If you're a fan of winter sports and wondering what are the best ski resorts in Romania for skiing, snowboarding and other winter fun & leisure activities - this article is for you!
In this practical guide you'll find up-to-date info about planning your ski holiday in Romania. We'll cover the most popular ski resorts our Carpathian Mountains offer, slopes, infrastructure, prices, peak season and best time to go.
Including some bonus info like the best areas for cross-country skiing (off-piste), tours with guide-instructors, areas for snow shoe hiking and what Romania is like during winter.
Here's the short version:
- Romania the ski resorts or infrastructure like the best destinations for skiing in Europe such as Switzerland, Austria or France; so advanced skiers or snowboarders looking to spend 5+ days ski holiday in Romania will have to move around a little to get the most of their holiday
- what Romania does have is variety, adventure and affordability - so if you're looking for more than endless km of slopes you'll see Romania is a great choice with good value for money in its famous resorts
You may want to check our article on what tourism in Romania is like if this is your first time visiting our country. This will make things easier.
Table of contents
- Why plan a ski holiday in Romania?
- Where to go skiing in Romania. Budget. Best time.
- 1. Poiana Brasov ski resort - the best in Romania
- 2. Sinaia: your second-best choice for a ski holiday in Romania
- 3. Busteni, Azuga, and Predeal - a ski holiday 4-in-1
- 4. Ski resorts around Sibiu: Paltinis and Balea
- 5. Ski resorts close to Cluj-Napoca: Suior and others
- 6. Other Romanian ski resorts - harder to get to, but worth it!
Poiana Braşov, one of the most popular ski resorts in Romania
Why plan a ski holiday in Romania?
Let's start with the basics: even though the Carpathian Mountains occupy 54% of Romania's territory - our country's infrastructure for winter sports and tourism is
not as developed as you'd expect given the potential it has.
- about 150 ski resorts though most are small ski resorts and only about 15-20 should be considered
- approx. 218 groomed ski slopes with a total length of approximately 189 km
- the longest ski run is in the winter resort of Straja (8.1 km), and the second longest is in Poiana Brasov (4.5 km)
These numbers speak for themselves. While progress is being made and each year new slopes are opened, Romania is
not your go-to-destination for Alps-like continuous skiing and does not have the winter infrastructure of other famous ski resorts in Europe.
So now let me tell you the good parts of planning a ski holiday in Romania - and there are quite a few!
- 1. new territories to conquer
The best ski resorts (which you'll find in this article) can offer a good run for skiers and snowboarders with many exciting slopes to conquer (though shorter) and challenging runs (mostly medium-difficult good for intermediate skiers and advanced).
And there are some spectacular views waiting for you! Why do you think the mountains in Romania are called the Transylvanian Alps? :)
- 2. low prices
A holiday in the top ski resorts in Romania will be cheaper than in top European resorts.
Romania is a in general with lower prices and good value-for-money that will surprise foreign tourists even if after the Covid years and the 2022/2023 energy crisis and inflation prices went up.
A budget of 750 Euro is enough for on a ski holiday for 4 days with medium accommodation and meals, passes for ski lifts and rentals, in the top ski resorts.
- 3. easy access
5 of the best ski resorts in Romania (Poiana Braşov, Sinaia, Predeal, Busteni and Azuga) are close to Bucharest (served by lots of low cost flights) and easily accessible by train or a Bucharest airport transfer. So Romania is a perfect place to combine a city break with a day trip skiing!
And most ski resorts in Romania are well-equipped for foreign tourists with info points, maps, and English-speaking people.
- 4. exciting adventures
Having the large Carpathian Mountains with an underdeveloped infrastructure for winter sports means Romania is the perfect place for cross-county skiing (also known as off-piste or backcountry) which means skiing on slopes
not groomed in non-tourist areas where there are no other people, ski lifts, cable cars or artificial snow.
It's just you, nature and virgin white powder! This activity is suitable for advanced skiers or snowboarders who know how to ride on a splitboard and how to use an avalanche kit.
And if you don't - no worries, one of our guides will teach you!
The best places for cross-country skiing are close to the medieval city of Brasov (in Ciucas Mountains) and Sibiu (Fagaras Mountains). Snowshoe trails and ski touring are also possible especially in Piatra Craiului and Bucegi Mountains, both close to Brasov.
