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Boating enthusiasts have many options for water adventure

It's summertime, and the many rivers, lakes, and waterways around Bratislava are beckoning. Kayakers can be seen out on the fast-flowing Danube and the muddy Morava, while other Slovaks tow canoes to the nearby Malý Dunaj (Small Danube), with its calm water and beautiful scenery, and the Starý Dunaj (Old Danube), both southeast of Bratislava. The more intrepid head farther afield, to the dramatic Váh, Belá and Hornád rivers in the mountains of northern Slovakia.
For those who don't own boats, it is possible to arrange float and paddle trips on some of the many nearby rivers. Most of the providers are either private individuals or small businessmen willing to provide boats and itineraries to small groups. There are also a few places which will just rent you a boat, allowing you to strike out on your own.


Whitewater can be had on the Belá, Váh, Orava or Hornád rivers.
photo: Slovak Spectator archive

It's summertime, and the many rivers, lakes, and waterways around Bratislava are beckoning. Kayakers can be seen out on the fast-flowing Danube and the muddy Morava, while other Slovaks tow canoes to the nearby Malý Dunaj (Small Danube), with its calm water and beautiful scenery, and the Starý Dunaj (Old Danube), both southeast of Bratislava. The more intrepid head farther afield, to the dramatic Váh, Belá and Hornád rivers in the mountains of northern Slovakia.

For those who don't own boats, it is possible to arrange float and paddle trips on some of the many nearby rivers. Most of the providers are either private individuals or small businessmen willing to provide boats and itineraries to small groups. There are also a few places which will just rent you a boat, allowing you to strike out on your own.

Many of these providers don't speak English, so foreigners might want to ask a Slovak speaker for help.

The simple stuff

Low-level boat rental consists of renting a rowboat or paddle boat on one of Slovakia's many lakes. One suggestion is Senecké jazerá, the biggest lake near the city. To get there, take the loal bus 20 km to Senec from the main bus station Nivy. One leaves every 30 minutes from platforms 30 or 32.

Canoeing

Canoe Racing Club Vinohrady (Klub rýchlostnej kanoistiky Vinohrady) Botanická 9, Tel.: 07-65 42 42 30. This private boating club is located along the banks of Karloveská zátoka, a small, quiet branch of the Danube located behind the Družba dormitory complex off Botanická Street. Call the club and ask for Jaroslav Ostrčil, the boating instructor. He can either rent you a canoe or kayak for about 300 Sk per day, or arrange a longer trip for groups of about 10 along the Danube, Morava, or other local rivers. He can also give kayaking lessons in the bay- and he speaks a little English.

Slovak Technical University, (Elektrotechnická fakulta), Mlynská dolina, Ilkovičova 3. Two professors at this university are well-known among students for arranging few-day or week-long canoeing trips for a minimun of five people on one of many rivers in Slovakia. It is sometimes possible to tag along with a group which has already booked a trip. The teachers are very professional and arrange food, equipment, a guide and anything else you need. The season lasts from May until the end of September, and the teachers start booking trips for the following year as early as February.

For more information, contact Mr. Sautner or Mr. Nagy at Tel.: 07- 58 23 33 40.

Kanoe Splav Moravan, Tel.: 07-65 73 03 07 12 in the evenings. Zvonimír Bartovič is a teacher who owns canoes and will arrange local float trips, such as on the Morava. He can accommodate up to 12 people. The cost is about 400 Sk per person. The season lasts from April till September. Great for beginners.

Yachting

It is also possible to rent a private speed boat to take you up and down the Danube with a bunch of friends. "Dunajská plavba," the company which organizes public ferries between Slovakia, Hungary and Austria, can rent you a yacht which can carry up to six passengers along with two mandatory crew members. The boat is 9.2 m long and 3 m wide, a kitchen and bathroom, and has a top speed of 45 km per hour. The cost is 1,900 Sk per hour. Routes are available from Bratislava to Gabčíkovo, to Austria or Hungary, and more. For further information contact Mr. Malašic at 07-52 93 22 24.

Rafting

A variety of rafting companies are available to take you and a group down either a nearby or far-off river. The agencies need to be called at least a day in advance and the prices include transport, instruction and equipment. You generally have to arrange your own ride to the High Tatras, though, where most of these agencies are located.

Adrenalin Team, Tel.: 0905-633 244 or send email to adrenalin.team@seznam.cz. The agency provides all sorts of "adventure sports" and runs rafting trips on the Belá river, in central Slovakia, near the town of Martin.

Crystal Ski, Závažná Poruba, Tel.: 0849-5591 460. The company offers half-day Váh and Belá river rafting trips for 600 Sk for a minimum group of 3 persons. Guides are available in English and German.

Jur Sport, Závažná Poruba, Tel.: 0849-5547 249. Váh river rafting costs 580 Sk for a half-day (2-15 people). An Orava river trip costs 750 Sk for all day (8-9 people). A whole day trip on Dunajec river costs 580 Sk for 8 people. English and German guides are available.

T-Ski, Starý Smokovec, Tel.: 0969-442-3200. Whole-day wooden platform rafting on the Dunajec with minibus transport costs is 470 Sk for adults and 400 Sk for children.

Expert course

Near Bratislava is a newly built man-made white water course, currently used only for professionals with their own equipment. If your skills are top-class, you might be able to use the course, which may also begin to rent equipment to the public next summer.

This weekend (Aug. 14-15), the Čuňovský kanál, 10 km from Bratislava near Čuňovo village, will host a round of the 3rd World Cup in Water Slalom. More than 250 sportsmen from 32 countries will compete in four categories, including women's and men's kayaking and canoe competitions. The event will start on Saturday morning at 9:30 and take all day Saturday and Sunday.

To get to the course by public transportation, take bus No. 91 from New Bridge and get off at the first stop in Čuňovo village. Then walk 1 km back. The sports area is a part of the Gabčíkovo water reservoir.

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