The Romanian Carpathians belong to the Alpine-Carpathian-Himalayan mountain chain, which covers Eurasia's intercontinental area. Being the highest in Europe after the French Alps and sharing the same landscape particulars, glacial episodes and structural configuration, the Carpathians have been surnamed the Alps of Transylvania.
The Carpathians are displayed like an arch embracing the Transylvanian Tableland and are divided into three groups: Eastern Carpathians (Vatra Dornei Region: Durau, Ceahlau, Rodna 2303m, their inner rim forming the longest chain of volcanic mountains in Europe), Southern Carpathians (Brasov-Sinaia Region: Bucegi, Retezat with the highest peaks Moldoveanu 2544m, Negoiu 2535m, Omul 2505m) and Western Carpathians (Banat Region: Apuseni, Semenic 1410m).
Scattered along the picturesque Prahova Valley, the ski resorts welcome all winter sports lovers with challenging slopes fit for experimented skiers, but also mild slopes for beginners, and snowboarding and sleigh riding are also available. In the summer however, you can do mountaineering, hiking, trekking, horse riding and off-roading.
With snow lasting for 120 days a year and mild temperatures between -4oC to 5oC average in January, the Southern Carpathian resorts offer an unforgettable experience at high altitude: giant slaloms, night-lit ski slopes, teleski, cablecars (go up to 2000m altitude), ski instructors, ski schools, equipment hire facilities, sleighs, ski costumes, chalets, bars, clubs, restaurants.
One of the most popular ski resorts in Romania, becoming more and more the paradise of the European budget skier, is Poiana Brasov (1020m altitude), situated at the feet of Postavaru Summit (height 1799m), only 12 km SW of Brasov and connected by a modern road. Brasov itself is a three hour drive from Bucharest and once the new motorway is completed over the next few years, this should reduce by half, making it an ideal time now, to invest in real estate in Brasov and the surrounding areas.
But there are many other ski resorts around Brasov: Azuga boasting its Olympic homologated ski slopes, Predeal (highest town in Romania: 1110m altitude, close to Paltinu Summit 1900m), Sinaia (proximity of Omul Summit 2505m, very chic town with many attractions), Busteni (Caraiman Summit – 2326m), Clabucet slopes, etc
Not only is it cheaper to holiday in Romania than most European ski resorts, but Brasov is also perfectly located for off-piste adventures. You can visit the 15th century built Bran Castle, former residence of Vlad Dracula the Impaler, or the outer walls and defence towers of Brasov Fortress built by the Saxon settlers between 1400-1650, or the set where ‘Cold Mountain’ was shot, film starring Nicole Kidman, or Brasov’s most famous landmark – the Black Church, a 14th century Gothic, later Baroque monument, whose name reminds of the 1689 Great Fire that blackened its walls.
And not far from Brasov, in the beautiful town of Sinaia, there is plenty to do apart from skiing: you can visit Peles Castle, considered a masterpiece of German New-Renaissance architecture, or the Sinaia Monastery where orthodox monks are happily inviting you to get a glimpse of their fascinating work and medieval treasures, or indeed, you can try your luck at the Casino.
And with so many enticing restaurants, you can indulge in the tasty adventure of Romanian cuisine, virtually organic in its entirety, ranging from deer, bear and fish to hearty soups and stews.