- 5. Romania is a great winter destination
Romania in winter, especially in December, is a magical time to visit. The most popular cities are beautifully decorated with lights, animated by Christmas Markets smelling of mulled wine from afar and the snow gives them a special charm.
And don't get me started on our Winter traditional dishes, traditions and over-the-top hospitality when staying in the countryside - you might not even reach the slopes or be too full when you get there!
Romanians go crazy in December and most locals want to spend their winter holidays (including New Year's Eve) in the best ski resorts in the country. So this is peak season where prices are very high and accommodations are fully booked.
Where to go skiing in Romania. Budget. Best time.
Now let's have a quick overview of what to expect when planning your ski holiday in our country.
The largest ski area in Romania is in Valea Prahovei which is the area between the capital Bucharest and the medieval city of Brasov. Some of the best ski resorts in our country are here very close to each other: Sinaia, Busteni, Azuga, and Predeal.
Poiana Brasov ski resort is arguably the most popular ski destination in the country - which also makes it the most expensive. It's easily accessible the city of Brasov.
Your next best choice is to fly or travel to Sibiu which is closer to the ski resorts of Paltinis, Ranca, Transalpina and Straja in Parâng Mountains.
The city of Cluj-Napoca is another good choice to fly into the country. From here you can head North into the region of Maramures where the smaller ski resorts of Cavnic, Suior and Baisoara are located.
Or go South in Apuseni Mountains and head for the popular ski resorts of Vartop and Arieseni.
Except for the ski resorts in Valea Prahovei region serviced by trains, all the other ones are accessible only by car although you may find another option using Romanian public transport, particularly busses and small shuttles.
In terms of budget - accommodation starts from 35 Euro for a double room with breakfast in local guesthouses (pensiune) if you're looking for a basic B&B. A room in a 3-start hotel starts from 60 Euro and all rooms will become during the peak season of Christmas and New Year holiday season, especially in the most popular ski resorts in Prahova Valley.
Larger guesthouses and hotels in the best ski resorts typically start from 80 Euro. Booking.com and AirBnB are good places to start looking for accommodation in the most popular mountain resorts and small towns.
A 1-day pass for ski lifts ranges from 80 to 170 Lei (17-32€) depending on how popular the resort is. There's usually only one ski pass sales point so make sure to buy Renting equipment will set you back around 15 - 30 Euro / day depending on gear type.
In smaller ski resorts hot drinks and small snacks at the slopes will start from 2 Euro. Meals will typically cost around 6-10 Euro per person with a drink included.
In the famous ski resorts however, prices will go up. Prices in après-ski bars (which are designed like posh-winter clubs) will start 4-5 Euro for drinks, while meals are on average 8-12 Euro or more.
Even so, these are still low prices compared with most top European ski resorts!
The best time for a holiday in Romania's top ski resorts is January - late March after the of the Winter holidays has passed when they're crowded and prices are high. There's always snow during this time of the year in most mountain ranges over 1,800 m altitude.
The duration of the ski season is up until end of March but in high altitude mountain resorts (such as the Bucegi Plateau, at Balea Lake or Paltinis) it can last as far as early May depending on how thick the snow cover is.
Expect an average temperature of -5 Celsius during the day and -15 Celsius during the night. Though winters in Romania have become milder
At lower altitudes most resorts have snow cannons that 'supplement' the slopes with artificial snow if needed.
The most popular mountain resorts with long km of slopes are also the most crowded. Not only they attract advanced skiers but also many a beginner skier looking for ski instructors. And they're all equipped for night skiing too.
Local tip:during weekends most Romanians like to spend their holidays in the Romanian ski resorts even if only to go for a cable car ride. So make sure to book your logistics in advance and try to avoid weekends if you can when queues at ski lifts or cable cars can become long
All ski resorts have professional mountain rescuers, ski instructors and monitors. More specific English info about each winter resort in Romania, ski maps, prices, and live webcams can be found here.
Now let's see which are the most popular ski resorts to consider for your holiday in Romania:
1. Poiana Brasov ski resort - the best in Romania
Poiana Brașov has the most km of ski slopes in total, many ski lifts, artificial cannons, lights for night skiing and the most ski instructors and monitors.
So this makes it the perfect destination for all types of winter sports, the most popular ski resort in Romania and the most one. It's a 3h drive from Bucharest or a 30 min drive from Brasov.
