I had no notions of what to expect when I visited Bratislava for the first time. In fact, I hadn’t really known anything about Slovakia in general. And here’s my biggest ignorant American confession: I only could have vaguely pointed to its general direction on a map.
Little did I know that Bratislava is only an hour away by train from Vienna. The only thing I knew before booking my trip is that one of Sam’s brother’s went on a stag do to Bratislava because beer was cheap, so I only had vague “Brits abroad” references in my mind.
But I’m glad that I didn’t know anything about Bratislava before I went, as it ended up being my one of my favourite solo-trips ever. Perhaps, second to only Copenhagen. (Copenhagen still holds the ruling solo-travel place in my heart.)
People in Bratislava were friendly and helpful, the city itself was absolutely stunning and awash in history. There was so much to see and do and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough for a weekend city break.
I actually think it could be quite a romantic city break, so tuck that one aside if you are thinking about a romantic (but extremely reasonably priced) Valentine’s city break alternative to Paris, Vienna, Rome or Prague.
Planning a Bratislava City Break
SEE / DO:
There’s actually so much to see and do in Bratislava that I have a whole post planned just recommending my favourite attractions and monuments that I think that you should visit. Because it rained almost the majority of my weekend there, I ended up spending even more time in museums than I usually do, so I’ve been in nearly all of them in Bratislava now!
I stayed in the Hostel Possonium. Just like my Dublin and Gdansk city breaks, I was trying to stay as cheaply as possible. Whilst still at the same time only staying in private rooms because I really don’t want to share a room with people I don’t know. Been there, done that. Prefer being alone. Anyways, I digress….
The staff at Hostel Possonium were really lovely. The bathrooms were super clean and the rooms were fairly stylish for a hostel. You have to pay for breakfast, but it’s cheaper than many alternatives found around the rest of the city. Most importantly, I felt very safe during my stay.
If Hostel Possonium is full, I’ve also heard really good things about the also very reasonably priced Freddie Next to Mercury hostel.
It’s really easy to get from the old town city centre to the airport. You just need to catch Bus 61. The easiest place to catch it is from the main railway station. Here’s the only confusing bit: you MUST buy a ticket for the bus before you board. When you buy a ticket there’s an option for a 30 minute ticket or a 60 minute ticket. And although the ride to the airport only takes about 30 minutes, you have to buy the 60 minute ticket.
But don’t worry, that will only set you back around €1.50. (Whereas taking the taxi or a train is miles more money). If your flight is arriving after 11:00 pm, never fear. The 61 route has a night bus. Handily named, the N61.
Because my flight was so delayed when I landed in Bratislava on that Friday night, I missed the last 61 bus, so I waited around 30 minutes for the N61. Yes, that was a fair bit of time, but to me it was preferable to spending €20+ on a taxi.
Well, when in Slovakia, you have to try their version of dumplings and goulash. They are also quite famous for the cakes and buns. The most famous buns is one that is swirled with a bunch of poppy seeds, in fact it’s more like a croissant and pre-dates the French croissant. I recommend going to FantastiCo where you can order them by looking out for the “Bratislavske rozky”.
And although the Zeppelin Cafe in the centre of the Old Town, might look like a bit of a tourist trap, their cakes are legendary and people from around the city pre-order them and pick them up to go. Their most popular cake, and the one that I tried, is the Jablkový Koláč, a traditional apple cake.
If you’re a vegan, you don’t have loads of options in Bratislava; however, I stumbled across Balans Bistro, which is a really well-reviewed vegan and vegetarian restaurant.
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