Return flights: £49.01 (Ryanair)
Accommodation: €42 (approx £37.60*) Hostel Bratislava by Freddie (Booking.com)
*Exchange rate at time of writing
Summary and Highlights:
- If you have time, visit other nearby cities or countries
- Always try local cuisine, it’s hearty and reasonably priced
- Make a note to invest in a tripod (maybe that one is just for me)
- Bratislava Castle
- Old Town
- Devín Castle
There’s nothing I love more than a European city with a castle. Plus I like to go where the tourists aren’t. Although Bratislava isn’t as popular as its nearest neighbours on the Danube; Vienna and Budapest, it’s still full of history and enough to do for a couple of days. If I’d had the time I would have got the bus to Vienna, which is only an hour away and about a €10 round trip.
Thankfully this time I had no trouble with my accommodation and despite arriving late, the man on the front desk was really attentive and gave me some great tips and advice on what to see, do and eat. It’s a very pedestrian friendly city, with the old town being pedestrian only so great for walking tours. 3 in fact. I must have been keen. Including the castle, old town and communist era. I soon learned that you couldn’t leave Slovakia without trying Halušky – potato dumplings with sheep cheese and smoked bacon. A heart attack on a plate but tastes divine nonetheless. I also passed a stand with schnitzel near my hostel that caught my eye, so I got a schnitzel which was the size of my face for a very reasonable €3.
I couldn’t pass up going to Devín Castle too, which is a short 20-minute bus from outside the Old Town. I’d read up on it and the man at the front desk also highly recommended it. The bus does drop you in the middle of a village where nobody seems to be, but it’s straight forward enough to get to the castle. Unlike Bratislava Castle, which is a reconstruction, Devín is much as it was when originally (what’s left that it), built on the confluence of the Danube and Morava river. The Danube is also the border between Slovakia and Austria, so much so I was that close that my phone changed networks and I got the ‘Welcome to Austria’ text from EE. I’d forgotten my NUS card which had my (now expired) International Student Identity Card on so I used my University staff card. The lady charged me the student price (half of the usual entry fee of €5) but then totally called me out on it after fulling inspecting my card to see it had the word ‘staff’ in bold (soz hun).
(Also for this gram I had to put my phone on a very precarious ledge between some rocks. My friend suggested I should invest in a tripod. Maybe she’s right)