This regularly updated feature on adrenaline adventures includes Slovakia's extreme race track and terrain sports.
The Adrenaline Weekend, a three-day event packed with speed and excitement, is developing into a tradition in the city of Nitra.
Adrenaline Weekend is organised every two years. Its success is an indication that there is more in Slovakia than the tranquillity of its often quiet countryside.
Perhaps the easiest way to get the blood flowing is to drive something – fast. When it comes to driving, there is no more suitable place than the Slovakia Ring automotodrome. It is the only professional racing track in Slovakia and ranks among the longest road race tracks in Europe.
The track is suitable for both professional car and motorbike drivers, as well as ordinary people willing to test their skills, said Martin Trenkler of the Slovakia Ring.
Adrenaline adventure in Slovakia
“The most interesting thing for a driver is to go to the maximum and feel that this is the edge, especially on those high-speed curves,” said Matej Homola, one of the most successful racers in Slovakia.
Those who want to experience some really fast driving should try one of attractions run at the Senica airport, including a ride with the formula or road legal high performance sports car – the Ariel Atom owned by the EnjoyRacing firm.
“The Atom is fast on an entirely new level,” said Jeremy Clarkson of the BBC TV show Top Gear during a test ride with this beast. “It is so quick that it can destroy your entire face.”
Off-road racing in Slovakia
However, high adrenaline driving is not only about speed on smooth asphalt surfaces, but also about the unpredictability of the off-road and its dirt-munching, slip-sliding style of racing. One such track is the Motorsport Arena in Oslany, not far from Partizánske in western Slovakia. Here specially augmented personal cars and buggies regularly take it to the track.
To see someone get dirty is nothing new for the Motorsport Arena staff, said employee Daniela Beckertová, citing the memory of one Swiss man who took a spin on the track.
“He took off his wet clothes while laughing and just sat in the car in his underwear and drove away,” she said.
But riding super fast cars, formulas or buggies is quite ordinary. What about trying something special, like riding in a tank for example? Jozef Krupa of Podbiel village is the owner of an old amphibious infantry fighting vehicle. He made technical adjustments that allow him to take passengers on a white-knuckle ride. The route is three kilometres long and leads across mud and through water, as well as up and down hills.
“At the beginning I thought that this would be a slow ride by tank, but it turned out to be wonderful experience,” Katarína Polláková of Bratislava said after the ride, adding that the whole crew was screaming the whole time. “I will recommend this to all my family and friends to adjust their blood pressure.”
Extreme survival skills in Slovakia
Tank driving is not the only military-related activity tourists can try in Slovakia. There is a surprisingly large amount of shooting ranges, paintball venues and air-soft facilities.
One of the best known shooting ranges in Slovakia is the indoor venue in Lozorno village, which offers training and shooting for individuals and organised groups. It is an interesting experience for people willing to compare what they see in action-packed movies with the real thing, said Igor Behan, who works at the Lozorno range.
“Beginners are probably most surprised by the fact that guns, with their power, will immediately demand respect from them,” Behan said.
However, shooting is not the only aspect of military life. The firm Army Training offers military tactics, survival and diving courses for individuals as well as groups. It also runs adventure games teaching visitors how a special commando operates, how to fight a dog, and how to climb hills.
“This is the reason why many people seek our courses and experience action-packed military training, to improve in some professional areas and, what's more, to have a lot of fun,” he said.
Courses are led by English, German, and Russian-speaking instructors focusing on military strategy, personal security, psychical endurance and nature skills, said Patrik Žitník, the founder of Army Training.
Slovakia offers more than skiing
Winter in Slovakia also offers extraordinary experiences for those who are looking to branch out from traditional skiing or snowboarding. For example, instead of using ski lifts, try being pulled by horse for a change.
The sport is called skijoring, and Lea Javoreková from the Mengusovské rodeo said that it is appropriate for even average-skilled skiers. But those who are not familiar with skis do not have to be disappointed, as many ranches offer something similar using sleds.
In Lower Fatra you will find programmes from the RAW Vrátna company that will teach you how to walk on the snow with split-boards or how to move in exposed terrain where avalanches can occur. Another great experience awaits tourists in National Park Slovenský Raj (Slovak Paradise). During the winter, the Hornád River creates beautiful icefalls which can be climbed as part of a hiking tour.
Those who want to commune with nature can give dog sledding a try. It can take the form of a short trip around a ski resort or a journey of several days. A night amid the snow and beautiful Slovak nature provides a totally new dimension.
“Tourists usually appreciate the possibility of riding a dog sled and townpeople particularly [enjoy] the unknown thing – living in nature,” said Daniel Filo from Ranč Aljaška ranch.
B Bratislava: Action Park, www.actionpark.sk
B Lozorno: Shooting Range Lozorno, www.strelnica-lozorno.sk
W Senica: EnjoyRacing SK (Ariel Atom), www.enjoyracing.sk
W Oslany: Motorsport Arena, www.wrcecko.sk
W Orechová Potôň: Slovakia Ring, www.slovakiaring.sk
C Slatinské Lazy: Army Training, www.armytraining.sk
N Mengusovce: Skijoring, www.mengusovce-mengusovske-rodeo.webnode.sk
N Slovenský raj: Guided tours and mountaineering and equipment rental, Tomáš Vaverčák, www.slovakmountainguide.sk
N Podbiel: Tank ride
N Turany: Ranč Aljaška (dog sleds), www.rancaljaska.sk
B Bratislava: www.bobodraha.sk
N Donovaly: www.parksnow.sk
N Tatranská Lomnica: www.tatrabob.sk
N Veľká Rača: www.snowparadise.sk
N Pavčina Lehota-Žiarce: ziarce.sk/bobova-draha http://ziarce.sk/bobova-draha/
E Košice: www.bobovadrahake.sk
Sport car driving
W Senica: www.ak-senica.sk
B Bratislava: www.motokary.sk, www.kartarena.sk
W Holíč: www.motokaryholic.sk
W Piešťany: www.monza.sk
W Trenčín: www.voltracingcenter.sk
W Nitra: www.motokarova-draha.sk
W Dolná Seč / Levice: www.motokarovadraha.sk
W Nové Zámky: www.fibokarting.sk
W Dubnica nad Váhom: www.motokarydca.wbl.sk
W Hlohovec: www.motokarovahala.sk
W Zlaté Moravce: www.motokaryzm.sk
C Lučenec: www.motokary.dobrodruh.net
N Liptovský Mikuláš: www.monacograndprix.sk
N Žilina: www.scuderiakart.sk
E Košice: www.cassoviaring.sk
E Zemplínska šírava
B Bratislava: www.divokavoda.sk
W Bučany near Trnava: www.quadrom.sk
W Nitra: www.x-fun.sk
N Tatranská Lomnica: www.tatra.cdfoto.net/quad.htm
N Liptovský Mikuláš: www.raftingadventure.sk
N Tatranská Štrba: www.hotel-nezabudka.sk
E Košice: www.jahodna.sk
B Bratislava: www.tatstrelnica.sk
W Sokolovce: www.strelnicalaila.sk
W Domaniža: www.strelnicadomaniza.sk
N Liptovský Mikuláš: www.adrenalincentrum.eu
N Martin: www.objekt23.sk
N Ľubica: www.krytastrelnica.sk
E Košice: www.strelnicasmart.sk