Piestany city is the largest and most visited thermal resort in Slovakia. Due to the picturesque nature, temperate climate and location in the low part of the country, the resort has ideal natural conditions for year-round recreation. In winter, there is a lot of sun, and summers are dry and relatively hot. So guests of the city can travel around the city and the surroundings in search of new attractions on their map, and at the same time manage to take a course of rehabilitation. Indeed, in Piestany there are not only healing mineral springs, but also mud deposits and even its own iodine-salt cave.
The history of the city
Piestany is located in the western part of Slovakia in a hilly and sunny area on the banks of the Vag River. Historians have known about the first river settlements from the 12th century, when in 1113 the Piestany was mentioned in one of the documents found. The first historical mention of Piestany as a medical resort dates back to 1545. Then, the healing springs of the settlement were talked about in Europe, they were mentioned in the correspondence of the Czech royal adviser, the doctor of the Austrian emperor and even the Pope. But only in the XVIII century Piestany acquired the image of a developed city, there are buildings and hospitals, aristocrats equip their mansions. Thanks to this, in 1917 the city was even chosen as the meeting place for the German Emperor and his Austrian neighbor and ruler of Bulgaria to negotiate. Previously, the Piestany Valley belonged to the noble family of Earl Erdiodi, but now it is state property. Now it is a modern and developed balneological resort, offering guests both effective health-improving methods and combining them with a rich entertaining and tourist program.
Attractions of the Piestany resort
You can explore the sights of the Piestany resort without a map, since they are located almost one after another on Winterova Street. Walking around this main historical zone, the guest of the city will definitely not get lost and will be able to photograph the main historical monuments. But for tourists who like to plan their holidays in advance and make a list of attractions for inspection, the following recommendations will be useful.
The balneological museum is the largest and most popular in Piestany. The museum was opened in 1928 at the initiative of the Museum Society of the resort, the owner of the resort baths of Winter and his assistant Vlok. Now the museum attracts tourists with its beautiful building, made in the style of classicism, walk alleys and picturesque statues along the perimeter of the tracks. Various expositions await guests inside: an ethnographic collection with samples of the flora and fauna of the region, samples of folk life, clothing and embroidery, archaeological finds and even the reconstruction of the old peasant house of Piestany. There is also an exhibition associated with the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven, who visited the resort.
Small Botanical Garden
For justice, it is worth noting that this is not a classic botanical garden, but only a park of gardeners created by enthusiasts. Nevertheless, the garden is of interest to guests of the city. The territory is very well-groomed, with paths for walking, flowering flower beds, well-groomed bushes, rare species of trees and even small gardens. The park is attended by students of the school of gardeners, here they grow medicinal herbs and other interesting specimens of flora. For example, tourists will be curious to look at the real sequoia, take a walk along the fragrant rose garden, in which various varieties of roses bloom from May, and go around a small pond with water lilies. Also in the botanical garden regularly hosts photo exhibitions, paintings and entertainment events.
The resort island is a separate part of the city, on the streets of which mineral water springs and healing mud deposits are located. It is also the focus of the most beautiful hotels and spa hotels, so a walk along the Resort (or Kupelny) island is a great opportunity for tourists to enjoy the local architecture. On the approach to the island, many landmarks for the resort are concentrated. For example, the Colonnade Bridge, a statue of a man breaking his crutch, a sculptural group dedicated to lovers, a meteorological column and a fountain with a peacock top. By the way, walking around the Colonnade Bridge, you should take a closer look at it: the surface of the structure is decorated with stucco molding, and white swans and ducks walk freely under the bridge near the river. They are allowed to feed and, of course, photograph. On the island itself lies a picturesque park and in its depths a lake with water lilies. The uniqueness of this place is that aquarium fish are found in the pond, and among the water lilies you can find a rare African specimen - Victoria Regia.
Right in the historical center of Piestany, all the guests of the city are immediately greeted by a red spire and an elegant building of the Evangelical Church. It is no exaggeration to say that this temple is a real decoration of the resort. A magnificent, but at the same time built in the spirit of the Renaissance building with a tower, a thin spire, a clock, high stained glass windows and columns at the entrance. Inside the building is a richly executed altar aisle in an earlier Gothic style with a decorated pulpit and font. The chapel is light and spacious, designed for two hundred wooden benches for parishioners, because services are still held here.
