Bratislava

Bratislava was previously known for stag and hen parties. Now those are much rarer and the city has much more to offer the general traveler. On our weekend we only saw two stag parties, one of which seemed very low on numbers with only two guys from Blackpool. There was a couple of places catering to these groups but most of the bars were just fun places to have a drink.

Our flights from the UK were super cheap being Ryanair but both flights coming from Yorkshire and Manchester had 3 hour delays so one guy arrived at 3.30 in the morning. The rest of us got there before midnight and had time to have a look round the town at night coming back around 2am. The nightscene wasn’t too busy but there was enough to keep us amused. Our favourite bar being the Goblin Pub which was down some steps in a cellar, and was full of young people having fun, with live music.

There were plenty of bars to look round and food to eat. We found a good cheap pizza place in the old town and there were lots of takeaways as well as bars and restaurants offering both cheaper options and sit down meals.

central Bratislava

The next day we explored the old town some more. It has some beautiful old buildings, then did a loop to the castle, over the river to the UFO bridge, through the park on the south side of the Danube, then back across the next bridge east on the river and back into the old town.

We went into the castle because it was raining and the entrance fee wasn’t too bad. The castle had been extensively refurbished and the was lots of information on this process in the lower galleries. As we went up the floors, the middle floors were pretty empty, but on the top floor there was an exhibition by Slovakian artist Martin Benka. He died in the 1970’s, but made a large body of work with paintings from both his time in Slovakia and travels abroad. The castle now seemed more interesting and then we discovered the lower floors with roman archaeology, went to the top tower up many steps and tried the cake from the castle shop which was really good. We spent a few hours in the castle and overall it seemed good value.

Leaving the castle we spotted a restaurant Modrá hviezda going down the steps to the river which we returned to for our evening meal. The game casserole and complimentary Slovakian spirit was my personal highlight of the trip.

We crossed the river to the UFO restaurant and went up the lift to the main room at the top of the tower. There is a bar and restaurant and above this a viewing platform which has fantastic 360 degree views of the city. The river goes to the east into central Slovakia and west out to Austria. North there is the old city and south many Soviet era looking blocks of flats which we didn’t get chance to visit.

From high on the platform one of our group spotted that there was some men fighting with swords in the park below and smoke from gunfire. We went down to have a look, and there was a large war reenactment going on in the park, with soldiers firing cannons at each other dressed up in period costume and generally having a good battle! It was all free and totally unexpected. Brilliant!

We then walked to the east side of the park and headed back across the large green bridge to the old town. We had spent most of the day doing this loop and had found plenty to do and were ready for food.

There are lots of other things you could do in Bratislava – there were bikes you can hire to cycle round the city, or you could cycle to the Austrian border which isn’t far. We found things for five guys but there are other options if your companions have other interests.

It’s really a very good looking city, with lots of pleasant outdoor spaces, shopping, nightlife and good eating to be had.

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