A brief burst of Bratislava

Which city is the only capital in the world that borders two countries?

Chances are that you’ve already read the title, and therefore already have rather a reliable hunch for the answer, so give yourself a pat on the back and a large portion of parene buchty (steamed dumplings filled with jam) if you answered BRATISLAVA!

Last autumn my lovely Hayzybob and I went travelling around Central Europe. Bratislava, the Slovak capital, emerged as one of our favourite places – a stunning little city with a frankly LOVELY old town with interesting shops, delicious cafes, picturesque things to look at, funky things to pose for pictures with, fascinating things to learn from.

Here are recommendations I have for your trip from our brief 24h Bratislava experience:


  • Arrive by speed ferry down the River Danube – there is an excellent connection from Vienna, just 60km away. Fun fact – Bratislava and Vienna are actually officially the closest neighbouring capitals in Europe!
Some minutes away from Bratislava.
It was ferry windy.


  • Go on a tour of the Old Town in the adorable old town train which squeezes through alleyways so narrow you wonder how the side mirrors are still intact.
With my fave little Bratislavian locomotive!
Narrow alleyway sightseeing – can you find which alleyway (from another pic) we come out at?


  • Explore the old town by foot and stroll the cobbled alleyways.

Michael’s gate
Maybe Michael going through a gate
Main Square


  • Jump in the misty arch!


  • Pop in the adorable little market stalls and shops.
Arty souvenirs
Souvenir shopping is the best shopping… right?


  • Photograph yourself with the stony Bratislavian locals. One of the most charming features of this little city is its many funky statues on various corners of the old town. Bratislava, making sure tourist photos are never boring!



  • Spot trams.
Trams of this funkiness level need police escorts.
Tram park at the train station <3


  • Eat dumplings and drink Slovak beer.
Potato gnocchi-things with cheese and bacon bits, I think we both gave it a decent four stars.


  • Order soup with a side of dumplings at restaurants and try and find a waiter with the most expressive face of disbelief, confusion and/or amusement. What a terd of a tourist, you don’t eat soup with dumplings! Now isn’t THIS a story to tell the kiddies at home.
Soup and dumplings, take 1. Delicious, especially when dumplings were enjoyed with sauce from Hayzybob’s dish.
Take 2 – bean soup (delish), and steamed bready dumplings (rather bland…)


  • Visit the quaint wine bars.
Challenge: Where is this picture taken from? I’ll send a postcard to you if you guess correctly 😉
My fave Bob <3
Wine reflections
Next to the wine bar.


  • If quaint gets too boring, admire the UFO-bridge over the Danube.
Come home


  • Visit Bratislava castle, a restored baroque castle just outside the centre of the city. (Which we were unable to do, due to unintentionally timing our 24h in Bratislava to coincide with a high security-EU summit meeting. The political big wigs arrived escorted by dozens of police cars with their sirens blazing, numerous helicopters and even a sniper or two on the bridge. And their meeting was in the Bratislava castle.)
Sneaky peak from sniper bridge
Closed roads.
Sniper bridge


  • Visit Devin castle, a historic castle (first mentioned in written sources in the year 864) on a cliff about twenty minutes by bus from the city centre. (Which we were unable to do, see above. During this EU summit half of the public transport had decided to be free of cost (making sure roads stay empty); half of the public transport was cancelled. No one seemed quite sure if the Devin bus was or wasn’t running – according to one staff member and the board with upcoming bus departures, it was running; according to another staff member and our visual evidence, it wasn’t running. After hanging about the bus area for half an hour we gave up and decided to leave Devin castle to a later visit.)
Devin castle from the ferry from earlier
Where we spent a healthy few moments


  • Sit at the cute cafés with your funky coffees and savour both cake and the fact you are not surrounded by blazing sirens of political escorts.
Coffee galore
One of the first police cars

The first police cars and pompous black vans were exciting. By the time it had continued for 5-10 minutes, somehow it had become a whole lot less fun.


Despite summit meetings, Bratislava rose from the ashes of the unknown to the skyscraping levels of excellence. A lovely, charming little city I would love to get to know better. Bratislava, I will be back!

What are your favourite things about Bratislava?



2 Replies to “A brief burst of Bratislava”

  1. Hi! I read this as soon as you posted it, but it looks like I failed to leave a comment. We’ve already ticked the first box: just bought tickets for the ‘speed ferry’ from Vienna to Bratislava. Looking forward to it – and thanks for the recommendations!

  2. Soon another Michael will be going through the gate! Odotan innolla Bratislavaan pääsyä. Ehkä linnatkin ovat nyt auki tavallisille immeisille. Kiitos hauskasta ja innostavasta kaupunkiesittellystä! Äx

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