Trip to Bratislava: Unraveling History, Facts, & Local Delights

Trip to Bratislava

Hello everyone!

This is the blog post about our trip to Bratislava, Budapest, and Vienna.

Part 3: Bratislava.

Read the introduction, Part 1, and Part 2 for more details about the trip!

So here we start, finally, the initial destination of our trip to Bratislava 😀

TOP Things to do in Bratislava

From Landings to Explorations in Cozy Apartments

The funny part is that we saw a bit of Bratislava already as we landed here, slept here before going to Budapest, then got back here after Budapest, then went to Vienna, and it was finally the time to explore the city not just sleeping and going to the bus. 😀

I promised to provide you with more details about our apartment. So, it was a lovely small apartment perfect for two people, equipped with everything we needed for our vacation.

And we, brilliant idiots, forgot to take pictures of the apartment, even though we already knew we needed them for our blog. So this time, apologies are coming your way because of it. 😀

But we recommend staying in “Krásny byt – garzonka v Novom meste s terasou” (AirBnB)!

Not a lot, but still something. Sorry for keeping you waiting for this information. 😀

So, the trip to Bratislava plan is coming!

  • Free Walking Tour
  • Grassalkovich Palace (noon changing of the guards)
  • Bratislava Castle
  • Old Town
  • St. Michael’s gate
  • Blue Church
  • Primate’s Square
  • Funky statues in the city
  • St. Martin’s Cathedral
  • Coronation Trail
  • UFO Bridge
  • Slovak Pub
  • Main Square (Hlavnie Namestie)
  • Old Town Hall

A guy with a glass of beer in Bratislava

Once again, our plan was excellent; it had lots of spots and beautiful views, but then reality happened, and of course, the plan changed 😀 I think I need to start creating smaller plans 😀 BUT NEVER! It is better to have more than to be sorry 😀 So our trip to Bratislava looked like this:

🍺 BEER in the Depresso cafe 😀

  • St. Michael’s gate and a bit of the Old Town

🍺 🍺BEER!

  • St. Martin’s Cathedral and the Catacombs
  • Found some crowns from the Coronation trail

🍺🍺🍺BEER AGAIN (I will explain why there was so much beer :D)

  • Primate’s Square
  • Main Square (Hlavnie Namestie)
  • Free Walking Tour
  • Blue Church
  • Slovak Pub
  • Bratislava Castle
  • Grassalkovich Palace
  • Primate’s Palace
  • Radio building

Exploring the Old Town with a Beer in Hand!

So, my dear readers, let’s get started!

Just a reminder, we used the IDS BK app to buy tickets for public transportation in Bratislava. It cost only 81 cents for 30 minutes! So, please use it and spare your legs from unnecessary tiredness.

After the long day in Vienna, Donatas was eager to get some sleep and start the day a bit later, allowing himself to rest.

fter all, the trip should be enjoyable and not just about feeling irritated from lack of rest and trying to rush through everything we want to see.

We left the apartment quite early, around 10 o’clock. Our first destination was the Old Town, and before beginning our exploration, we decided to grab a beer.

We ended up at the Depresso bar, although we were anything but “depresso”! We didn’t even notice the name of the bar before sitting down 😀

We ordered two beers for 6 EUR. And guess what? That’s cheaper than water! Once again, we regretted not having cash, as this cafeteria only accepts cash.

Heading to the ATM cost us an additional 3 EUR, just for one beer. And the cocktails were also cheap ones -5 EUR ONLY! Quite the adventure! 😀

Girl pointing her finger to cheap cocktails at Depresso Coffee Bar in Bratislava

After enjoying our beer, it was time to explore the city. Our first stop was St. Michael’s gate, and we initially planned to climb up there. However, we somehow couldn’t find a way to get up. 😀

Perhaps, deep down, we didn’t want to find it as it was scorching hot outside.

Instead, we took a leisurely walk in the narrow streets of the Old Town, which had a charming resemblance to our beloved Vilnius Old Town. Though, in my subjective opinion, Vilnius Old Town feels cozier and more delightful :))

Beers, Cathedrals, and Scorching Heat

Speaking of the weather, it was HOT HOT HOT outside, quickly reaching around 33 degrees 😀 Walking around the city was quite a challenge!

So, what do you do in such heat? You guessed it, another beer or two! Back to the Depresso cafeteria, it was!

