Last updated: 02:46 PM ET, Fri November 29 2019
Bratislava aerial cityscape view on the old town with Saint Martin's cathedral from the modern bridge in Slovakia (Photo via RossHelen / iStock / Getty Images Plus)


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Out of the rocky veins of the Small Carpathians Mountains and rich soil of the Danube and Morava Rivers emerged the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava.  The city signifies everything European, uplifted by the fortifications of the impressive Bratislava Castle, while culture and history brighten the streets with their effortless glow.  It is an historic town with a modern heart, bringing people of all backgrounds together through music, cuisine, and art.  From Stone Age era to its present day stance as a major political and cultural center, it has remained the core of Europe’s existence, embracing the diverse languages of its ancestors, as well as celebrating the footprints left by its historians.  Bratislava, Slovakia is much more than a destination; it is an ideal place to absorb the soul of the Danube, it is a timeless adventure enriching the spirits of every drifting passenger. 

For centuries Bratislava has been a city of great importance to Europe due to its strategic position on the banks of the Danube.  Its early settlers made good use of the city’s resources, driving it into the center of coin minting and trading.  As the home of the Romans, Celts, Slavs, Jews and many other ethnic groups, Bratislava was led into periods of success and economic decline, transforming it into the sophisticated destination that exists today. 

From museums and galleries to theaters and castles, its history is preserved in a delightful fashion, awakening the desires of travelers coming from near and far.  The Devín Castle is a 9th century Renaissance masterpiece glimmering at the bottom of a cliff. The fortress is filled with legends and offers impeccable views of the Danube and Morava Rivers.  St. Michael’s Gate is one of Bratislava’s must-see attractions, displaying fascinating sceneries atop the 51-meter tower where the famous dragon slaying statue of Archangel Michael sits.  Towering at over 40 meters high, the Slavin War Memorial represents freedom and honors the lives of the city’s brave soldiers.  St. Martin’s Cathedral is also an architectonic structure of Renaissance beauty, housing four chapels and an astonishing early European sculpture.  Bratislava’s parks offer a softer side of the city, inviting all to frolic on their soft grass as well as bask in their beautiful surroundings.

In between exploring Bratislava’s landscape, shopping is also a great way to indulge in the city’s treasures.  Markets, outlets, malls, and boutiques make up the city’s trendy shopping atmosphere.  Shopaholics are more than welcome to visit stores like Rona and Folk-Folk for local handicrafts; while fashionistas can get their hands on the latest designer goods in Aupark Bratislava Shopping Center or Shopping Palace Zlaté Piesky.  With a cup of coffee or a tasty treat, the shopping frenzy of Bratislava is cultural affair.  At night the city remains awake as boisterous music from local nightspots fill the air.

Bratislava’s restaurants outpour with rich scents from the delicious cuisines that fill their menus.  The city’s chefs showcase their expertise when it comes to quenching the pallets of their salivating guests.  Whether you are in the mood for a Slovak flavor of familiar fast food chain, there is something for every pocket and taste.

Bratislava is characterized by a moderate continental climate.  From May to September (warm season) the weather experiences highs in the 80s and lows in the mid-60s. During the months of November to March (cold season) the temperature averages between a high in the 40s and extreme lows in the 20s.

With a location set at the center of Europe, Bratislava is accessible from all sides.  Bratislava Airport is the main gateway into the city.  Bus, trams, and trolleybuses offer public transportation throughout its landscape and other European destinations.   Taxis can be hailed from the street; however, it is preferred that you order cab service by phone and prices are typically fixed.  Sailing the River Danube is also an exhilarating way to enter Bratislava and travel to its neighboring cities. Bicycle rentals are available for those wanting to explore the city while keeping off the vacation pounds.  Nevertheless, its historic center and discovery of its hidden surprises can be best seen on foot.