Bratislava: An overlooked travel destination
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Our visit to Bratislava began at the port on the Donau (or Danube) River. We'd taken an express catamaran cruise to traverse the 60 km from Vienna to Bratislava -- a comfortable and scenic cruise which we enjoyed. The ride to Bratislava is about an hour long -- return ride about 30 minutes longer as it's against the current. You'll see a few small towns on the river, small fishermen homes by its bank as well as several old castle ruins during your journey.
From the port it's just a short walk into the old town, which is being extensively restored. Construction work is everywhere and many of the buildings have been beautifully refinished. Mostly I'd just recommend wandering the old cobblestone streets of the city, enjoying the ambiance, doing some window or souvenir shopping, and stopping at a cafe when the mood hits. But there are several spots worth a visit, as well as a number of museums if you have the time and interest (having just come from Vienna we thought it would be hard for the local museums to compete with what we had witnessed in the Hapsburg's home city).
Some places to see in your explorations of Bratislava include:
1) Bratislava Castle
2) Michael's Gate. The tower dates back to the 15th century and is one of the historic entrances to Bratislava. You can climb it for views of the city. The lower portion houses the Museum of arms.
3) Old Town Hall and New Town Hall (Primate's Palace). Both are immediately adjoining the main square. The New Town Hall is a beautiful structure in which The Treaty of Pressburg between France and Austria was signed. It has several elegant rooms, including the Hall of Mirrors, Walk into the central courtyard to see the Fountain of St. George slaying the dragon.
4) St. Martin's Cathedral. This old cathedral dates back to the 13th century and was the site where Hungarian monarchs were coronated (while their country was occupied by the Ottoman Turks). It was being extensively refurbished during our visit, with scaffolding everywhere, so I have not included a photo of its exterior. It is, however, one of the key historic buildings in Bratislava and is worth a visit
5) The New Bridge. You can't miss this bridge spanning the Danube from the old city into a rather ugly stretch of Soviet era buildings, mostly boxy prefabricated concrete apartments. The bridge is notable for its unusual aerial restaurant affectionately named "UFO restaurant" for obvious reasons.
We didn't stay overnight in Bratislava but easily could have and would have greatly enjoyed it. I think you would, too.
If you would like to see high resolution images of the following photos, please go to this link: http://drfumblefinger.com/wrdprs/?p=278 . For full screen views click on the right sided icon on the accompanying slideshow.