We knew that we could only visit St. Martin’s Cathedral and the Catacombs after 12 o’clock, as they don’t allow visitors during services.

So, we happily settled in the cafeteria, enjoyed some more beer, and then, when the time was right, we continued our explorations!

St. Martin’s Cathedral is free to visit, but if you want to explore the Catacombs, Crypts, and Treasury, there’s a fee of 4.20 EUR per person. So, in total, we paid 8.40 EUR for both of us.

Not the worst price on the planet 😀 And let me tell you, the Cathedral is a true gem of Gothic architecture. I adore those soaring pointy arches and the mesmerizing lines!

An Enchanting Journey Through Bratislava's Hidden History

Now, about the Catacombs – they were fascinating! It’s kind of our little fetish to visit cemeteries and catacombs, as strange as that may sound.

But there’s something peaceful and calming about these places. We even stumbled upon some ancient bones as we wandered through the Catacombs! Quite an adventure, I must say.

After exploring the Catacombs, we proceeded to the Treasury, where we saw an array of captivating religious artifacts like ancient psalms and beautifully crafted chalices.

It’s heartwarming to witness these precious items preserved over the decades, carrying past stories.

Then we got out of the church and found the first crown of the coronation trail. These are here to show people where the kings crowned in Bratislava went to show off for the people.

We didn’t go the whole trail, but it could be nice to do so if it is not that hot!

Then we again strolled a bit in the streets of the Old Town and visited Primate’s Square, and we could not take it anymore. Again 😀 TOO HOT!!!! TIME FOR BEER!!!

We visited another bar and that name I can’t recall, unfortunately, but I know that it cost 6 euros 😀 The prices are just always inviting you to drink 😀

Uncovering the City's Vibrant History and Artistic Charms

When wandering around, I checked the Free Walking Tours that Bratislava offers. We decided to participate in the free walking tour at 3 o’clock to learn more about the city.

On our way to the meeting spot – the Main Square, we passed by the funky statues scattered around the city. These statues add a relaxed vibe to the city!

When we arrived at the spot, two friendly people explained that there would be two tours – one led by a guide where people would learn more about Bratislava’s history by visiting the main points, and the other one focused on 20th-century history.

Donatas and I decided to split up so that we could provide you with more tales from both tours!

Guides of the Free Walking Tour in Bratislava

Bratislava Free Walking Tour

Now, I'll share a bit about my tour with the guide, Katarina. I won't give you the whole tale, of course, because, in my opinion, you must experience the tour yourself! 😀 We started at the Maximilian fountain, built-in 1572, which was the first fountain constructed in Bratislava. It was fascinating to see how the sculpture on the fountain spins! Katarina also mentioned an important fact - Bratislava's Old Town was never bombarded.
Afterwards, we headed to the sculpture of the watcher, which we had passed by earlier with Donatas. The guide told us that it is the most photographed sculpture in Bratislava! She also shared some fun beliefs associated with it: If you touch the head, you'll come back to Bratislava and have good luck, and if you touch the nose, you'll become pregnant within one year. Well, we'll see if these beliefs hold true or not! 😀

A sculpture from a manhole in Bratislava

The name “Bratislava” means “the glory of the brothers.” Interestingly, before being called Bratislava, the city was known as “Presparok” in German.

However, the desire for a more Slavic name led to the adoption of Bratislava. And as a curious historical fact, this city was once a city of Celts! Quite a fascinating mix of influences and history! 😀

After wandering in the Old Town, we visited the Bratislava Castle, a natural fortress. 😀 It is on the hill, so it was an excellent spot to see when the enemies come.

The funniest part is that when Napoleon came to Bratislava, he decided to leave two guards and continue his journey.

These guards were always drinking and eventually ran away from Bratislava because they didn’t spot that the castle was on fire, and when they did – they just left. 😀

So, the castle burned down, and it took 140 years to build it back. It is now a museum.

Untold History of Bratislava: Intriguing Facts from a Free Walking Tour

Hi everyone! Donatas here. I don’t usually do much writing for the blog, but this time, it’s my turn to share my story and some interesting facts from the free walking tour 😀

Embarking on a memorable trip to Bratislava this summer, I joined a fascinating free-walking tour that led me through the city’s hidden history.

Our knowledgeable guide shared some intriguing facts that shed light on Bratislava’s past, unveiling stories of resilience, strategic decisions, and tragic events.

