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Slovakia's biggest "little" water town

WATERPARKS may be ubiquitous to the American suburban landscape, but they are a relatively new phenomenon in Central Europe. Tatralandia, near Liptovský Mikuláš, is the largest water park in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland.
The aqua park sits atop a natural thermal spring that gushes forth from a depth of more than 2,500 metres.


SLOVAKS are pouring into their new waterpark.
photo: Roman Millan

WATERPARKS may be ubiquitous to the American suburban landscape, but they are a relatively new phenomenon in Central Europe. Tatralandia, near Liptovský Mikuláš, is the largest water park in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland.

The aqua park sits atop a natural thermal spring that gushes forth from a depth of more than 2,500 metres. This hot spring, which is said to posses healing powers, allows Tatralandia to operate year round.

Tatralandia is a little water town, walled in by a wooden fence. Its traditional architecture, as well as its wooden construction, helps it fit into the mountainous surroundings of the region. When you pass through the wooden gate, you find yourself in a different world, complete with water, food, entertainment, and fun.

The majority of the water attractions have a four-season character thanks to the thermal spring feeding them. Sizable swaths of grass offer spots where you can rest or sunbathe, or you can explore the area's various pools and water slides. The longest water toboggan run, Anaconda, and the steepest, Free Fall, can be found on the water hill.

Screams emanate from the bowels of the Black Hole. For those brave enough to jump into this abyss, its darkness, steep slides, and sharp curves will thrill your adventurous soul. Those who enjoy racing will appreciate the multiple-chute slide, formed by joining Triple Splash and Double Bubble. Upon reaching the bottom, be sure to grab the "8" boat on the Rollercoaster slide, and try a team ride through the curves of the toboggan run. For popular rides such as this one, however, be prepared to wait up to 15 minutes in line on weekends and holidays.

In addition to slides, Tatralandia has nine pools ranging in temperature from 26 to 38 degrees Celsius. Serious swimmers will welcome the new large summer pool with its 26-degree water. Others might enjoy just sitting around and listening to the live band.

Tatralandia also offers massages, waterbeds, surf waves for children, and water volleyball or basketball. While the kids splash in the pools, mom or dad might consider taking in a spa treatment at Tatra-Therm-Vital, Tatralandia's separate complex of steam, water, and massage spas and saunas.

The place has abundant food services ranging from sit-down restaurants to ice cream stands. One even offers Chinese food. For lodging, the Tatralandia Holiday Village is divided into neighbourhoods, each defined by a different type of folk architecture such as U Poľovníka (the Hunters' Settlement), or Rybárska Zátoka (the Fishermen's Bay). The village also has sport fields and equipment rental, and a mini-market.

Tatralandia is three hours by car or intercity train from Bratislava. A local bus (Number 13) runs from the Liptovský Mikuláš to the park.

Admission: Sk290 (not including entry to Tatra-Therm-Vital).

Information: www.tatralandia.sk.

Accommodation: www.hollidayvillage.sk.

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