Saturday 13 October 2018

Flashback to a couple of years back and I remember watching Eurotrip on TV and when they arrived in run down, scary, Bratislava I remember thinking 'god I am never going there'. Their bad rep didn't end there as they were also one of the locations chosen for Hostel (a film where tourists basically get butchered up). Our tour guide even told us that tourism to Slovakia even dropped 75% after this movie was released. After watching this I thought to myself, it can't actually be that bad, so I googled it and found that it was actually quite a beautiful place. So off I went to Skyscanner to check how much flights were, asked my gang who was up for a random trip to Bratislava and off we went. I think a weekend in Bratislava is a good amount of time as you can probably see everything you want to see in 2-3 days, we even managed to take a day trip to Vienna (although that you definitely can't achieve everything in a day). If you're looking for a cheap, wonderful weekend break then here's my guide to Bratislava, Slovakia.

tea with gi bratislava guide

Getting from Bratislava Airport to the Centre

Since there was 3 of us we got a transfer from Shuttle Direct and paid 5 euros each which took us from door to door and took around 15 minutes. A taxi outside the the airport will probably cost you a bit more, but from the centre to the airport we also paid 15 euros in total for a taxi.

Where to stay in Bratislava

Accommodation in Bratislava is relatively cheap, and we were pretty happy with our deal. We paid 70 euros each for a 3 night stay, in a 3 star hotel in the centre. The Elisabeth Old Town hotel is close to many cafes, Lidl and places of interest - including the Blue Church (perfect for Instagram). The rooms are simple but beds are comfy (with huge pillows), room was clean and the showers were powerful and hot. 


Breakfast | Urban House

If I lived in Bratislava, this would probably be where I'd meet up with my friends on a weekly basis. Clearly the locals thought so too because it was full of students and people working on their laptops. When we arrived we had just missed out on the breakfast menu so opted for something brunchy instead. I had rye bread with a beetroot spread and smoked salmon and my friends went for the avocado egg toast with roasted cashew nuts - both were equally delicious. Their gingerbread lattes were also a good shout.

urban house bratislava

AM | Tour the Old Town 

The beauty of smart phones is we no longer need to carry a compass and map around with us. It also means that you can take a self-guided tour of Bratislava via an app. This basically uses Maps on your phone (you don't need data running) and takes you to the main sites in the Old Town and explains to you what they mean so you're not just staring at a building thinking 'nice, what is it?'. If you'd rather just search things as you go - I definitely recommend seeing St Elisabeth Church (Blue Church), The Man at Work, Michael's Gate and Primate's Palace. Just walking around the town you'll see a lot of pretty streets to photograph and for a great background for the gram.

old town bratislava

Lunch | Verne

If you're looking for somewhere to try authentic Slovakian food at good prices (not tourist traps) then Verne is a good choice. A word of warning is that the staff here are not the friendliest, but if you just want somewhere to stop quickly for lunch then 'whatever dude no tip for you'. We had the Slovak goulash and to be honest, it was full of flavour but the presentation was eh, spaghetti hoops-esque. I think the Hungarian goulash would have been a better shout (judging by the guy's plate who was sat beside me). 

PM | Explore Bratislava castle

Described by many as 'an upside down table', Bratislava Castle was built in the 18th Century and was recently renovated. If you want to get some nice shots here try and get here before the sun goes down, but it also does give a lovely view of the city in the evening. You can roam around the outside of the castle and gardens for free but you'll have to pay to enter the actual castle.

Tea & Cake | Zeppelin 

It was meant to be tea and cake but then we were discussing how 3/4 of us had never had an Aperol Spritz - so it became Aperol Spritz & Cake time. As you can see from the photo there was a large selection of homemade cakes available. The oreo cheesecake was heavenly. 

zeppelin bratislava

Dinner | Bistro St Germain

We had originally planned to go for dinner at BeAbout because their burger selection looked awesome and only cost like 8 euros. Sadly, when we rang two hours earlier they were fully booked for the night, so it's clearly a popular Friday night destination (it is also close to the university). Instead, we stumbled upon Bistro St Germain and when we initially walked in we thought it looked hella fancy. It's a cute little place with nice lighting and bookshelves and the prices were actually pretty decent. We all had the bacon burger with blue cheese and I definitely recommend getting a side of chips (they're sort of thinly sliced potatoes on a stick) with parmesan and rosemary. There was also a rose wine that tasted like chocolate guys!!

If you're not ready for the night to end yet.....

