The streets have been completely renovated over the last years, bringing life and charm back to this city.
Since then a multitude of cafes, bars, restaurants, fashion stores have opened. On warm days almost every cafe has an outdoor seating zone in the streets, giving the city a unique cozy feeling. A beautiful hill-top castle, with a stunning view of the city and the river Danube, is one of the landmarks you should enjoy while visiting Bratislava.
The city has an airport with many low-cost flights, from the airport a public transport bus (nr. 61) will bring you to the centre in 30 minutes (ticket costs 0,90 Euro). Bratislava is also very close to famous cities like Wien (60 km far), Prague (320km far) and Budapest (200 km far), connection by bus and trains are frequents.
First of all, if you are planning to spend some day in the Slovak capital city, I would strongly recommend to stay at Hostel Blues.
It was my second time there and it gets, if possible, better and better!
Elena and Eliska are fantastic front desk staff, always smiling and willing to chat and help. All the staff is kind and friendly. Location is perfect, few minutes walking to the city centre. Kitchen is big, tidy and well equipped with all you might need for cooking. Common room is warm and relaxing, best place to get to know other travellers, the hostel organize even a blues concert once a week.
Bratislava is not only about the city. There are several places to visit just around the city:
– Devín Castle (hrad Devín) – ruins of the large castle next to the confluence of the Danube river with the Morava river. It is about 20 minutes from the SNP Bridge with bus no. 29. The place is nice for walks and there are many monuments and statues.
– Hike in the Small Carpathians mountain range. Bratislava lies on the southeast slopes of these mountains. Hiking routes are well indicated. The entire country is covered with hundreds of miles of extremely well-marked hiking trails, that especially in the national parks lead though gorgeous landscapes
The castle Červený kameň is located about 30 km north-east of Bratislava; it can be reached by bus from Mlynske Nivy bus terminal.
Slovak are proud of their traditions and cuisine is part of it. Local specialties mostly involves (smoked) meat, cheese, potatoes and flour. Soups are quite common either as an appetizer or as a main dish.
Bryndzové halušky, similar to small dumplings with sheep’s cheese and topped with pieces of meat, is the national dish of Slovakia and are recommended.
Another specialty in Bratislava (and Slovakia) is treska. It is a cold salad made of Codfish with mayonnaise and vegetables like onions and carrots. Treska tastes very good with rolls.
For a great typical dinner, the two must to visit restaurants are: ‘Slovak pub’ and the ‘Bratislava flag ship restaurant‘. the second one has wonderful interiors.
Bratislava has a popular club, HC Slovan Bratislava and locals are very proud of it. The club plays the international Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), the second most important hochey competition in the world, after the northern american/canadian one.
The ice hockey arena (official name is Ondrej Nepela Arena, known in slovak as Zimný štadión Ondreja Nepelu, and nowadays as Slovnaft Arena) is brand new, rebuilt and reconstructed to host the ice hockey world competition in 2011, is full of bars, restaurants and other premises. It is easily reachable by public transportation.
Finally, suggesting to drink beer would be to easy 🙂
I will try, instead, to suggest two ‘off the beaten track’ places:
–Kelion. Is a tea room, not only. It is in a quiet city area, far from traffic and noise, in a nice family house. If you want a proper relax and cosy atmosphere it is the place for you!
–Bistro St. German. Is a cafe’ nearby the Hostel Blues. Good food and organic drinks available. Beautiful interiors. Great to chill-out. No smoking inside!
Are you ready to travel and have fun?????
Here, in alphabetical order, my top destination in Europe during the cold season:
Why? Easy to reach thanks to the Milano/Bergamo airport, Bergamo has a charming old city (medieval style) on the top of a hill with a wonderful view of alps and the rest of the city.
What to do? Not only visiting the city, according to your tastes, a day trip to: Milano, italian Alps (Dolomiti), Garda’s Lake
What to try? Local Casonsei (pasta) and italian grappa (strong alcohol) and wine
When? On 7th of January sale’s season begins in most of the shops in northern italy. A good chance if you like italian fashion
Why? One of the smallest capital in Europe, you will never get lost in the city centre. Cheap drinks and flights to/from its city airport
What to do? If you like skiing, Slovack High Tatras is a cheap and good option to try.
What to try? Halusky, halusky and halusky 🙂 are small dumplings with cheese. Drink slivovica (strong alcohol/brandy)
Why? If you like the myth of Dracula then you can’t miss the ‘capital’ of Transylvania.
Brasov is a beautiful city with an interesting historical centre.
What to do? Visit Sighisoara, city where Dracula was born it has a beautiful old centre; the castles; Poiana Braşov ski resort and the beautiful mountains around but be careful (!!! ) bears might be resting during the winter but wolves… 🙂
What to try? Local soups to warm up and palinca (strong alcohol/brandy)
Why? One of the most popular destination in Europe, cheap and with an intense nightlife
What to do? Too cold outside? head to one of the many city spa and thermal baths! Relax is guaranteed
What to try? Best gulas soup is prepared at home, restaurants have only tourist version, however is a must to try. Drink Palinka (strong alcohol/brandy) and Tokaj
…to be continued…
The Danube river gives a lot of charm to this small European capital.
Bratislava was the perfect location for a bunch of italians’ reunion, in fact my friend who lives in Prague has good italian friends that live in Nitra, a small slovak city, so the meeting point was BratislOvE 🙂
Bratislava is easily reachable from the main central Europe capitals (Budapest, Prague, Wien) by train or bus
Our base was Patio Hostel in a street very close to the centre, clean and with nice staff. Hostel Patio offers laundry included in the price, WOW!!!!
After the check in at the hostel we went out for a proper slovak dinner, with halusky (small potato dumpling similar to italian homemade gnocchi) and pierogi (very popular in Poland and Russia too, kind of ravioli) with cabbage and slovak cheese, then a city walk helped our digestion… 🙂
The city centre is very compact and everything is within a short walking distance, even the castle a the top of the hill is easy target.
The next day we discovered the city with natural light. Fist stop was this ‘pyramid’ listed among the ugliest building in the world, then the Danube banks, a political demonstration (it was the freedom celebration day) and something else.