Amidst the chuckles, our guide shared a peculiar joke about Slovakia being “the one between the bread” when you eat a sandwich. This peculiar phrase originates from the historical influence of the Nazis and the Soviet Union, where the country was between two significant powers.

Czechoslovakia, the predecessor of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, underwent multiple identity changes. The transformation occurred three times before eventually becoming two distinct nations.

Surprisingly, Bratislava was never intended to be the capital. Due to its strategic location, the city had always been primarily designed as a defensive stronghold.

The abundance of water sources drove the decision to establish Czechoslovakia and keep Slovakia together near the mountains, underscoring the importance of unity for the nations.

Throughout history, every neighboring country of Slovakia has sent its army to the region at least once, adding to its complex history of border disputes.

Surprisingly, around 30% of the country’s population believes that Slovakia is still not fully independent, highlighting the lingering impact of historical events.
During World War II, Hitler occupied northern Slovakia, captivated by its significant industrial capacity, which played a crucial role in the war efforts.
The Holocaust in Slovakia was a tragedy of immense proportions. With approximately 17,000 Jews residing in the country, the man responsible for sending them to their deaths was an unexpected figure—a Catholic priest. Slovakia tragically paid for the murder of the Jews, leaving a haunting mark on its history.

Disturbingly, the Holocaust in Slovakia was deemed more brutal than in some parts of Eastern Europe, making it a sad reminder of the darkest chapters in human history.

As my tour ended, I left Bratislava with a profound appreciation for the city’s complex past and the resilience of its people.

The stories shared on this free walking tour painted a vivid picture of a city with its challenges and triumphs.

Bratislava’s history leaves an indelible mark on its culture and identity, making it a remarkable destination to explore and discover.

After the tours, Donatas and I met up at the Blue Church. It truly lives up to its name, as everything here is blue 😀

The church has a simple yet beautiful design reminiscent of Orthodox churches. It was a pleasant visit, and I enjoyed the serene atmosphere inside.

Slovak Pub: A Culinary Adventure in Bratislava

So it was finally time to eat! We had read some recommendations and settled on trying Slovak food at Slovak Pub. We each got a whole liter of beer served in a massive mug.

To start, we enjoyed some delicious garlic soup served in bread bowls. Then, we couldn’t resist trying the traditional Slovak dish – pyrohy or dumplings 😀

The food was excellent, and the pub had a nice ambiance. We paid 36.30 EUR for everything, which was a reasonable price for our meal and experience!

After our meal, Donatas wasn’t too eager to go anywhere else as his feet were hurting 😀 However, I insisted that he had to visit the Bratislava Castle.

He eventually agreed, so we went there together! The views from the castle of the Danube River and Bratislava city were genuinely breathtaking, and I’m glad we made the effort to go there.

If you don’t want to climb up the hill, don’t worry, the bus station is nearby, making it easy to reach the castle.

After the castle visit, Donatas told me he couldn’t walk anymore, and I understood. He decided to head back to the apartment, while I still wanted to see a few more sights before calling it a day. 

So, I went to check out the Grassalkovich Palace, which serves as the residence for Bratislava’s president. It looked impressive outside, although we missed the guard’s changing ceremony at midnight. If you visit, make sure to time it right to witness this event!

Grassalkovich Palace in Bratislava at night

Goodbye Bratislava, Hello Memories and Highlights of Our Journey

Then I went again to the Primate’s Square to the Primate’s palace as I thought we hadn’t been there 😀 but we were 😀 I managed to sneak into the palace a few minutes before closing and checked the inside.

Technically, it was only the gardens, but it was nice to check it out and understand that we missed the opportunity to go into the palace in the daytime 😀 we were so close yet so far…

The last spot I wanted to visit, which appeared on the list after Donatas told me about his walking tour, was the Radio building. The structure is an inverted pyramid, often known among locals as the Radio Diamond.

That was why I wanted to see it so much – something different to collect! It looks fantastic, so I suggest you include this building while traveling in Bratislava!

Radio building in Bratislava at night

So after that, I went back to the apartment, packed our belongings, got some sleep, and then the time came – it was time to catch the super early (as always 😀) Ryanair flight back home. Fortunately, the airport is not far away from the city, so we at least got a few hours of sleep 😀

So, my dear readers, here you end the trip to Budapest, Vienna, and Bratislava. BUT IT IS NOT THE END-END! The continuation of the story will include a summary of the trip and some tips and tricks for your next trip to these cities! You can find it here!

See you there!

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