Having some of the longest slopes in Romania (for example, Drumul Rosu is the second longest slope in the country with 4,5 km) and a favorite for the local high life, Poiana Brasov is also the most in-demand, luxurious ski resort with many 4-5* hotels, apart-hotels, fine dining restaurants and SPAs.
Located conveniently between dense pine forests and with slopes starting as high as 1800 m altitude, skiing in Poiana Brasov offers over 14 km of runs (ranging from black to blue slopes), nocturne, and lovely scenery. The resort has two chairlifts, two ski lifts and a cable car with three routes.
A ski pass will cost 170 lei (about 34 euros) for a 1 day pass. As the ski slopes in Poiana Brasov are equipped with snow cannons, they're typically ready for skiiers by early December.
Even if you are a beginner skier, you can find a ski school (out of the many available) and book an instructor to teach you. There are plenty of options for après-ski bars in the resort and various activities to keep things interesting, like a bike hire or snowmobile to explore the surroundings. More info on prices, live webcam and news here.
The best places are rarely a well-kept secret, and that means that the
downside with Poiana Brasov is that it gets pretty crowded during the December holidays and weekends. So if you want to get away from the crowds and feel adventurous, you can go off-piste riding in nearby Postavaru Mountain with our guide.
And there are lots of things to do in Brasov one of the most popular tourist cities in Romania. You'll find a wide selection of hotels, restaurants and activities here.
2. Sinaia: your second-best choice for a ski holiday in Romania
Sinaia is the closest ski resort to Bucharest (a two-hour drive or 1h 30m by train). It offers spectacular views at 2000 m altitude with over 15 different slopes to choose from (4 easy, 8 medium, and 3 difficult). In total, there are around 20 km of ski slopes in the plateau of the Bucegi Mountains under the careful supervision of the Romanian Sphinx one of the famous tourist attractions in Romania.
The beautiful ski resort itself resembles a cozy mountain village in Austria and is also home to the famous Peles Castle the former summer residence of the first Royal Family of Romania that bears witness to the opulence of King Carol I's reign. There are lots of decent 3-star hotel here and prices are reasonable.
Therefore, choosing this resort will offer a great opportunity to combine winter sports with a sightseeing holiday in Romania. Another advantage is that in Sinaia ski resort you can shred snow until late April or even the beginning of May!
So if you're looking for interesting things to do in Bucharest besides the typical sightseeing, a quick skiing day trip in Sinaia can be a good option!
From the center of Sinaia you can go up to 1400m via cable car and start your descent from there, or you can continue upwards to the 2000m plateau of the Bucegi Mountains via ski lift or gondola and enjoy mellow rides! Due to strong winds at this altitude, the ski lifts leading from 1400m to 2000m are sometimes closed so be sure to check in advance.
The price of a ski pass day ticket is the same as in Poiana Brasov - 170 lei (approx. 34 euros). More info on costs, slopes and maps of Sinaia here.
3. Busteni, Azuga, and Predeal - a ski holiday 4-in-1
Also in Prahova Valley are the popular winter resorts of Busteni, Azuga, and Predeal offer a decent choice of slopes with modern infrastructure and nocturne for night skiing. But their slopes are shorter and probably the best options for beginner skiers.
Due to their accessibility, they also get very crowded during weekends and holidays. And they have gorgeous mountain landscapes. My favorite is the view of Caraiman Peak (with its famous Caraiman cross lit up at night) from Busteni.
With plenty of good value-for-money hotels, guesthouses, and restaurants to choose from, these resorts will not disappoint - but you need to plan and book ahead because they are the favorite choice with Romanian winter sports fans.
Together with Sinaia these four resorts are very close to each other and located on the same route by train or car with shuttle busses doing rounds between them. So the good news is that if you choose to spend 3-4 nights in the area you can have a pretty decent and varied ski holiday in Romania!
4. Ski resorts around Sibiu: Paltinis and Balea
Close to famous Saxon heritage city of Sibiu is Paltinis (about 18 km away), the oldest ski resort in Romania and most popular resort among locals.
With 8 slopes, the resort is a good choice for beginner snowboarders. The resort located in the Cindrel Mountains also offers approx. 5km of cross-country ski trails, superb views of the area, and a very good choice of hotels and guesthouses!
I can suggest an even better place if you're in the area and looking for next-level fun: near Paltinis resort, there is a new resort called Arena Platos (30 km from Sibiu) which features 6 slopes, night skiing, and the most modern fun park in Romania built on 3 separate platforms (easy, medium, difficult) which can also be used during the night.