As always, what's the best way to meet people when you're travelling? A pub crawl! We went with Be Free Tours* which took us through 2 bars and 2 clubs and included free welcome shots (I swear one of them was a mix of vodka and sambuca), 1 hour of unlimited beer in the first bar, drinking games and a girl handing you 'shots' of vodka redbull on the way to the next place. I, hate beer so opted for paying 3 euros for a glass of wine instead - even when it's free I couldn't do it. The music scene in Bratislava tends to range from commercial music and then moves towards 'Slovak rap' later in the evening. 

One of the bars was kind of a speak easy because it appeared to be a pretty chilled bar at the top and then downstairs there was the most up-beat, enthusiastic DJ I have ever seen! There was Las Ketchup, Ricky Martin, Venga Boys and then songs we'd never heard of in our lives. 'The Club' was the last place we made it to, and they played your usual throwbacks and danceable songs. If you want to join the pub crawl wristbands cost 12 euros. 


Breakfast | W Cafe or Cafe Mondieu 

We technically had 3 breakfasts in Bratislava, so for your second day I think both of these are good, but you'll also find there are plenty of cute and cosy coffee shops around the town.  W Cafe serves your basics - eggs benedict, cinnamon swirls, vanilla lattes etc. Cafe Mondieu on the other hand has about 20 different breakfast options. I had brioche french toast with berries, my friend had french toast with bacon and eggs and another went for a simple omelette. You'll actually find there are a couple of these bistros scattered around the town. 

cafe mondieu bratislava

AM | Head to the museums

I kindly received a Bratislava City Card* which gets you complimentary entrance to lots of museums, free access to the buses and trams, and a lot of other discounts. A gallery we enjoyed was the Slovak National Gallery which is free for everyone. There was an interesting room with paintings to portray 'Slovakian Fairytales'. Although some got a bit creepy looking.

If you want a little taste of New York in Bratislava then the Nedbalka Gallery* is often compared to the Guggenheim museum (probably because they both have the same white swirling architecture). If you're a fan of modern art then this is probably the best one in the city. There's 4 floors and each is dedicated to a different form of art work. A great feature I found from the museum is that they give you a tablet that allows you to take a photo of a painting and it then gives you a bit of bio of what the painting is about. Me and my friends played a fun game of 'let's guess what this painting means before we read it'. Entrance to the museum is 4 euros or free with your Bratislava Card. 

nedbalka gallery

Lunch: Slovak Pub

This is another place where you can try local foods at inexpensive prices - but it's a popular one so if you're going to go here for dinner I recommend you book in advance! I went all out and went for a 3 course slovakian meal - Kapustnica to start (sauerkraut soup with sausage), Haluski for main (gnocchi with sheeps cheese and bacon bits), and Apple Strudel for dessert - and I ate every last crumb.

PM | Walking tour of Bratislava

The best way to cover most places and find out a bit of history, culture and recommendations from the area is to take a guided walking tour. I usually use Sandermans or BeFreeTours that both offer 'free' walking tours and are based on tips. All the tours I've done with them have been entertaining and keep you switched on. Our guide Juro told us about Slovakian traditions (some strange ones at that), taught us some Slovakian tongue twisters that I definitely can't repeat now, told us where to get the best wine food and drinks and of course gave us a bit of insight on Slovakia through the decades. He also spoke about Eurotrip and Hostel (yay) - and the fact that tourism to Bratislava dropped 75% after that movie!!

old town bratislava

Coffee & Cake | Cafe Mondieu

We had to come back here because we saw these chocolate fondue pots on the menu and our sweet tooth's couldn't leave without trying them. I basically got a tiny mug filled with white chocolate and strawberries and I was loving life. Of course with a vanilla latte on the side. 

cafe mondieu

Dinner | Grand Cru Wine Gallery

If you're looking for a more chilled evening drinking wine and reminiscing about your trip with your travel companions, then what better way to do it than sampling different Slovakian wines? This place is located near St Michael's Gate and is a great place for nibbles and well, wine. They mainly serve panini's and cheese and ham boards etc. 

Evening | Spooky Legends of Bratislava tour

So I think after a couple of glasses this makes for an entertaining way to finish your evening - we were very much in a state of 'what is he on about' half the time and if it was a tour that we had to pay 10 euros for we probably wouldn't rate it much, but this tour is also tip based. The tour guide was entertaining in that he got in to character, although he lost me a couple of times with his stories. 


The only thing we didn't really have time to see was Devin Castle as it was a bit further out from the centre. If you'd like to purchase tickets for other things to do in Bratislava then GetYourGuide is a good place for it. 

Have you ever been to Slovakia or heard much about it before? Would love to hear what you got up to if you have!



* I received some complimentary tickets and experiences whilst on my trip to Bratislava but all opinions and words are my own *

bratislava travel guide

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