Why go to Bratislava? Where is Bratislava? Here are a few tips if you decide to visit Bratislava on a budget.
Stay in the Old Town
I highly recommend you book your accommodation in the “Old Town” preferably close to Hviezdoslavovo Square where you’ll find several hotels; The Park Inn, the Radisson Blu Carlton and the Hotel Devin are right on the Square, but if you’re travelling on a budget like me, you can find cheaper accommodation very close by.
Look for an airbnb in the Old Town and you can’t go far wrong. The apartment I found was only a hundred metres away from the Square, and for a fraction of the cost of the hotels, had a full kitchen as well as a Jacuzzi and washing machine in the bathroom.
Another advantage of booking near the Square is the bus from Vienna stops right at the very end of it, so you’re a hop, skip and a jump away from your home-away-from-home.
By booking in the Old Town, absolutely everything is within walking distance including the National Slovak Theatre, the Philharmonic Concert Hall, the old Town Hall and Tower, as well as lots of beautiful churches and statues. Slovakians go crazy for statues.
Don’t miss “Man at Work” a bronze sculpture of a man in a manhole! And you can’t miss the Blue Church- the prettiest church in the world I think.
Free Walking Tour
As well as things to see, Bratislava has so much interesting history, which you can learn about on a Free Walking Tour, which I highly recommend for your first day. They are run daily at 11 am and 3 pm in English and Spanish, starting from the Hviezdoslav statue at the opposite end of the Square to the beautiful National Theatre building.
All of the other bus tours leave from Hviezdoslavovo Square. If you’d like to see other areas of the city apart from the Old Town, you can book one of these on the day. The Panoramic Tour visits the Slavin monument where you have wonderful views over the city, but be warned, there are lots of steps to reach the pinnacle, so make sure you are in peak fitness for this climb.
After Slavin, it heads up to Bratislava Castle, and here you’ll have a wonderful vista over the River Danube and over to the farmlands and wind turbines of Austria.
By staying airbnb, you can shop at Billa, the local supermarket for breakfast and lunch, and go to a restaurant for your evening meal. For a genuine Slovakian meal, the Slovak pub was recommended to me, but you will see lots of interesting restaurants to choose from on your walking tour. Sadly, I will still jetlagged and was asleep by 6 pm every night so missed out on dinner.
For a coffee on my way out, I would call into my local KafeHaus Palackého who made me the perfect cup every time. But for an out of this world experience, try Konditorei Kormuth just off Main Square, with its painted curved ceilings depicting historical events. It was here I learned Bratislava used to be called by its German name, Pressburg.
Would I recommend visiting Bratislava if you’re travelling on a budget? You betcha! For more budget travel ideas, visit Baby Boomers’ Budget Travel