Relaxation on the water
Anyone, who stands on the top of Babia Góra (Witches’ Mountain) and look in the direction of Slovakia, will certainly focus on glittering like gold Orava Lake. It’s the largest artificial lake in Slovakia, and it’s located in Orava Basin in the northern part of the country. Its surroundings are as beautiful as the lake itself, tourists coming to rest here have really much to see and admire. On the bank of the lake you will find harbors, a campsite and a few resorts.
The creation of the lake caused flood in several villages, including the historic center of Námestovo. Fortunately, not all the attractions happen to be inundated. Tourists can visit the local Renaissance Cathedral of St. Simon and Jude. It was built in the seventeenth century and only two confessionals, baroque font and Marian column have survived till these days. St. Barbara’s and St. Catherine’s statues are equally interesting, as well as the nineteenth-century folk statue.
Námestovo - water sports and monuments
One of the village attractions is Slanicka Island (Slanicky ostrov) - the only remnant of the flooded village, Slanica. The historic, eighteenth-century Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is situated there, with the Museum of Folk Fine Arts inside. It’s worth to see the works of unknown masons and sculptors of ancient times. To visit the place, just get on the ship cruising to the island.
One curious detail is the fact that Slovakia's largest electrical plant (a subsidiary of Punch) is located in Námestovo.
The lake is the most beautiful tourist destination of upper Orava. Recreational resorts, Slanicka Osada and Przystań, situated by the lake are very popular during summer-. Here you can swim as much as you want, use water bikes, motorboats or boats. Water skiers will be very satisfied, as well as yachting and windsurfing enthusiasts. Not to mention those, who like just fishing in quiet, contemplate and enjoy the beauty of the landscape. The lake beaches are mostly rocky, but with a little bit of patience, there’s a chance to find a one with sand. But better not to forget the sandals or flip-flops.
While exploring the neighborhood, it is necessary to go to the dam – the view extending from there is second to none. The water is crystal clear, it’s easy to see the fish, you can even distinguish several different species. It must be remembered that the entry to the dam is banned, so in order to get to the other side of the lake, you simply have to go around.
Campsite by the lake
As it has already been said above, there is a campsite Stara Hora (Oravská priehrada) at the Orava Lake. It’s situated approximately 2km from the center of Námestovo. It is opened from 01.05. to 31.10, and the tourists have at their disposal the buffet with food, water bikes, there is also a café and a children's playground. You’re welcome to come with your pets. For about 13 € two adults can spend the night here - the price includes the access to electricity and a pitch for a camper. For children you have to pay 1,5 € per day.
It is worth to come to the lake with your own car or camper, because it allows you to combine the holidays by the water with exploration of the area. And Orava region has quite a lot of places that will interest every visitor.
Exploring the area
One of the attractions of the region is Orava Castle. In fact, you can even say "Orava catles", as it consists of three complexes of medieval-renaissance buildings. The Upper Castle dates back to the early thirteenth century, it is slim and steeple, Medium Castle is distinguished by four-side tower, while to the Lower Castle cuddles a baroque church, a tower and a palace of Thurzo’s.
A little farther, about 30km from the lake, there are famous thermal pools. Oravice SPA attracts thousands of people, and its main attraction is the geothermal water with the temperature of 58 degrees. You can come here whenever you want, all year round and make a use of the pools, which are opened until late night hours. Waters from that SPA contain a lot of iron, so it has a great effect on the whole body.
Another point of the tour might be a heritage park, which is located 3km from Zuberec, on the glades in Brestová, right at the foot of the Western Tatras. It is Orava Village Museum (Muzeum Oravskej dediny), divided into five parts. For example, on the Market Square of the Lower Orava we find more beautiful and more impressive buildings of the richer inhabitants of southern Orava, while on the other, the Goral Settlement, lying on the south-eastern slopes of the Oravské Beskydy Mountains, represents the poorest part. This museum can be visited all year round.
Passing by Orava
The trip to the region of Orava Lake not only gives you the possibility to do water sports and relax on the beach. Orava Valley has a lot more to offer, and many of the tourists appreciate the beauty of its monuments and landscapes. All the more so, it is located really close to our border. It would be a sin not to take the opportunity to spend at least one weekend in this beautiful place.