A Short Visit to Bratislava
We’re always on the lookout for new places and cities to discover and since we like to drive it’s easy to take a diversion off the planned route for exploring. That’s how we found ourselves in Bratislava for an overnight stay on our road trip to Budapest.
Looking at the map, it seemed like a no-brainer as there were two route choices between Nuremberg and Budapest. The first would take us through Vienna ( a great city worth a visit for sure but we’d already been) or the second one through Bratislava, since we are always on the lookout for more ways to check out this amazing country and visit Slovakia, we knew which route we would take right away.
We arrived in Bratislava around noon so we knew we had only a few hours to make the most of our visit. Luckily we found a room in a central hotel with parking. This can be surprisingly hard to do in most European towns so we were happy to see Bratislava had a few hotels to choose from that were very near the old town.
Walking Through the Old Town
With the car parked, the bags safely stowed in our room, we took off to explore all that Bratislava could offer in the short time we had. We were impressed with the amount of renovation and reconstruction that has taken place here. The main tourist areas of the town have been restored to their medieval and baroque glory days with many of the buildings repurposed for visitors for shopping, eating or as museums.
Another interesting attraction for the city was the number of bronze statues hidden around the old town. These whimsical creations could lead you on a fun hunt through the cobbled streets. My favorite was the “Man at Work” poking his helmeted head up through a manhole. For those geo-cachers out there, you should know there is a particularly tricky cache to be found nearby.
Bratislava has a clean and comfortable public transportation system that will get you around the greater metropolitan area, but for a trip into the old town where most of the sites can be found, you’ll be venturing about on foot. Luckily this is a relatively flat part of the city and compact enough to make a walking tour encompassing the main sights quite doable.
We really wanted to visit the Blue Church which was a little further out of the pedestrian zone and debated hopping a bus. Instead we opted to walk through the residential areas leading to the church. We immediately noticed a stark difference in the building conditions. As we moved further from the city center and the recent repairs and fresh paint, we found crumbling plaster, graffiti, and more of the rich patina of hundreds of years that was missing from the shining city center.
All of this walking really worked up our appetites so we were desperately looking for something close to the hotel that wasn’t obviously just catering to tourists. Nothing really sparked our interest, but the brew pub nearby to our hotel did hit the spot with a delicious cold golden ale perfect for the hot summer evening. After a drink or two, a plate of steaming dumplings and some dinner we relaxed and contemplated our time in Bratislava.
- Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia so you will find all of the country embassies here
- It is a medium sized city of around 500,000 and easy to navigate
- The medieval Old Town is traffic free, no smog and no worries of dodging traffic
- On major train and driving routes, easy connections to Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Munich
- Service by cheap airlines like Ryanair and Smart Wings
We were comfortable at the Ibis Bratislava Centrum. It was nothing fancy, but if you’re familiar with Ibis hotels, then you know what to expect; comfortable, clean rooms at an affordable price. This one included secure parking and is only a two or three minute walk to the Old Town. And no, we’re not brand ambassadors but sometimes they are the best choice for us.
Have you strolled around Bratislava? What were your impressions?
Pin Bratislava for later.