I was impressed by the authenticity and charm of the city, without expecting much from the Slovak capital.
Very easy to walk through the city, where one side is new, full of tall, modern buildings and the other side is old, with cobbled streets, small houses with medieval or ex-Soviet architecture.
The old city center is the main attraction in Bratislava. Once here, we strolled through the historical center, where we found the Christmas Fair organized. Full of little red houses, where you can find everything from food, sweets, authentic handicrafts to the famous punch you really have to try.
As well as being delicious, hot and filling, they’re also a great way to keep warm in winter. Plus the price is extremely attractive. A glass of punch starts at €2.5 compared to the other drinks you’ll find at Christmas markets in Vienna, Budapest and Romania, where a glass starts at €5 and up.
After a stroll through the old center, where we saw all the impressive buildings and fun statues, we stopped for lunch at a place called Koliba Kamzik. The restaurant is super cozy, with traditional Slovak food. All the food we tried was delicious. I really liked a dish consisting of potato dumplings with caramelized bacon over and sheep cheese, called bryndzove halusky.
I haven’t tasted anything in Bratislava that I didn’t like: everything was wow. In the Christmas market, I tasted some really good ribs and saw some really interesting desserts.
As you walk through the narrow streets, you will see signs of the medieval times, when Bratislava had fortification walls and 4 gates. The place where Laurinc Gate once stood is now marked by a symbolic gate hanging above the street.
The most photographed statue in town is Cumil, known as the supervisor. Legend says that you’ll get lucky if you touch his helmet and get pregnant if you touch his nose. I didn’t touch him at all. 😊
Slovakia’s capital can also be called the city of churches, as there are plenty of places of worship. The most imposing religious building is St Martin’s Cathedral, a stunning Gothic edifice. Another church that I found really beautiful is the Blue Church. This is actually called St. Elizabeth’s, but everyone knows it as the Blue Church because of the shades of blue it is painted in. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get into it as it was closed the day we got there.
From any point in the city, you can’t miss Bratislava Castle. It stands higher than all the other buildings in the city, on a hill by the Danube.
At the end of the day, after seeing the lights and the buzz of the Christmas fair, we went in to warm up in a place called Jake’s where we had an extremely good beer.
We got our accommodation through Airbnb and were more than satisfied. An apartment with a breathtaking view on the 24th floor. From the balcony, you could see the whole city as well as the castle lit up. It was equipped with everything you could want, as well as underground parking.
Bratislava is worth a visit! I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone. At least one day will be enough to fall in love with this small, charming and colorful city.
Travel, live, love…in the magical spirit of Christmas!