Sit on a bench in the town of Her’lany near the Slovak city of Košice and just wait for a little while. That stony bowl in front of your eyes is not just some out-of-order city fountain. With a little planning – or good timing – your patience might just be rewarded with a magnificent spectacle thanks to the power of nature.
Her’lany geyser: eruption due to online timetable
It’s a genuine geyser, the only one in Europe outside of Iceland. Every 30-32 hours, a column of (cold) water shoots from it as high as 30 meters (though usually, it is some 10-15 meters). Around the geyser is a garden, so you can take a stroll to stretch your legs while waiting. Luckily, the wait shouldn’t be too long, as the municipal website announces the expected eruption via a website widget. Tourists are also welcome to call the local post office to ask for the expected time of the eruption. Arriving an hour before is recommended.
The spectacle itself lasts for 20-30 minutes. During that time, the geyser shoots out some 60 thousand liters of water. As the underground water contains additional solutions, you can expect the smell of sulfur and oils, not dissimilar to gasoline.
Hundred meters to the sky
The 15th-century village of Her’lany found its tourist attraction in 1872. People were digging a well, and when they hit a depth of 330 meters, water started shooting about 112 meters into the sky and continued to flow for ten days straight. After that, eruptions started regularly, as the geyser is powered by rainwater and an influx of underground water. It is now much more peaceful than it was in the beginning, though, when the column of water could be seen every 8-9 hours.
Her’lany is the only cold geyser in Slovakia with water temperatures varying from 10 to 18 degrees. However, Slovakia is rich in hot springs, where one can take in the view or even take a swim in a rich array of spa facilities. Such spas are distributed across the north and west parts of the country relatively evenly.
The most renowned is arguably Bešenová in Vysoké Tatry, but be sure to check for opportunities in your neighborhood for taking a hot bath.