Skiing is an expensive hobby, especially with children, but these Eastern European Hidden Gem Ski Slopes & Lesser Known Ski Resort Schools For Kids And Families provide top service for a smaller price. If you’re looking to take the family on an undiscovered skiing holiday these personalised recommendations from other travellers will help you look further afield and hopefully find you a great deal.
Why Choose Eastern Europe As A Skiing Destination?
Unlike France, Switzerland & Austria, Eastern Europe remains largely undiscovered by mass tourism and most western Europeans. To put it simply, by visiting eastern europe you get more bang for your buck, shorter queue times, more piste time, fewer people to navigate around and the temperatures throughout eastern Europe remain freezing so you’re pretty much guaranteed near perfect snow most of the winter and early spring.
Poiana Brasov, Romania
If you’re looking for a cheap winter getaway where you can ski to your heart’s content without putting too much of a strain on the wallet, look east! Eastern Europe is home to many amazing ski resorts, full of pristine mountain landscapes with budget-friendly ski resorts for all kinds of travellers. Poiana Brasov is one such mountain resort town, located in the heart of Romania’s beautiful Transylvania region.
Only a 30-minute drive from the vibrant city of Brasov and an international airport easily accessible in both Bucharest and Brasov, Poiana Brasov is an easy winter getaway for lovers of skiing, snowboarding and general winter fun. The town of Poiana Brasov is quite small but there are 12 ski runs to enjoy totaling over 22 kilometers and dozens of delightful ski resorts and guesthouses in Poiana Brasov.
There are some phenomenal ski resorts with spa facilities. During my stay in Poiana Brasov, I enjoyed staying at Ana Hotel Sport, which was budget-friendly but spacious and with nice facilities. I also used a day pass at Teleferic Grand Hotel to enjoy their sauna, steam room, outdoor hot tub, and massage services — it was extremely luxurious!
I’m not a skier but I still enjoyed my days in Poiana Brasov for being so close to other fantastic places in Romania for day trips. Rasnov Citadel, Bran Castle and the UNESCO-listed historic centre of Brasov are all easily accessible by car or taxi and all are well worth a visit during your stay in Poiana Brasov. Besides that, there are restaurants you can enjoy, hiking trails you can stroll, and so much winter sports fun to be had!
Aurelius Imparatul Romanilor is picturesquely located on the shore of Miorita Lake, in the mountains of Poiana Brasov.
Guests have free access to the indoor swimming pool, sauna & hot tub and the fitness area. During the winter season, the property offers ski storage as well as massages.
The restaurant is directly situated at the lakefront, serving international & traditional dishes. Free wi-fi is on offer too.
Slovakia is not a hot ski destination and doesn’t have the plethora or resort sizes in comparison to neighbouring Austria. What it does have though, is a strong ski culture and resorts that can offer great quality whilst keeping the cost among the lowest in Europe. Jasna is the best ski resort in the country, and even though its 50 kilometers of tracks may not impress you, the quality of the slopes, the great service and the low waiting lift times will.
Built on the north and south slopes of peak Chopok in Low Tatras, one of Jasna’s greatest advantages is that almost always no matter the weather, there is a good side to ski on. The resort has relatively new lifts which are well maintained and a good balance between black, red and blue tracks. The ski service is top-notch as is the gear at the rental facilities. The instructors and the ski school are excellent, offering group and private sessions.
The apres-ski facilities are also amazing and the food at the local kolibas (taverns) exceptional. You can eat for €10/person in many places; something unheard-of for most alpine resorts. Try kapustnica—a sauerkraut and sausage soup which is the best winter soup in the world for me. Also, don’t miss the chance to have a coffee at Rotunda Hotel which is meters away from the peak, and admire the amazing views to Low and High Tatras.
The ski season lasts from December to April and the nearest airport is Poprad, but Bratislava and Vienna are not very far either. For ski passes, it is better to buy in advance from the website of GoPass where you can score a great deal if you get them at least a month before your visit. Last time, I paid €32/day with full insurance which is awesome.
Where To Stay
The Eko-šport Resort Björnson is just 100 yards from the ski area!
