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Is Bratislava worth visiting?

Level Contributor
30 posts
2 reviews
Is Bratislava worth visiting?

Hi Guys,

Myself and 2 mates are in our mid 20's and have 6 weeks in europe in December and January and as we have done most of south, west and central Europe. We are into experiencing the culture and history of the location but also enjoy a good nightlift. We are planning on concentrating on a bit of eastern Europe (I have already been to Krakow, Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Budapest, Libjuana, Croatia, and Vienna) and Scandinavia. At the moment I have decided on the following destinations:

-Krakow (my friends are desperate to go there)

-St Petersburg

-Helsinki

-Stockholm

-Trondheim

-Oslo

-Copenhagen

-Paris (flying out from Paris)

I am also looking at adding maybe 3 or 4 of the following destinations to the list if I have time, and would love to know what you would Recommend:

-Bratislava

-Kiev

-Minsk

-Vilinus

-Riga

-Talin

-Moscow

What would be your recommendations? I know Moscow is meant to be amazing but it is a bit out of the way so I'm wondering if its worth it!

Thanks for any tips!

Edited: 5:31 am, September 12, 2013
Lima, Peru
5 posts
1 review
1. Re: Is Bratislava worth visiting?

Hey,

Bratislava is definitely worth visiting if you expect to see something new and not expecting much comfort or super touristy attractions like in western europe. Before visiting, you need to understand that it was never meant to be a capital and was not built as one (unlike Prague, Budapest etc). it has some very interesting sightseeings but what I enjoy the most about it is the clash of two periods:the current, westernized, culture and communism. There is one part of Bratislava, called Petrzalka, which is , I think, the biggest block house town in the world, a communism experiment (read wikipedia ;)). As I said, its not typical stuff for tourists, but it makes you understand what the city has been through a bit better. Its definitely a good place to visit with cheap and good beer, good nightlife and stuff to see ;) its quite small tho, so I wouldnt spend more that 2 days/1 night there.

when it comes to ur list, why not to leave russia for next time? moscow is amazing and so is saint petersburgh and its pity to go to russia and go through the hassle with visa and travellin just for couple of days. Concentrated more on europe now ;) if I were you I would mostly choose the stuff u have on the way, eg, from slovakia to ukraine to baltic states etc. from baltic capitals, choose 1 max 2, they are quite the same, with very similar culture, so there is not much in one that u would not have seen in the other one.

hope this helps. Have fun :)

London, United...
Level Contributor
196 posts
2 reviews
2. Re: Is Bratislava worth visiting?

Hi there

It sounds like you have quite a trip planned already! Without knowing a bit more about your preferences while on holiday, I would only add my own view on the places you have listed as possibles.

First of all, I have to say I absolutely adore Bratislava - I lived there for 3 years and it really is a great place to hang out and have fun. I think that going during winter (this applies to all the places in that area) means it is probably more important to hook up with locals to get tips on the best hidden/underground bars etc to visit - there are loads of tips elsewhere on this forum, have a look there for ideas.

Given the time of year and the likely weather, it may even be worth you venturing up into the mountains and doing some skiing? If you fancy it, as it sounds like you have a good bit of time on your hands. This would also be a good way to get out of the cities for a wee break, and there are many good resorts in the High Tatra mountains to explore, for all levels of skill.

Of the other places, I would recommend Minsk as a place to visit. It has some amazing (socialist/brutalist style) architecture, and the people were without exception friendly towards my mate and I when we were there a couple of years ago. The country is under a harsh political regime at present, however we really had fun there and I think that it is a bit different to the other places on your list, as it does not receive the same number of tourists as the other mentioned.

Moscow would also be a recommendation - so much to see, very mad place, so busy, many people, great historical sites - definitely go if you are in the area.

Hope you have a wonderful trip.

Andy

Brno, Czech Republic
Destination Expert
for Czech Republic, Slovakia, Train Travel
Level Contributor
31,319 posts
17 reviews
3. Re: Is Bratislava worth visiting?

another great place tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g274714-i1153-k6…

Bratislava is OK for a couple of days and if you like the sort of brutalist architecture mentioned above that Andrew and I like, then all the better.

The only places in Eastern Europe on your list are Minsk, Kiev, St Petersburg and Moscow. As long as you keep your nose clean, Minsk would be interesting. Moscow can be very expensive but quite overwhelming - I haven't been there for years.

Charlotte, NC
Level Contributor
7,387 posts
173 reviews
4. Re: Is Bratislava worth visiting?

As much as I like Bratislava (Food, music, pubs, etc.), it seems a bit out of way; not easy to travel to - on your itinerary, + it's winter...

"adding maybe 3 or 4" - I would add: Talinn, Riga, Vilnius - all Baltic, all different & time to compare the Finish Sauna with others....

