Is Bratislava, Slovakia Worth Visiting?

By | February 25, 2020


Before visiting Bratislava, Slovakia
I had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t really read anything or looked at photos and I can tell you that from the time I got off the bus and I’d walked less than five minutes
into the centre of town, while Frank freaking Sinatra music played in the streets, I knew this was going to be good. I had a wonderful experience from top to bottom and I hope you’ll believe me when I tell you
that this charming capital city is well worth visiting. It’s a short one hour bus ride from Vienna, Austria so it makes a wonderful day trip or if you can spend more time,
like I did, you’re in for a treat. If you’re interested in videos about where I stayed
or where I ate I will link those videos as well. This video is all about what to do in Bratislava and if you haven’t already subscribed to my channel
then make sure you do for more lots more travel videos. It’s hard to know where to start
but I’m going to start with the SNP Bridge or UFO bridge as locals call it
because it’s probably the first thing you’ll notice. SNP stands for Slovak National Uprising
but it’s pretty obvious where the UFO name comes from. It spans the Danube River and it’s
the longest single pylon suspension bridge in the world. At the top of the pylon, that looks like a flying saucer,
is a restaurant with 360 degree views. I heard that during the Communist era
citizens weren’t allowed up there because they’d be able to see how close
the Austrian border is and officials were afraid they would try to escape
so only foreign visitors were permitted. Either way, everyone is now welcome at the top. And unfortunately the construction of the bridge meant
that a significant area of the old town was torn down, including virtually the entire Jewish quarter. There’s now a memorial to that area
and the synagogue that used to stand there. One of the most historically significant
buildings in the whole city narrowly escaped making way for the bridge:
St. Martin’s Cathedral. It’s extremely close to the access ramp for the bridge and its actually deteriorating due to its close proximity
from all the vibrations caused by traffic. The cathedral was the site of coronations for leaders
of the Habsburg empire for hundreds of years. It has a huge crown at the top
to symbolize its importance. The crown looks small when you look up
but it’s actually over 1.5 metres tall and sits on an even bigger golden pillow. If you stop looking up for a moment
and look down at the ground you might see some gold crown markings on the street. These mark out the route of the coronation procession
that was taken by Hungarian royalty between 1563 and 1830, including the only woman, Maria Theresa. Yes, THE Maria Theresa was crowned at St. Martin’s. Inside the church, I especially enjoyed
seeing an 11th century cemetery which is visible beneath a glass floor and the immaculately carved wood figures. The best view of the cathedral
is from Bratislava Castle which sits on a high hill. The hill has been populated since the Stone Age
and the first known inhabitants were the Celts. You walk up a series of staircases to get to the top and it’s totally worth it for the great view of the city, including St. Martin’s Cathedral,
the UFO bridge, and the Danube river. The stark white colour of the castle
really pops against the hill and the sky. With four towers it reminds me
of what a child might draw if you asked them to imagine a fairy tale castle. I think it’s the best spot in Bratislava to see the sunset and the light at magic hour is particularly gorgeous. When you’re walking back
down the hill toward the Old Town don’t miss the façade of an old pharmacy
that has signage in three different languages. For a lot of its history, Bratislava
was a multi-lingual town where residents commonly spoke Slovak,
Hungarian, and German. Walk towards Michael’s Gate which is
the only surviving gate to the old city. There used to be four and they were
the only way in and out of during medieval times when the whole city was surrounded by fortified walls. Michael’s Gate was built in the 13th century
and in the 17th century they added a moat complete with a draw bridge that went up and down. If you look closely you can still see the holes
where the pulleys for the draw bridge used to go. There’s now a footbridge over the former moat and it’s become a place where people
