I recently re-watched the 2004 movie, Eurotrip. I laughed at how Bratislava was portrayed.
The dollar has significantly increased since we first arrived in Europe, but I wanted to go somewhere where our money was worth more. So we decided to go to Eastern Europe. Vienna was supposed to be the main point of this trip, but somehow it turned into us spending more time in Bratislava. Which in hindsight was better for us, since we’re not museum people and that’s about 90% of what to do in Vienna.
We stayed at the Hotel Apollo. At first I was looking at hotels in Vienna, but prices in Vienna were astronomical compares to Bratislava. That’s why we decided to stay in Bratislava, they offered parking, breakfast was including and WiFi, & A/C (it was 90-100 degrees when we were there) they were also pet-friendly (perfect since we had our dog along)!
Our hotel was amazing. It was a 15 min walk from the center of town, and I’m pretty sure we were upgraded to a suite. Our hotel room was larger than the others on our floor AND we even had a balcony! I can’t say enough good things about this place. They even had a restaurant and had dinner there both nights. Because we were guests at the hotel, we got 20% off! I would suggest looking into this hotel, the food was amazing!
We started our exploration of Bratislava at the Blue Church, it’s called the Blue Church because it’s blue! Fun fact: It was created for Princess Elisabeth, and painted blue because her parents thought she was going to be a boy! From the outside it was a pretty cool looking church, normally you can go inside, but there was a wedding going on so we just admired the building from the outside.
Bratislava is such a cute city. But if you’re not in the Old Historic town, you can still see the reminisce of Communism. Drew and I kept joking about the fact that technically we’re older than Slovakia, since until 1993 it was Czechoslovakia. Haha. There are so many cute statues and water fountains to take pictures of. I think Bratislava is a photographer’s dream!
We made our way through town, stopping at an outdoor market where we found our souvenirs. Drew got his beer stein and I got a magnet and shot glass, I think he gets the better deal with souvenirs. I did find a little tea light holder that had Bratislava on it, the only other place we’ve been able to find a little tea light holder is Prague and the Christmas Markets in Germany.
Next was the Hrad Castle or Bratislava Castle, which Rick Steves said has the best views of Bratislava from the top of the castle. It was a hike to get there! When we got to the top we saw a trolley bus that takes you from the city center to the castle, I’d suggest doing this, especially on a hot day! Look for bus number 203 or 207 and get off at the Hrad stop.
I was excited to see the views and knew that the had to be worth it. Only when we got to the castle, there was a big sign that said dogs weren’t allowed! So there we were with Rylie and she wasn’t allowed to go in. I was pretty mad, nothing I read said dogs weren’t allowed, so I sat with Rylie while Drew went exploring the castle.
The massive rectangular building with four corner towers stands on an isolated rocky hill of the Little Carpathians mountain range, directly above the Danube river in the middle of Bratislava. Because of its size and location, it has been a dominant feature of the city for centuries. The location provides excellent views of Bratislava, Austria and, in clear weather, parts of Hungary. Many legends are connected with the history of the castle.
We headed back to the center of town, it was so hot out I was thankful for a water truck that was giving away free water. They even gave Rylie a cup of her own! For the most part Bratislava was pet friendly, while we took a break, all the tourists wanted to take a picture of Rylie or pet her!
The last thing I wanted to see (because there’s still a lot to see in Bratislava) was the most famous bronze statue entitled “Cumil:” the statue is of a man peeking out from under a manhole cover. This guy, residing in the Old Town, dates back only to 1997, but Bratislavians and tourists love him. Children like to abuse him by sitting on his head. More than once has he been damaged car drivers. Heated discussions have taken place as to what actually the man is up to – you have to decide whether he is simply resting, looking up women’s skirts, or just cleaned the sewer.
I did want to see the UFO tower, You could see it from the Bratislava Castle, apparently it also gives great views of Bratislava, but I didn’t want to walk all the way down there. So I settled for seeing it from a far.
I really enjoyed Bratislava, and I’m glad we decided to stay in Bratislava, 1.) Because of how cheap things were there 2.) Their nightlife is pretty exciting. There were more people out at 3am then there were at noon. 3.) Eastern Europe really isn’t what it seems and I definitely need to explore it more!
I was a little sad when we had to leave, although Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia I feel that a lot of people over look it, it’s a hidden gem and if you’re ever in Europe, I would suggest stopping off, especially if you’re near Vienna!
Note: Teanna originally published a longer version of this article on her website. She shared this shorter version with Germany Ja.
Tips For Your Trip:
Phone: +421 255 968 922
Dulovo nám. 1, 821 08 Bratislava, Slovensko
The Church of St. Elizabeth, commonly known as Blue Church
Bezručova, 811 09 Bratislava-Staré Mesto, Slovakia
Hrad Castle or Bratislava Castle
811 06 Bratislava, Slovakia
- Sigmund gate – considered to be the most complex and the most frequent one when accessing from old town to the south-eastern part of the castle complex. Follow the street “Židovská” & “Mikuláška” street, and then turn to the “Beblavého”. Continue the street find the stairs and street called “Zámocké schody”.
- Vienna gate – the main entrance to the castle complex. Accessible from the south-western from “Palisády” or “Mudroňova”. You will most likely enter this gate when coming by public transport or car.
- Nicholas gate – follow the “Židovská street” and turn to the “Mikuláška street”. You will see the street with many stairs up. You will enter the complex from the north-western direction.
- There is a newly built parking house called “Hrad” for 276 cars just nearby the castle on the Námestie Alexandra Dubčeka (see the map). It is a paid parking, where you shall pay something around 1-2€ per 30 minutes.
By Public Transportation:
- A direct connection by trolleybus number 203 and 207 is established. The stop is called “Hrad” (Castle) and is located only 2 minute walk from the castle. Both buses are going through the city center.
Tuesday – Sunday: 1000 – 1800 (last entry 1730)
Panská 251/1, 811 01 Bratislava, Slovakia