A week in Bratislava

I fell in love with Bratislava immediately. I arrived on a pleasant afternoon, checked into my AirBnb (a comically small apartment) and then went wandering, ending up exploring the castle at dusk. The city reminded me in ways of Edinburgh and in ways of Sarajevo, both places I felt like I could call home.

A very small white sink with a metal tap that is also a shower head and hose A white room with a ladder on the right to a small bed-shelf on the right A white room with a metal ladder against the wall, from above

Bright blue sky backs a white castle and a dude on a horse with a sword statue Low bright sun over a river and distant hills

In the center, a white church lit up by the sun, foreground is dark trees and background is white-brick red-rooved cityscape A wooden frame around a modern vending machine, containing traditional Slovakian cheeses A woman in sunglasses on the upswing of a swing in the foreground, a white castle in the background, behind a tree and green grass

Close to where I was staying was the presidential palace, and a big inverted pyramid building. I went to see them, but like, don't go out of your way.

A dusky blue sky behind a white grand building; a tree and concrete in the foreground A brown rusty looking building in the shape of an upsidedown pyramid

Walks along the river on both sides are pleasant. There are footpaths and parkland, not too much street hassle.

Dusky partly cloudy sky over a river with a boat on it A view across a river, the opposite shore lined by bare trees Blue sky over the river, with a bridge stretching overhead

I climbed to the Slavin monument. It wasn't so far.

Grey cloudy sky backs dark trees and a tall thin monument Bare trees in the foreground obscuring the city view; white and red-rooved castle in the center very small

I took one afternoon to hike to Devin Castle, about 12km from the city. I mostly followed the river, having to detour on a couple of occassions. There was plenty of greenery, some parks that seemed to be crafted for nearby apartment blocks to enjoy, as well as wilder looking riverside beaches. THe walk took me along the top of an old quarry, through some vinyards, and eventually to the town of Devin. The castle itself is situated on the far side of town from where I emerged from the hills, and I was running out of steam and ready for lunch by the time I got there.

Sandy and grassy shore besides blue-brown river water Green banks and brown trees lean out over the river with muddy banks A distant castle on a hill, with white and blue sky

I bought a ticket just in time to have lunch in the grounds, as they close for a break for half an hour at 1300. Part of the castle (perhaps the interesting part) was closed for repairs. The rest was fairly pleasant, but pretty full of tourists. There's an exhibition about the history of Slovakia in one room.

Concrete slopes with old stoney castle walls around A rocky cliff to the right overlooking a curve in the river, the banks lined by bare trees Brightly dressed tourists walk down a stone path between grassy slopes, with castle walls in the distance to the left, and a small town and hillside on the right View from below, looking up a rugged cliff topped with a small turreted tower, against blue and white sky

The next part of the trek was to Dubravka, over the hills, about another two hours. From here, I caught a bus back into town.

When H arrived we embarked on another hike, this time to the distant Kamzik TV tower. You know I can never resist a tower on a hill. We took the elevator to the top, and stayed for a drink in the restaurant. It was pretty cloudy.

White sky, black bare tree silhouettes, a diamond-ish shaped metal tower in the center View from high over misty hills and trees A woman holds a glass of white wine beside a window, with a view to misty hills

The whole area is a 'forest park' and it's huge. There are places set out for campsites, kids playgrounds, and exercise. There are a couple of bus routes running through as well. On the map and a couple of blog posts I saw 'cable cars' so we set out to find them. Turned out to be nothing more than ski lift, which I've never been on before, but I was swept off my feet before I could think too hard about it. It went pretty high, and pretty far.. probably ten minutes in total but it felt like eternity. H passed the time by telling me ski lift horror stories. When it finally ended, we walked around some lakes and tried to track down a bus back into town. We did not find the one I was expecting, but made it back eventually.

Murky forest breaks in the middle for blue chairs hanging from cables A lake framed by dark bare trees

On the last day we took our luggage to the bus station, and were greatly interrupted by a marathon taking place. A long line of runners got between us and the road to the bus station for what felt like an eternity. When we made it though, we were delighted to find the storage lockers are free! Unheard of. You just push some buttons, set a secret code, and lock your stuff inside.

A trip to Bratislava is probably not complete without going up the UFO bridge. Well, maybe you can skip it. It was pretty expensive (7.40eur) for the observation deck; you can go to the restaurant for free but that's a 30eur/dish kind of deal. The views are good, and adorably it's the smallest tower to belong to the World Federation of Great Towers.

A high up view with a river to the right and green grass and footpaths to the right A view from high over a white-walled red-rooved and green-tree city, beside a river View from high over green grass parks with trees and some red roofs, with a river to the left

Early afternoon we took the bus to Vienna. Regiojet sometimes has the route for 1eur, but more commonly (and what we paid, buying the ticket 20 minutes before departure) is 5eur. Beats FlixBus's 7.50!

I feel an absolute certainty in my heart that I'll be back to Bratislava, some day, for longer.

The rest of the photos from Bratislava and the official food summary.

🏷 travel Bratislava, Slovakia