Day 1. Bratislava City Break

It was a 3.00 a.m. start for our drive to London Stansted for our early morning Ryanair flight to Bratislava.  On arrival at the airport it was pleasing to note that bag drop was running efficiently and queues through security were much shorter than we’d recently experienced.  The bonus being that we had ample time to enjoy a couple of cappuccinos each in the airside Windmill pub before our departure.

Ryanair Boarding
Boarding our flight

Our seats were on the third row of the aircraft and shortly after take off we were sound asleep for most of the journey.  With sitting at the front, we expected to be one of the first off the plane and through immigration but as we had to board a bus to the terminal building we somehow ended up at the back of the queue.  After retrieving our luggage from the baggage carousel we bought tickets from a machine in the arrivals hall to take us into the city centre.  One hour tickets including transfers cost €1.30 each and just as we were completing our purchase the bus arrived so we hurried to the stop just in time.  At the Racianske Myto interchange station we changed to Tram 3 which took us to Centrum (four stops) on the edge of the old town.

Hotel Danubia Gate, Bratislava
Our hotel in Bratislava, the Danubia Gate

This was very close to our hotel the Danubia Gate where we called in to drop off our bags as it was only 1.00 p.m.  The receptionist was very welcoming and after a quick phone call to housekeeping, confirmed our room was ready and we could access it straightaway.  After quickly unpacking and making ourselves cups of tea we were soon ready to set off to explore the city.

Old town, Bratislava
The historic old town

The historic old town was only five minutes walk away and we soon came across the tourist office where we collected our 72 hour Bratislava Cards which cost only €28 (£24) and includes admission to museums, attractions and free use of public transport.

Inviting cafe terraces in Bratislava
Inviting cafe terraces in the old town

It had seemed a long time since breakfast, so before starting exploring, we enjoyed lunch sitting out on a cafe terrace basking in the warm Slovakian sunshine.  We both settled on the special of the day which comprised bowls of vegetable broth and a creamy risotto with chicken and parmesan which we washed down with glasses of local beer.

Cumil, a 'man at work' sculpture, Bratislava
Cumil, a ‘man at work’ sculpture

Feeling nourished, we wandered the streets of the charming old town coming across Cumil ‘a man at work sculpture’ popping his head out of a sewer.  Our stroll then continued past the beautiful 1886 Neo-Renaissance Slovak National Theatre and along to the riverside to Most SNP, the world’s largest cable-stayed bridge having just one pylon.

Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava
The Slovak National Theatre

For panoramic city views there’s a lift at one end which takes visitors up to the top of the UFO Lookout Tower observation deck where there is also a cafe-bar and restaurant.

UFO Lookout Tower, Bratislava
The UFO Lookout Tower

Rather than go up the tower we instead walked up the steep hill to Bratislava Castle, €10 (£8.58) and included in the Bratislava Card.  This city landmark stands high on a hillside overlooking the River Danube.  Eleven kings and eight queens were crowned in Bratislava as at one time it was the official coronation town for Hungarian kings, becoming the formal royal seat of the kings of royal Hungary.

Bratislava Castle
Bratislava Castle

The interior of the huge castle is absolutely beautiful with its sweeping marble staircases and gilded cornices.  The castle is now home to various exhibitions of the Slovak National Museum spread out over four wings.  These include displays of silver, ceramics, paintings, historical furniture and clocks, with galleries documenting Bratislava’s captivating history through to the fall of the iron curtain in 1989.

Bratislava Castle Interior
The castle’s grand interior

To the rear of the castle and accessed by an ornate stone staircase is the Baroque garden which was re-developed in 2016 and restored to the same design that existed in the late 18th century with its low box hedges and formal flower beds.

Bratislava Castle Gardens
The castle’s Baroque gardens

Leaving there, we popped into the Museum of Clocks which is located close to the castle in the House of the Good Shepherd, entrance €3 (£2.57) and included in the Bratislava Card.  This rococo merchant’s house was originally built in the late 18th century and reconstructed in 1955 and is a tiny building with just one small room on each of its three floors.

