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A GUIDE TO SWIMMING IN THE COUNTRY'S LAKES, RESERVOIRS, AND OTHER POOLS

Cool water on hot summer days

LOCATED in the middle of a continent, Slovakia has no seacoast to make it a favourite summer destination. On the other hand, a handful of thermal springs scattered around the country, many enclosed in health spa centres, lure visitors the whole year round.
For those who prefer to spend the summer's hot days in colder water and in a more active environment, there are around 250 natural and artificial swimming pools, including the country's large lakes and reservoirs. Many of them promise various types of entertainment for their summer visitors, such as live concerts, but not all the pools are recommended for swimming.
According to Slovakia's chief sanitary inspector, there should be 39 natural and 178 artificial swimming pools in operation this year, some of which are filled with thermal water. By now, though, only three of the natural pools and 63 of the artificial ones have been granted permission to open by the State Health Institute (ŠFZÚ). The rest of the pools are still undergoing monitoring.

LOCATED in the middle of a continent, Slovakia has no seacoast to make it a favourite summer destination. On the other hand, a handful of thermal springs scattered around the country, many enclosed in health spa centres, lure visitors the whole year round.

For those who prefer to spend the summer's hot days in colder water and in a more active environment, there are around 250 natural and artificial swimming pools, including the country's large lakes and reservoirs. Many of them promise various types of entertainment for their summer visitors, such as live concerts, but not all the pools are recommended for swimming.

According to Slovakia's chief sanitary inspector, there should be 39 natural and 178 artificial swimming pools in operation this year, some of which are filled with thermal water. By now, though, only three of the natural pools and 63 of the artificial ones have been granted permission to open by the State Health Institute (ŠFZÚ). The rest of the pools are still undergoing monitoring.

The sanitary inspectors will continue checking the natural pools throughout the entire summer season because the temperature of the water influences its quality. Overheating can lead to bacterial bloom, which might be dangerous to people's health. Updated information is available from the respective city district or from the ŠFZÚ's web site, www.szusr.sk. For general information on swimming opportunities in Slovakia in English visit www.swim.sk.

Pools or lakes run by no one are marked as Neorganizované (Unorganised), and swimming there is at one's own risk.

And if the urge for the sea becomes uncontrollable, go to Podhájska thermal swimming pool near the western Slovak town of Nové Zámky. Its water, springing out at 80 degrees Celsius and filling up seven pools, is salty and the texture is similar to that of the Dead Sea.



VEĽKÝ Draždiak lake in Petržalka, Bratislava.
photo: Ján Svrček

BRATISLAVA

Natural swimming pools

One of the most famous natural lakes near Bratislava is Zlaté Piesky (Golden Sands). It is located on the outskirts of the capital, in the direction of Trnava, and its water is considered to be the cleanest in the region. The largest lake in the region is the Slnečné jazerá (Sunny Lakes) in Senec, 25 kilometres east of Bratislava. Both lakes play host to a number of cultural activities throughout the summer. Activities such as water slides, water skiing, tennis, volleyball, and yachting are available. There are also campsites nearby. Bratislava's Kuchajda lake has had problems with bacterial blooms, but according to the Bratislava New Town mayor, the lake has now been cleared for swimming. In Petržalka, the famous Veľký Draždiak is a great place to escape the bustle of the city. Facilities include drinking water, first aid, toilets, and a restaurant. The locals visit it for swimming, water-bike riding, or simply to stroll along its banks and feed the swans. Čunovo and Rusovce lakes are considered to have the best water, although it is prohibited to swim in Čunovo as it is part of the drinking-water reservoir. Artificial swimming pools

The Bratislava region has 13 swimming pools, none with thermal water. The best known is Tehelné pole near the Zimný štadión (Winter Stadium). Matador is in Petržalka and Rosnička sits below Dúbravka.