leave locks to symbolize their love. However, there is no water under the bridge anymore which means that you could technically
run down and find the key to unlock the lock. This has led to people joking that while Paris,
for example, might be for lovers, Bratislava is more a place for lovers
who might change their mind. The gate is now a place to find buskers playing music
and other people strolling through. When you walk through the gate,
make sure to hold your breath and not speak or word has it you’ll be cursed with bad luck. The good news is that Bratislava is full of statues
you can touch to balance out any bad luck. More on that later! When you walk through the gate
you’ll stumble upon Executioner Alley marked by a scary looking bust of an executioner. This narrow little street was home to the official
residence of the town executioner back in the day. Because the city only had one, his house had to be
identifiable by anyone requiring his killing services. Word is that this alley is always a little darker
than any other city street and you can understand why. Ironically, the residence is now a massage centre if you’re feeling more relax-y than murder-y. Remember the good luck I promised earlier? It’s found only a short distance away at a sculpture that looks like a man
standing in a gutter staring at an intersection. It’s called ‘the watcher’ but there’s debate
about what he’s actually watching for. He was installed in the 1990s
along with other sculptures when the city was trying to liven up
some of the communist era architecture. It’s considered good luck to touch his head
and it’s a really popular photo opp now. There’s also a ‘man at work’ road sign to mark the spot which was added after the worker lost his head
due to more than one vehicle not seeing him in the road. If you still need more luck head over to the statue
of Hans Christian Andersen and rub his finger. He visited Bratislava and loved it
and it even inspired some of his writing. He’s surrounded by characters
from some of his most beloved stories like The Steadfast Tin Soldier
and The Emperor’s New Clothes. A short walk away, and worth every step,
is the church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary or, as it’s better known, the blue church. One look tells you why. Everything from the façade to the mosaic tiles to the roof is blue. In total there are 50 shades of blue
with white accents sprinkled on like icing sugar. Inside the art nouveau building even the pews are blue. This church is a SUPER
SUPER popular spot to get married and it takes years and years to get a booking. Walking out of the church,
the first thing you see across the street is a gloomy communist era wreck of a building
that used to be a hospital. It stands in stark contrast
to the wedding cake-like church. There’s a joke about how newlyweds
exit the church at the start of marriage and the decrepit shell of a building
represents how the end of marriage looks. So dark! It doesn’t deter couples though. There is still a long wait. It looks like changes are happening
at the old hospital anyway so people will have to come up with a new joke. Of course if you’re not into admiring the architecture
or laughing at the jokes you can always just
start a snowball fight like these guys. A little further afield from the city centre,
but still an easy walk, is the Slovak Radio building. It’s an excellent example of Brutalist architecture
from the Communist era and it’s been named
one of the ugliest buildings in the world. That said, you’ll probably either love this building
or hate it but I found it fascinating. I walked all around to see it from different angles. It’s an inverted pyramid which
maximizes the office space inside and the core is insulated to allow
studio recordings without any interference. Whether you find it ugly or not,
I highly doubt you’ll forget seeing this unique building. If you’re visiting Bratislava and you’re short on time I highly recommend doing a walking tour. We did one that stands out
as one of the best walking tours we’ve ever done so I’m going to link that specific company
in the description box below. Especially if you’re coming in
from Vienna for the day it’s a great way to see the city and learn a lot quickly. Although I hope with this video I’ve convinced you
to consider spending more time in Bratislava because it really is a lovely place. Thank you so much for watching! If you enjoyed this video please give it a thumbs up and don’t forget to subscribe for more travel videos.

