- A perfect stopover destination from Vienna to Budapest -
After a 50 minutes drive from Vienna, Chloe and I arrived in Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. We took the FlixBus which costed me ONE(!) euro (and €8 for Chloe because she booked after me) and honestIy, I am yet to find a pack of chewing gum that is cheaper than my journey to explore this new country. While I must admit Bratislava was never that high on my bucket list, I certainly don’t regret spending a day here. It is a very small city where all the main attractions are walkable destinations from the city’s centre, so a perfect stopover destination for anyone travelling to and from Vienna, Budapest, Prague etc.
On arrival to one of the two bus terminals in Bratislava, you cannot miss the iconic MOST SNP, or so-called UFO bridge. The bridge was inspired by the optimistic futurism of the 1960s, i.e., the communist era. It offers a panoramic view of the city and the Danube river, which also runs through Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine - the latter five countries which I have yet to visit.
A must-do in Bratislava is to walk around the Old Town as many of the main tourist attractions are located in this area. My impression is that there really isn’t much else to do otherwise, except visiting the Bratislava Castle - but of course I did not spend enough time here to claim it as a fact. Although I can say that I managed to tick off 80% of the “Things To Do”-list on TripAdvisor in more or less a day. This included seeing and touring around St. Martin’s Cathedral, Michael’s Gate, Old Town Hall, Church of St. Elisabeth (The Blue Church), Man at work, and Galéria Nedbalka to name a few. Of course I also insisted on hiking up the Castle that is located on an isolated rocky hill of the Little Carpathians. It was the least touristy tourist attraction I have ever been to in my life, but I reckon the rain played a role in that too.
Indeed, the biggest downside during our trip to Bratislava was the bad weather. It was raining most of the time except towards the evening when we were about to continue our journey to Budapest. Luckily, I rarely let rain stop me from seeing a city especially when I have limited time so I made good use of my umbrella. On the other hand, it was also a perfect opportunity to have a little café crawl: eat cake and drink hot chocolate in cute coffee shops: Štúr Café, Zeppelin, Mondieu, Urban House, Bistro St. Germain, and U Kubistu are some I can personally recommend. The latter is a cosy restaurant where we had dinner. And yes, I drank a lot of tea and coffee on this trip.
So, what do I really think of Bratislava? I can honestly say it’s not my favourite city in the world, mainly because I didn’t feel like there was much to see and do which I personally found interesting. While there is a lot of history in the country, there is only so much time I am willing to spend towards visiting museums and war sites. But I will say it was a very charming city overall and I would recommend for anyone to visit for about a day or two, and even longer if you think there are things here that attracts your interests.