Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Top 10 sights in charming Bratislava

Greetings! This post is the third of four posts inspired by my trip to Central Europe last November. My sister and I visited Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, and Prague. I wrote about our stay in Budapest here, and in Vienna here.

While in Vienna, we booked a day excursion to Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia, and one of Europe's newest capitals. I was curious to visit Slovakia, which was part of Czechoslovakia, until January 1, 1993, when the self-determined split occurred and Czechoslovakia became two countries: Czech Republic (or Czechia) and Slovakia.

From Vienna, it takes about an hour by car to reach Bratislava. The historic Old Town of Bratislava can be covered on foot in a couple of hours. Below is my Top 10 sights in charming Old Town Bratislava. Click to enlarge the pictures.

1. Bratislava Castle, the landmark overlooking the capital, was built in the 9th century. It stands on a hill above the Danube river. Its silhouette is created by four wings, each with a corner tower. The castle has undergone several redesigns in its history.

Bratislava Castle

2. St. Martin's Cathedral, the largest and one of the oldest churches in Bratislava, situated below Bratislava Castle. The Gothic cathedral, begun in 1204, and reconsecrated in 1445, was restored in 1861-80. The tower is surmounted by a pyramid bearing a gilded Hungarian royal crown. The cathedral is famous mostly as the coronation place of the Kingdom of Hungary between 1563 and 1830. It held nineteen coronations (eleven kings and eight queens), and Queen Maria Theresa was one of the crowned people.

St. Martin's Cathedral, Bratislava

3. Michael's Gate and Tower: Michael's Gate is the only city gate that has been preserved of the medieval fortifications and the last standing gate in Bratislava. Its history dates back to the 13th century. The statue of St. Michael and the Dragon was placed on its top. The gate's tower is 51 m high and has seven floors. Right under it there is a golden circle, known as kilometer zero. It illustrates the distances from Bratislava to 29 other capital cities.

Michael's Gate & Tower, Bratislava

4. The Main Square (Hlavne Namestie) is lined on one side by the medieval Old Town Hall and Maximilian Fountain, and the other by a mix of inviting restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops. Parts of the Old Town Hall dates back to the 15th century and the famous clock tower can be seen from all over the inner city. The 10.5 meter high statue at the Maximilian Fountain is also known as the Roland Statue.

Old Town Hall, Bratislava
Maximilian Fountain, Bratislava
Souvenir shop, Main Square, Bratislava

5. The musicians' quarter where numerous famous music composers studied, lived, or gave concerts, among whom Liszt, Mozart, and Beethoven were the most famous.

A plaque for F. Liszt, Bratislava

6. The Historic Opera House, an elegant neo-Renaissance building constructed in 1886 after designs of the prolific Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer, with a charming Ganymede Fountain by Viktor Tigner in the front.

Historic Opera House, Bratislava

7. Restored Baroque and Renaissance buildings seen as we walked along the main pedestrian streets of Michalska and Venturska. Alleyways fan out in all directions. It was a pleasure to wander and pause to admire the detailing of the buildings around us.

A courtyard, Bratislava
A historic building in Bratislava

8. The New Bridge (or UFO Bridge, or Novy Most), Bratislava's retro-futuristic bridge, which links the Old Town to the sprawling housing project of Petrzalka. It's the 7th largest hanging bridge in the world. The top part of the bridge, in the shape of a space ship, includes a restaurant and an observation deck.

New Bridge, Bratislava

9. Pedestrian walkways from the Main Square to the New Bridge, lined with restaurants, shops, cafes, trees, quirky statues, and snack vendors.

Hans C. Andersen's statue, front view
Hans C. Andersen's statue, back view
Cumil (The Watcher) statue
Pressburg Bajgel stand
Caffe Mobil, Bratislava

10. The historic Cafe Mayer where we took a coffee break. The dessert selection is mouth-watering and extremely inviting. We decided to share a slice of the Mayer cake with our coffee-based drinks. It was a pleasure to relax in the coffee house and people watch for a while.

Cake selection at Cafe Mayer, Bratislava
Cafe Mayer history
Mayer cake and cappuccino

We enjoyed our walking tour in Bratislava's Old Town very much. I'd recommend other travellers, who are already in Central Europe, especially Vienna, to visit Bratislava since the two cities are so close to each other, and yet each has its own charms.


28 comments:

  1. I had never heard of Bratislave before but it sure does look beautiful! The only Czech place I was familiar with was Prague - though I haven't been there either (yet). So glad you had such an enjoyable trip! #TeamLovinLife

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    1. Thanks, Min, for stopping by. Bratislava is one of the newest European capitals, after Czechoslovakia split into two countries.

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  2. It looks like a gorgeous place to visit! Those cakes look amazing :)

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    1. Thanks, Amy, for visiting. I'd definitely recommend a visit to Bratislava. The Old Town of this city is charming and perfect for wandering. The cakes are divine!

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  3. Oh I love Bavaria, Natalie and what stunning pictures. You certainly had beautiful weather. I always enjoy your travel posts. Have a great week! x

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    1. Thank you, Sue, for your kind words. It was a gorgeous day when we visited Bratislava.

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  4. You know, I don't think I'd seen pics of Bratislavia before today. Thanks for that! I know I've said it before, but i do enjoy your travel posts. #TeamLovinLife

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    1. Thank You, Jo, for letting me know you enjoy my travel posts. Bratislava is a fairly new capital so not many people have visited it yet. I predict that this is changing.

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  5. You certainly visited some interesting places on your European trip. Bratislava isn't a place that a lot of people would put on their travel itinerary, but it looks as though it was worth the effort. #TeamLovinLife

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    1. Bratislava is perfect for ambling, Kathy. It's on the Danube river cruise route and is very close to Vienna so it will become well known soon.

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  6. Hi, Natalie - This truly looks like a fabulous trip. I am especially envioius of the Musicians' Quarter....and those delicious looking cakes!

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    1. The musicians' quarter packs a lot of history, Donna. I imagined the time when these famous composers were in Bratislava. The city would inspire beautiful music. The cakes are divine in this area of the world.

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  7. We've never visited the area - I can see I've been missing out. Thanks for the inspiration x

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    1. Thank you, Maria, for stopping by. Glad my post gave you the inspiration.

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  8. Such gorgeous old buildings #teamlovinlife

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  9. Your photos are beautiful! I'd love to visit Bratislava some day

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    1. Thank you, Cristina, for your visit and comment. I greatly appreciate it.

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  10. What an interesting place to visit. I've been to Prague, but no where else in the country (yet). Might be a nice idea for an upcoming city break! #citytripping

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    1. Thank you, Keri, for your visit and comment. Bratislava is charming without the crowd seen in Prague. It's also very close to Vienna so you can certainly make a day trip from Vienna and get to visit both cities.

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  11. Gorgeous - I always seem to overlook Bratislava. I expected the architecture, of course, but I had no idea the city was filled with so much street art. And the juxtaposition of the old city with the airy new bridge is fabulous.

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    1. Hi Laura - I like Bratislava a lot and would recommend it to other travellers. Thank you for stopping by.

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  12. There is so much history connected to the beautiful architecture! I love the little coffee truck.

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    1. Thank you, Betty, for your comment. The little coffee truck is cute, isn't it? I enjoyed Bratislava very much. It's like discovering a hidden gem.

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