100 thoughts on “Is Bratislava, Slovakia Worth Visiting?

  1. Eileen Aldis Post author

    Which of the places in the video would you most want to check out in Bratislava?

    Reply
  2. danensis Post author

    It was 34°C when I was there, so a bit different from your experience. I found it a much friendlier, cheaper and more relaxed place than Prague. The one place you didn't mention is the Chatam Sofer memorial, which i found very moving.

    Reply
  3. Jakub Majerčík Post author

    That skyscraper behind the radio building tho, looks awesome… is Bratislava also a modern city?

    Reply
  4. Loudkar Post author

    I've never seen bratislava from your side, It's nice to live here again, thx.

    Reply
  5. Josef Hanák Post author

    Co to tady žvatláte, anglánci? Vyhlídková kavárna Bystrica na mostě SNP byla hned od jeho úplného otevření v roce 1973 volně přístupná nejširší veřejnosti a za podstatně přijatelnější ceny než je tomu v současném rádoby "světově" pojmenovaném UFO. Výhled do Rakouska tehdejším obyvatelům Československa skutečně nikdo neupíral – a navíc existovaly i přímo na místě poměrně snadno pořiditelné plavby lodí z Bratislavy do Vídně a zpět. Že jste zmíněný lživý antikomunistický blábol někde slyšeli? Od koho asi? Aspoň vidíte, na jakém pochybném základu stojí mnohé, různými jednostranně zaujatými zdroji interpretované západní představy o tehdejší době – a potažmo i současné dlouhodobě neobhajitelné dogma o nezbytnosti trvalého pobytu amerických vojáků na dřívějším území Varšavské smlouvy.

    Reply
  6. Michal Kovac Post author

    Well, that building across the Blue Church is not some shabby communist building. In fact, it is a marvel of functionalist architecture dated from 1936. The architects were Alois Balan and Jiri Grossmann and the building is a national cultural landmark. Now being repurposed into a residential complex.

    Reply
  7. Piyanuch Metcalf Post author

    Nice video, good details. I don't think I will need a guide after all. Thank you.

    Reply
  8. BlueNeon81 Post author

    I was born in that hospital and later I was baptised in Blue church. Anyway, UFO wasn't banned for citizens back in communism era, but it was expensive. Just using lift cost 5 Kčs, which was like 5€ now. And a glass of orange juice in UFO cost 20 Kčs back then.

    Reply
  9. rastislaw1 Post author

    Ktorý hlupák povedal tej slečne, že za komunistov ľudia nemohli chodiť do reštaurácie Bystrica na moste SNP? Je to klamstvo. Reštaurácia bola voľne prístupná komukoľvek. Jediným obmedzením bol poplatok za výťah, ktorý bol, myslím, 5 korún a vyššie ceny ponúkaného tovaru. Vstupné je aj dnes a ceny za tovary sú tiež vyššie, ako inde v reštauráciách. Hnevá ma, keď sa prekrúca nedávna história.

    Reply
  10. Schwanzus Longus Post author

    Bratislava is a dirty shithole…sorry slovakia…but I will never visit it again!

    Reply
  11. Emilio García Post author

    Wonderful video, thanks couple, in a few days I will visit Bratislava and it will help me a lot. Thank you very very much

    Reply
  12. Tamaric A Post author

    I am from Slovakia and Bratislava is ❤️beautifull place

    Reply
  13. Fareen Gul Post author

    I went last month and I just thought a lot of the young people were so stylish

    Reply
  14. Martin Havrisko Post author

    Just visit Honest guide channel amd discover more 😉

    Reply
  15. Jana Rosinova Post author

    Thank you to be there and show to world that Slovakia is nice country 🙂

    Reply
  16. bearinch Post author

    Nice, I even learned a few things about Bratislava, which I didn't know, although I was born and lived there 25 years ;-)! One point: you should have mentioned the statue for interrupted=killed children in front of the Blue Church; you even pictured it, so I was expecting you will drop a word about that sculpture. Otherwise, nice, thank you bringing me my hometown to YT :-)! Greetz from Swiss

    Reply
  17. Horse&Fox Railroad Crossings Post author

    There is also the TV tower on the Kamzík hill (also with a very good view), the Slavín Monument (a 1930s monumental obelisk in memory of Slovak victims in World War I), the Castle in Devín and the Apollo Bridge 😉

    Reply
  18. Pigeon RL Post author

    I live in bratislava on an exchange. I feel its alright for a day or 2 but the city is full of con artists and scammers so watch out.

