Rafters back on Dunajec and Váh

SLOVAKIA's rafters take to the water again after the winter break.
photo: TASR

A FEW weeks ago, rafters (pltníci) in Strečno and Červený Kláštor ceremoniously took to the waters of the Váh and Dunajec rivers for the first time this year, opening the 2003 tourist season.

Visitors to those regions can admire the surrounding natural beauty and learn about the local history while floating down the river. Skilled guides, dressed in traditional costumes and speaking foreign languages, will punt them past the steep mountains on a wooden raft, often made of several tree trunks.

The first rafting area is a seven-kilometre stretch on Slovakia's longest river, the Váh, near the north-central town of Žilina that snakes between two Strečno castle ruins - Starhrad (the old Strečno castle) and Strečno Castle (a newer one). The rafters will be making the trips daily, weather permitting, carrying passengers on four 12-seat rafts until the end of October. The cruise starts from the village of Bariérová and ends in Strečno.

Last year, the Strečno rafters carried around 3,000 people from all over the world down the river.

The rafters in Červený Kláštor, in the northeastern district of Kežmarok, have launched about 15 rafts on the Dunajec, the river that forms part of the country's northern border with Poland. During the high season, in July and August, they plan to increase the number to 50 rafts. The nine-kilometre cruise goes through the Pieniny national park (Pieninský národný park).

The main raft port on the Dunajec is in Červený Kláštor. There is also another port, Majere, which is some three kilometres up river. The 1.5-hour ride ends at the village of Lesnica.

For more details visit local information centres in these areas.

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