate as the information is written in Romanian only.
Relax in the Spa
When it comes to the mountains few think of relaxing in a thermal pool, enjoy a relaxing swim or getting a massage. But really, what can be better than unwinding after a day full of awesome activities in Poiana Brasov. There are several hotels with spas, but Ana Sport Hotels in Poiana Brasov is perhaps the most popular spa centre.
Enjoy Traditional Romanian food
You know I love Romanian traditions and there is no better way to experience a culture than through its gastronomy. Romania has amazing food. There are lots of things I recommend. Dishes vary according to the season with winter being more meat oriented comfort food, whilst summer promoting light salads. When visiting Poiana Brasov, I suggest trying everything traditional. Ask your waiter to recommend some Romanian specialities and I promise, you won't get disappointed.
Sarmale and mamaliga are the most well known Romanian dishes. The mighty sarma is mince wrapped in pickled cabbage, cooked on the hob for several hours and served with sour cream on the side. Mamaliga is essentially polenta. You can try polenta served with cottage cheese, egg and butter. It might sound weird, but it's, in fact, one of the best things ever.
Romanian sausages are also pretty great as they are dried and smoked outdoors. Have them served with meat stew and grilled vegetables. Order tripe soup (ciorba de burta) in the winter to warm up. Don't forget to order mulled wine in the evening to finish off the day with an aromatic cup of hot and delicious Romanian wine.
Since you are in Transylvania, Romanian cuisine has some Hungarian influence. If you wish, you can get some Lángos (one of my favourite Hungarian dishes - which is fried bread with sour cream and cheese on top) and Kürtőskalács (sweet chimney cake).
Poiana Brasov Slope Information
There are 7 slopes you can use in Poiana Brasov with a total length of 24 kilometres.
The Wolf Slope (Partia Lupului)
The wolf slope is difficult with a total length of 2860 m. You can get a cable car from the Kanzel Slope.
The Sulinar Slope (Partia Sulinar)
If you are medium skilled skier than this is the slope for you. With a total length of 2500 m, you are guaranteed to have lots of fun. You can get the cable car from the Kanzel Slope. From the ‘Sulinar’ slope, you can now get to ‘Drumul Roșu’ (Red Road) and can get to the base of the ‘Bradul’ slope (Tree Slope), using the new connection made available since the extension that took place in 2010.
The Red Road Slope (Drumul Rosu)
This is a low difficulty slope and the longest in the country with a length of 5600 m. It has connections with almost all the rest of the slopes in Poiana Brasov. You can get the cable car from the Kanzel slope.
The Ruia Slope
The Ruipa slope is a high difficulty slope and specially created for the experienced skiers. The length of the Ruia Slope is 1035 m and it can be accessed from the gondola station from the Kanzel slope.
The Kanzel Slope
The Kanzel slope is rather tiny measuring only 450 m in length. It is the main connection point between the rest of the slopes.
The Pine Tree Slope (Partia Bradului)
This is by far the most popular slope amongst beginners and the only slope which has a nocturnal installation. The Pine Tree slope measures 465 m in length and it is often super crowded as this is the slope which has a ski lift.
The Stadium Slope (Partia Stadionului)
This has the lowest difficulty in Poiana Brasov and it is mainly dedicated to first-time skiers, kids and snowboarders. If you are new to skiing then this is the perfect place to learn new moves and practice the ski lift use. It measures just 325 m, which makes it great for beginners.
Are you ready to have an epic time in Poiana Brasov? Leave a comment below and let me know about your travel plans around Romania.