BratislavaWith fewer than half a million people, the"little big city" of Bratislava ranks among Europe's most relaxed capitals since everything is in close vicinity or a short walk away. Vienna (80km) and Budapest (200km) — also reachable by boat through the river Danube. Slovakia's capital boasts an old-town charm, sophisticated restaurants, traditional pubs, good music ranging from jazz to opera, and an urban design that allows you to enjoy your visit without exhausting yourself. All this with Central Europe's greatest river as a backdrop.
The CityThe Capital of the Slovak Republic, Bratislava, also referred to as the Beauty on the Danube, can not only filled with interesting history but is also the centre of the most dynamically developing region of central Europe at present. Bratislava is situated in the south-west of Slovakia and stretches on both banks of the Danube and in the foothills of the Little Carpathian Mountains. Slovakia's borders with Hungary, to the south, and Austria, to the west, make it the only capital city to border two neighbouring countries. In addition, the Czech Republic is only 62 kilometres away. The Austrian capital Vienna is only 80 kilometres away by road, making them among the world's closest capital cities. Thanks to this favourable position it has always been a commercial centre. Today the historic places are witness to the rapid development of the young Slovak Republic. In spite of its exciting history, Bratislava is one of the youngest capitals in the world and its population is also very young. The modern metropolis is open to Europe and to the world as proved by the increasing number of foreign visitors from many diverse countries. Palaces, modern shopping, works of art by Slovak chefs and brewers, friendly people and various international cultural or sport events, exhibitions, and business opportunities are the reasons why it is worth of visit.
Do & See
Bratislava is not just the political but also the cultural and sporting capital of Slovakia. Owing to its historically multi-ethnic character, the city's cultural scene is a product of various influences: German, Slovak, Hungarian, and Jewish, among others. Bratislava boasts numerous theatres, museums, galleries, concert halls, cinemas, film clubs, and foreign cultural institutions. It also has the country's biggest football and ice hockey teams, a purpose-built white-water rafting centre on the Danube, and numerous walking and cycling trails in or near the city. High-quality spa and relaxation facilities are increasingly popular throughout Slovakia and easily accessible. Bratislava has numerous coffee shops and restaurants, offering international as well as Slovak cuisine, including lively bars and clubs.
Local specialities include Halusky — small dumplings topped with cheese and bacon. Hungarian influences have added the much-needed spice to traditional Slovak cuisine. As far as international cuisine goes, there is plenty to choose from, as Bratislava builds a reputation as an eastern European capital of gastronomy.
Despite being a relatively small city, Bratislava is rich with cafes: from grand coffee houses to trendy student hang-outs. The best cafes are in the centre of town, especially around the Main Square. In the summer, many have outdoor tables, perfect for relaxing after exploring the Old Town.
Bars & Nightlife
Bratislava has a growing number of good bars and is building a reputation as a nightlife capital. Top Slovak beers that are definitely worth a few rounds include Zlaty Bazant and Kelt. In recent years, Bratislava’s club scene has completely reinvented itself. In came DJs and funky cocktails, out went the go-go dancers and burly doormen. Listings detailing what’s going on can be found throughout town.
Bratislava offers a wide variety of shopping possibilities. Ranging from small boutiques, designer outlets, open-air fresh produce markets to big and modern shopping malls which are open 7 days a week. Small open-air markets can be found on Polna near the Medical Garden and Sancova, Mlynarovicova on Petrzalka. The liveliest market is the one on Mileticova Street, which sells lots of well-made but affordable clothing. There are numerous shopping malls throughout Bratislava, including Aupark on the right side of the Danube next to Sad Janka Kráľa Park. Polus City Center is on Vajnorska, 10 minutes away from the city centre, and the newest Eurovea is situated in the city centre, right next to the river bank.