Although I had been to Bratislava in 2007 during a river cruise of Eastern and Central Europe, this was Bruce’s first visit to this part of Europe, and I couldn’t wait to share it with him.
Slovakia, formerly part of Czechoslovakia, became a separate country when politicians decided to break the country in two without referendum, much to the chagrin of extended families and friends who were geographically instantly split into two nationalities. It is now a small country; just 19,000 square miles and 5-1/2 million people.
As soon as we arrived in Bratislava and settled into our hotel room at the Sheraton, we took off for a walk to the old town. Our beautiful, very modern hotel was located along the promenade of the Danube river, so the fifteen-minute walk each way was very pleasant and picturesque. (Although, “Blue Danube” is a misnomer, as you will notice in my photos.)
Much of the old town is reserved for pedestrians with just service and emergency vehicles allowed. The Cobblestone streets are narrow and lined with outdoor cafes and shops giving the old town a quaint and charming feel. In the late afternoon, the cafes become filled with locals gathering with their friends after work, as well as tourists from the river boats that line the banks of the Danube.
It was hot outside, so we opted to eat inside at one of the casual dining spots that brewed their own beer. A delicious dinner for two with side of veggies and a couple of beers cost only $27—reasonable for Europe in our opinion.
We found the prices in Czech Republic and Slovakia quite affordable. Travel experts are spot-on when they say that Eastern European countries are the best travel bargains on the continent.
The following day, our group took a wonderful walking tour back to the old town. Walking tours are an excellent way to learn about the history, culture, and customs of a place, and we always enjoy them wherever we go. It was nice to get filled in on what we had seen the day before, and for me, it was a refresher from 2007.
The highlight of the day, though, was hiking up the narrow spiral staircase of the main square’s bell tower to take in the view of the old town below as well as the castle located high up on the hill behind the town. (We could have walked up the hill to the castle, but the unseasonably hot weather– 15 degrees above normal—made it an easy decision to opt for the tower instead.)
The 360-degree view was breathtaking, and I had a great time using the panorama function on my little Panasonic Lumix!
By the late afternoon, we were tuckered out from the heat, so we headed back along the promenade to our hotel to cool off before dinner. Between our walk to town, the walk back, and then repeating the whole process again in the evening for dinner, we put a lot of cobblestone miles on our feet!
Our Thai dinner at the Green Buddha was worth it though. Our sampling of traditional Hungarian/Slovakian meat-based cuisine was enough for us, and we were ready for some Thai curry. Who knew we could get a delicious Asian meal in Bratislava? It was fabulous, and we enjoyed the ambiance while dining outdoors on the narrow, shady cobblestone street.
Strolling along the river promenade on our way back to the hotel was so enjoyable on the warm summer evening. Crowds were gathered in the cafes and river-front park, and the atmosphere was vibrant yet relaxed. What a wonderful way to end our stay in Bratislava!
SCENES AROUND BRATISLAVA
Coming up next: BRATISLAVA TO BUDAPEST
I am enjoying your trip SO much. This is a part of our world that we haven’t had the opportunity to explore – – and I know very little about. Thanks for sharing!!
You’re welcome, Q.J.! I’m glad you are enjoying my posts! THANKS!
Nice to see that you have enjoyed Bratislava. It really is one of my favorite cities and we lived there for a year and a half before moving back to Sweden. It really was a great starting point for exploring Slovakia and the rest of central and eastern Europe.
Have you had time to see the sights ourside of the old town such as the Devin Castle and the Slavin War Memorial? There are also a quite interesting WWII bunker (Bunker BS-8) just south of Bratislava at the border with Austria.
There are also smaller towns close by that are really worth a visit, such as Trnava and Nitra.
Regarding the Danube, I don’t think I ever saw it in any other color than brown. 🙂
Thank you for your comment and travel suggestions! I look forward to reading your blog as well.
We are back from Europe, and I am now posting what I wrote offline along the way (when time permitted), so I won’t be able to see the places you suggested. Our stay in Bratislava was short, because it was a pre-extension before our river cruise on the Danube, Main, and Rhine. We only had time to see the old town area, but I would love to return and see more.
Sweden is another country I would love to see in more detail! I got a small taste of it while cruising, and I hope to return. The Scandinavian countries are so incredibly beautiful!
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Very interesting pics of d city
Thank you very much!
I wish I knew you could climb that tower when I was in Bratislava – your pics of the views look great. If you’re in town again, I suggest going up to the SNP bridge cafe (the UFO) for great views with a beer.
I wish you knew that, too, but it sounds like you got great views from the UFO. We thought about going, but we had to prioritize our time during our short visit. Perhaps someday we will return…
Bringing back such good memories of the Danube cruise my mom and I took! Love your pics as always, Elaine!
Absolutely enchanting! A funny thing happened. When I looked at the Bratislava post, the pics wouldn’t open. Then when I went to comment, I was taken to your blog site, where ALL the pics showed. What a nice treat! It is probably my rather spotty internet connection which is to blame. What a wonderful trip.
Thanks, Laura! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos!
this place looks really stunning. loved the pics and sunshine 🙂
Thanks! It’s a great place to visit!
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yes it surely looks like 🙂