Finding hidden gems in Bratislava

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Hlavné námestie, The Main Square
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Hlavné námestie, The Main Square
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The view from the Bratislava Castle
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The gardens at the back of the Bratislava Castle

Bratislava was the final destination of our September trip. At the beginning, we included it in our itinerary only because there were no low-cost flights from Vienna to Sofia and hence we needed a city that had regular flights to and from Sofia. However, Bratislava proved to be so much more than a transfer stop that will take us back home.

As with any other European capital that we visited in the last two years, we started our research about Bratislava with choosing the right hotel that would be close both to the bus station and the city center. The majority of hotels are indeed located in the old town of Bratislava but their perfect location comes with a bigger price that we did not want to pay as we stayed only one night in the city. Our major consideration was the possibility of leaving our luggage in a storage room after our check out because our flight back to Sofia was quite late in the evening.

With this in mind we started searching for the best option for us which turned out to be Aplend City Hotel Perugia. It was located in the old town which is exclusively a pedestrian area so there was no need to buy travel cards for the public transport – another big bonus.

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One of the small streets in Bratislava’s historic center – Zelená street

Since we decided not to use the public transport at all, the only option we had was to explore the city by walking. This was the best choice that we could make because in this way we stumbled upon some hidden beautiful places that are otherwise a bit off the beaten path.

We were very much surprised by the charm that welcomed us in the Slovak capital. The historic pedestrian center of the city, the cute restaurants tucked in the small streets and the general calm atmosphere were some the things that we will remember of this visit.

The small streets of Bratislava are without any doubt the most prominent characteristic of the city. The whole center is a huge pedestrian area that offers hours and hours of beautiful and relaxing strolls. This is what is missing in the most of European capitals including Sofia – a place where you can just wander for hours. Everywhere you go in Bratislava’s historic city center, you will find cute streets that will offer you picturesque background. Take your time and explore the hidden gems of the city because you will find the most charming places, only if you leave the well beaten path.

No matter how picturesque and calm are the small streets, we had to include some of the most famous tourist points of interest in our itinerary. Of course, you cannot miss visiting one of the symbols of Bratislava – the Bratislava Castle. This magnificent building rises above the city and the Danube river and currently houses the biggest museum in the city. The walk up to the castle is quite steep but totally worth it. The castle does not only offer magnificent views over the whole city but it also provides to the museum lovers a big collection of historical and cultural artifacts and some very interesting current exhibitions. At the time when we were in Bratislava a very unusual exhibition at the top floor of the museum was taking place – a trade and advertising exhibition showing how advertising of popular goods in all areas has changed during the years.

The entrance fee to the museum is only 7 Euro so a visit is totally worth considering for.

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The gardens at the back of the Bratislava Castle
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The view from the Bratislava Castle
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The museum in the Bratislava Castle
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A flower shop in one of the small streets

In contrast to many European capitals, Bratislava can actually offer some great green spots in the city center. The majority of the city squares are beautifully decorated with flowers and you can hide from the summer heat in the large shades of the trees. As the centre is quite dominated by the many white or gray buildings, these green spots are actually a nice addition to the city palette and you don’t feel too overwhelmed by the urban feel to it. This is quite rare in most of the big European cities and was actually quite nice to have on our last days of this trip (especially after more than a week spent in the highly urbanized cities of Vienna and Budapest).

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Under the big tree shade at the Bratislava castle gardens

 

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The Watcher Statue

One of the most famous and extraordinary tourist attraction in Bratislava are its statues. There are a number of statues spread in the old city center but for some you need to look up or down in order to find them. For example, the statue of the Watcher is located towards the end of the pedestrian area at the juncture of two very busy streets and it is coming out of a shaft. Usually, there is a big group of tourists around it, so it is easy to find it. The statue has gathered so much attention that different stories have evolved around it and you can hear different versions by the locals. One of the stories says that he is a typical communist era worker who is not bothered about the work he’s supposed to be doing. According to the second rumour (a more lighthearted version), he’s looking under the women’s skirts. No matter which story you would choose to believe in, one legend is worth considering –  a wish will come true for you if you touch the head of the man but only if you keep it secret forever.

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The Schone Naci Statue

You can see more photos of this charming European capital in the gallery below.

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Have you ever been to Bratislava? Tell me in the comments.

Love,

Chrisy


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