Poiana Brasov is the best known Romanian ski resort, a regular in Britain’s winter holidays brochures for three decades. Once regarded as a cheap, good value destination for beginners, fierce price rises over the past few years have seen Poiana transform into a relatively expensive place to ski, characterised by long lift queues, poor snow conditions and crowded pistes.
In recent years, however, Poiana Brasov has at last seen some serious investment in its skiing infrastructure, and things look set to change for the better. New pistes have been created and existing ones extended, while two new chair lifts have helped shorten some of the peak-time queues and ease congestion on the busy slopes. The resort’s administrators have also invested in snow making equipment and piste-maintenance machines in order to keep the pistes in better shape.
Poiana Brasov also has plenty to offer the visitor even when the snow has melted. Situated at an altitude of 1060 metres in a gorgeous clearing, the resort offers a range of activities, of which the most popular is walking. Romanians love to hike their country’s mountains, and while Poiana does not offer the best hiking terrain in the country, it is highly accessible and a number of well-marked routes fan across the Postavarul mountain. Those not feeling up to a mountain walk can simply take the cable car to the top. Poiana also has a very good equestrian centre (find it on the road back to Brasov), and almost all of the resort’s hotels, pensions and villas rent mountain bikes. There are big swimming pools at the Piatra Mare and Sport hotels, and last but certainly not least, it is worth noting that Poiana is home to one of the best and most celebrated restaurants in Romania: Coliba Haiducilor.
Poiana Brasov has plenty of ATMs, including one conveniently placed in the wall of the Police Station, one next to the ticket office of the gondola station, and one at the Sport Hotel. Most hotels will exchange money, though generally charge exorbitant commissions. There is a chemist in the now rather rundown Favorit complex, a short walk from the Sport Hotel: beware that it keeps very short hours. In an emergency you will have to drive down to Brasov.