If I’m going to be honest, I was a little bit wary about going to Bratislava as lots of people gave me a look when I said I was going to spend three nights there. And okay, it is a very small and quiet city, but I really, really enjoyed my time there.
First of all, my hostel, Hostel Blues, was one of the best hostels I have ever stayed at. From the moment I arrived to the moment I left, the staff were super friendly and helpful, and my roommates were awesome. I’ve done a full write up of the hostel here.
Let me again reiterate and say Bratislava is really small. As in, you could probably do all the city in a day. But the city gives off such a chilled out vibe, its good to do as the locals do and relax, enjoy and go with the flow. Honestly, the only time it felt remotely busy was on Saturday night in the main bar and club area. I saw it as a ‘rest’ city, after running around Budapest like crazy. This actually worked out quite well, because I got really sick in the latter half of my stay (hence the lack of blogging) but didn’t feel too guilty about not exploring as much as I usually do.
Bratislava is a really odd mix of styles, and the styles change very abruptly thanks to the history of communism in the country. Although there are a lot of communist buildings throughout the city (like the well known ‘UFO bridge’, as seen in the top picture), there are some beautifully colourful ones too, such as the Blue Church. The Old Town in particular is a vibrant and lovely place to just wander with your camera. I really recommend the free walking tour, as you can see almost everything, and get a really in-depth history of the city.
For one of the best views of the city, go to the castle. It gives you an excellent panoramic of the city and the Danube, however we weren’t allowed inside. This may have been due to the UN conference that was happening that weekend (I have never heard so many helicopters in my life). You can go up the UFO bridge, but they charge, whilst if you go to the castle you can get the views and the gorgeous gardens for free!
Another good reason to visit Bratislava is the prices – it’s so cheap! I went out for drinks with my roommates on Saturday night and couldn’t believe it, you can get a large beer for 2 euro. I ended up visiting lots of different places and eating out a lot because I didn’t feel guilty about spending loads.
Even if you’re worried that spending a long weekend here would be too much, Vienna is only an hour away and therefore an easy day trip via bus or train. It cost me 12 euros for a single 1 hour train trip, or you can get a 90 minute bus ticket for roughly 5 euro.
Basically, if you’re on a budget, can’t really go wrong here! The free walking tour and free castle gardens mean you can see almost everything without having to spend a cent, and the low prices make things like accommodation, food and drink easy. You don’t need to spend long here, but you definitely shouldn’t miss it out.
More pictures to come!