Exploring Bratislava







Thanks to a good friend, I went to Bratislava. It is lovely small city on the banks of the Danube. Many of the popular River Cruises are stopping here between Budapest and Prague. The old city is the place to explore with beautiful architecture, squares, churches, stores, cafes and restaurants.

It is easy to walk. My hotel recommended the drivers at LD Limousine Drivers as dependable and reasonable. Their website is www.limousinedrivers.sk and phone +421 902 299 299. Particularly at night, I find it is often good to call a taxi service that was recommended, from a local restaurant or a nearby hotel. If you take one from a local taxi stand make sure you ask for the cost beforehand.

I recommend visiting the Bratislava Castle. Dating back to 907 AD, it was later the seat of the ruler of the Hungarian Kingdom. In 1811, it was destroyed by fire and has since been beautifully restored. Make sure to visit the exhibition halls of the History Museum of the Slovak National Museum. There are permanent as well as temporary exhibitions. I particularly loved the rooms featuring the portraits of the Royal Family as well as of local people.

When at the castle you might enjoy Restaurant Hradna Hviezda on the west terrace of the castle featuring traditional Slovak cuisine.

I enjoyed their less formal sister restaurant, just below the castle, Modra Hviezda at Beblaveho 14. It is located in an 18th century home. The upstairs dining room is very traditional and brighter than the wonderful, dark cellar downstairs. They feature Slovak specialties. I enjoyed a traditional pork dish with mashed pumpkin and roasted chestnuts. There is a patio across the street for the summer months, with spectacular views of the old city and the SNP Bridge crossing the Danube.

St Michael’s Gate: This is a beautifully preserved gate of the medieval town fortifications from the 14th century.

Historic Building of The Slovak National Theatre: This is a beautiful neo-Renaissance building from 1886. I was fortunate to be able to attend a lovely production of the opera Carmen when in town. Ballet performances are given in addition to opera. They also have a newer building east of the old town, but I was glad to be able to see the original.

There are numerous folk art and local craft stores featuring both traditional and contemporary designs. The glass and porcelain ceramics at Skolo Porcelan, at Selena 1-3, on the main square, were traditional and lovely. I added a teapot to my collection.

Bratislava City Museum/Museum of City History: Sitting on the east side of the main square in the Old Town Hall, is a small museum dedicated to the history of Bratislava. As a big fan of glass and glass blowing as an art, I saw a small but lovely exhibition featuring glass works. The City Museum has several branches in addition to this one; they have the Period Rooms at the castle, the Museum of Arms at Michael’s Tower, the Museum of Clocks and others.

I read about the Danubiana-Meulensteen Art Museum for contemporary art which is a short drive outside of Bratislava. You can also take a boat during the summer. If you have time, you might go and explore this unique museum.