These articles were published in the Spectacular Slovakia travel guide, published annually by The Slovak Spectator since 1996. The latest editions can be obtained from our online shop.

Trenčianske Teplice

Paradise of Mud

By Chris Togneri

 Photo: TASR

Trenčianske Teplice was built on sulphurous mud and hot springs. In the 14th century, it was considered one of the loveliest spa towns in the Hungarian Kingdom. Today it still attracts visitors eager to bathe in the healing waters. Several fancy resorts and pensions have been erected, lending charm to the small town and providing accommodation to visitors.

Hamman Hall is the main site. Moorish marble arches surround intricate fountains sprouting mineral water drawn from the local springs. Curiously, though, the Hall still enforces an outdated patriarchal practice: women are not allowed in the Hall's grand lounge.

Beyond the compact old centre is a long park wending its way two kilometres up the valley. Near a lake halfway up is a sporting complex where visitors can play tennis and miniature golf, or rent a bike for Sk190 a day.

The steep hills surrounding the town are veined with an extensive system of hiking trails. Across the street from the train station is a map showing three different routes that range in length from 20 minutes to an hour and a half. Winding past caves and lakes, the trail first shoots up a steep hill, then flattens before dropping abruptly back into town. For those who stick to the longer paths, there are several side trails leading to look out points along the stony ridge.

Back in the centre, several of the quaint pensions boast wine cellars and excellent kitchens serving fresh game. The luxurious Villa Tereza is one, as is Rekrea Sipox.

Another pension worth noting is the grandiose Penzión Elektra. Uninvited guests will not be made welcome here, however. Elektra belongs to the ex-prime minister Vladimír Mečiar, who chose this lovely little spa to make his home in.

These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2003.

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