If you ask Slovaks about what they miss in their country, one of the first and most often responses will be probably – the sea! It is truth, our state in the very heart of Europe lack the presence of sea, and that´s why Slovaks like to visit the beaches of not so distant countries of southern Europe. On the other side though, there are many lakes, dams and unique mountain ponds, worth of admiration of the world, which thanks to their beauty, ambient and rare natural particularities are able to satisfy demands of Slovak to spend an unforgettable holiday near the water. In Slovakia we have many notable expanses of water – as natural as artificial. Some of them are sought after destinations, offering very enjoyable bathing during the summer, the others are simply enchanting places to see.
Those most beautiful lakes of Slovakia you´ll have to look for in the mountains. There are approximately 175 mountain ponds in the High Tatras, created by the activity of a glacier. The biggest and deepest lake of the Tatras is Veľké Hincovo pleso. With its depth of 53 meters and 20 hectares of surface is definitely one of the most admired and visited gems of The High Tatras and of the Slovakia. If – for a change – you wish to discover the highest located lake of the country – Modré pleso, you´ll have to climb to the altitude of 2 192 meters.
Among the most famous belong also the Štrbské pleso, with various tourist resorts around – from luxurious hotels to little romantic wooden chalets. The lake is impressively set in the green vale, offering amazing views on the peeks, high beyond 2 500 metres. Right from the Štrbské Pleso lead many walking paths and attractive itineraries, for example to Mengusovská valley with some other beautiful lakes. One of the most tourist routes is also tour of mountain ponds of the chain Roháče, which will lead you to the most beautiful places of the area.
One of the most noted artificial lake of the country is without doubt Liptovská Mara in the north of central Slovakia, in the region of Liptov. Today its function is mainly to protect against flooding and to product electric power. In the tourist center of Liptovský Trnovec you can embark for a boat cruise on the lake in a catamaran. The peninsula of Ratkovo with the adjacent waters is a precious protected area with several rare plants. With total capacity of 361,9 milions m³, water reservoir Liptovská Mara is the second largest artificial lake, outpassed only by the lake Oravská priehrada. Lake of Orava(375,5 mil. m3) is one of the definitely most frequented destinations of region Orava, with many possibilities for recreation, various kind of sport, water skiing, yachting, diving, or a pleasant boat cruise on the island of Slanice, where you can admire an impressive ancient church and museum of folk art.
Zemplínska Šírava, at a distance from the city of Michalovce, on the hill-side of the mountains Vihorlat, is the third biggest expanse of water in the country. Besides the many tourist activities, the lake supplies agricultural needs of water for all the lowland of Eastern Slovakia and serves also as the source of water for industry. On the eastern part of the dam there is a protected area with 149 species of acquatic birds, of which 37 rare ones.
Still in the Eastern Slovakia you can find also a lake which is called, thanks to its crystalline turquoise waters, the little Croatia. Beauty of the lake Beňatina reminds the famous Plitvice lakes and offers one of the marvels of nature of eastern part of country, with its five metres high suggestive rocky formation, which they believe is relic of a big primeval whale. In Vyšné Ružbachy, district of Stará Ľubovňa, there is hidden a natural crater – a little travertine lake with hot springs. Near the border with the Ukraine is situated village Remetské Hámre, from where a walkway takes you to a splendid mountain lake – Sea Eye, being a part of a beautiful natural reservation with protected fauna and flora. From this charming place you can admire amazing views on the surrounding mountains and valleys. Bathing or boating in the lake is like to taste a real paradise…
In the neighbourhood of Banská Štiavnica there are almost 30 artificial lakes, in common named ´tajchy´. The first of these lakes had begun to construct at the turn of 15th and 16th century. One of the most visited of this system of lakes is Hodruša-Hámre. Near the border with the Hungary, amidst the dense forest you´ll find the lake Izra – an attractive destination for all lovers of the nature.
As for the Western Slovakia, there is a preferred artificial lake Duchonka with a beautiful sand beach and coniferous forests around. Approximately 25 kilometres of Bratislava is situated a very popular centre of recreation Slnečné jazerá – The Solar Lakes in Senec. There are many possibilities for accomodation in various hotels and pensions, the centre is a paradise for all sport lovers and a thrilling scene of many concerts. At last, but not least, if you stay right in Bratislava and you don´t have enough time to see more of the country, also here you´ll find a decent alternative to make a perfet bath. Visit the lake Zlaté Piesky – Golden Sands, the biggest recreational-sportive centre of the city and traditional summer meeting-place of the locals.
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