I was on my way to Bratislava, Slovakia and I couldn’t have been more excited. I’m not sure why, I didn’t know a soul there, I don’t speak one word of Slovak and I couldn’t tell you one thing to do in Bratislava before I arrived. Maybe that’s why I was so excited. I was heading to a place where there could be absolutely anything. Regardless of what there was to do there, I was going to discover something. I stayed for about 24 hours on my way to meet a friend in Budapest and really enjoyed my time in the city.
When I first arrived in Bratislava I was completely unprepared. I had directions to my hostel from the train station but had trouble finding my bus and later, my hostel. Eventually I made it to Downtown Backpackers Hostel where I dropped off my bags and headed to the restaurant downstairs for a cappuccino and some planning.
While looking up things to do over my drink, I stumbled upon the Most SNP bridge in Bratislava. The girl at the front desk had recommended some restaurants across the river and I thought walking across the iconic bridge would be a great way to get there. Unsurprisingly on what should have been a straight shot to the bridge I got lost and ran into a guy from my hostel who was staring at his map. Both confused by this unfamiliar city, we decided to embark on finding the bridge together.
We finally made it down to the river only to realize that the bridge had no sidewalk and would be a disaster to cross on foot. We settled for exploring some of the river front before sitting down to lunch at Slovak House Restaurant to enjoy a Slovak lunch. I had a Slovakian beer and some sliced beef in sauce with rice.
Next we headed over to see the famous Blue Church. This church was one of my favorite places in Bratislava. If you want to explore the inside make sure to check the times before you make your way over to the church. Otherwise, you can still see inside from behind a gate.
Then we explored much more of the Historic Old Town on foot stopping to examine lots of beautiful architecture along the way. Old Town is filled with winding cobblestone streets and many historic buildings. There’s lots of color to be found in Old Town and the atmosphere is lovely. We occupied ourselves exploring courtyards and backstreets.
Afterwards I headed back to my hostel to get settled in. After 22 hours of train travel to get to Bratislava, I finally caved for a nap and a hot shower. My particular room was Dali themed and featured his style of work on the walls. Then I headed downstairs for a sweet pasta with walnuts and accidentally ordered a beer the size of my head before doing some more exploring and calling it a night.
The next morning I got up early to go see the famous castle that overlooks the Danube. The castle grounds had lots of nice statues and greenery and the views of the city from above were wonderful. Exploring the grounds early meant I had the place virtually to myself and spent a peaceful morning exploring them.
I can’t help but sniff out cafes everywhere I go and one place in particular had caught my eye the day before so following the castle I went off in search of Urban House coffee shop for breakfast. The barista suggested the caramel cheesecake (and who am I to say no?) so I settled down with that and my first cold brew in weeks in the spacious coffee shop.
As I meandered through Old Town on my way back to the hostel I ran into an outdoor market. The market boasted typical artisan goods as well as some more interesting items like an intricately made hanging potpourri. I couldn’t resist buying a cute pair of earrings.
Before I knew it my time in Bratislava was over and it was time to head to Budapest. While most people do only spend a day or two in Bratislava due to it’s close proximity to many major cities, I could have spent many more days relaxing in Old Town and soaking in the relaxed vibe of the city. If I’m in the area again I will definitely be making another stop to Bratislava.