Bratislava. A First Impression

with 25 Comments

Today we’ve started our 1 month InterRail journey through Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. During this month we plan to travel through 6 countries and visit 22 new places. It’s gonna be tons of fun, but we know it’s also gonna be a challenge.

First stop? BRATISLAVA!

The city on the Danube greeted us with crossed arms, just like the French Army Soldier in the statue above. I don’t know how else to put it when in the Main Train Station of an European capital the luggage guy speaks English and the people selling international tickets don’t.

One of the first things we did in Bratislava was taking a tram ride. I really think these old red trams from the Czechoslovakian era are cute and everything, but they miss air conditioning. And boy it was hot today in Bratislava and tomorrow it’s supposed to be even worse. We are going to melt away, I`m telling you!

Then we stopped at Green Tree Caffe and ordered two ice slushies. We were never big ice slush fans, but we are in the process of becoming ones. 
Next we did some sightseeing and we reached to the conclusion that Bratislava is nothing like we expected it to be. Though cosmopolit, with some wonderful cafes and terraces, it doesn’t have the atmosphere of a capital. All small shops are closed on both Saturdays and Sundays, people are relaxed but noisy and the city is full of scars left by the communist regime.
On the other hand, Bratislava has some beautiful architecture inherited from the long gone Austro-Hungarian Empire era mixed with not so beautiful grey blocks of flats (which we are not even going to bother to take photos of)…

And some very interesting statues (of which we have some more to discover tomorrow).

Have you been to Bratislava? What was your first impression?

You can also see our month long Interrail itinerary and read our tips for traveling Europe with an Interrail pass. Have you used an Interrail pass before or are you planning an Interrail trip in the near future? Please leave us your feedback. It means the world to us.

Though we used the Interrail Global Pass for our journey, it’s worth noting that single country passes are also available. 

25 Responses

  1. Anonymous
    | Reply

    Hey guys! 🙂 Bratislava is really nice city. I like people, architecture… everything! I really recommend to visit other parts of Slovakia too. Mountains- High Tatras are amazing. And of course Spis castle and so on… Really looking forward to visis these places again

  2. Megan
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    I really wanted to like Bratislava…but it just didn't click for me. Likely, it was because I was crazy sick and worn down. I have heard that Slovakia in general is a place that you really have to dig deep to appreciate, and I definitely wouldn't be opposed to going back to give it another shot. Especially the mountains.

  3. Arianwen Morris
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    Ok, those statues are really freaky! This is the second post I've read today that features slush puppy-style drinks, and now I have a massive craving!

  4. OCDemon
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    My first impression of Bratislava was walking into a hostel and getting the very last bed in the whole place, and barely 2 minutes later some other poor guy comes in and gets turned away, so my very first Slovakian experience was being a terrible person. Sort of.

    I thought the city was great in a not-too-busy, less-touristy kind of way, though I would say the highlights of a Slovakia trip are to be found elsewhere (Spissky Hrad brings out my inner childish castle fan). But it's certainly a nice place to be.

  5. Lance @ Travel Addicts
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    Just got back from Bratislava. It really surprised us. We didn't have high expectations (heck, we didn't have an expectations), but we loved it! It's so cheap and the city centre was very quaint. It was freezing cold (March), but we enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing your great post!

  6. Gavin Harvey
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    I actually really loved Bratislava but I think 1-2 sunny days is enough time to see it. I couldn't believe how cheap it was, I bought lots of 1 euro paninis and pizzas!

    There were far too many drunk partygoers walking around at night though.

    • Laura
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      I think so too, 2 days tops, but I also believe that Bratislava can only grow on its visitors slowly, over time. In the first hours of our visit, we didn't like it much, but by the end of the second day, we felt sad leaving…

  7. Anne McKinnell
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    I will never forget Bratislava. It was 20 years ago. I arrived in the early evening to find out that the youth hostel was closed for the season. I had no idea what I was going to do figuring it would be my first night sleeping in a train station. Some guy approached me and said he overheard me talking about it and said he lived in a dorm room at the university with 6 other people. The dorm room was designed for 2 but it was really overcrowded and there were 6 people living there. I was welcome to crash on the floor there too if I wanted.

    Now I'm not usually the kind of person who takes strange guys up on offers to sleep at their place or anything, but since I had nowhere else to go, and since it sounded like there were going to be lots of people there, I decided to go along to the university and check it out. I did end up sleeping on the floor there and made some great friends and ended up staying for a week. I even got to be on the university radio station.

    I just had to share my story about Bratislava when I saw your post. It brought back memories…

    • Laura
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      Such an incredible story, Anne! You were also pretty brave 🙂

  8. Awesome! You are going to have a great adventure!

  9. My first impressions are overwhelmingly positive based on your photo essay. The architecture looks stunning!

    • Laura
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      Yes, Bratislava has some beautiful architecture, it's just not clustered as in other cities. You have to explore the city in order to discover it's hidden gems, not just land in the middle of it and look around. I think that's the secret.

  10. A Montrealer Abroad
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    I have yet to make it to Bratislava, but it looks like a beautiful place! And I love those trams.

    • Laura
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      Haha, the trams are really cute, aren't day? Well, if you want to visit Bratislava you should better hurry till it doesn't get crowded.

  11. Bratislava looks like a great place. I've wanted to visit there for quite awhile, in hopes that it would have some of the same charm as the more touristed cities but less of the crowds.

    • Laura
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      We've discovered that Bratislava isn't a city that reveals its charms from the first glance. One needs to spend a little bit more time to get to know it. By the end of the second day I already started loving it! But then we moved on…

  12. Jolly Princess
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    I have not been to Europe but I would say Danube probably was preserved that way to let visitors know of their old customs and traditions. The crossed arms may not a welcoming gesture. But the people are trying to say they are protective of their country. No one should dare take their independence away. 🙂

    • Laura
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      You should really come visit Europe someday, Princess! It's so beautiful here on the old continent! We are planning on visiting Philippines in the near future 🙂

  13. Angela
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    Lovely pictures, would love to visit that part of Europe!

    • Laura
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      Eastern Europe has its hidden gems. Unfortunately it still is off the beaten path for many…

  14. Emily in Chile
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    I can't decide what I like more – the picture of that first beautiful building or the picture of those delicious-looking drinks.

    • Laura
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      Haha, tough choice indeed! 🙂

  15. Andrea
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    I really like all the statues – they have an interesting look!

    • Laura
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      Oh, we've seen some more quirky ones today! 🙂

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