During the 2019 winter break, I travelled from Vienna for Christmas to Krakow for New Year’s Eve. In between these cities, we spent a single day in Bratislava. The city is only an hour from Vienna by train, and cost 32.40 euros total for the three of us.
We arrived in the capital of Slovakia on December 26, in the evening. We walked to our hostel from the bus station, then went out in search of food. We stayed at Hostel Blues, which was located conveniently near the city centre, making the main sights accessible on foot. We ate a quick dinner at the end of the street. I got falafel from Kuskus Fast Food which was quite good! My non-vegetarian friends got McDonald’s.
We hurried back to the hostel to meet the group event we’d signed up for. There was an organized pub crawl we joined thinking it would help us sleep on the overnight bus we were taking the following evening (spoiler, it didn’t).
Our guides led us through the streets of Bratislava, starting at a small pub and continuing to a string of interesting types of establishments. While I don’t remember the names of the bars we stopped at, we remembered the tourist advice our guides gave us to see the next day, including some great food options!
We met hostel guests from all over the world (Australia, France, Chile and more). In Vienna, we stayed at a much larger hostel and didn’t really meet anyone through our stay, so this was a fun experience.
The next day, we awoke fairly early because we had to check out of our hostel room. We packed up and stored our bags with the front desk, then went to explore the city in daylight. We walked through the main streets on our own, passing St. Martin’s Cathedral and the fascinating paintings that replaced the windows of the adjacent building.
We continued our walk to reach the Bratislava Castle which sits atop the hill overlooking the Danube river. A super fun fact about Bratislava is that it is the only capital city that borders two sovereign states (Austria and Hungary).
We left the castle in search of lunch. We decided on Regal Burger, a hamburger restaurant that had been recommended the night before by our guides and was super delicious. The restaurant was near the Slovak National Theater building, so we took a look from the outside before joining up with an English walking tour.
On our walking tour we learned about the history of the city and Slovakia more broadly. We also visited the Blue Church which is an Instagram famous sight in Bratislava.
Following our tour, we walked around near the Danube and walked over the Old Bridge to see the city from across the water. After this stroll, our legs were getting tired from walking all day and my friend needed to replace one of the two pairs of jeans she had brought on the trip, so we stopped in the Eurovea Shopping Mall to buy some pants and rest our legs.
After our stop at the mall, we headed to the Slovak Pub, another recommendation from our tour guides the night before. The pub served traditional Slovak food. I tried the bryndzové halušky – the national dish of Slovakia, which is made with sheep cheese served on top of potato dumplings. I thought it was delicious, but I also think it’s hard to go wrong with potatoes and cheese!
We boarded our bus for Krakow late that evening (around 11pm), and continued on our European adventure.