Bratislava is the city that you don’t expect to visit.
Ancient and modern
Dynamic and relaxed
Looks to the future, but preserve the traditions
I left Milan along with many travelers from the foot fast, and lightweight suitcase and, after one hour flight, I arrived in the capital of Slovakia on a winter day when the sky was veiled from the clouds.
Bratislava is the city you don’t expect because it is well served by buses and trams, which with 70 cents, take you from the airport to the train station from which you can make the connections to reach Vienna.
I’ve chosen to stay and with a nice 15 minute walk I arrived to “Stare Mesto“: the old town.
My reference point was the castle.
White and impressive soars on top of a hill of the Little Carpathians from which you can see all the city and the Danube River. The building is old, but inside it was revamped and hosts a collection of artifacts and paintings that tell it’s story (Admission 10 euro).
The castle can be seen from the last floor of the hotel where I stayed: the Falkensteiner. Boasting a prime location for exploring the historic center ( Pilarikova street), the hotel offers modern rooms and a hearty breakfast sweet and salty. Also it is equipped with a small gym and a relax area with a sauna.
Bratislava is the city you don’t expect, because it has a Mitteleuropean charm reminiscent Trieste, Prague and Vienna. Visiting the city, it feels a bit ‘at home and a little’ foreign: it’s easy to orientate through the streets of the old town, but it is equally difficult to understand the Slovak language, thankfully english is spoken in every bar and restaurant.
The city needs to be discovered slowly. Slow down the pace and look around. Every corner of Stare Mesto tells a story that has its roots in the Roman Empire, passing to the Great Moravia’s Principality, the Kingdom of Hungary and the Hapsburg Empire until the annexation to Czechoslovakia in 1918 and the indipendence achieved in 1993.
The past represented by buildings like the tower of San Michele, the gateway to the medieval cities, and ancient churches like the Cathedral of San Martino, where were crowned King of Hungary, coexist with modern buildings like the UFO: the revolving restaurant located 84.6 meters high on top of the pylon of the SNP bridge, the first asymmetrical suspension bridge, built in Slovakia between 1967 and 1972. Entrance ticket to the viewpoint 7,40 €.
Check out the statues of Bratislava including that of Cumil, installed in 1997, representing a soldier coming out of a manhole or that of Schöne Naci, depicting Ignác Lamar, born in 1897 and famous for walking the streets of the town dressed with hat to cylinder.
Finally dive yourself in the festive atmosphere of the city especially at Christmas when the center is colored with markets where you can taste delicious drinks and find many gift ideas.
Be amazed by the trip, because Bratislava is really the city you don’t expect, and well worth a visit.