The Liptov region in central Slovakia is the perfect destination for lovers of the great outdoors. Just a short two-hour drive or train ride from Bratislava, the mountains, lakes, caves, and thermal hot springs here are a delight. Certified travel guide Valeria Ciamporova gives us her top suggestions for the area.
The charms of the Liptov region
There are many distinct tourism regions in Slovakia which divide the country into unique destinations. The Liptov region is located directly in the center of the country. “I think that the Liptov region is the best in all of Slovakia; even better than the Tatry region. In Liptov, you can find everything in a small area – nice nature, history, caves, the possibility to ski, lakes, and hiking trails,” explains Ciamporova.
In recent years, the Liptov region has been developing into one of the most dynamic tourist regions in Slovakia. Multi-million euro investments into new chair lifts and gondolas at large mountain resorts such as Jasna now provide access to world-class skiing (in winter) and mountain biking (in summer). New boutique and luxury hotels, such as Tri Studnicky, have also been springing up to accommodate the surge of tourists. “During the winter season, it is nearly impossible to find last-minute accommodation,” explains Ciamporova. So if you’re planning a winter sports holiday to the Liptov area, make sure to book your accommodations several months in advance.
Janska Dolina (the Janska Valley) is a hotbed for outdoor enthusiasts and wellness lovers. “My favorite place in the Liptov tourist region is Jánska Dolina because it has nice nature, small caves, and many possibilities for walking,” says Ciamporova. Finding walking and cycling trails in this area is quite simple, as marked trails crisscross in all directions. Nearby, you can also find Tarzania Jasna, the largest rope course in the Liptov region. After engaging in active outdoor pursuits, go for a soak in the thermal pools at Kupalisko Liptovsky Jan, situated just at the entrance to the Janska Valley. Mineral waters with natural temperatures between 26-29°C (79-84°F) are sourced directly from local thermal hot springs; the perfect way to unwind.
The Low Tatra mountain range is now home to a wide range of active pursuits, but even if you don’t want to ski, hike, or cycle, a trip on the funicular to the top of Mount Chopok is another of Ciamporova’s most highly recommended activities for the Liptov region. The gorgeous view from the top makes it worth the effort to go all the way to the summit in winter or in summer. Another outstanding attraction which escapes the attention of many tourists which Ciamporova highly recommends is “visiting the beautiful wooden church in Svaty Kriz.” The church is actually one of the largest wooden buildings in all of Central Europe, with a capacity for 6,000 people. Inside the church, you can also see a stunning Baroque altarpiece dating back to 1693.
A multitude of cultural sites
Another cultural spot not to miss in the Liptov region is the Havranok archaeological site. Ciamporova counts it as one of her favorite places in the region, and it is the first open-air archaeological park in Slovakia where visitors can view reconstructed buildings, a furnace, and ancient ramparts with a gate. These archaeological findings demonstrate the existence of Celts living in the area between the 4th and 1st century B.C.
To visit a more recent cultural site, head to Vlkolinec, a reserve of Slovak folk architecture included in the UNESCO List of World Natural and Cultural Heritage. Most buildings in Vlkolinec date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, and the town is extremely picturesque – you’ll easily capture many Instagram-worthy photos during an hour admiring the pretty pastel-colored houses here.
Who should go
Although everyone can find something in the Liptov tourist region to appeal to their holiday interests, there are two groups of tourists who will love this special place. “The Liptov tourist region has many possibilities for all types of tourists, but mainly for active, sporty tourists and for families with children,” explains Ciamporova. Active types can ski, hike, cycle, walk, complete a rope course, go swimming, play laser tag, or even go sky diving in the indoor wind tunnel at Tatralandia. Tatralandia is also a great place to spend several days with children; they can speed down the water slides, ride the mini-adventure train, navigate through the mirror maze, and play on the playground. Right next door to Tatralandia, the kids also love Zoo Kontact, a hands-on zoo where you can actually touch the bears, lion cubs, and other animals.
One final tip: Ciamporova recommends buying the Liptov region visitor’s card, as it gives you access to tons of discounts on attractions throughout the region.