Military History Museum
The military open-air museum offers visitors an exposition of equipment and Czechoslovak weapons from both the Second World War and the following years, ending 1992. Here you can see tanks of the 45th year, fighter planes, cars, armored cars, as well as more modern helicopters and rocket launchers. It is recommended to visit the museum together with a guide who will provide information on each exhibit in a fascinating way. Also, before you go on an excursion to the historical museum, you should find out if it is open. Usually a museum is open only in summer and autumn, but days and times can be floating.
The museum exposition is dedicated to a prominent Slovak figure - General Milan Rastislav Stefanik. The museum building itself is an exhibit, because this is the house where the future general was born. The fact that Stefanik’s figure is significant for the country can already be judged by the fact that a state award of Slovakia was established in his honor, the airport in Bratislava and the observatory in Prague were named after him. Tourists who are fond of history or simply biographies of interesting people will be able to learn about why General Stefanik is so famous in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, about the history of his life and mysterious death, what he was fond of, what he achieved in the public service and what his life principles were. The museum functions in different months on different schedules, so before the tour you should find out the exact schedule.
The exposition of the famous cultural figure Ivan Krasko is located in his former apartment. The museum was opened in 1976, at the entrance there is a memorial bust of the poet and one of the streets of the resort is also named after him. Ivan Krasko went down in history as a Slovak poet and writer, who had a huge impact on the literature of the Czech and Slovak regions. His collections of poetry were translated into many languages and published throughout Europe. The museum is not open every day, so it is recommended to check the work schedule before visiting.
Dr. Liska Villa
The Renaissance villa of Dr. Lisk, located on Stefanikov Street, was chosen in the 20th century to house the city balneological museum here. The museum exposition includes: ancient medical works of the 16th-17th centuries with engravings and portraits, exhibits of the history of balneology, for example, wooden sitting bathtubs, medical instruments, photographs illustrating the development of both the Piestany resort and other resort towns of Slovakia. There are sections in the exhibition on treatment methods, their development, as well as paintings with landscapes of the most popular and interesting spa hotels. Of particular interest are rare photographs of vacationers and stately hotels that no longer exist. In a separate room, exhibitions of local masters of fine and craft arts are regularly held. And, of course, there is a whole room dedicated to the Piestany resort with photos of people who cared about the development of the resort. But the real gem of the museum’s collection is the detailed and colorful mock-ups of historical buildings, hotels and resorts of Piestany and other resorts. For example, there are several layouts dedicated to the now collapsing Slovan Hotel, or as it was previously called "Royal". With the help of layouts, you can see how magnificent and luxurious this building was and what rich decoration the guest rooms had. Now there is no trace of the former splendor, even though the Slovan Hotel remains a popular tourist attraction.
A sunny and cozy mansion, made in the architectural style of a magical half-timbered house in the 19th century, stands on Winter Street. Tourists going to the Resort Island or to the Colonnade Bridge are unlikely to walk past the bright yellow building with balconies and a bay window. Mansions with such a medieval and recognizable frame construction were very popular in Europe. In the years 1850-1900 in the city of Piestany, this type of architecture gained wide popularity. Many prominent figures of the city, doctors, scientists, aristocrats built their houses in a romantic medieval style. Unfortunately, to date, only Leger Villa has survived from buildings of this type. The mansion, which is symbolic, was built by the main Austrian builder Franz Baumgartner for himself. True, later he decided to make a guest house from the villa with rooms for visitors to the resort. In 1917, Villa Leger changed its owner and the new owner, in whose honor it received the name, was photographer Gustav Leger. In 1951, the mansion went to a private company performing its restoration. Now it is an operating hotel.
Of interest to the traveler is not the construction of the water tower itself, dating back to the 20th century, but a picturesque place of its location. Even such a technical monument to the development of the resort looks unusual against the background of hills on the horizon, surrounded by buildings with red tiled roofs, a green meadow and a mirror-like surface of water. Such a frame turns the tower into a real medieval fortress. In addition, another one is located near the main water tower - a cooling one, and a glass dome covering a mineral spring. Now the production is not operational, so you can inspect and photograph all structures without interference.
