Wanderlust: Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava in Slovakia is the perfect city to go to if you want an inexpensive holiday where you can sightsee and have nights out. 

The city is stunning, everything from the buildings to the cobble streets and the picturesque statues. Bratislava is a spectacular city; the buildings alone are an architect’s dream and you’ll be stopping at every street corner to stare or take numerous photos. 

One place you have to visit is the castle. You can spend the guts of a day here just exploring the castle grounds and walking through the museum. The castle is home to the natural history museum that showcases beautiful pieces of art as well as props and costumes from famous Slovakian plays or films. It is a tough climb to the castle and a lot of the routes involve stairs or steep inclines, but once you make it to the top the castle is certainly worth it. 

It’s impressively bright with fresh white walls that give off a recently painted feel and brick red roofs. You can go up into the towers of the castle and if you’re not afraid of heights or insanely steep stairs, you get a beautiful view of Bratislava from the top. It costs only €4 for a student pass into the inside of the castle and is excellent value for money.

Another place that will give you a gorgeous view of the city is the UFO Observation Deck. Situated over the motorway, a lift brings you to the restaurant area and a flight of stairs takes you up to the observation deck. The lift feels like something out of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as it feels like you’re going fast enough to burst through the ceiling but once you get to the top it’s a beautiful spot to see the whole city and get a great view of the castle.

It’s lovely during the day as you can see miles away but just as nice at night as the city and the castle are lit up. You can stay for a meal or a cocktail and look out the huge windows in the restaurant, we only stayed for one delicious cocktail before we started feeling disorientated being so high up so not sure we could’ve handled a meal.

The Blue Church is another place you could visit in Bratislava. It’s a striking building painted in an outrageous blue. Just bear in mind that there are masses going on inside and you shouldn’t burst in to take photos. We found that out the hard way. 

Despite being very quiet during the day, Bratislava has a great nightlife. This could be down to it being a hotspot for stag parties. Our Airbnb was situated across from an Irish pub called the Dubliners. The atmosphere there was amazing, and it doesn’t close until after three in the morning. Nearly every spirit and mixer in there will only cost you €5.50, including gin and tonics, so it’s great value. 

A nightclub we went to was called “The Club”. The drinks were cheap, and the DJ played songs everyone would know. I would highly recommend this place if you want to have a good night out where you can dance until the early morning.  The downsides to the club were the particularly sticky floors and that a few people were smoking inside. 

A place we went once for dinner and once for cocktails was Urban House. It was a hipster looking cafe/restaurant perfect for lunch, dinner or having a few drinks to start your night out. They have an unusual cocktail list with a lot of tasty options that cost just a little bit less than we would spend here. Despite being one of the more expensive places, this is the best restaurant for vegetarians and vegans. While Bratislava as a whole is one of the most vegetarian friendly cities I’ve ever been to, Urban House had some of the best options.

Funnily enough, the best Indian I’ve ever had was in Bratislava. Masala Darbar is located slightly outside the inner city but cost only €3 in an Uber to get there. The food was absolutely delicious, and the place was unbelievable value. The three of us got starters, main courses, a bottle of white wine and two glasses of red wine for just over €60. 

Bratislava is in the heart of Europe which makes it easy to plan a few day trips to other cities. Vienna is easy to get to by train or even by Uber and it only takes around an hour. We got up early one morning and spent a day in Vienna. The first place we visited there was the Schönbrunn Palace. We paid €16 for an audio guided tour of the first 26 rooms. It was such an enjoyable experience, the rooms in the palace were stunning and the history behind it was interesting. 

We went on to the Mozart Museum, which I wouldn’t waste my time or money on again. You basically paid ten euro to be bombarded with information and walk around three small floors. Vienna overall was more expensive than Bratislava was, but would be the perfect place to go if you wanted to do some shopping in high end shops or stroll around a busy city. 

While it might not be the first place that pops into your mind when planning a city break, Bratislava is definitely one you should check out.

Author: Aoife McMahon

Image Credit: Aoife McMahon