When I tell my friends and family that the highlight of my recent trip was visiting the city of Bratislava, I am often met with confused looks.
For me, my highlight of my recent holiday was the daytrip to Bratislava, Slovakia from Vienna. The city of Bratislava is the perfect size for excursions by foot, being able to walk from the train station up to the palace allowed me to explore this pint sized city, and see the sights I had planned all at a leisurely pace.
Getting to this city is unbelievably stress free. After purchasing a 15€ return from Wien Hausfeldstrasse, the hour and ten minute train ride was spent watching the suburbs of Vienna disappear, and fields full of wind farms whizzing past. Once arriving in Bratislava you have the choice of either catching the tram or bus free of charge with your train ticket, or in my case walking.
Whether visiting for a day or for a weekend, there are plenty of sights to keep you occupied, and if you do manage to run out there are plenty of bars dotted around the old town. Most the main sights are fairly spread out but luckily due to the size of the city you can easily reach them by walking.
Bratislava Castle is one of the furthest sights and involves a steep hill to reach its entrance, but the walk is defiantly worth it. Reminding me a lot of Prague Castle, and with views across the Danube River and out towards old town, the gardens surrounding the Castle are an excellent spot to sit and gather your breath. You can enter the Castle but I choose not to, instead admiring the view which that day had a mystical gloomy effect.
Slavin Monument is the second sight which will involve walking to reach. The walk is quite a hike and up a slight hill past people’s houses, many people I saw visiting the monument caught a taxi to the top. The Slavin Monument is a memorial to the thousands of Red Army soldiers who died in 1945 liberating the city from Nazis.
The views when you reach the top are worth the hike and with plenty of benches located around the monument you can sit in the well-kept garden, looking up at this striking soviet statue.
The highlight of my visit was without a doubt to the Church of St. Elisabeth, aka the Blue Church. The Blue Church is located a short walk from old town, and located near the Danube. When I saw the church I was amazed how blue the whole complex was, unfortunately at my time of visiting the church was closed so I never got to see what the inside looked like. Warning for when visiting, take care walking along the pavements around the church as there seemed to be a lot of dog waste.
Michaels Gate located in the old town, is a medieval gate and is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the old town. Being a must see I had high expectations and was left feeling a little disappointed when I saw the gate in person.
St Martins Cathedral located near the border of the old town is a major tourist attraction and a must see for this city. Although small in size and rather bland looking in comparison to the Church of St. Elisabeth, the Cathedral is perfectly located in the centre and unavoidable to miss. When entering the inside of the Cathedral there was choir practice going on so I decided not to hang around, and spent most of my time outside admiring the view of the distant castle.
Visiting the city in winter allows you to sample and enjoy the many markets dotted around the old town. With gifts, hot drinks and Slovak food, the markets are the main focus point and point of activity in the month leading up to Christmas. If markets are not your thing walking through the streets and admiring the surrounding architecture is an equally good way to spend the afternoon.
Bratislava for me was surprising and an unexpected highlight from my winter trip. What stood out for me was the quietness of the city and how peaceful it was to stroll around in comparison to Vienna.