This past weekend I had the pleasure of going to the Low Tatras National Park in Northern Slovakia on a ski tour organized by the company I work for. I really enjoyed the trip and the nature in the area. Today I’m sharing a recap of the tour along with the activities you can do in the area. Mind that all photos might not be relevant to the sights I mention, but they’re all from the region.
Winter sports – skiing/snowboarding
This region in Slovakia is extremely popular with winter sport enthusiasts from around Europe. Even though Poland and Slovakia share the same Tatra mountains that form a natural border between them, I’ve heard that the ski slopes in Slovakia are better. Our bus trip started on a Friday afternoon and we reached the hotel at 21:30 that day. On the next morning, I was ready to try something that I’d never tried before: skiing.
To say that the ski boots were uncomfortable is an understatement. Moving around on those bulky ski boots was a nightmare, but somehow I dragged myself to the cable car point which we used to go uphill. The views from the car when going up were incredible. It was a clear sunny day and we could see clouds between the mountains in a distance. The moment I went out from the car, I fell. It must have taken me about 10 minutes to get up from the help of my friends. The initial exercises were just painful; thanks to my encouraging friends who sacrificed their time to teach me the basics, I didn’t give up. It took me a long, long time, waves of frustrations and tears to learn the basics; that is to brake, to get up from a fall and to operate the skis.
After those basics, I skied with my friend. It went quite okay on less steep hills, but I fell umpteen times on the taller hills. Seeing 4-year olds make swift rounds didn’t motivate me either. At the end of the day, my body was sore, my mind was blank but I did have moments of joy and feeling of accomplishment when I could ski even for a few minutes without falling. The ski hill we went to was called Nizky Tatry as in Low Tatras, but there are several other hills to choose from, depending on your skills and interests.
Natural thermal pools
In this region in Slovakia, it is very popular to enjoy the thermal pools with water up to 40 degrees. We went to one called Tatralandia Aquapark that is said to be the biggest of its kind in all of Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Thermal pool after a rough day skiing was just bliss. On top of that, there was a bar in the indoor pool from where we bought cold Slovak beers. We spent almost 3 hours in the area, mostly the thermal pools outdoors with a view of snow covered trees. Thermal pools are a must in this area; they are so relaxing and the water is said to have natural healing properties for your body.
Exploring the surroundings
On Sunday, I along with a few more people, decided not to go skiing. I’ve had enough from Saturday and I just didn’t have the strength to go through the same pain again, so I decided to explore the beautiful area instead. This region also has some of the best caves in Slovakia.
Caves and castles are a big part of Slovakia’s tourism, so you might not want to miss them when you’re there. Some of the sights that can interest travelers in the area are:
- Demänovská Cave of Liberty: This cave, located in the northern part of Low Tatras, is the most visited in Slovakia. It features unique sinter forms created by the underground river Demanovka, little lakes and stalagmite decorations. You have two options to choose from: a traditional or a long tour where you will be shown around the cave and informed about its history. We discovered it was closed right after walk up to its entrance.
- Demänovská Ice cave: In the same region, you will also find Demanovska Ice Cave which has year long ice filling. This cave is also formed by the underground flow of river Demanovka where you will see sinter decorations and icy spaces. Closed from October to May.
- Liptovy Mikulas: The nearest town from most ski resorts in Low Tatras, this town is known for its rich cultural life and is a good base to explore the above mentioned attractions. From here, you can also visit Vlkolínec, a UNESCO world heritage site village that is known for its traditional folk architecture.
- Nature: The region around Low Tatras is a nature lover’s paradise, no matter the time of the year. There are numerous hiking, climbing, boating, fishing as well as photography opportunities in the area. If you’re not feeling too adventurous, just take a walk around, stop for some hot wine and click photos, just like I did!