Climbing Gerlachovsky stit in High Tatras

Climbing the highest peak of Slovakia – Gerlachovský stit in High Tatras

We start at 7:30 a.m. from the mountain hotel Sliezsky dom. It is early September. We could wake up earlier and start the trip, but our mountain guide advices us to wait until ice will melt a bit, so that the path is not too slippery.

Under the Batizovska proba (proba means pass or try-out) we – three tourist and one mountain guide – take rope and fasten each other, so we continue walking in a line. First one and the last one wears crampons on boots. The ascent is easy in the beginning. From time to time we slip a bit, but the ground is not that icy as it was probably earlier in the morning.

We reach the part of the route with iron ladders and cramps. Here starts technically more complicated and slower progress. Sometimes I have to stop and think about which feet and which hand to put in the right place so that I move forward. In one situation it takes me fairly long and my friends on the route must wait for me. After a while a get organized and I understand how to go on. After that it is simpler. The weather is good. From time to time even the sun is visible behind clouds.

Through a steep pass we continue to the top. The slope is really steep so we concentrate intensively on each step. The pass bows to the left. At the end of the pass we finally see the top of Gerlach. It is eleven o’clock.  We shake hands with my Magyar friend Balázs, who persuaded me to undertake this adventure.

On the way back we have slight problem with the coordination of the walking speed because of the rope we are fastened at. When we manage the most difficult parts we are happy that we can unfasten each other, we can move freely and do not have to adjust the pace according to the group. So we did it. Photos taken by Balázs are also nice.

Ascent of Gerlach is not difficult, each tourist with normal abilities can manage. That does not mean however that preparation and good equipment is not important. The obligation to use service of a professional mountain guide is also correct. The weather may change in a minute and fog or storm can cause major complications not only because of difficult orientation but also because of technically more demanding movement. In such a situation is a good guide the only help.

Rainerova chata

The smallest and oldest mountain challet in High Tatras

Two days after Christmas we start short trip in Stary Smokovec in High Tatras. From there we take the renewed cable railway to Hrebienok. To our destination it takes only 30 minutes walking from Hrebienok on the green tourist mark. It is a pleasant and undemanding route. On the way back we choose other route – the blue tourist mark which passes by the chalet Bilikova chata.

Chalet Rainerova chata is built of stone, there is no electricity; they light with gas and kerosene lamp. There is a very pleasant atmosphere inside, a bit darker because of small windows and modest light. You can find here information on climbers in Tatras, lots of old mountaineering equipment, refreshment and hot and tasty tee, of course. In front of the chalet there is a Christmas crib made of snow by the chalet landlord Mr. Petras. Through a public binocular we observe the Lomnicky stit (peak). The altitude of the chalet is 1301 m. It is a great place with its own atmosphere.
Andrej; December 2012



Cool Holiday and Swimming in Sturovo

We first planned our holiday for six days and intended to go to Italy.

It had to be shortened by our workload first to five and later to three days. The destination Italy was eventually changed to Sturovo and we certainly have not regret it.

Last time I was in Sturorvo was for my swimming training from primary school in 1989. Already then the local swimming pool belonged to the biggest ones in Slovakia. I remember 3 pools, easy old fashioned fast food and simple hotel for the students.

A lot has changed since then.

Few new pools and attractions have been added to the grounds and Sturovo appears as a pleasant holiday destination with numerous things to do and awakening night life. But let’s start from the beginning.

Swimming Pool (Adults’ Pool)

The depth of this pool is more than 2 metres. Thanks to this fact you will not get people standing around in the middle of the pool and get a good chance of continual swimming even in the peak time. You are likely to bump in to people at the ends of the pool and might struggle to bounce of by when turning.

 I was surprised by the temperature of the water (more than 30 degrees Celsius/ 86 Fahrenheit). It was pleasant in the mornings when there was no tropical heat yet but on the other hand I though the warmth of water caused the ‘laziness’ of the muscles and I believe that it made people swim less than they would in the cooler water.

The Dolphin Pool

Dolphin is assigned for beginners. It is used mainly by parents who teach their children to swim. In my opinion that is one of the best places to learn swimming.

The next one was the Sitting pool. There is an extra charge on top of the admission which makes it less busy and you can indulge yourself in the back massage from the jets.

The Pool Star is for families to play and relax in. The water there is also quite warm, children play water games and parents watch over them and enjoy themselvesThe pool is big with specious entrance steps, where you can sit or lay down without being in the way. As you might have guessed that was my personal favourite.


You can choose from two different slides. One is curved and not so steep, suitable also for smaller children. Our 3 year old son managed 7 very exciting rides under his mom’s supervision (she was holding him on her lap or in front of her). And mom was also very excited. Not so much in the evening when she found a hole in the swimsuit and a bruised elbow.

The joints on the slides might need improving.

The second slide is direct ride into water. Few brave individuals manage to reach quite a speed and ended in the water with huge splashing.

Great life guards

The landing pool is joint for both slides. This is not the best solution because there is a danger that one person will fall on top of the other. However, I admire the solution of this situation: There is always a life guard in the landing pool who is watching the people coming from the slides and directing them in the right direction. He/she also helps the children and rare elderly to rise from the water.

The other life guards are also very good. They manage very good order in the pools by constantly warning the negligent visitors.

They also clean the little entry pools for feet cleaning and showering.

The slippery entry pools could perhaps be improved by banister that allows you to hold on to or some rubber mats.

Sea Waves

The pool with the waves makes great entertainment. It is also watched over by lifeguard and hence is very safe. This pool is huge, 3600 metre square. Water in this pool is colder than in the rest of the pools so its’ fresh feelings brings you closer to the sea.

The size of this pool guarantees enough space for everyone even in the peak time. The waves are very pleasant and very similar to the sea waves. The only difference to the sea is the water, the one in Sturovo is not salty.

Children’s Pool

Children’s Pool has an interesting shape. There is knee depth water so the children aged between 3-6years can easily play without constant supervision. The entry for adults is forbidden anyway. The life guard carefully watches everyone. There is a yellow slide here that could teach the children to queue, but they try to overtake anyway.

Food and Fun

The swimming pool grounds have a numerous number of stalls with food and also a restaurant in the shape of pirate boat that overlooks the waves pool. The food choice is very good, you can taste the local specialities or worldwide kitchen.

There is also beach volleyball, minigolf, table tennis, trampolines and other stalls with swim goods or tattoos. There is also covered pool for the cold and rainy days. The changing rooms and toilets were always clean.

The place to go in the evening is the Sturovo High Street. It is quite lively there.

We went to Ostrihom one morning during our stay in Sturovo. It is easily a walk able distance although we took a car. Ostrihom has a lovely historic atmosphere and is good additional experience for your holiday.

Feel like by the Sea

The Swimming Pool in Sturovo invites you with the slogan: Feel like by the Sea. Our experience from the holiday there is very positive and this slogan (mainly thanks to the sea waves pool) is quite truthful.

This swimming pool is one of the biggest and most visited pools inSlovakia. It is good alternative for parents with children.

It is not suitable for people seeking romance and quiet environment. It’s suitable for those seeking various swimming experience, quality accommodation, good service, sport, trips and entertainment for both children and adults. Holiday in Sturovo is definitely cheaper than by the sea. It might outclass some of the beach holiday destinations though. I would recommend it for few days.