===

Totally on the other side, but sometimes you can get a really great bargain (Icelandair & others), visiting Iceland (Geysers.. http://www.visiticeland.com/DiscoverIceland/

just a thought...

London, United...
Level Contributor
2,237 posts
956 reviews
5. Re: Is Bratislava worth visiting?

It seems to me quite stretching. You might be exhausted by moving here and there quite often without grabbing local senses. Well in the end of the day, it's your choice.

If you want to come to Bratislava, it's wise to visit Vienna and Budapest as well as Prague where you can find legacy from The Hapsburg Empire.

Bratislava, Slovakia
Level Contributor
879 posts
103 reviews
6. Re: Is Bratislava worth visiting?

Regarding GCEK's comment, I would like to note that in fact there are actually not many representatives of brutalist architecture in Bratislava. I would say that building of Slovak Radio might be the only major example, but otherwise, modern architecture of Bratislava was much more influenced by functionalism (works of Emil Belus - hotel Devin and old building of National Bank (currently Public Prosecution office), Propeler and many other -Luxor, Avion etc.

Large prefab panel system residential block mass housings (Petrzalka etc.) are not an example of brutalism, in fact, these types of buildings appeared long before brutalism. Still, Petrzalka is an interesting place for fans of architecture and urbanization; mainly in the aspect that it did not fall victim to ghettoization, in fact living in Petržalka improved over time and the borough offers to its inhabitants many green places for sport and recreation and good infrastructure with quick access to the city center - definitely it is not the "worst address" (although Bratislava really does not have that many bad addresses either - even within the broader town there are very few places where I would give strict warning "do not go there after sunset" - with obvious exceptions like defunct industrial and warehouse areas.

But I agree with Nomadroaming's comment, it gives much more sense to pair Bratislava with Vienna and Budapest, and if you are doing such a major tour of Europe and you have already been in Budapest and Vienna, I would say that you can skip Bratislava this time as it does not make sense to make such detour in your itinerary.

Bratislava, Slovakia
Level Contributor
2 posts
23 reviews
7. Re: Is Bratislava worth visiting?

Bratislava is worth visiting, it is beautiful, interesting for a history lover or an adventurous traveler, and good to walk around with a local guide. The old city centre is small, so anyone can walk to the castle hill and down to the Danube bank. IMHO Guidebooks are weak, so you should prepare the visit in advance, according to your interest..

And a message for GCEK, Czech "expert on Slovakia" - please, STOP committing a damage to the Slovak tourism, and dedicate your time to Czech republic and Moravia. Thank you.

Brno, Czech Republic
Destination Expert
for Czech Republic, Slovakia, Train Travel
Level Contributor
31,319 posts
17 reviews
8. Re: Is Bratislava worth visiting?

I agree with Yale999 - I like the architecture in Bratislava, the old ROH building is an amazing building, and it is a tragedy that they are allowing it to fall into rack and ruin. Slovenský rozhlas, Hlavná stanica, other railway stations (Vinohrady/predmestie), Kamzik, Nový most and others, are great examples of what could be construed as brutalism and there is nothing wrong with that - brutalism is a recognised architectural style, and personally I find it to have a considerable amount of beauty. Even Petržalka has something about it, although many of the inhabitants might disagree (we used to have a small flat there). And yes, there are some fine examples of functionalism - the Oskar Pfepper house, Jaroň villa (unfortunately vandalised in recent years), Arpad Lengyel villa, Novotny villa and others, and also older buildings such as the Jurkovič villa or the blue church. These are the things that IMO are worth seeing and are unique to Bratislava. Personally I have little time for the centre.

It is also true that there is nowhere that is 'unsafe' - it is a very safe city, as are the vast majority of places in central Europe.

Traralgon, Victoria
Level Contributor
9 posts
13 reviews
9. Re: Is Bratislava worth visiting?

I would like to visit Bela-Dulice in Slovakia - but it costs way too much to fly there from Australia, much cheaper to go via Rome or Vienna, then on to Bratislava.

My query is, is there any kind of transport I could get from Bratislava to Bela-Dulice? I don't know a word of Slovak and therefore, don't feel very confident about driving around on my own.

Edited: 10:15 am, March 13, 2014
Brno, Czech Republic
Destination Expert
for Czech Republic, Slovakia, Train Travel
Level Contributor
31,319 posts
17 reviews
10. Re: Is Bratislava worth visiting?

It is quite a trek - 4 - 6 hours with several changes of bus/train and knowledge of Slovak would certainly be required. It would be cheap - about €15 in total. The easiest way would be to get a direct train to Martin and then local bus from there. For times see www.cp.sk (English bottom right.

If you drive you would need minimal knowledge of Slovak, if any, and it would take about 2.5 hours. Getting to Martin is relatively easy, then it is a short distance from there. It would obviously cost more, though.

Vienna is a lot closer than Rome! Then it is a short bus journey to Bratislava from the airport.