Visit Slovakia’s premiere spa town for Mucha, a ‘mud kitchen’ and more

The Ensana Health Spa hotel offers an extraordinary introduction to Slovak spa culture this summer.

Julie O'Shea

Written by Julie O'Shea Published on 25.05.2023 17:00:00 (updated on 25.05.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

Nestled in the Váh River valley, Piešťany – with its magnificent Neoclassicist facades, rich cultural history, and ancient hot springs – is Slovakia’s biggest and most popular spa town. 

A mere 50 km from Bratislava along the D-1 motorway, the front doors of Piešťany’s famous thermal pools are easily accessible via train, bus, or car. A weekend (or week-long) retreat across the border has never been more enticing.    

Known for its healing effects, particularly in regard to lingering rheumatic and arthritic diseases, the town has been attracting international visitors by the thousands for centuries – including its fair share of VIPs. Alfons Mucha and his young daughter were frequent spa guests. The celebrated Czech art nouveau master is said to have created many sketches for his historic “Slavic Epic” during his long stays.     

In a nod to the artist’s deep ties to Piešťany, the town is hosting an exhibition of his work to help kick off the busy summer spa season. Alfons Mucha: Flower Worlds, featuring a total of 118 paintings, can be viewed at the newly opened exhibition hall in the Napoleon II building on Spa Island from May 10 through Oct. 31.   

Piešťany’s offerings are wide-ranging. There’s a lot to explore here, from the ruins of a medieval monastery to a small mammoth ivory statue known as the Moravian Venus, which was unearthed near the neighboring village of Moravany nad Vahom and dates back to 22,800 BC.  

Modern architectural wonders include the functionalist Colonnade Bridge. One of the longest covered bridges in Slovakia, it connects Piešťany to Spa Island and is adorned with many unique objects d'art, 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 Piešťany, with the town itself located along the well-traveled Vážska cyklomagistrála cycling route. For adrenaline junkies, the Váh 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.

Piešťany takes its music festivals and cultural events seriously, and this summer’s lineup is quickly filling up.   

The town’s preeminent attractions are, of course, 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 have a dip.

Piešťany is home to a number of top-shelf spa accommodations run by Ensana Hotels. The properties are all centrally situated, providing guests not only with a number of wellness options, but are also within walking distance to the town’s key sights.  

Here’s a list of our top picks for you: 

Thermia Palace Ensana Health Spa Hotel

This five-star Art Nouveau hotel and its adjacent Irma Mud Kitchen are true architectural treasures. Covered from top to bottom in nuanced detail, the 118-room, 15-suite Thermia Palace features an impressive staircase and lovely stained glass windows as well as numerous statues of ancient deities in the well-manicured garden. There is a luxurious onsite wellness center. The hotel’s mud kitchen offers guests 80 different kinds of treatments.    

Its Grand Restaurant happily displays an original Mucha artwork, originally unveiled in 1932. His daughter Jaroslava, a spa patient, was thought to have been his model for the customized work, titled “Hail, Blessed Fountain of Health,” which he gifted to the hotel in appreciation for the girl’s 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.     

Esplanade Ensana Health Spa Hotel

Situated in a beautiful park environment, the four-star Esplanade Hotel is connected by a corridor to the center of the Balnea Health Spa, the Water and Sauna World as well as the Congress Centre. The hotel features an outdoor and indoor swimming pools. The outdoor pool includes benches with massage jets, a bubble bath, and gargoyles. A special jacuzzi with a water temperature of 36 degrees Celsius is located in one part of the pool.

The hotel has 460 rooms, including 17 suites, and offers day excursions, a cultural program, and bicycle rentals. 

Splendid Ensana Health Spa Hotel

This modern three-star hotel complex is located on Spa Island near the golf course and is directly connected to the impressive Balnea Health Spa, which offers a wide range of unique healing and relaxation treatments. Splendid offers 258 rooms, including 15 suites as well as a cultural program.

Pro Patria Ensana Health Spa Hotel

The two-star Hotel Pro Patria boasts a long tradition and a rich history. The spa hotel was opened in 1916, making it one of the oldest buildings in the spa town. The spa hotel, situated in the southern part of Spa Island in the immediate vicinity of the thermal mineral springs, has its own onsite balneotherapy center. Thanks to the short distance between the hotel room to the treatments, Pro Patria is particularly popular with guests with severely limited mobility. Its mud kitchen is equipped to offer 108 treatments per day. 

The property originally served as a treatment room for soldiers wounded in World War I. Today, the hotel has more than 104 comfortably furnished rooms. Two restaurants offer a varied selection of dishes, while the Cafe Franz Josef is a great place to enjoy a morning or afternoon coffee. Regular performances, talks, and dance evenings are held here. 

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

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