Various facilities provided by the property include the Hriatô outdoor relaxation area with wooden swimming pools and a relaxation room, barbecue facilities, a children’s playground, a pétanque court, basketball court, sports equipment for hire and an activity room in the main building.
It also features free parking, a 24-hours reception, daily cleaning. tv, free wi-fi, an onsite restaurant and a terrace with panoramic views.
Hotel Rotunda is the highest hotel in the Central Europe. At 6,575 feet above sea level, the hotel is accessible only by a funicular.
It offers a ski-to-door access with accommodation in 3 deluxe rooms with balconies over mountain views. Meals are served in the onsite restaurant with a spacious terrace featuring panoramic views. There’s also an on site rum bar (put the kids to bed and enjoy a rum or two) and free parking is provided locally.
Gudauri may be unknown to the western traveller but it’s a big and comprehensive resort with 35km of slopes and 15 lifts.
At a height of 2,196 m the skiing season lasts from December to April whilst skiing in May is still possible on a number of slopes. Busiest between December and January, it is best to visit mid-week and out of Russian holidays although saying that it is never as busy as popular slopes in France.
Steven and Saule, the creators of Caravanistan describe it as perfect for all abilities and especially if you’d like to try heli-skiing. They write that with an ever-expanding 75 km of slopes and an incredible range of off-piste options, Gudauri is diverse enough for a week of skiing for every ability.
It is possible to rent equipment here and piste prices in 2018 offered a one-day ski pass for 40 GEL (£10) during the high season, with discounts for children 6-16 and multi day passes. Children under 6 can ski for free. One-ride and three-ride passes were available for 5-15 GEL (£1.50-£4).
Accommodation in Gudari
Tsar Bani Spa Resort is within walking distance of 6 lifts. A complimentary breakfast is on offer, alongside spa facilities, free parking and a 24 hour reception
Arlamow is a tiny village located in the Przemysl Foothills, in the wilderness of the Bieszczady Mountains. Arlamow is a paradise for active visitors with skiing, nordic walking, horse riding, golf and cycling.
An intimate paradise for beginner skiers, the ski complex includes two t-bar lifts and a lit ski slope with artificially made snow if needed. There is also a rental shop and a ski school here. Good skiing conditions typically last from mid-December through to mid-March where there are 1.6 km of slopes available between the elevations of 515-580 m.
Karolina from the Lazy Travel Blog writes that you can enjoy carefree holidays here with facilities that cater for children of all ages, including a kid’s club! After a hard day on the piste, you can sit back and relax at the resort’s in-house spa which is equipped with 16 treatment rooms, a Jacuzzi and a steam bath.
Where To Stay
Arlamow Hotel promises breathtaking views of pristine hills and valleys with an outdoor thermal pool as well as a three storey spa and wellness centre. The hotel features a sports swimming pool, a recreational pool and a children’s pool. The spa centre offers beauty treatment, massages, a choice of saunas and steam baths, an ice room and an outdoor and indoor spa baths. Children have the opportunity of attending day care and a games room as well as a climbing wall and a shooting range!
There are three restaurants offering international and Polish meals, two taverns, one located right by the skiing slopes, a café and a bar, as well as a night club with a bowling alley and billiards tables.
Pamporovo is set in beautiful picturesque pine forests and stands out on this post as the most unique setting.
Pamporovo is in the West Rhodope mountains, 1.5-hours from Plovdiv and around 230km from Sofia. Being the most southerly on this post it gets more sunshine and the pistes are limited so it’s best for beginners. With gentle rounded slopes, it’s a quieter, more family friendly resort with some good ski schools. The ski area itself isn’t massive but the number of green and blue runs make Pamporovo excellent for beginners. There are 25km of pistes here and the longest run is 4.2km
Mina from Randomly Blogging Around writes that Pamporovo has many different slopes to offer, regardless of ability (26% beginner, 21% intermediate, 37% advanced, 16% expert runs). All of the slopes are surrounded by pine forest, creating a cozy feeling of being one with nature. She recommends the tower on the top of Snejanka peak where there is a coffee shop (open all year round). You can enjoy the stunning view of the local area, including the nearby Smolyan lakes.