One of the most popular recreation areas of the Piestany resort is the Slnava reservoir at the foot of the Povazhsky Inovec mountain range. It is a full-flowing and sunny pond with well-equipped campsites and beaches. The name was not chosen by chance, since in this area, despite the proximity of the mountains, there is a maximum number of sunny days. Lovers of passive relaxation will be able to spend whole days here, sunbathing and swimming. For more active guests of the resort, they offer kayaking, water skiing, a boat and even a ship. For tourists along the reservoir, there are not only pedestrian alleys for walking in the evening, but there are also paths for cyclists. Fans of fishing will also be satisfied, here they are equipped with sidges from which you can fish.
A visit to the Slnava reservoir can be not only one of the options for spending leisure time and sunbathing on the beach, but it is also an opportunity to visit the nature reserve. Here is the so-called bird island. Rare species of birds nest on the island, for example, gray gulls and river terns. And also Arctic birds winter and stop on vacation, migrating flocks of thermophilic birds.
Cave "Devil's Oven"
Not far from the resort in the slope of the mountains Povazhsky Inovec is a curious karst cave, which is a recognized natural monument. Inside the cave, scientists made important archaeological discoveries by discovering traces of ancient settlements of primitive people. The dating of these settlements is uneven, an even older settlement of the interglacial and Stone Age was revealed under the primary Paleolithic layer. In historical documents, the cave has been known since 1742 and its name has not changed since then.
The cave is open for free access. It will not be difficult for a tourist to find it, since a marked trail is laid to it. And you can get there by bus, coming from a stop near the automobile bridge called Krainsky. For lunch, after sightseeing, you can go to a nearby cafe. The institution has a well-equipped playground and a mini-zoo with deer, goats, wild boars and domesticated birds.
Just 7 km from the resort of Piestany there is an important archaeological site - the ancient settlement of Kostolets, located near the village of Dutsovo. The settlement was founded at the foot of the mountains Povazhsky Inovec back in the Neolithic era. The settlement had a strategically important location: on a rocky and inaccessible cape, and very close to one of the branches of the Great Amber Road. Thus, archaeologists have suggested that caravans and merchants were moving through the settlement, carrying goods from north to south of Europe and back. Full excavations were carried out only at the end of the 20th century. Then scientists examined not only the already known settlement, but also discovered a stone settlement of the Bronze Age. A little later, a wooden stockade with fortress towers from the period of Great Moravia was excavated, as well as a small ancient church and burial grounds of the 9th century around it. Now all this can be seen by the guest of the resort Piestany. You can rent a bicycle or use the sightseeing bus to visit this national historical monument. It will be interesting for both adults and children to listen to the fortress Dutsovo-Kostolets from a professional guide.
Near the Kostolets settlement near the Povazhsky Inovec mountains, on the outskirts of the village of Moravany nad Vagom, you can visit an unusual natural formation - Velky Ravine. This anomaly is a ravine with high and steep slopes. Its depth is 20 meters and a length of 100 meters. A long and narrow path leads through a ravine overgrown with rare trees. The slopes of the Ravine consist of a rare rock - loessial deposits, which are of great interest to researchers. The fact is that loess rocks were formed on the planet during the ice age, therefore they present a unique opportunity for scientists to study the composition of ancient soils. Tourists will also be curious to stroll through the gloomy spring with a mystical atmosphere. Finding a ravine is easy: a green hiking trail leads to it from the resort. In 2004 Velky Ravine recognized as a natural monument.
Moravany nad Vahom Castle
A snow-white fairytale castle with turrets, surrounded by an English park, is located just a couple of kilometers from the center of Piestany resort. Going for a walk to the Resort Island, you should definitely go a little further, cross the Vag river on the bridge and visit the real Renaissance castle. The building was built by the noble family of Moteshinskys back in the late 15th century. Originally the castle was two separate buildings, united in one building in the XVI century. In the XVIII century, the castle passed to the new owners - the family of Chaki and was rebuilt. A family chapel with an altar decorated with the coats of arms of the family, with magnificent altarpieces and ancient icons appeared. In the 19th century, the castle had a third floor and an elegant tower. At that time, the structure passed to the society of artists who cared about its safety, decorated it, and exhibitions of their works were held in the picturesque park.
