Slovakia is very rich in natural lakes, reservoirs and rivers. Reservoirs were built in order to store water to prevent flooding or to generate electricity. In the meantime, dams are also used for recreation purposes – offering water sport opportunities and accommodation facilities.
River Orava in the Orava region belongs to the cleanest rivers in Slovakia, but after many floods it was necessary to built the Orava reservoir that is located in the northern part of the country. It has been built between 1941 and 1953 and with its area of 35,2 km2 it is the biggest lake in Slovakia.
Orava dam is an important touristic center offering great services for holiday lovers. Tourists are mostly visiting the southern part of the reservoir as the two best equipped resorts in the area are located there: Slanická osada and Goral hotel.
Visitors can choose from many types of restaurants, hostels, hotels, car-camping sites, sport facilities, sport equipment rentals. Sightseeing tour by boat is definitely an unforgettable experience; the tour takes place four times a day. There is a huge amount of other opportunities especially during the summer season starting in the middle of June and ending at the end of September.
Domaša, also called Green Perl of eastern Slovakia, is a reservoir located close to town Vranov nad Topľov surrounded by Low Beskids mountain and it lies on river Orava. Its construction started in 1962 and was completed in 1967. Building required the flooding of some small villages – Dobrá nad Ondavou, Trepec, Kelča and Petejovce. It covers an area of 1510 hectares and at some places it is deep up to 32,5 meters.
Resort offers wide range of recreation possibilities. Great conditions for fishing attract many visitors – there are 23 fish species living in its clean water. Five recreation villages – Dobrá, Poľany, Holčíkovce, Nová Kelča and Vaľkov – offer accommodation opportunities as hotels, boarding houses or camping facilities. Locals offer water sport services, sport equipment rentals, playgrounds, restaurants, kiosks and more. Quite hot water (23 °C) creates good conditions for windsurfing as well.
Zemplínska šírava is situated in the northern part of lowland Východoslovenská nížina in eastern Slovakia near the town Michalovce. It was built in 1961 – 1965; its surface is between 22 and 35 km2 and its average depth reaches only maximum of 9,5 meters. Water from this dam flows into the river Laborec which later flows into Bodrog river.
Most of the facilities for recreation are located in the northern part of the reservoir. The most popular tourist centers are Kaluža, Paľkov, Kamenec and Hôrka. Services in these areas are on a very high level, offering also rentals of boats, scooters, water bicycles, water skis and windsurfing. Sightseeing tours by boat start from the local port. For the ones loving mountain hiking, there are many opportunities in Vyhorlatské vrchy.
Eastern part of the reservoir is a protected area of Ornithological Reserve where you can find more than 100 species of waterfowl; some of them are highly protected because of their rareness.
Another reservoir called Liptovská Mara is situated on the river Váh in the northern part of Slovakia near Liptovský Mikuláš. The water area of 22 km2 was built in 1965 – 1975. Maximum depth of the dam is 45 meters. Building the reservoir was very important especially as a prevention against floods, but also to generate electricity for the Liptov region.
One of the biggest exhibitions of the area is the Museum of Liptov Village. Construction of the dam required inundating several local communes, cultural monuments and historical monuments. Remains of these monuments are the main attractions of the museum.
The most visited resort around the dam is a village Liptovský Trnovec. It became a favorite destination not only because of water sports opportunities but also thanks to large car camping place. Other interesting ways how to spend the time here are yachting, wind-surfing or hiking in surrounding mountains – Chočské vrchy (Chočské Mountains) and Západné Tatry (West Tatras). Main summer season begins in the middle of June and ends at the end of September.
Water reservoir Sĺňava is a part of world famous spa called Piešťany, located in the northern part of Danubian Lowland. Building the dam started in 1956 and was finished in 1959. Its length is 6,4 km; it is 2 km wide and has an area of 470 hectares.
Two car camping sites – Sĺňava and Lodenica offer a wide range of services, such as sport equipment rentals, water skiing, windsurfing, cyclist runs and many others. Great attractions are permanently organized sport events, such as rowing, kayak or canoe races. Artificial island which is a part of the reservoir was created for some rare species of birds.
