BRATISLAVA: THE MEDITERRANEAN BREEZE IN CENTRAL EUROPE

WITH ITS HISTORY AND LIVELY CULTURAL LIFE, BRATISLAVA IS NOT A BAD IDEA AT ALL FOR A WEEKEND GETAWAY.

A different weekend in a Central European city, both dynamic and stress-free… It would be useful to meet Bratislava, located along the coast of the Danube River. Slovakia, although located in the heart of Europe, earned a reputation only in recent years. The capital Bratislava with its history and vibrant cultural life is a notable destination. In this inviting city as a tourist, you don’t have to face the challenges that you do as you stroll around big cities. Thanks to easy access to nearby attractions and the city’s compact center, you have the possibility to utilize your time. Therefore, Bratislava is not a bad idea at all for a weekend getaway and different experiences. After seeing the magnificent cathedral, you can meet the local flavors, you can enjoy sipping your coffee and tasting creamy cakes at cafes located along the nostalgic narrow streets. Bratislava is also a city of festivals. The city is so dynamic from June to September thanks to festivals held almost biweekly.

Journey to the communist regime
As the historic center takes place on one side of the Danube River, the other side of the river is a completely different experience altogether. It is worth attending special tours that include the Communist Bratislava to get to know the monuments of the old regime. Slavín is the region that stands out with luxury homes, embassies, and tree-lined streets on the slopes. It is also the name given to the military cemetery located at the peak. Soviet soldiers, who rescued Bratislava from the Nazis during the World War II, rest in peace where Slavín Hill and Slavín War Memorial are located. This area especially known for its magnificent war memorial monument is great for a picnic and enjoying the wonderful view across the Bratislava thanks to its park resembling a forest. Slovakia’s largest socialist settlement located in Petržalka should be seen. When the old regime is in question, the architecture of each period has good and bad sides without a doubt. It is interesting to observe this within the urban planning and this adds another dimension to that period. During the trip made to the days of the communist regime, transportation is enabled by means of a bus from that period or Skoda cars produced in the former Czechoslovakia during the 20th century. Located on the hill above the Danube River, Bratislava Castle is the city skyline itself, though it may seem attractive from the outside, seeing the inside is not that necessary. Climbing up the castle to visit the outer part of it, watching the Old Town, the Danube and the Petržalka residential area away from the banks of the river are more meaningful.

Idly in the Old Town
You can begin to love Bratislava in here. Bratislava is full of surprises when you wander idly. Wander through the pastel-colored 18th-century buildings of the Old Town (Stare Mesto), sit in the pavement cafes beneath the castle to get the feeling of medieval times, wander down the cobbled streets and enjoy the scenery, spend some time in the heart of the Old Town Hlavne in Námestie (Main Square). The best point to start your trip is the main entrance to the Old Town, St. Michael Tower (Michalska Veza). Here, it is possible to see the elegantly restored baroque and renaissance settlements while crossing Michalska and Venturska pedestrian ways. Every direction opens to the narrow streets. The Old Government House is located on one side of Hlavne Námestie and restaurants and cafes are on the other. As soon as you find an opportunity, visit St. Martin (Dom Sv. Martina), the cathedral located just outside the Old Town. It takes 30 minutes to go to the castle. The Old Bratislava’s masterpiece and the most important landscape can be observed from the castle overlooking the Danube River. The castle with over 1000 years of history was left with only the outer part after the Napoleonic Wars. The view over the Old Town is outstanding. From this point, your eyes are going to catch the retro-futuristic bridge SNP Most (New Bridge) that connects the Old Town to the Petržalka social housing project. While you descend along the outer walls on the east side of the castle, you can wander around the small and nice Jewish Neighborhood.

Mediterranean-inspired culture city
The capital Bratislava is the center of the Slovak culture. In the city, contemporary galleries impress visitors as well as traditional ones. It would be useful not to skip seeing the well-known places of the  Slovak modern art, the Nedbal Gallery and the Bratislava City Gallery, located at the center, as well as the Danubiana Modern Art Gallery with its unusual architecture that is reminiscent of a ship in the middle of the Danube, waiting for its visitors who can visit the gallery via half-day trip. In the garden of the gallery where the birds fly around and water flows, modern sculptures and art works can be seen.

As the weekend ends, visiting the mesmerizing Devin Castle, the Botanic Gardens, Bratislava Forest Park, city walls, and the Red Stone Castle where the Danube and Morava meet while you travel down the Danube is left to another spring.

DID YOU KNOW?
Bratislava and Vienna, with only 66 km between them, are the closest capitals to each other in the world.

TASTE STOP
Get Slovak Pub, Modra Hviezda, and Hotel Matyšák in your list for Slovak cuisine.

FOR KIDS
International House of Art for Children Bibiana organizes puppet and music performances and handicraft activities.

ACTIVITY
You’ll look at Bratislava from another angle through guided bike tours and river tours.

DO NOT MISS
Called UFO, this modern masterpiece bridge on the Danube dated 1972, is a viewing platform and restaurant, which is not so cheap.

POINT OF TECHNOLOGY
If you say technology instead of art and culture, participate in the tour of the VW factory that produces the most luxurious all-terrain vehicles.