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Expat & Travel Blog

European Gateway: 3 Days in Bratislava

European Gateway: 3 Days in Bratislava

As you have noticed, there was no article last week, and so because we’ve been away for a few days! While we don’t take very long holidays nor time off from work often, we try to have a small gateway once in about 2 months. For this Easter break, we decided to take some days off (6 in total) and travel in Europe. So, here is what we did during our lovely Bratislava gateway!

We left for Bratislava straight after work on the Friday evening and in order to be able to start the weekend directly there. Our flight from Stockholm to Vienna was 2 hours long, and despite the delay we did not arrive there too late. We flew to Vienna as there were more options on the flights but it was also cheaper and direct this way. From the airport we took a bus (Slovak lines) to get to Bratislava, and this took a bit less than one hour.

For the majority of our trips we stay in AirBnb as we have the freedom of organising ourselves freely. We stayed in a very nice place, in the same area as all the embassies are – meaning, a very safe area! The best part was that from there we could walk everywhere.

Day 1

Before arriving in Bratislava we looked into Lonely Planet (Eastern Europe) to have ideas of what to do but also where to eat in the city. Usually, the recommendations are good and it allowed us to map the city pretty fast to then walk around. As mentioned earlier, from the place we were staying at, we could walk everywhere and it is for us the best way to discover a new city.

streets of Bratislava old town

Morning

We started the day by having breakfast in Urban House. This is a very good spot if you want to have a brunch, lunch or just work with a coffee. Even though we found this place a little expensive, the food was good and the venue is really cool! After that we went on a walk in the city centre and old town. We realised then how small Bratislava is!

Walking around the city was much shorter than anticipated, however, we did not feel disappointed. Bratislava is a really pretty city. In addition, there is no crowd or buses of tourists all coming to one place at the same time. We really enjoyed the fact that we could walk anywhere without bumping into someone. We could also, just stop at a restaurant and get a table without waiting!

On top of this, and despite a weather which was not really ideal, the colourful houses were really beautiful. And as in many other cities, having a capital by the river has something a bit special! We continued our walk towards the castle, which happen to be up on a hill. The view from there, on the city is really stunning and also helps to locate where everything is.

The castle is surprisingly modern and recent, which is quite interesting, but really well taken care of. There are also a few gardens and parks around but we decided to spend more time in one – at the back of the castle. It was not packed with people and so pretty, so make sure you don’t miss it out!

Afternoon

Following our super nice walk to the castle we just wandered in the back street of the Castle and quickly stopped at a cat café found there. We spent that time to get all information on how to reach the UFO bridge. The UFO bridge, is the one you can see on the previous pictures. It rises right above of the Danube river and serves not only as an architectural masterpiece but also as a great viewpoint.

From the castle, the walk was pretty straight forward and we found some very cute and un-touristy streets to walk by. In order to access the panorama deck of the bridge you need to cross it and pay a 6€ entrance fee. Note that we still enjoy some student discounts. From there we took an elevator and after climbing some stairs, we made it to the view-point on top of the bridge.

This was for sure the most impressive view of Bratislava! A 360 degree view on the city, the river and even Austria! We got a drink at the bar, enjoyed the view a little bit and walked back to our place for dinner. After dinner we went back to the city and got a beer in the famous and local Bratislavsky Meštiansky Pivovar! This brewery is really nice and the staff is super friendly – you should try it!

Day 2

We started our second day by realising that there were not so many places for us to go and see. However, we knew that the Devín Castle was not too far from the city and so we should head there during the day. To reach this castle, we had to follow the Danube river and as we were going to walk through the city we decided to stop by the Blue Church. This church is not really impressive by its size but rather by its style and architecture. It looked like it was just out of a cartoon or animated movie! We could not go in as the service was happening during this time, but if you have the chance to see it, please go ahead!

Blue Church in Bratislava

Once we reached the river, we started to walk towards the city of Devín, where the castle is. We also realised that walking all the way would be quite long, and probably we should find an alternative solution. When possible and affordable we like to rent bikes for the day. Renting a city bike for the day costs 6€ and so it was perfect for us. Devín is located at about 10 km from Bratislava, which is not too far. We also enjoyed beautiful scenery during the ride and cycling lanes (except from a couple of kilometres).

Devín

Once we arrived in Devín, we realised that walking all the way would not have been a good options. For a good couple of kilometres, there are no sidewalks nor cycling path and the road is not large at all. If you are not willing to ride a bike, there are buses which can take you directly there!

The Devín Castle is the ruin of a former castle, located on the hill overlooking the Danube. This is a really beautiful area. There is a lot of history, but also a great view on Slovakian nature and landscapes. The day we were there happened to be quite grey and so not many people were around. We also found a very cute café (named “Ahoy”) next to the castle. As you can guess, we stopped there for a tea on our way back. If you have the chance of being there around summer time, you should stop there to enjoy the sunset on the Danube river.

To finish off this day, and after being back in the city centre, we went out for dinner to “Slovak Pub”. This place is very large and displays many aspects of the Slovakian history and culture. The dishes are really good and mostly traditional – I cannot recommend more the dumplings!

Day 3

From the below explanation, you could imagine that Bratislava is a rather small city! As always, we want to make the most of our time abroad and keep on exploring. And as we did not have a car to drive out of the city, we decided to go to Vienna, Austria for the day. I’ve never been there before and so it was the perfect opportunity! More to come next week about Vienna…! 

We came back to Bratislava in later in the afternoon, just in time for the sunset. As it was our last day in Slovakia, we went on one last walk in the city! And what a glorious decision it was! The colours were absolutely perfect and we got to see the city with some sun! As for the previous days, it was not packed with people and we could enjoy some lovely time, with peace and quiet.

You want to see extra pictures of Bratislava?! Or from other trips?! Check out our Instagram Stories.

⇒ I hope you enjoyed this article, and made you willing to travel to Bratislava, Slovakia. Have you ever been to Slovakia? What are your favourite things to do there?



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