We have long had the desire to swim in hot springs in winter. I didn’t know about Russian hot springs with outdoor pools then, so I was looking for thermal baths in Slovakia and Poland. The options in Poland turned out to be the closest (this is important, since we planned to travel by car from Moscow) and the cheapest.
Initially, the choice was between the Slovak baths “Bešeňová”, the baths in the town of Vrbov and some of the baths near Zakopane. We planned to drive through the Tatras and visit as many as three thermal springs per trip. However, in the end, we chose a quieter option with a visit to some of the terms. Based on the reviews, we chose the Hot Stream baths (Gorący Potok), which are located in the village of Szaflary, near Zakopane. The trip took place in January 2019, New Year’s holidays.
This area is famous for its ski resorts. Previously, we were not interested in these sports, so we decided to try skateboarding at the same time. For this we went to the Suche slope.
Accommodation rented nearby, in the village of Banska Wyzna, 10 minutes away by car – an apartment in a classic village house built in the “Zakopane” style. Closer options were much more expensive.
The infrastructure is poorly developed – there are no large shops, the roads are covered with packed snow, you need to be careful when driving and maneuvering. In particular, care should be taken to avoid being wheeled into the drainage ditches along the roads.
Online payment for tickets to the Hot Stream thermal pools was not possible at that time – Polish payment cards were needed.
Therefore, I had to buy directly at the ticket offices of the thermal complex. There were no problems with this – there were no queues for tickets, the cashiers suggested the difference between the tickets. Cashiers immediately warn that there are no indoor pools in the complex – only open ones. Apparently for someone this is not an advantage, but a disadvantage.
Everything is standard – electronic bracelets are issued as tickets for using the storage rooms and for entering the territory. There is a huge amount of storage rooms, sometimes there is a queue in the changing cabins. The access to the pools is through the showers. Unfortunately, showers do not always have sufficient water pressure.
Right after the showers – go outside. There is no smooth exit through the indoor pool (as happens in other similar thermal complexes). However, you need to run quite a bit – about 5 meters from the exit to the outdoor pool.
The total area of the pools is 400 square meters. There are two cold pools, several warm ones with different temperatures. The closest to the exit – medium in temperature, comfortable for a long stay. The water is sulphurous, but there is no unpleasant smell. We didn’t smell the bleach either.
Then there are two hotter pools and one circular pool with the same temperature as the entrance pool. It is notable for the fact that in winter there is a Christmas tree on a pedestal in the center. Next to one of the Hot Stream pools, over which a terrace with a summer cafe is built, there are two stone “barrels” for two people. This and several other hot water pools have different massage jets. There is even a small waterfall in the pool at the entrance.
The pools themselves, the bridges above them and other superstructures are made of wood, which adds comfort.
The visit was very atmospheric – there was snow all around, the air temperature was about -7 degrees Celsius. Keep in mind that it is always colder in the Tatras than in flat Poland.
The complex also has saunas and a restaurant, but we did not use them. Delaying the time spent in the pools is also not scary. Firstly, everywhere there are electronic displays with exact time, by which it is always convenient to keep track of the time. Secondly, for exceeding the allotted time, you will simply need to pay proportionally at the exit, there was no penalty for this in January 2019.
The audience in the Hot Stream baths (Gorący Potok) is mainly represented by tourists who have come to ski resorts – mainly our compatriots from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus. Polish speakers are less than half.
Taking photographs is not prohibited, which is good – many unusual photos can be taken in this place.
We went twice, in the evenings. 1.5-2 hours for a visit was enough. Longer is boring if you do not use other entertainment. In the company of friends with beer and saunas, one could spend the whole day there.