A Slovak spa town offers families from Czechia an affordable seaside alternative

Just 90 km from Bratislava, Slovakia’s biggest and most popular spa town will keep your young entourage gleefully entertained for days.

Julie O'Shea

Written by Julie O'Shea Published on 23.06.2023 17:00:00 (updated on 03.07.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

Deep-tissue massages, bubbling mineral waters, biking, hiking, and adult beverages – truly the perfect summer holiday mix. Maybe throw in a bit of cultural heritage sightseeing and a classy wine festival or art exhibition.

You’re ready to pack your bags! 

But there’s one small problem: your kids will be coming along, too, and their interests, for the most part, lie elsewhere. They want a beach. They want a pool. They want ice cream and other sweet delights. 

Don’t compromise. Go to Piestany

Slovakia’s biggest and most popular spa town, just 90 km from Bratislava in the lush Vah River valley, will hit everything on your holiday wish list while offering plenty of family-friendly fare to keep your young entourage gleefully entertained for days.        

More importantly, you won’t have to break the bank to enjoy a week-long getaway that skillfully balances wellness, culture, sports, and family fun in one nicely wrapped package. 

This combination is even better than a traditional seaside vacation – starting with the family-centric Splendid Ensana Health Spa Hotel, which is currently offering a limited-time deal of 70 euros per person per night for a double room. 

This covers all-inclusive access to the three-star hotel’s pools (including a sandy outdoor “beach”), kids club, animations, and theater performances as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Oh, and your wine and beer tab? That’s covered, too. 

Known for its healing effects, particularly in regard to lingering rheumatic and arthritic diseases, Piestany has been attracting international visitors by the thousands for centuries. The resort is one of the largest balneotherapy centers in Central Europe, having completed more than a million treatments.

Hotel Splendid is directly connected to the elegant four-star Esplanade Ensana Health Spa Hotel. The two properties offer an extensive range of amenities and activities, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable stay for families.

Esplanade caters particularly to the adults in the group seeking relaxation and stress relief. Its numerous unique treatments, like mud spas and massages, offer a serene respite from childcare duties.

After getting your wellness needs in check, it’s time to branch out. Piestany has a lot more on offer than its famous mineral baths. You’ll need at least five days if not a week to soak it all in. 

The town and its surrounding area are brimming with rich architectural gems, from castles and medieval monastery ruins to modern additions like the functionalist Colonnade Bridge. One of the longest covered bridges in Slovakia, it connects Piestany to Spa Island and is adorned with many unique artifacts, putting it in line for inclusion on the World Heritage List. 

For cycle enthusiasts, there are quite a few paths to explore in and around Piestany, with the town itself located along the well-traveled Vazska Cyklomagistrala cycling route. For adrenaline junkies, the Vah rafting season is not to be missed! You can also enjoy a boat cruise on the river or head over to the Sĺňava Reservoir for a bit of windsurfing, water skiing, canoeing, sail-boating or fishing.

If music festivals and cultural events are your jam, Piestany’s meaty summer lineup is filling up fast. There will also be a big wine-tasting event at Hotel Esplanade on July 22. Art lovers, meanwhile, are in for a real treat. The town is hosting an Alfons Mucha exhibition at the Napoleon II building on Spa Island through Oct. 31.

Your Ensana Hotel package will get you into Alfons Mucha: Flower Worlds for free. The exhibition features a total of 118 paintings by the Czech artist, who was a frequent spa guest, along with his young daughter. The celebrated art nouveau master is said to have created many sketches for his historic “Slavic Epic” during his long stays in Piestany.

In the Grand Restaurant of Thermia Palace Ensana Health Spa Hotel hangs another Mucha original, titled “Hail, Blessed Fountain of Health,” which he gifted to the hotel in 1932 in appreciation for his daughter Jaroslava’s spa treatment and recovery. The painting was stolen in 2000, with the thieves cutting it from its canvas before escaping through a window and across the hotel’s garden. It was found four years later, thoroughly restored, and put back on display in 2006. The thief was never caught.     

While its history is storied and culture inspiring, the town’s renowned attractions are its swirling thermal waters. From the landmark Napoleonic Health Spa, a U-shaped complex of buildings built directly over the town’s hot springs, to the 50-meter Eva thermal swimming pool on Spa Island, there is no shortage of places to take a dip. With easy access from Prague by train, bus, or car, the front doors of Piestany’s famous mineral pools have never seemed so near – or so enticing.     

This article was written in cooperation with Ensana. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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