Unfortunately, already in the XX century, the Moravana Palace was abandoned and now belongs to the state, which is in no hurry with reconstruction. Nevertheless, tourists can enjoy the magnificent appearance of the palace and its medieval architecture. If you go into the courtyard, you can admire the cobblestone paths, green lawns, a deep well under the tiled roof, a round fountain with statues, sit on benches and take a walk in the park. And you can go inside the palace, although there are no more priceless objects of art there, but you can still see some of the old furniture. Gothic vaults, narrow spiral staircases and spacious halls with painted wooden cabinets are also of interest.
St. Martin Church
Not far from the Moravany nad Vahom castle is a medieval Romanesque church surrounded by Gothic tombstones of an old cemetery. The place is ancient, atmospheric and mystical. The Roman Catholic church was erected on a hill in 1465, and on the foundation of an even older religious building of the 13th century. Actually, the exact date of the beginning and end of the construction of the church was not noted in historical sources, but the scientists discovered during reconstruction the date of its manufacture - 1464, which is now considered to be the time of the building of the church itself. The church had a turbulent past. It served as the only protection for local residents from the destructive raids of the Turks. Here they took refuge and waited for the enemy to pass by the village. At one point, the church was even turned into a mosque by the Turks, but was soon again returned to local parishioners. Now the church of St. Martin - a monument of antiquity and masses in it are very rare. For tourists, this two-nave brick building with a bell tower is of interest not only for its architecture, but also for its interior. Inside you can see the altar of the Virgin Mary, made in the Baroque style, carved wooden choirs, and in the high bell tower 19 meters high - bells of the XV century.
There are also mysterious medieval ruins in Piestany, which are now called the Old Monastery. No information on the structure was found in historical chronicles, but scientists suggest that this structure belonged to the Order of the Knights Hospitallers. And the time of its construction is called the XIII century. Judging by the layout and the ruins of the building that has survived, it was once a powerful building with a stone foundation, brick walls, a unique presbytery design, high windows and Gothic vaults. In the XVI century the monastery, most likely it was him, was abandoned by knights and deserted. In the following years, it had to survive the looting during the rebellion against the Habsburg dynasty, a fire, then a flood, and finally the ruins were pulled into stones by local residents to build their houses. Now only a part of the presbytery has remained from the Old Monastery, still not surrendering under the pressure of the destructive course of centuries.
The ruins of the Tematinsky castle lie on one of the hills at the foot of the Povazhsky Inovec mountain range. In the XII century, this territory suffered from Mongol raids, so once upon a time a powerful defensive fortress was built on the hill, in which, if necessary, the inhabitants of nearby villages took refuge. Initially, the fortress was the property of Hungary. But in the XV century it was bought out, and since then has changed many owners, among which the noble families of Chaki and Turzo. Tematin Castle turned into ruins at the beginning of the 18th century, when its owner, Miklos Berceni, took part in the Rakoczi conspiracy against the Habsburg dynasty. Atonement followed quickly, and the castle did not withstand the onslaught of imperial troops. Since then, it has stood without reconstruction, and even the state’s attempts to make it a tourist attraction. Stone walls crumble more and more over time, but while the ruins are standing, the flow of those who want to look at them does not decrease.
You can get to the Tematinsky castle from Piestany as a direct bus on the route of Piestany-Modrowki (you need to get off at the Luka stop) or Piestany-Bezovec. Next you will have to walk from the bus stop along the hiking trail leading directly to the castle.
Festivals and events in Piestany
In spring, the Piestany resort is greeted by the Grave Music Festival. It is followed by the "Country Lodenica" festival and a multimedia festival called "Godokvas". In late summer and early autumn, the Slnava Reservoir hosts the annual international water sports competition for the SNP Cup. Spectators will be able to admire the colorful and bright sight of kayaks and yachts gliding on the water surface. Later on, there will be a car race with prizes in the countryside.
As part of cultural events, the city offers music lovers to visit "Organ Days", symphonic music concerts and live performances by performers. The doors of art galleries are constantly open for visitors, as well as numerous exhibitions of works by artists from various countries take place in the city. You can learn more about the schedule of events at the reception of your hotel.
What to bring from Piestany
When choosing and buying souvenirs for yourself and your friends as a keepsake of visiting such a cozy and picturesque resort as Piestany, you should pay attention to the following items.
Sweets. Piestany offers a wide range of desserts and confectionery delicacies. Gift sets of cake creams, chocolate shpits filled with egg liqueur, punch cuts with sugar fudge, coconuts with cream or sweet jam, winds with caramel and vanilla layer or Bratislava horns will be great options for a sweet gift. Chocolate lovers can buy a set of tiles of real Slovak chocolate “Figaro”. In addition, in souvenir shops you can find chocolate sets with miniatures of resort sights!