Museum of Clocks, Bratislava
One of the elaborate clocks on display

Bratislava was a huge centre of clockmakers in the old Austro-Hungarian empire with almost 100 clockmakers living and working in the city between the 16th and 19th centuries.  The museum houses a wide variety of clocks and it was especially interesting to be able to view the tower clock mechanism of the church in nearby Devin Castle.

Bratislava Jewish Museum
The Museum of Jewish Culture

There was then just enough time to call into the Museum of Jewish Culture before it closed at 5.00 p.m.  Admission €5 (£4.28) and also included in the Bratislava Card.  Housed in an historic building, the museum’s collection amounts to almost 5,000 items including a valuable synagogue curtain from 1783, books, parchment fragments and vases.

Bratislava Jewish Museum
Exhibits from historic synagogues inside the museum

On completing our tour of the museum it was still so warm that we stopped off for refreshing cold drinks at a pavement cafe before returning to our hotel for a couple of hours rest as we had been up since 2.00 a.m.  Feeling rejuvenated, we enjoyed an evening meal at Bratislavske Mestianske Pivovany, a beer hall quite close to the hotel.

Bratislava Mestianske Pivovany beer hall
The Mestianske Pivovany beer hall

I’m so pleased we found this restaurant as it had a great atmosphere, friendly service and most importantly reasonably priced meals together with a wide selection of its own beers.  We both ordered beef dishes which arrived in generous sized portions and we accompanied these with large glasses of light beer.  After that, it was back to the hotel and off to sleep in seconds as it had been a long day.

 

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60 thoughts on “Day 1. Bratislava City Break

  1. jasonlikestotravel

    My time in Bratislava was largely cold and miserable but it’s still such a lovely city. Definitely feeling a little nostalgic seeing your photos though, I hope to return one day with similar weather to your trip!

    Also, being the first off the plane only to be the last off the bus does seem daft. Glad Stansted was running fairly smoothly though! I think I’ve only been to Stansted once this side of Covid which is quite unusual given how long has passed.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I remembered our time in Slovakia with great warmth, but couldn’t remember visiting Bratislava, nor seeing the sites you showcase here. So I went back to my blog and realised we were in Nova Lesna, and the area around the Tatra Mountains, waaaay over to the east. Maybe next time, we should explore this area. My goodness! It’s only an hour from Vienna. Wow~

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Anonymous

    Lovely to see Bratislava in the sunshine, Marion. Stayed there some years back around Easter and it snowed. Very picturesque, but crossing that bridge twice a day – brrrr.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You visited Bratislava when it was sunny! Sadly, my one day in Bratislava some six years ago was an overcast day, so not very cheery at all…all the same, the Old Town is small, but very quaint (along with that cheeky Cumil statue, haha!). Didn’t go inside the Bratislava Castle, but I’ll have to if I ever return! Glad you had a wonderful first day of your city break in the Slovakian capital, and I look forward to more from you. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hey Marion, how fun to read your perspective on Bratislava. As you may recall I spent a year living there in my mid 20s. That castle has certainly had a makeover in the intervening years! ‘Man at Work’ is one of numerous fun sculptures peppered around the old town. Did you see Schöner Náci? (The man greeting passers by with his hat held aloft). There used to be a paparazzi sculpture too but I think he’s gone. Will definitely visit that beer hall if I ever go back, looking forward to seeing what you got up to during the rest of the trip.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes I remembered you lived in Bratislava and I’m happy this post brought back some fond memories for you. I did see the man with his head held high but I’m not sure I took a photo of him. The beer hall was great and we ate there quite a few times!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad to see a post on Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. People usually pass through this city or take a day break here. We stayed for 3 nights and thoroughly enjoyed each moment. It’s a quaint old city, the castle on top of the hill surrounded by modern buildings with the Danube flowing through….your post brought back memories. Wonderful pictures… don’t forget to visit the Devin Castle and see the confluence of Danube and Moravia rivers from the top!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. How lovely is the old town (and lucky that your hotel was so close). I agree with you Marion, the castle’s interior is so elegant and it has such a lovely garden. I’m looking forward reading more about your stay in Bratislava.

    Liked by 3 people

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