These are the most famous natural lakes in Slovakia:
Sunny Lakes (Slnečné jazerá) are situated in town Senec 25 km south-west from Bratislava. It was built in 1845 by excavating gravel that was mined by Hungarian Building Railway Administration (Slovakia was part of the Hungarian Monarchy that time) in order to build a railway from Bratislava to Galanta. They created 5 independent water entities, later they joined one huge reservoir with the area of 116 hectares and depth of 12 meters.
One of the most famous resorts in Slovakia belongs to the best ones not only because it offers all types of accommodation, but also many sport facilities. Visitors can choose from many water sports options – boat rentals, water bicycles, water slides and more. People who don’t like water that much can play golf, tennis, squash, bowling, mini golf or table tennis.
Golden Sands (Zlaté piesky) is a summer resort in north-eastern Bratislava. The lake is located in the town district Ružinov. Length of the surrounding beach is about 400 meters and the lake is 30 meters wide.
The largest recreation centre in Bratislava offers many possibilities for relaxing. For those loving sport there is an opportunity to play tennis, volleyball, street-ball, mini-golf and swimming, of course. There is a shopping center, many restaurants and accommodation possibilities within walking distance.
Relax and recreation resort Duchonka is situated 15 km from Topoľčany in the Považský Inovec mountain. The biggest boom of tourism in Duchonka was in 70s and 80s of the 20th century, but this unique resort is still welcoming thousands of visitors each year.
Surrounding nature offers great hiking and cycling opportunities. Another interesting ways how to spend your time are water skiing, playing tennis, volley-ball, mini-golf or table-tennis. During winter time there are also good conditions for skiing and snowboarding only a few kilometers from the lake. Rich nightlife and cultural performances are a part of summer season. Orange Music Summer Duchonka belongs each year to the most visited music festivals in Slovakia.
Danube (Dunaj) – the second largest river of Europe – is flowing through the Southern Slovakia and draining into the Black Sea in Romania. The lenght of “Slovak Danube” is 172 km, the lenght of the whole Danube is 2850 km.
Europe’s greatest river can most easily be enjoyed on a hydrofoil between Bratislava and Vienna (1.75 hrs April-November on Wednesday-Sunday, every day June-August) or Bratislava and Budapest (4 hrs April-October). You can also ride a boat from Bratislava to Devin Castle (picturesque ruins of an important castle near Bratislava, high above the river).
River Váh is the longest Slovak river, it drains into Danube in Komárno on the Hungarian border.
Rafting on the Dunajec River is not a white-water adventure travel experience, but rather a leisurely trip through the beautiful gorge scenery with a guide dressed in traditional rafter’s costume. Offered between early May through late October, the rafting trip from Cerveny Klastor to Lesnica in the Pieniny region can be combined with a visit to the 14th c Carthusian monastery (in Cerveny Klastor), which features murals from the 16th c. This monastery was important in the development of the modern Slovak language; the monks of Cerveny Klastor compiled the first Slovak grammar and wrote the first complete Slovak translation of the Bible.
Here is the list of 25 longest rivers in Slovakia (according to how long the rivers are on the territory of Slovakia!):
- Váh – 403 km
- Hron – 298 km
- Ipeľ – 232,5 km
- Nitra – 196,7 km
- Hornád – 193 km
- Danube (Slovak part) – 172 km
- Ondava – 146,5 km
- Laborec – 135,5 km
- Topľa – 129,8 km
- Torysa – 129 km
- Small Danube (Malý Dunaj) – 128 km
- Moravia (Morava) – 114 km
- Salty (Slaná) – 110 km
- Poprad – 107 km
- Black Water (Čierna voda) – 105,5 km
- Žitava – 99,3 km
- Dudváh – 97 km
- Hnilec – 88,9 km
- Rimava – 88 km
- Myjava – 79 km
- Kysuca – 66,3 km
- Turiec – 66,3 km
- Krupinica – 65,4 km
- Orava – 60,3 km
- Cirocha – 56,6 km
The only European geyser outside of Scandinavias,this geyser near Kosice shoots 1,056 gallons of water 98 feet into the air for 20 minutes once every 32-34 hours