by Michal Sliacky
Slovakia offers many versatile possibilities as well as excellent conditions for recreational and sporting activities. From the seasonal point of view, activities may be divided into summer and winter activities.
The winter period is crucial for many areas in Slovakia due to the number of arriving tourists. Thanks to its temperate European zone with copious snowfall and beautiful hilly terrain, Slovakia boasts plenty of excellent ski resorts, which constitute some of the most attractive tourist sites during the winter season. The best resorts are to be found at higher altitudes and in the larger tourist centres. They offer better and higher-quality services, an extended season (if necessary by providing artificial snow) and a variety of other types of entertainment besides skiing and winter sports.
THE MOST IMPORTANT SLOVAK WINTER SPORTS RESORTS INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
• Ski Resort Jasná, Žilina Region,
• Ski Resort Park Snow Donovaly, Banská Bystrica Region,
• Ski Resort Štrbské Pleso, Prešov Region,
• Ski Resort Tatranská Lomnica, Prešov Region,
• Ski Resort Skipark Ružomberok, Žilina Region,
• Ski Resort Veľká Rača, Žilina Region,
• Ski Resort Jasenská dolina, Žilina Region,
• Ski Resort Relax Center Plejsy, Košice Region,
• Ski Resort Čertovica, Žilina Region,
• Ski Resort Chopok South, Banská Bystrica Region,
• Ski Resort Mýto pod Ďumbierom, Banská Bystrica Region
and many others…
The most commonly available sports in Slovakia’s winter resorts include cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, ski-alpine skiing, freestyle and freeride snowboarding and skiing and ice skating.
A stay at one of these resorts may be enriched with dog sled tours and entertainment of both a traditional and non-traditional nature.
Those not interested in snowy slopes, bobsleigh tracks or ice rinks who long for summer days have the opportunity to recall them at least in part at Slovakia’s water parks, which boast stable water temperatures the whole year round.
THE MOST POPULAR WATER PARKS IN SLOVAKIA INCLUDE:
• Aquacity Poprad, Prešov Region,
• Aquapark Senec, Bratislava Region,
• Tatralandia Liptovský Mikuláš, Žilina Region,
• Vyhne Water Paradise, Banská Bystrica Region
• Holidaypark Kováčová, Banská Bystrica Region
• Vadaš Štúrovo, Nitra Region
• Thermal Corvinus Veľký Meder, Trnava Region,
• Aquapark Oravice, Žilina Region,
• Gino Paradise Bešeňová, Žilina Region,
• Spa & Aquapark Turčianske Teplice, Žilina Region,
• Thermalpark Dunajská Streda, Trnava Region,
• Thermal Centre Galandia Galanta, Trnava Region,
• Vyšné Ružbachy, Prešov Region,
• Terchovec Terchová, Žilina Region and others.
During summer months many recreational activities take place by the waterside where there are always excellent facilities for recreation, sport and entertainment.
Besides swimming, recreational areas situated by the water also offer other activities such as boating, speedboating, water biking, water skiing, windsurfing, diving and other activities.
Set amidst beautiful scenery, Slovakia’s dense network of rivers is an ideal precondition for river rafting. Those interested in floating, one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, will also come into their own. Most popular is rafting on the Dunajec River. However, there are also opportunities for faster, more adrenalin-pumping rafting in canoes and kayaks or on rafts.
THE MOST POPULAR RIVERS AND RESORTS SUITABLE FOR RAFTING INCLUDE:
• Liptovský Mikuláš Water Slalom Resort, Žilina Region
• Bratislava-Čunovo Water Sports Resort, Bratislava Region
• the Belá, Žilina Region
• the Dunajec, Prešov Region
• the Hron, Banská Bystrica Region
• Malý Dunaj- the Little Danube, Trnava Region
Another very important resource for relaxation associated with water is provided by Slovakia’s summer and thermal swimming pools, which are located in all regions of Slovakia and in almost every large or small town.
Tourism has a great tradition in Slovakia mainly due to the excellent conditions offered by the Slovak mountains. In all mountain areas it is possible to find many marked safe hiking trails or nature trails, with information boards at regular intervals along the way describing the local fauna, flora and interesting natural formations. More demanding tourists can choose from the Alpine routes, which are tougher due to their length, elevation and altitude, often reaching over 2,500 metres above sea level.
Slovakia also offers excellent conditions and facilities for other summer recreational pursuits such as cycling, horse riding, motocross, golf, tobogganing systems and various adrenaline-pumping activities.
ZOOS, PARKS AND GARDENS
THE MOST FAMOUS SLOVAK ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS, BOTANICAL GARDENS AND PARKS INCLUDE:
• Bojnice Zoological Garden, Trenčín Region
• Bratislava Zoological Garden, Bratislava Region
• Košice Zoological Garden, Košice Region
• Spišská Nová Ves Zoological Garden, Prešov Region
• Bratislava Botanical Garden, Bratislava Region
• Nitra Botanical Garden, Nitra Region
• Mlyňany Arboretum, Nitra Region
• Borová Hora Arboretum, Banská Bystrica Region
• Kysihýbel Arboretum, Banská Bystrica Region
• Lednické Rovne Botanical Park, Trenčín Region
• Liptovský Hrádok Arboretum, Žilina Region.
SPAS, HEALING AND MINERAL SPRINGS
For many decades there has been no doubt about the healing effects of many mineral springs that have welled forth in Slovakia. Those who particularly bear witness of it are satisfied guests who regularly and willingly return to Slovak spas. Balneal and related services in Slovakia have a very good reputation not only in Europe but also worldwide. This is due not only to the quantity and strength of the healing mineral springs, but also to the tradition of service and care for demanding clients.
LEADING SPA RESORTS IN SLOVAKIA INCLUDE:
• Piešťany Spa, Trnava Region
• Trenčianske Teplice Spa, Trenčín Region
• Bardejov Spa, Prešov Region
• Bojnice Spa, Trenčín Region
• Dudince Spa, Banská Bystrica Region
• Tatranské Matliare Spa, Prešov Region
• Rajecké Teplice Spa, Žilina Region
• Nový Smokovec Spa, Prešov Region
• Štrbské Pleso Spa, Prešov Region
• Tatranská Polianka Spa, Prešov Region
• Turčianske Teplice Spa, Žilina Region
• Vyšné Ružbachy Spa, Prešov Region
• Brusno Spa, Banská Bystrica Region
• Sklenné Teplice Spa, Banská Bystrica Region
• Sliač Spa, Banská Bystrica Region
• Smrdáky Spa, Trnava Region
• Číž Spa, Banská Bystrica Region
• Lučivná Spa, Prešov Region
• Kováčová Spa, Banská Bystrica Region
• Nimnica Spa, Trenčín Region
• Štós Spa, Košice Region.
The focus of services offered by spa towns in Slovakia varies. Whereas healing procedures for more serious illnesses based on medical recommendations require a longer residential period in a therapeutic facility, stays in therapeutic and spa facilities which are intended only for rest and relaxation usually tend to be shorter. In addition to hot baths and professional massages, a range of slimming, activity, beauty and wellness stays are also available for visitors.