As a tourist in Slovakia, you are probably there to hike and see the wonderful castles of the Tatra mountains. However, it is a real crime not to visit Bratislava. I was away for nearly three weeks, traveling in Central Europe. From all my traveling in these parts of Europe, Bratislava created a special place in my heart.
Bratislava is a historic city and a perfect destination for any holiday. This pleasant medieval city built with narrow and winding streets is your ideal Nextravel destination! Being there, mesmerized my mind, while the people my soul. The food, the drinks (the beer!), the cafes, the historical landmarks are just puzzles of this masterpiece called Bratislava. Even though my trip was not the fairy-tale I imagined (thieves stole my baggage), I couldn’t resist not having fun in this great city.
The old town of Bratislava is located between two squares – the main square Hlavne namestie and the Hvizdosla square named after the greatest Slovak poet. Bratislava has a mixture of both neoclassical and communist architecture.
Here are seven things you must do while visiting Slovakia!
Visit the Old Town
This is the place where you will see all the crowds. In some cases, you have to push your way through the tourist crowded groups to enjoy the beautiful cobblestoned streets. All the great places are located in the old town! Plus, if you want to pick up a souvenir, then here are all the good gift shops!
Visit the Blue Church
One of the most famous landmarks in Bratislava is the Blue Church built by a Hungarian architect Edmund Lechner. Even though it is called the Church of St. Elisabeth, locals call it the Blue Church because, you’ve guessed it – it has one of the most unique blue colors. As one of the bluest buildings in the Slovak capital, the Blue Church is painted with the candy-coloured roof and walls!
Enjoy the view from the UFO Observation Deck
If you want to experience the best view of the city and enjoy the magical sunset over the beautiful Danube river, the UFO Observation deck is a must-visit location. It is a building that belongs to the futuristic Soviet architecture, strapped on the Bridge of Slovak uprising. From 100 meters above the city, you can enjoy the Bratislava landscape in all directions. Getting there is easy, just a couple of minutes walking from the Bratislava Castle. If you are looking for refreshments and a good meal, the UFO Observation deck has one of the best restaurants in town. Taste good food, drink great Slovak beers and enjoy the view.
Visit Bratislava Castle
What medieval architecture does not have a castle? The Bratislava castle is located on the hill above the Old Town. It is the number one landmark of this city. The history of this castle is remarkable – it even goes back even to the stone ages! If you want to learn the history of this great historical monument, you can always visit the special archaeological exhibition in the Museum of History or relive history from the wide artefact collection inside the castle. The admission fee is just $4. Lastly, if you are tired of your long journey through Bratislava, on the west courtyard of the Castle, there is a restaurant named Hradna Hviezda. The interior is historically inspired and there you can taste both modern and regional specialties.
Visit the Main Square
As we said before, Hlavné Námestie is the main town square, and to experience Bratislava – a visit is a must. Everything you’ll ever need can be found in the main square. There are three excellent cafes, The Roland Fountain, the statues of the guardsman and a Napoleonic soldier. If you want to enjoy your time there, you can always pick on the lines of benches there and enjoy your days. Hlavné Námestie originates from the 13th century, and since then has been the centre of the social life of the locals. The main town square hosts all the festivities, celebrations and markets in the city.
Shop from the Central Market
One of the oldest open-air markets, Trhovisko Miletičova is the place where you can find vegetables, fresh fruits, dairy products and meat. If you want to take a break from all the crowded tourist spots of Old Town, then Trhovisko Miletičova is your ideal place.
Visit Grassalkovich Palace
The last place on our list is the Grassalkovich Palace! This is the palace that houses the sitting Slovakian president. However, before becoming a presidential residence it was a home of aristocrats. One of the most beautiful parts of the Grassalkovich Palace is the French garden. Now it is a separate part, that is open to the public. It is the perfect place to relax from your palace stroll before.
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Food and Drinks: If you are someone not familiar with Slavic cuisine, then the Slovak food in Bratislava, will be enchanting. Even though each Slavic nation has similar cuisine, the way they cook it and present it is different. The same can be said about Slovak food. Nextravel recommends tasting the Slovak traditional food such as:
Bryndzové halušky – A mixture from potato dumplings, sheep cheese and delicious roasted bacon!
Zemiakové placky – Pancakes made from potatoes and flour together with garlic and oil
Parené buchty – Dumplings filled with jam, cheese and sweetened poppy seeds
If you are a beer lover, then Bratislava is your heaven. You can taste one of the most beautiful beers in the world, from the local breweries and pubs. Also, their wine will enrich your taste, something different than your normal wine, yet perfect companions for your dinner date!
Clothes and Weather: Even if the weather seems cold, the sun is strong. That’s why Nextravel recommends light clothing beneath your jacket. Summer temperatures average between 18 and 24 C, but the evenings can be cold. That’s why always bring a jacket even if it is summer. On the other hand, winters can be freezing. Temperatures range between -5 up to 7 degrees. That’s why always pack a thick coat, hat, gloves and scarf! In Bratislava rainy weather occurs a lot, so always bring an umbrella and a raincoat!
Hotels: As every ex-communist countries in Europe, in Bratislava, you can find really good hotels and really awful ones. The good ones will be expensive, while the cheaper ones will be a bargain. However, from our personal experience, we recommend going to the more expensive ones, even if it means sacrificing days from your stay. Some hotels can be dangerous with security!
Nightlife: Bratislava knows how to party! If you want to enjoy the best nightlife then you must visit “The Club”. It is one of the biggest clubs in the city and offers a great clubbing experience. Another great place to visit is the Rio Grande Night Bar. IF you want an exotic atmosphere and great cocktails, then this is your ideal spot! Lastly, we recommend Casa Del Havana If you are a fan of Latin music or simply love Cuban music and drinking then visit them. The staff is friendly and the drinks are good!
General advice: Even though Slovakia is one of the most growing economies in Europe, there are a lot of thieves and homeless people who can cause you inconveniences. Always stay in crowded places and be on your toes for thieves.