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For a wet winter oasis, check out these indoor pools

After a long day, whether it was spent in the office with work or at home with children, every one of us seeks refreshment. A shower or bath may sound good, but the tub at home does not allow for a whole lot of diving and splashing. No need to wait 'til next spring for that: get your swimsuit and head for the plaváreň (indoor swimming pool) in your city. Bratislava has several indoor pools. Plaváreň Pasienky is the one that is open for the public the most. They have two pools: the 50-meter veľký basin (big pool) and the 25-meter malý basin (small pool). Iuventa, between Karlová Ves and Dúbravka, is open at different times every day. They offer a sauna for 50 Sk per person, two fitness centers and a swimming course that you can sign up for.

After a long day, whether it was spent in the office with work or at home with children, every one of us seeks refreshment. A shower or bath may sound good, but the tub at home does not allow for a whole lot of diving and splashing. No need to wait 'til next spring for that: get your swimsuit and head for the plaváreň (indoor swimming pool) in your city.

Bratislava has several indoor pools. Plaváreň Pasienky is the one that is open for the public the most. They have two pools: the 50-meter veľký basin (big pool) and the 25-meter malý basin (small pool). Iuventa, between Karlová Ves and Dúbravka, is open at different times every day. They offer a sauna for 50 Sk per person, two fitness centers and a swimming course that you can sign up for. A bronze card is available for 4,000 Sk, which gives you use of the pools, saunas and fitness centers all year round. Iuventa and Pasienky have cheap rates for these facilities, and they have discounts for children.

The two biggest hotels in Bratislava, the Danube and the Forum, also have indoor pools that can be used by the public. The Danube charges 100 Sk per person, and the Forum 150 Sk per person. The Forum's price includes two saunas and a solarium. The saunas at the Hotel Danube are an extra fee. Both hotels offer fitness centers and massage services. Hotel Forum also has a bar near the pool.

In Nitra, the Plaváreň has saunas and massages, too. But call before you go, because reconstruction work is under way.

Banská Bystrica has a plaváreň with great prices that is open everyday to the public, but unfortunately it has only a swimming pool. In Poprad, you pay 20 Sk for two hours in the pool. This includes steam saunas, but not the classical sauna, for which you must pay extra. Massages and a fitness center are also handy options.

If you are staying in the High Tatras and you want to escape wintery temperatures, most of the big hotels have indoor pools that are open to the public. For example, in Tatranská Lomnica, Hotel Odborár has a pool, saunas and massages. Hotel Bellevue in Horný Smokovec has the same services. In Štrbské Pleso, Hotel Patria and Hotel Fis both have a pool, sauna, and massage services.

Hotel Fis requires wearing a swimcap in the pool. Caps are available for rent in the hotel for 5 Sk. Saunas and massages cost extra. Hotel Odborár is the exception, where you can rent the sauna for two hours for 100 Sk and then use the pools for free.

Košice has an indoor pool, which is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. But the schedule changes often, so call before going to verify it is really open. There are also saunas and a fitness center, and information on children's swimming lessons available at the Aqua Center.

If you live in a smaller town, or if these places are closed for some reason, try calling local high schools or universities. Schools sometimes have their own swimming pools, which they let the public use from time to time.

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