Bratislava the Capital of Slovakia is not on everybody’s list of places to travel however its location is close to Vienna, Krakow and Budapest and therefore makes it easy to visit on a trip. Here I will explain why you should include this city.
Arriving in Bratislava
Chances are you will arrive by bus since Bratislava is easily connected with routes from Krakow, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest. The main bus station is not at the main rail station (as is the case in most other major cities).
From the bus station, you can walk outside the front exit, cross the road and catch bus number 210 to the main rail station (purchase a 15-minute ticket for .70 euro from the ticketing machine before boarding). From there you are close to the city centre.
The main rail station has toilets and showers ( 50 cents), free wifi and very few small food and drink stores (this is not a large station with a large selection of services such as other major cities, but it serves your basic needs).
Things to Do in Bratislava
I never see Bratislava featured in peoples trips to Europe. It is not often covered by bloggers and seems to really be skipped when planning travel destinations in Europe, so I wanted to check out the city, see what it has to offer and experience some Slovakian culture while there.
I will be honest in saying there is little to see outside of the historical centre. But don’t get me wrong, the area itself is beautiful, romantic and relaxing. One day is sufficient to explore all the sites in this area, as well as browse some souvenir stores and visit some restaurants or try some local Slovakian food.
The city is of course worth a visit if you are passing through or nearby, and it is a close location within just one hour from Vienna and a few hours from Budapest.
Since there is not a large coverage on the city and I had not searched for much information about the city, I was unaware of any major attractions that is should visit first. So I grabbed a free city map and walked the streets from site to site. Here they are listed in the order I found them and a little bit of information I learnt.
Historical City Area Attractions
The castle is easily the cities biggest and most well-known site. The castle itself sits atop a hill overlooking the Historical city, the river, and Greater Bratislava. The view from the top is well worth the uphill climb it takes to reach the top.
The castle is set within the large castle walls, with a few large entrance gates. The grounds feature courtyards, gardens, lookouts as well as a grand front entrance. Entrance into the castle grounds and surrounding courtyards is free of charge.
Historical City Streets and Architecture
Wander through this area and you can find churches, council halls and other large and beautiful structures. Entrance to the churches and most buildings is free of charge, there’s only a small number of museums that charge an entrance free.
Taste the traditional food on offer at many of the cafes and restaurants, or go for some international cuisine you are more accustomed to, like pizza, pasta, or international fast food.
All are available and easily accessible within the Historical City. (*I would have to say that every traditional dish I learnt about is based on either meat or cheese, so if you are vegan you will have very minimal options in traditional Slovakian restaurants).
The railway station and bus station are easily accessible from the Historical City (I walked to the railway station from the Historical City, although if you have heavy bags you might not enjoy this walk as I did. Taking the city bus or old trams to either the bus or train station will cost 70 cents.
Trains leave hourly to Vienna from the main railway station, as do buses with hourly trips to Vienna leaving from the main bus station with costs around 7 EURO. There are also quick connections to Prague and Budapest.
I hope this post was helpful to those considering visiting Bratislava or planning travel in Europe but unsure of what cities to visit. The Historical City centre is beautiful, and if you are passing by then of course the city is worth a stopover.
As mentioned earlier, one full day is easily sufficient to explore all the sites in the historical centre, enjoy lunch in a cafe pr a picnic in one of the many beautiful parks or gardens.
However, if you have already visited many historical cities on your European trip, and are tiring of exploring historical centres then you may find Bratislava similar and a little repetitive.
For more information on Bratislava, you can see the official Bratislava tourism information website. https://www.visitbratislava.com