Tinctures. The city produces the most delicious and strong plum brandy, a bottle of which will be a great option for a gift. For those who want to taste the different tastes of tinctures, you can also take a pear or boletus. Pay attention to the Slovak variety of "Coca-Cola" - coffee beans, as well as spicy and healthy tincture on medicinal herbs - fernet. You can also buy traditional Czech beer here, for example, connoisseurs will be very pleased with the rare local beer in gift wrapping.
Mineral water. Wellness in the spa hotel can be extended upon arrival home from vacation. To do this, it is enough to purchase bottled mineral water springs that retain all their useful properties for several months.
Natural cosmetic. The cosmetic kits offered in Piestany contain natural ingredients, a fraction of the healing mineral water of natural springs, or components of healing mud. Such cosmetics not only suits any skin type, but also has a positive effect: moisturizes, smoothes wrinkles, slows down aging, and relieves inflammation and redness. So a natural cosmetic set will be a great gift for both yourself and your friends.
Handmade clothes. The resort is famous for its handyman and craftsmen who make garments from wool. A tourist can buy warm knitted sweaters with traditional patterns, mittens, scarves and much more at budget prices. Moreover, handmade clothing is not only of high quality and is made from environmentally friendly raw materials, but is also exclusive.
Crystal Products. Slovakia has long been famous for its crystal industries and glass products. Now with the experience of several centuries, the country's factories produce real works of art of tremendous subtlety and at the same time surface strength, with gilding and fine filigree. You can buy sets of glassware, crystal and porcelain in the shops of the resort Piestany. With neat packaging, such services will easily endure even long transportation.
Statuettes. Souvenir shops of the resort will especially please fathers and their sons, because there are simply a lot of prefabricated and collapsible models and figurines made of metal. Well, which boy will refuse the statuette of a real knight in full armor, which can still be disassembled? Such a souvenir will be a great gift even for adults.
Postcards and canvases with views of the resort. In Piestany, they are fond of philately and all kinds of curious stationery stuff. Therefore, lovers to send postcards to friends with views of their current travel destination with original postage stamps will be in their element. The selection of postcards and stamps here is striking. And connoisseurs of the resort’s art and landscapes in larger sizes than on postcards will be able to purchase paintings by local artists as a present. Please note that making a purchase of a painting is cheaper at an exhibition in a park or near a river, since the cost in the store will be overstated. You can see the schedule of exhibitions in your spa hotel.
How to reach the resort
The easiest and quickest way to get to the Piestany city is from nearby Bratislava. Moreover, you can get to Bratislava itself, depending on your destination, either by train, or by bus or plane. Already from Bratislava to Piestany can be reached by direct train from the central station. Travel time in this case will be about an hour. Other ways to get to the resort are taxis and buses. A taxi will be the most expensive, but you can get there quickly and comfortably. When choosing a bus, the travel time increases to one and a half hours, but the cost of a ticket for this type of transport is the least. Intercity buses depart from Bratislava to Piestany from a stop near the train station. Just keep in mind that buses run on this route rarely - once every 2 hours, so you may have to wait for your ride. You can also order transfer to Piestany rom Bratislava or Vienna airport on our website.
Useful advices for tourists
For those travelers who cannot decide the date of their vacation, they worry about hundreds of questions before the trip, are afraid to forget something, our recommendations will be useful:
- Warm and dry weather in the resort has been established since March. The temperature begins to rise gradually. So it is not necessary to wait for the summer to come to Piestany for rehabilitation. You can relax in the resort from early spring. The highest temperature is observed in July-August. So for people who cannot stand the summer heat, it makes sense to go to the wellness in the spring months. Also in the spring in the city there is a bewitching aroma of flowering linden and lilac bushes. In July and August there is a peak of tourists, so there are a lot of tourists in the city.
- The surroundings of the resort are rich in medieval fortresses and castles, without inspecting which the tourist will regret very later. Therefore, it is worth collecting a suitcase, given that you have to walk a lot and not always on flat terrain. Comfortable shoes and covered clothing must be with you. By the way, a hat or a scarf on the head will not hurt either, just like sunglasses with an insect spray.