Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia, is often overlooked as a tourist destination. However, after my recent trip there, I can confidently say that Bratislava is a hidden gem that is worth a visit.
First Impressions: As I walked out of the train station, the first thing that struck me was the contrast between the modern buildings and the historical ones. The city has a mix of architecture styles, ranging from medieval to contemporary, which makes it a unique destination.
Exploring the Old Town: The Old Town of Bratislava is a must-see. The narrow streets, charming cafés, and colorful buildings make for a picturesque setting. I recommend starting at the Michael’s Gate, the only remaining gate from the medieval fortifications. The gate now houses a museum with a collection of weapons and armor.
From there, it is easy to navigate the Old Town on foot. The Main Square is a bustling hub of activity, with street performers and vendors selling souvenirs. The Old Town Hall is also located here and is worth a visit.
The highlight of my visit to the Old Town was the Bratislava Castle, which overlooks the city. The castle has a long history dating back to the 9th century and has been reconstructed several times. The views from the castle are breathtaking and provide a great photo opportunity.
Food and Drink: No trip to Slovakia is complete without trying some of the local dishes. Slovak cuisine is hearty and delicious, with a focus on meat and potatoes. I tried the Bryndzové Halušky, which is a traditional Slovak dish made of potato dumplings, sheep cheese, and bacon.
I also visited several local bars and breweries to sample the beer. Slovak beer is excellent, and I recommend trying the Zlatý Bažant or the Šariš.
Final Thoughts: Bratislava may not be as famous as other European cities, but it certainly has a lot to offer. The city is affordable, easy to navigate, and has a rich history and culture. I highly recommend adding Bratislava to your travel itinerary if you are in the region.