Monday, June 19, 2017

Bratislava in 24 Hours

One of my major goals when I studied abroad (2.5 years ago... what!!) was to hit as many “off the beaten path” countries as I could. I figured that I could always convince myself to go back to Austria, Germany, France, and Italy, but that the lesser-known countries would be a little harder to go back to. Slovakia was definitely one of those countries, but let me tell y’all… Slovakia is awesome.

Slovakia is relatively new (it became a country again after the fall of the Iron Curtain), but it has so much to offer. It’s also a member of the European Union, so it’s not hard to travel to. Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is also just a short train ride from Vienna, which makes it an ideal day trip!






When you get to Bratislava, one thing that I would really recommend doing is finding a walking tour to go on. The hostel that I stayed in offered a free one and it ended up being the highlight of my trip. (Many hostels offer them - a great place to find them if your hostel does not is New Europe Tours!) Our guide was born and raised in Bratislava and was attending university there. Her English was amazing and she offered a brand new perspective on the Slovakian revolution to throw off communism since she grew up in the aftermath. The walking tour should ideally take you around the old city of Bratislava and last about 2-3 hours (so make sure you eat a good breakfast or take a snack!).


After the walking tour, choose a place to eat lunch near the main square of the city. This is prime time to try some traditional Slovakian food! I would definitely recommend the “bryndzové halušky” (potato dumplings with sheep cheese, bacon, and sour cream) and “cesnačka” (creamy garlic soup in a bread bowl). Top it off with a local Slovakian beer and you’ll be good to go!


Once you’re stuffed full of delicious Slovakian food, make your way up to the appropriately named Bratislava Castle. You can’t miss it. The castle is on a hill and offers wonderful views of the city and the surrounding Slovakian countryside. After you finish taking in the view, make your way back down to the city. In my opinion, those are the must-do things while in Bratislava. But if you have more time here are a few more things that you can see:

View of the UFO from Bratislava Castle

Panorama from the top of the UFO, Bratislava Castle on the left

Devin Castle – This is about half an hour outside of Bratislava by bus. It’s old ruins of the castle along the Danube River, which makes it lush and green and beautiful on a nice day. If you don’t want to take the bus, another nice option would be to rent bikes and ride along the river until you get there. Unfortunately I didn't make it to Devin Castle, but that's all the more reason to go back to Slovakia ;)

UFO Observation Deck – You can’t miss this landmark in Bratislava. You can see it from almost everywhere in the city. The communists, who wanted to move away from the traditional architecture, built it, but during the U.S.S.R. the observation deck was closed because you could see right into capitalist Austria on a clear day. When it’s sunny, you can see Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia. When it’s not sunny, it’s very windy and cold at the top, so keep that in mind! I actually went up to the top before my afternoon train back to Salzburg - so that's an option too if you're looking for something to fill your morning!

Bratislava is a very very cool country. Don’t be afraid to travel alone there! It’s safe and definitely worth a visit during your travels, whether you’re there for a day or for a longer period of time!


Have you ever been to Bratislava? Let me know!

P.S.: Check out some of my other city guides! (Athens, Greece in 72 Hours and Salzburg, Austria in 24 Hours). More are coming up, but let me know if you have any suggestions! I've been to a lot of cities and I'd be glad to help!

19 comments :

  1. These photos are absolutely gorgeous! Slovakia looks nothing like how it looked like in the Hostel movies haha!

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    1. Haha yes! I forgot about that movie!

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  2. Bratislava looks and sounds amazing! I think you were spot on with trying to travel to "off the beaten path" countries and cities while studying abroad, it is so much harder to get to these places than Paris/London/Etc.

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    1. Yes! I think I'll always be able to convince myself to visit Paris! Bratislava... maybe not.

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  3. Your pictures are awesome! I have never been to Bratislava but i would love to go!

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  4. Bratislava looks totally underrated! Thanks for sharing your adventure :)

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  5. I am in love with the colors of the buildings! The architecture is so incredible. Underrated for sure. Also your food looks so tasty!

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    1. Yes, it was very cool! And the food was amaaazing, I'm still thinking about it!

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  6. Wow what a neat trip! I really like the juxtaposition of the old and new architecture. I've been to a bunch of western-European countries but Slovakia and Hungary are on my bucket list!

    Hannah | the swirl | http://theswirlblog.com/

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    1. I absolutely love Hungary! Budapest is an amazing city.

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  7. ooooooh, these pictures look amazing!! I totally want to go there!!

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  8. Wow I really never thought of going to Slovakia but it looks like a lot of fun! Hungary is on my list for the next few years so I will be sure to pop over there as well!

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    1. I love Budapest!! Hoping to get a post about it up soon!

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  9. Wow! what a fun 24 hours! I love the contrasting architecture and colors.

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  10. This looks like such a great place to visit - it's a beautiful city! I love how you wanted to go to the little countries instead of the big/more popular ones!

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    1. I definitely have no regrets doing that!!

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  11. This trip looks amazing! And I love how your goal is to visit countries beyond the typical "travel faves." Such a smart strategy to see the best of the world.

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  12. I love your sense of adventure! I want to cross as many places off the list as I can, too.

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  13. I studied abroad at seemingly the same time you did (I was in Galway, Ireland — where were you?!) but never made it here. Looks lovely!

    Tori || Victori Media
    https://www.victorimedia.com

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