    Reply
  19. martin sadrik Post author

    Dear Eileen,

    It's a nice well-meaning video, but full of inaccuracy and stupidity.
    I grew up in Bratislava in the late 70's, 80's, early 90's.
    I was several times in the UFO restaurant during the 80's with my parents, when I was a small boy. The same applies for the TV tower on the top of the "Kamzik" hill.
    The old hospital next to the "Blue church" has been built in 1936 way before the comuunist era.
    The city hangman had a flat in the old cityhall, where also the torture chamber was located.

    Reply
  20. Ondřej Matějka Post author

    Je Bratislava, Slovensko…..cool češtin 😀 Youtube testing some translator I guess.

    Reply
  21. You don’t need to know my name Post author

    Slovensko je proste najkrajšia a najlepšia krajina💯

    Reply
  22. Explore with Svetlin Post author

    Very well made vlog! Subscribed.

    Reply
  23. Betkaakteb 22 Post author

    Thanks for visiting bratislava and information. I still add that I was already in Bratislava and I was looking at the Kamzík transmitter. I recommend to go there.

    Reply
  24. Jenny Lee Post author

    Is Bratislava as bad as this video makes it look? Lol
    https://youtu.be/cqEsE-IKBI8

    Reply
  25. Persebe Cabrón Post author

    Where are the letters at the beginning of the vid?

    Reply
  26. Filip Post author

    Bratislava IS a Huge mistake. Middle Range city like many others in Europe. Nothing special…
    You sould try Slovak Paradise , High Tatras, Pieniny, castles, festivals of folk traditions.. There are so many different beautiful places to go…

    Reply
  27. __ Goldpes Post author

    Že najkrajšíe mesto na Slovensku ahaa 😂😂😂

    Reply
  28. Daniela Németová Post author

    Maria Theresia was not the only woman that was crowned there

    Reply
  29. jozo fero Post author

    Slovak radio a brutalist style? It is socialist realism, it meant to be cheap and effective.

    Reply
  30. Slávka Čertíková Post author

    BA is great in its own way, but we have many beautiful cities and villages where you can explore the "traditional" Slovakia much better than in Bratislava… They're not big, but they sure are charming… Anyway, is awesome to see people saying nice things about my country. Warms my heart 😁

    Reply
  31. Tolis V Post author

    I was in Bratislava for 5 days and def. want to visit it again! I could easily move there forever 🙂

    Reply
  32. edoardo gottardi zamperla Post author

    lol I just noticed my car parked near the blue church

    Reply
  33. Watch TGSNT & Hellstorm Post author

    No, not enough diversity!!! White people haven’t yet been replaced by the 3rd world as in Germany, Sweden, France!

    Reply
  34. Kjell Post author

    I never been as drunk as when i visited Bratislava.

    Reply
  35. Rodeslav Post author

    This is not even a question. Slovakia is awesome. The real question is, who the hell wants tot go to Vienna?
    You did a lot of research for this. Cheers !

    Reply
  36. Sal Brothman Post author

    Wow! Great job on this video. The editing and music and information were all great. I've been wanting to go there for many years, and now, finally, in my old age, I've been able to arrange to rent a room for a couple of nights there in October. I learned a lot of new stuff in your video.

    Reply
  37. Loli lolo Post author

    It's not worth it… I would suggest Krakow.

    Reply
  38. dusan dvorsky Post author

    That depends on what you like.
    Smell of urine, homeless people, gipses ect.

    Reply
  39. Felix Tomášek Post author

    Don't throw your money in this village.
    Visit Prague, it is better and more historic city.

    Reply
  40. Dušan Gajdoš Post author

    Bratislava je jediná európska metropola bez metra. Takže, je to len pole.

    Reply
  41. bigjohn697791 Post author

    Oh the celts I am Irish that’s interesting

    Reply
  42. ArunPlaysPiano Post author

    The best tour guide video of this Capital by far – your knowledge of the history of it makes it alive and really interesting!

    Reply
  43. Daniel Augustin Post author

    Very nice shots… and comments. Good job. And greetings from Bratislava 😉

    Reply
  44. AshVentures Post author

    Your video style is smooth af, a total joy to watch 😀

    Reply
  45. Jayesh Z Post author

    You convinced me not go go. Other better places nearby. Thanks for saving my time.