Arena Platos is also known for the frequent sports and adventure events it hosts during summer and winter, ranging from ski/snowboard/MTB races, New Year's party, and open-air concerts at 1400 m altitude! Buses are running twice a day from Sibiu - more info here.
A good option for adrenaline junkies and professional skiers/snowboarders is up at Balea Lake in Fagaras Mountain range. Balea Lac has the highest altitude and longest slopes (14 km of medium to difficult) accessible only by cable car and technically it is not a winter resort because it doesn't have groomed slopes.
Skiing at Balea in Fagaras Mountains
There are two areas for skiing - Balea Cascada (Waterfall) at 1234m and Balea Lac (Lake) at 2034m, both located at the two ends of a cable car. As the road between the two (the famous Transfagarasan Road) is closed during winter, the cable car from Balea Cascada is the only way to get to Balea Lake, where you will find the famous 3-star Hotel of Ice.
The area is pretty rough and wild, not for the faint-hearted. Still, if you are an experienced skier/boarder or you're looking for adventure, this is another great place for cross-country skiing where our guide will take you!
Locals in Maramures during winter
5. Ski resorts close to Cluj-Napoca: Suior and others
The closest is the small ski resort of Baisoara (50 km) a rather old ski resort with 2 slopes totalling 1.5 km which is a good option for a quick ski day trip from the city. A newer, modern resort called Buscat (right before the entrance to Baisoara ski resort) opened with 3 slopes, one for each difficulty level, with events and races frequently organized during the winter and summer seasons.
A better option is to plan your winter holiday in the ski resort of Suior closer to the small towns of Baia Mare or Satu Mare. Though having only 3.6 km of slopes and attracting many crowds from the area, being located in the famous traditional region of Maramures, you are guaranteed to enjoy your time here. The locals' hospitality, good food, traditions, and many attractions in the area will keep you very busy when off-piste!
Other notable small ski resorts in Maramures are Cavnic with about 8 km of runs and Borsa with only 3 km but boasting a 50m ski trampoline which is unique in Romania!
6. Other Romanian ski resorts - harder to get to, but worth it!
In recent years Straja ski resort (in Hunedoara county) proved itself a serious contender to Poiana Brasov ski resort with a network of 26 km of slopes at 1400 meters above sea level.
The resort's top selling point is having the in Romania. The resort also holds the record for the largest ski area in the country. It is modern, incredibly cheap, with good snow (boosted by snow cannons if needed) and or overpriced! Getting there might be more challenging, but it is definitely worth it.
The resort of Ranca (in Gorj county), which is accessible only by driving on Transalpina Road, made it on this list for one simple reason: the snow season here usually starts from September and lasts until May. Though only with 3.4 km of slopes, you can admire beautiful views of the area while riding on the spacious and not-crowded downhill slopes.
There is also the nearby resort of Voineasa - Vidra - Transalpina (RO website), which you can find by continuing to drive on Transalpina Road from Ranca. The resort - in Valcea County - opened in 2012 and boasts an ambitious project to create 80 km of slopes in Romania at altitudes of 2.100m! Right now, only 6.1 km of runs have been groomed. The Voineasa - Vidra - Transalpina ski resort is not easily accessible without a car, but the breathtaking views of the area, coupled with the almost-virgin slopes, make it a great winter destination! - should consider this resort for a ski holiday in Romania!
Parang ski resort is located in the massif with the same name - Parâng Mountains and is also accessible from Ranca.
With its pristine slopes and well-groomed trails, Parang Ski Resort beckons seasoned skiers and novices alike to indulge in the thrill of downhill skiing and snowboarding. The resort boasts modern amenities such as cozy lodges, ski schools, and equipment rentals to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay for visitors of all ages.
Another winter option in Romania is Luna Șes ski resort, which is only a short drive away (1 hour) from Satu Mare. It is a new resort under continuous development, but it already has almost 3 km of slopes available.
There are also three notable ski resorts in Suceava County: Rarău – Câmpulung Moldovenesc, Vatra Dornei, and Gura Humorului. The Vatra Dornei resort is the best for a ski trip, with 5.5 km of ski runs available.
Aaaand that's it - the local guide to skiing in Romania!
We hope this helped and that you will consider visiting our country during winter! Just be careful - it's better to plan in advance and book ahead because Romanians love spending Christmas and New Year's in winter resorts!
Your Romanian Friend