Have you ever considered Bratislava as an attractive weekend destination? If not, you absolutely have to. In this post I will explain you why.
1) Very cheap flights from Berlin with Ryanair starting with 20 € both ways. We have spotted that, indeed, many people had a similar thinking and took a chance to spend a weekend outside Berlin: they were flying there and back with us in the same plane…
2) You can also find these flights on the weekend in convenient time: there on Friday in the afternoon and back on Sunday late afternoon: you have two complete days to spend in the city and its surroundings.
3) Slovakia is in Schengen and Euro zones; you can travel with an ID (if you are from EU) and don’t have to change money back and forward. ATMs are everywhere.
4) Many people speak English or German (and sometimes a bit Russian), menu in the restaurants are almost everywhere are tourists-oriented and have translation.
5) Prices are definitely an advantage: everything is cheaper than in Berlin. 0,5l beer costs under 2 €, a bus ticket from the airport – 90 cent. Exception – shots in the clubs are pretty expensive. But they have to somehow compensate the free entrance, right?
6) Party area is awesome. Bars, restaurants, karaoke and shisha places are so close to each other that organizing a pub-crossing is not a problem at all. Usually, the entry is free till midnight; afterwards it costs about 3 €. I would recommend the Masquerade club – the music is nice and “danceable” and the location is so central that it cannot be more central 😉
7) Infinite proximity: everything is very close to each other. You don’t need to use public transport in the city, everything is reachable by foot. Combined with Nr. 5 this item results in a very acceptable prices for accommodation even in the very heart of the city.
8) Bratislava has an extremely cozy old city. We lived on of the main streets called Michalska, in the heart of the city and had breakfast with a view to the Michalská veža (Michael’s Gate) and a flag of Switzerland – not sure, why it is hanging here. If you follow the street in direction to the river, you will cross Hviezdoslavovo námestie where a street market is situated. Don’t miss Cumil, a monument to the Sewer Worker (one can think that he is not only resting after cleaning a sewer but also looking under women’s skirts), one of the symbols of the city.
9) Danubiana, the museum of modern art is a great reason to escape the city by water. A 4,5-hour trip starts at Fajnorovo nábrežie (River port) at 13:30 on Saturdays, it takes one hour to reach the peninsula where the museum is situated. You have two hours for looking around and/ or drinking coffee in the museum café and then the same ship takes you back to the city. A round trip costs 12 € (10 € for students) with the entry to the museum included. The location is hilarious: on a peninsula right in the middle of Danube, modern architecture, glass walls with nice views and a good deal of pieces of modern Slovak art. This place is definitely worth a half-day trip. More information here: http://www.danubiana.sk/en.
10) Devin castle, a castle lying on the cliff facing Danube just 20 minutes bus drive from Bratislava. It seems that the whole castle area was created for being photographed. The most photogenic place is Watcher tower. The surrounding nature and villages are gorgeous – it is difficult to believe that this secluded area is in fact so close to the capital city. The buses Nr. 29 are going every half an hour from Most SNP station and you need about 1-2 hours to take a look around in the castle. More information about opening hours and activities in the area you can find here: http://www.slovakia.com/castles/devin-castle/.
11) Delicious (though often a bit fatty and dough-based) food. Local restaurants can be easily found on each and every step in the old city. They suggest various dishes for very acceptable prices even in the very center of the city. We have been to two restaurants – Slovenská reštaurácia (Panská 8) and to Pansky Hostinec ( Panská 7) – and could recommend both for a good and tasty diner. For breakfast drop by in Enjoy coffee (Michalská 3) – they have amazing home-made cakes. Another nice option – Urban bistro (Michalská 5) – was also checked and can be recommended by us. If you want to buy a breakfast “to go”, visit “Moods – bakery & coffee” (Michalská 342/11) – they have a nice assortment of toasts, croissants and cakes and tasty coffee.
12) Amazing hand-made ice-cream in the little shop called Koun (Panská 13). Rich flavor, thick, delicious, exclusively fresh ingredients, no E’s and color additives. They have sorbets as well and you can always find something vegan or gluten-free in their assortment. Flavor offer is changed daily. Therefore it is no surprise that the line in a little arch and inner yard in front of the shop is long and you can wait up to 20 minutes for your turn. We have been two days in Bratislava and queued there three times or even more. Just because it’s worth it. It is something that you cannot miss even if you are not an ice-cream fan. My personal favorites are pistachio, walnut, cheesecake and ricotta. Opening hours and flavors of the day you can find on their page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Koun/333177536830966?fref=ts.
13) On the Hviezdoslavovo námestie there is a seasonal food and handcraft market. Wine, olives, pastry, local week-alcoholic drinks, meat specialties – you can find everything there. However, the prices are higher than in the supermarket. Souvenirs, jewelry and toys are also represented there. I have bought there beautiful exclusive handmade earrings from a very nice couple who didn’t speak a word English, but it went smooth with the mix of Russian and Slovak.
14) To have a nice view from the Bratislavsky hrad (Bratislava castle) to the city and to the river you have to climb some stairs but it is not exhausting at all and the atmosphere and the view from above is worth the efforts…
15) Geographical location: you can easily reach other European cities from Bratislava, e.g. Vienna and Budapest and prolong your weekend trip.
If you need more tips about Bratislava, let me know – I’m always happy to share my travelling experience.