Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is only about 60 kilometers away (40 miles) from Vienna. Yeah, Vienna is completely on the east of Austria, and Bratislava completely on the west of Slovakia. Therefore, we have two European capital cities about one hour away from each other. I met some people in Vienna who leave early in the morning from there, go to Bratislava to spend the day, and then go back to Vienna in the evening. “Because everybody keep saying there’s nothing to do there, it’s probably best to spend a whole day there, and not stay to sleep“. That’s what I heard the most. And although I spent three days in Bratislava, I have to admit… It was easily enough.
Yeah, even though the city is charming and the Slovak people are friendly, you quickly see it all. I made a comment about it to a Slovak girl (being tactful), and she didn’t like it. “I hate to hear that, there’s a lot of things to do and to discover. People, culture, food, and us Slovak girls!” Yeah… Until then, I had always done a lot of different things in the cities I visited, but Bratislava is rather limited from a strictly touristic point of view.
And I can’t forget to mention a movie didn’t help at all, Hostel. For those who haven’t seen the movie, it’s a horror film where three students go to Slovakia because they heard that girls were easy to hook up with there. And finally, once they arrive in Slovakia, one of them disappears, then another one, and I won’t tell the whole story! Anyway, even though the movie wasn’t shot in Slovakia, in the movie they clearly say it takes place in Slovakia. And after the movie was released, tourism in the country plummeted by 75%. Ouch…
All right all right.. Let’s stop with pessimism, and let’s see the bright side of things. People are really friendly, indeed Slovak girls are beautiful, cost of living is reaaaaaally low (1.50 euro for a beer, 3.50 euros for a cocktail!), and yeah, there are places to see. The most popular touristic place is still the Bratislava castle. A lot of legends have been said about this castle and although it was partially destroyed and abandoned for about 150 years, this castle is allegedly 1000 years old. The castle is in the heights of the city, and it’s possible to visit it for 8 euros. The castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens, and a lot of people take a walk there. Oh and by the way, Slovakia is the country with the most castles per capita.
Not far from the castle is St. Martin’s cathedral. Didn’t find anything special, but I heard later that this cathedral is 600 years old. During this time, the cathedral has never been destroyed or damaged. Apparently it’s a great pride of the country, and it’s a national cultural monument.
St. Martin’s cathedral is located next to a bridge, Most SNP. At the end of the bridge is the UFO tower. You can get on top of it but I couldn’t do it since it was closed during my whole stay in Bratislava. But you can do it for 7 euros. On top of the tower, there’s a classy restaurant and when you use their restrooms you have a 360 degrees view of Bratislava.
Bratislava is also proud of the church of St. Elizabeth, mostly called the blue church, because yeah, as you might imagine, it’s a blue one! And that’s the only blue church in the whole country. Inside the church is not completely blue though…
Bratislava, it’s also the main square (hlvane), which exists since the 13th century, Michael’s gate, the statue of man at work, the old slovak national theatre… I think that spending just one day in Bratislava is not enough. Cause even though there’s not much, then you’ll have to rush to see all those things and travelling is more about taking your time, enjoying the moment, rest and relax, not stress more! Two to three days in this city, it’s perfect!
Info to visit Bratislava
- Are you going to Slovakia? Do not leave home without a travel insurance!
- I stayed at the Patio Hostel, and I really had a good time there. However, if you’re not into hostels, you have plenty of options in the city.
- You can visit Bratislava in just a few days, but still, check what the city has to offer.
- Easter tradition : they don’t go egg hunting. Men go to see their girl friends and knock on their door. If they don’t open quickly, a year of misfortune is waiting for them. Once they open the door, the guy spray the girl with a bucket (or a bottle) of water. The guy also brought a little whip made of wicker and whips the girl’s butt. After that, the girl offers the guy cakes or eggs (for children), and a shot of local alcohol (for adults). Shot after shot, the atmosphere gets uninhibited and it ends up in a general good mood… “Popular” girls are visited dozens of times that day and get sprayed all day long. Less popular girls spend the day home by themselves, because nobody knock on their door…
- Bratislava’s nickname is “partyslava“, according to a Slovak girl I talked to. However, on a thursday night after midnight, almost everything was closed… I also heard BRAtislava, because Slovak girls supposedly have big breasts. Didn’t notice…
- Zero tolerance for alcohol while driving. Too many alcohol abuse in the past.
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