Day 1. Exploring Bratislava

On noticing that Ryanair had introduced weekly flights to Bratislava from Leeds Bradford Airport we were tempted into a weekend break in the Slovakian capital.  Dragging ourselves out of bed at 3.15 am to reach the airport in time for our early 6.45 am departure wasn’t great but the upside was that we would be touching down in a new destination at 10.10 am giving us a full day to explore the city.

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Old town, Bratislava

Arriving into Bratislava’s modern terminal building ten minutes ahead of schedule we bought a 7 day travel pass from an automated machine.  At first it was hard to figure out what we needed as there was only an option for single tickets or day passes, but a second try at tapping on the day ticket option revealed a further selection, one of which being a 7 day ticket costing €11.40 each.  We actually only needed four days but this ticket was better value than a three day and a one day option.

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Old Town Square, Bratislava

The ticket was a flimsy small piece of paper but only needed to be activated on the first journey and could then be put away for safekeeping.  Please note that if you are buying transport tickets from the airport that only the machines inside the Arrivals Hall accept card payment, the machines located outside by the bus stop are cash only.

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Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava

It was a bright, sunny morning and we waited about 10 minutes for a bus to the railway station (No.61) remembering to validate our ticket on entry.  This journey took 20 minutes from where we transferred to a modern tram (No.1) for the short ride to the edge of the old town.

Our first impressions of the historic old town was one of delightful old buildings on cobbled streets leading to the main square.  It seemed quiet with just a handful of tourists around and very few locals.  Spotting the Tourist Information, we called in for a map then decided as it was noon that it was time for some lunch.  Just off the main square we found a typical Slovakian beer house and ordered a couple of beers with sausage and pickles.  Our snack tasted good and sitting in the pub gave us an opportunity to study our city map and get our bearings.  Setting off, we looked out for some of the ‘Men at Work’ brass sculptures which are to be found scattered around the old town.  The first we came across was of a man taking a rest and leaning over the back of a bench in the main square.

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Man at Work Sculpture, Bratislava

Strolling towards the Slovak National Theatre we passed several others, our favourite being ‘Cumul – the man in the sewer’ who even comes complete with his own road sign!  Passers-by could easily trip over this pavement sculpture if they weren’t looking where they were going.

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Cumul, the man in the sewer, Bratislava

We soon reached the wide River Danube and from one of its bridges we had splendid views of the castle and the UFO Tower.  As it was such a clear, sunny afternoon we decided to take the lift to the top of the 95 metre high tower.  Tickets costs €7.50 each but to reach the outdoor viewing platform it’s necessary to clamber up four short flights of steps after using the lift.

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UFO Tower over River Danube, Bratislava

The views were magnificent enabling us to see across to the Austrian border, a full stretch of the mighty Danube and several of its bridges.  Descending the stairs we came to an inviting cafe/ restaurant with panoramic views over the Danube and decided to stop for pots of tea whilst soaking up the views.

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Bratislava Castle from top of UFO Tower

After a short rest and a chat with the waiter we returned down the tower and crossed the Danube once again, this time heading towards Bratislava Castle.  It was a steep uphill walk and then several flights of stone steps until we reached the castle lookout points, the clear blue sky providing us with far reaching views.  From afar, the castle appears quite large but seems much smaller when up close.  Several Viking Line River Cruise tour groups were looking around, the flat topped riverboat moored directly below probably belonging to them.

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Bratislava Castle

It had now reached 25 degrees and we’d been wandering around with our weekend luggage all day so we were starting to get tired.  A glance at our transport map indicated either Tram 8 or 9 from the old town would take us to our hotel, the journey only taking 10 minutes once we had found the tram stop.  Our hotel, the Holiday Inn was about another ten minute walk from the tram and was located in a small park.  We were fortunate to check-in when we did as just as the receptionist was handing us our room cards a large group of people arrived forming a lengthy queue.

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Holiday Inn, Bratislava

An hour’s rest, and several cups of Earl Grey tea with numerous shortbread biscuits later we popped down to the Wellness Centre to use the sauna and indoor pool before heading back into the city centre for an evening meal in the Slovak Beer House.  Trying to select a local dish, I opted for Sheep’s Cheese Dumplings which were very tasty if a little heavy, so late at night.

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89 thoughts on “Day 1. Exploring Bratislava

  1. So glad I came across your blog (I saw you’d looked at my blog post on Hanoi). I lived in Bratislava for 8 weeks over a bitterly cold winter in 1996. I was back in 2003 (again in Winter) but I’d love to go back in summer. So glad to see the old town has been preserved

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would love to live somewhere in Europe one day so I can travel easily to other places…living in Australia is amazing but we are just so far away from everywhere else! I love your photos, can’t wait for the next post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting… I’d forgotten Bratislava even existed, but seems well worth a visit from looking at your great pics. Specially like the metallic workers – especially Cumul… great idea, he looks quite happy to have his head above ground!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would like to go to Bratislava some day, maybe in conjunction with a trip to Vienna. My husband is a Czech. I’ve been all over Czech Republic, but never to Slovakia. I’d also like to see the Tatra mountains.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! I did bratislava day trip from Budapest and it was a great experience. I didn’t even bought any day pass as bratislava is so small you can actually walk around and explore it by yourself! 😉🙂…thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This blog has come out at a great time for me as I’ve just booked a trip from Leeds to Bratislava in September! I’ve only previously spent an afternoon in Bratislava on my way to Turkey, so I can’t wait to read more. Enjoying it so far!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Day 1. Exploring Bratislava — Love Travel – NICE TRIP WORLD

  8. It looks like a gorgeous city – the architecture is straight out of a fairytale. The man in the sewer had me smiling too!! Isn’t it wonderful with the budget airlines how so many travel possibilities are opened up! I remember when I got married and moved to Manchester that flights to Belfast to visit my parents were so incredibly expensive – things are so different and better now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we are so fortunate to have so many destinations to be able to visit with short flight times and competitive low fares. The airfare was little more than a train fare to Edinburgh! and Bratislava is an attractive, safe city to visit. I don’t know why so many people complain about Ryanair. They are cheap, efficient and quite punctual!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I get quite jealous when I read how easy it is to hop a budget airline and travel to so many European destinations for quick jaunts. In Canada, travel is a much longer, much more expensive endeavour.

    Cumul is great! Isn’t it fun to find public art installations like that?

    Mmmm goat cheese dumplings sound wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Leah for your kind words. We are very fortunate in the U.K. to be able to take advantage of cheap and short flights to many destinations in Europe. Thanks for your much appreciated comments and I agree that those public art institutions are fun.

      Like

  10. Pingback: Day 1.  Exploring Bratislava — Love Travelling | My little simple thought

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