ZELENÁ Voda in the west gets very crowded every summer.
photo: TASR

WESTERN SLOVAKIA

Natural swimming pools

The most popular lake in Western Slovakia is Zelená voda (Green Water) in Nové Mesto nad Váhom in the Trenčín region. Crowds of youngsters from all around Slovakia spend their summer holidays there. The driving force is the number of live concerts organised at its camping area. Another well-known lake in the region is Nitrianske Rudno, located in the town of the same name, near Prievidza.

The two largest lakes in the neighbouring Nitra region are Vráble and Komjatice. Another popular location is the Duchonka reservoir, which hosts several entertainment activities throughout the summer, including live concerts and movie screenings in an amphitheatre. It is one of the few natural pools in Slovakia that has a sandy beach. Unfortunately, the water at Duchonka is quite dirty.

Artificial swimming pools

The Trnava region has 15 swimming pools, the most famous one being Eva in Piešťany, where the Slovak fish, Olympic swimmer Martina Moravcová, used to train. Most of the swimming pools in the Trenčín region are still closed, but you can find a swimming pool open in the town of Nemšová.

The southern part of Slovakia's western region is dense with thermal swimming pools. There is the Dunajská Streda recreation area with seven pools, mini-golf, tennis, volleyball, children's play areas, a 120-metre water slide, a natural lake suitable for boating, an indoor pool, and a sauna.

In the towns of Veľký Meder and Gabčíkovo there are public spas, which feature several outdoor and indoor interconnected pools of thermal water situated in a forest parks. Patince (near Komárno) offers swimming, boating, a large beach, and a mud-pool.

The Diakovce thermal swimming centre has an interesting history. Two of the centre's four pools are managed by the district of Šaľa, and the other two are run by Galanta. Each town charges a different entrance fee.



LIPTOVSKÁ Mara reservoir.
photo: Ján Svrček

CENTRAL SLOVAKIA

Natural swimming pools

The two huge reservoirs in central Slovakia, Oravská priehrada and Liptovská Mara, are not recommended for swimming due to an increased presence of health-endangering water plants. Liptovská Mara instead offers camping, bike, and boat rental, windsurfing, and canoeing instruction.

The region, though, has other water attractions to offer - the so-called tajchy or mining lakes in the Banská Štiavnica district. Out of more than a dozen of them, Počúvadlo, is the most popular with locals and visitors. Located under the legendary hill of Sitno, the lake offers swimming and water sports, and its surroundings provide cycling and hiking possibilities.

Artificial swimming pools

Locals and foreigners alike visit the hot mineral baths at Bešeňová, located east of Liptovský Mikuláš, facing the Low Tatras. The eight pools have different temperatures, the hotter ones are for relaxing, the colder for swimming.

Veronika swimming pool in Rajec has seven large pools and a five-lane water slide. Laura pool in the nearby Rajecké Teplice has two pools, and is situated in a beautiful natural setting.

In the Banská Bystrica region, there is a large swimming pool named Sliač (one of the cheapest in the region, it also offers night swimming). Another centre, called Kováčová, has three thermal pools and well-equipped facilities. The Katarína thermal pool in Kremnica also has three pools and a capacity of 2,000 visitors.


EASTERN SLOVAKIA

Natural swimming pools

The Košice Lake is one of three natural lakes in Slovakia where the waters are deemed clean enough for swimming by the authorities. The other two are the Teplý Vrch beaches in Rimavská Sobota district.

Zemplínska Šírava in Michalovce district has several beaches and additional swimming pools are under construction. Veľká Domaša reservoir on the Ondava river between Svidník and Vranov nad Topľou districts is largely suitable for water sports and fishing, though the services need to be improved.

Artificial swimming pools

The city of Košice alone has four open-air swimming pools. The recreation area of Zlatník, at the Ružín reservoir near Košice, has pools filled with salty water. It also offers fishing and sporting activities, live concerts, and night swimming.

There are few swimming pools in the High Tatras mountain area, best know is the one in Vyšné Ružbachy. The complex at Vrbov in the Prešov district has seven thermal pools and there are plans to add two more pools and another thermal water spring.

Topic: Tourism


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