Bustling Bratislava is bursting at the seams with old world charm and character, from its beautifully restored historic quarter to the elegant architecture that lines the mighty Danube. In the heart of Europe, this city has seen many civilizations come and go, leaving a legacy of cultural riches behind.
A beguiling mix of the medieval to the socialist-era tower block, Bratislava retains many reminders of its past. The pedestrian Old Town is overflowing with cosy cafes while nearby museums and galleries showcase both cutting edge and traditional works or art.
Those who love nature can cycle, walk and hike in the lush forested hills that surround the city; relax in one of the many urban parks or climb to the hilltop of Bratislava Castle for unrivalled views. St Michael’s Tower in the centre also promises beautiful views over the baroque rooftops of the city from its blue copper roof. Primates Palace is the place to see 17th century tapestries while the Old Town Hall Museum has artefacts dating back to the 14th century.
A city of bridges, Novy Most is one of the most distinctive but there are many that span the vast Danube. There is also wonderful outdoor art that adorns Bratislava, like Napoleon’s Soldier and his other sculptural friends, dotted around the Old Town Centre.
If enjoying wine and Slovak cuisine in local restaurants seems a little tame for your tastes, then why not try some mountain biking in the Little Carpathians or even white water rafting with runs for all levels of experience. There really is more to Bratislava than meets the eye.
The following information is correct as of February 2015 and is subject to change. Please check with the airline directly for complete accuracy.
Bratislava Airport is located just over 5 miles from the city centre. By car, the journey time is just 15-20 minutes, depending on traffic. There is a public bus service, the 61, which runs regularly between the airport and the main central railway station. Shuttle services and taxis are also available for hire from outside the airport terminal.
What you need to know
Currency: The Euro (€)
Visas: UK and EU nationals do not require a visa to enter Slovakia. A passport valid for travel is required; however nationals of other countries may be required to present a visa on arrival. More information can be obtained from a local embassy or from the Foreign Office website.
Laws: A smoking ban is in place in all indoor public buildings across Slovakia including cafes, bars, hotels, restaurants and on all public transport. The legal age for drinking alcohol in Slovakia is 18. It is an offence to drink alcohol in the street, apart from areas that permit it such as pavement cafes and restaurants. Rowdy or noisy behaviour between the hours of 10pm and 6am is punishable by fine and occasionally imprisonment.
Best Time to Visit
Slovakia has a continental climate with hot summers, cold snowy winters and mild spring and autumn seasons. The most popular times for visitors are the summers when tourists want to enjoy the central European heat, while winters can also be popular as people head for the nearby mountains to take full advantage of the abundant snowfall. July and August are peak tourist months with flights at their most expensive so these months are best avoided.
A good reason to visit in January and February is not only the quieter streets but for the ice rink outside the Opera House, the January marathon and the opening up to the public of the famous wine cellars for delicious tastings. April brings wine markets, gypsy food festivals, picnic and bike festivals and free entry to all museums, galleries and cultural attractions and tours. The May festival, night of the museums and even a knight’s tournament at the castle liven up the month of May. As summer gets into full swing there are cultural festivals, children’s days, pottery, wine and even rafting events and music of every persuasion. Things don’t quieten down in autumn with beer festivals, Roman Games, kayaking days, night runs and photography and arts. It is almost unbelievable that this small capital can cram so much into one year!
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