    Reply
  46. Nick Zahorsky Post author

    YES WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE, SLOVAKIA IS THE BEST.

    Reply
  47. Jacquelyn Vizcarra Post author

    I noticed a lot of graffiti in the video even at the top tourist attractions.

    Reply
  48. Heňo _ Post author

    The former hospital on Bezručova Street near the blue church does not come from the times of socialism as this video says, but from the time of the first Czechoslovak Republic before the Second World War.

    Reply
  49. Heňo _ Post author

    The communist era is also an inaccurate term, it was an era of socialism.

    Reply
  50. Paul Schneider Post author

    Nice commentary, Eileen. You are one of the best travel bloggers on YouTube. Thank you for providing so much information without becoming too professorial or condescending. I especially enjoy your enthusiasm and your analogies. Good work!

    Reply
  51. Invisible Sun Post author

    Been far too long. Haven't been there since 2001. I'm sure quite a bit has changed. But I'll bet it hasn't lost its charm. Every time I google map it I feel both nostalgia and heartache. Must get back there soon!

    Reply
  52. Brenda Yareli Carrera Trujillo Post author

    I've been thinking about moving to Slovakia, my boyfriend is from there, I'm from Mexico, do you recommend Slovakia to live or just to visit?

    Reply
  53. suzanne P Post author

    Wondering if the smog in the background is common. It looks like L.A. before environmental laws.

    Reply
  54. Rafael Blanco Post author

    Hola Eileen..!! Nos encantan mucho tus videos y han sido inspiracion para nuestro viaje navideño de este año donde visitaremos Budapest, Viena y Bratislava. En tu video recomiendas utilizar a un tour guiado en Bratislava, pero no encuentro los detalles en los comentarios, me podrias por favor compartir tu recomendacion y tambien si tienes algunas sugerencias para Budapest y Viena? Muchas gracias y espero algun dia puedas visitar y hacer un video sobre nuestra hermosa isla de Puerto Rico…:) By the way, hablas español? Te iba a escribir en inglés pero vi q le contestastes a alguien en español !!!

    Reply
  55. Ohemaa D’Emscil Post author

    Thanks, this is very detailed! Just returned from Bratislava too, given my impression on my channel, you can check it up.

    Reply
  56. Martin Ruffe Post author

    spent the weekend working on my Bratislava vid, then I watched yours and saw how it's done!! 🙂

    Reply
  57. Sean Mccann Post author

    Bratislava is a beautiful place to visit, were there in 2017 for a week and absolutely adored every minute of our stay. The people of Slovakia are so friendly and helpful you can't help but enjoy a visit to their beautiful country. The only possible place better than Bratislava is the magical city of Kosice.

    Reply
  58. Gi Lu Post author

    Bratislava is lovely, but NEVER ever take taxis there. They are a rip off.

    Reply
  59. Jay Gatsby Post author

    Don't visit! Go to Prague or Budapest instead. Buy blue glasses and every curch will be blue, guaranteed.

    Reply
  60. Nomadic Dmitry Post author

    It is definitely worth visiting! Loved that place!

    Reply
  61. picazny Post author

    I mean Bratislava is nice but it is not a typical slovak city. Mostly influenced by austrian, hungarian and jewish customs and it`s got slovak nationals majority population for maybe 100 years or so. If you want to see the real Slovakia I suggest you head inland and for the mountains!

    Reply
  62. Amanda Bradley Post author

    Awesome video……so many notes taken. thank you. Visiting in January next year…..so starting the research

    Reply
  63. Downunder Truckie Post author

    @7:30 whole building is not isolated. Problem is the tram line running next to it

    Reply
  64. freethinker1 Post author

    More great research and presentation. Bratislava is somewhat unsurprisingly eclipsed by Prague. However getting further out into Slovakia is truly incredible from a few videos I've seen with the backdrop of the tatras mountains.

    Reply

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