A 3-day lift pass costs €75pp with the price of lunch averaging at €7pp.
Read more from Mina at Randomly Blogging Around
Hotel Bellevue Ski & SPA is just 350 yards from the main ski slopes of Studenetz and Snezanka.
Surrounded by pine forests in the heart of the Rodophy Mountains, Hotel Bellevue Ski & SPA has free WiFi and an indoor swimming pool. The spa comprises an outdoor hot tub, dry and wet saunas, a solarium and a relaxation area. It also offers hydrotherapy, massages and cosmetic treatments. A fitness centre is also available, just in case you didn’t expend enough energy skiing.
A complimentary breakfast is offered in the morning with a restaurant serving local specialities in the evening.
Pelister, North Macedonia
Pelister, North Macedonia is a tiny ski resort with just two ski lifts but it does boast a very impressive 1172 metres (3845 feet) of vertical descent. Pelister has 2 pistes and is best suited to advanced and intermediate skiers and snowboarders.
Within the forested Pelister National Park, also known as Kopanki, Pelister is in the south of the country near the city of Bitola. Whilst the resort skiing at Pelister-Kopanki can be good for a leg warmer on its 400m of skiable vertical, the main reason to visit the area is for the cat skiing tours (rather than hiking or using a chair lift you’re transported up the mountain in a snowcat, a grooming machine with a cabin on the back) run on nearby Baba Mountain.
From the base area at 1400m, the two lifts carry skiers to near the top of the tree line at 1800m where it is possible to then skin or boot another 800m climb to the top of the mountain at 2601m. This is a truly off the beaten path ski experience with very few foreign visitors.
Where Could You Stay
The Ukraine remains a widely unexplored area for international travellers, with the exception of Chernobyl. Slavsko (or Slavske as the Ukrainians says) is roughly 2 hours from Lviv by train and 8 hours from Kiev on the sleeper train. The town of Slavsko is very well priced with four small ski areas surrounded by forest-covered mountains, quaint villages and towns, practically untouched by modern civilization. The season runs from the end of November through to April.
Mt. Trostian is 1232 meters above sea level with almost 500 meters of vertical drop, offering runs to challenge experienced skiers. It offers some of the most breath-taking views in the area whereas Politekh Mountain is the perfect venue for beginners as it has a gradual hill with gentle slopes. Mt. Pohar rises to a height of nearly 1000 meters with two tow lifts and snow skiing runs more suited to advanced beginners and intermediate skiers whilst Mt. Velykyy Verkh (often referred to as Zakhar Berkut) is 1242 meters high with a 550 meter vertical drop which, while not as varied as Mt. Trostian, still offers a challenge to intermediate and advanced skiers.
Chris from WildKiwiAdventurer writes that Sloveski has just one main street featuring 3 simple ski rental shops. Here, you can rent boots, skis, snowboard, helmet, goggles, jacket or pants; everything you will need. The cost of rental for boots and skis is about 100 UHA ( €3.4 ). I paid 170 UHA ( €5.8 ) to get pants and goggles as well.
A daily ski pass will cost between 300-350 UAH, a 3 hour pass 200-250 UAH and a one time visit with no equipment 80-100UAH.
Ideas On Where To Stay
Tsarynka Eco Complex are eco friendly cottages built of oak that feature an outdoor swimming pool and sauna. Ukrainian cuisine, as well as local dishes, are served in the on-site restaurant. You can enjoy your meals on the terrace overlooking the snowy forest surroundings.
The self catering Romantic Villa Magic Mountains guest house is locatred within the ski resort and boasts exceptional views over the local mountains. It offers free car parking and a shared kitchen.
How Many Of These Resorts Had You Heard Of?
The big question is not how many had you heard of but will you swap the expensive resorts of Switzerland or Austria for these cheap & unknown gem locations? Family ski will never be cheap but with these excellent child orientated family locations, we hope we’ve opened some possibilities to cutting the costs for your next ski holiday.
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