Many foreigners come to Slovakia for a weekend to have fun, enjoy the summer days and to try a taste of a new country. And they also hope to do so without breaking the bank. Bratislava is ideal for bargain travel, and with a few tips from the locals or fellow travellers, you can find accommodation, food and entertainment for little more than €100 for the weekend.
“Bratislava is a cheap city,” said a Polish tourist named Mateusz, 24, visiting Bratislava with his girlfriend Gabriela. “You can drink a beer in a restaurant here for €1.50, which is cheaper than in Krakow.”
You will, of course, need a place to stay and there are several hostels not far from the city centre. Only three or four minutes by foot from the train station is Hostel Possonium on Šancová Street (beds from €13), which offers quick and easy access to all the main sights and a free daily walking tour to the city centre, 15 minutes away.
Even closer to the Old Town are Hostel Blues and Hostel Patio on Špitálska Street, where a bed in a dorm room will cost from €13 (Blues) or €12 (Patio). The Downtown Backpacker’s Hostel on Panenská Street has beds from €13. Hostel Mansard (beds from €10), City Hostel (beds from €13.75) and Hyde Park Hostel (beds from €14) are located on Obchodná Street.
Getting around Bratislava is relatively simple. It is a small and manageable size and a lot of attractions are in walking distance from one another. However, if you prefer to use public transport, then the €12 Bratislava city card (www.visit.bratislava.sk) is a good choice. It offers unlimited use of the buses and trams, as well as discount into several city attractions.
The best time to come to Bratislava is probably the first Sunday of every month, when all state museums and state galleries in the city offer free admission. But even at other times, a lot of what you’ll find here is inexpensive.
DAY ONE - SATURDAY
A new day can bring new excitement, and daredevils might like to try a bungee jump off the Lafranconi Bridge, for only €14 (www.actionzazitky.sk), if booked through discount companies.
The adrenaline boost will give you the energy to last the next few days. Perhaps to slow down and relax a bit you can take tram number 4 or 9 to the Mariánska stop and visit the Medická záhrada (garden) and historical Ondrejský cintorín (cemetery) both on 29. augusta Street (pull-out map E 3,4). This site offers a pleasant walk through the gardens and the cemetery as well as a free WiFi zone and an opportunity to share new experiences online.
The Blue Church at Bezručova Street, only a 10-minute walk from the cemetery in the direction of the river and the Eurovea shopping centre, offers an interesting photo opportunity and takes travellers to a neighbourhood with plenty of options for lunch, including Pizza Mizza and the Secondi Pasta Bar which serves excellent pancakes stuffed with whipped cream for only about €3.
Alternatively, you can bring a picnic to enjoy on a huge green area by the river, where you will also find some free exercise machines to work off the calories. It is an attractive spot, and totally free, just to laze around.
Bratislava city card holders have the opportunity to join a free daily walking tour around the city centre, starting at 14:00 in front of the main Tourist Information Centre at Klobučnícka Street, and lasting an hour. You can also pick up countless leaflets and guides to attractions in the office. (You will need to make a reservation for the tour, either by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or in person, at least two hours in advance.) Alternatively, www.befreetours.com also offers a free city walking tour.
This article was published in the latest edition of Bratislava City Guide , which can be obtained from our online shop.For those who would like to see it online first, you can read it for free here.
Several museums are scattered through the Old Town, and €6 will get you a bulk ticket to three of the best: the Old Town tower, the Old Town Hall and the Apponyi Palace at Main Square. The last entrance is at 14:30 on weekdays and an hour later at weekends.
After a day of explorations, head to Bratislavský Meštiansky Pivovar, a micro-brew pub, at 21 Dunajská Street, about five minutes walk from Tesco. You can get a good Slovak meal for €5.50 and a signature beer for about €1.90, then head down to the Old Bridge to watch the sun set over the Danube and take a riverside stroll.
There are other options for food in this area. If you wander to the other side of the Old Bridge you’ll find “Magio Beach”, where there are stands selling food and drinks. The prices are slightly higher than average, but there’s nothing stopping you bringing your own refreshment and watching a film at the “summer cinema”, which is free.
“You’ll need to come before the film begins, so you can find seats, but if the weather is good, it’s a perfect place to watch a film with friends,” said Peter, 25, from Stropkov.
DAY TWO - SUNDAY
There are plenty of places to visit that do not demand any entrance fee. For instance, a walk up to the Slavín war memorial and military cemetery costs nothing, yet it affords a splendid view over the city and is an excellent place to start a tour to get your bearings.
On the way back to the city centre, you can pop into the grounds of Bratislava Castle. You will need to pay to go inside and visit the historical exhibitions (except on that first Sunday of the month) but you can explore the surroundings for nothing, and again survey the city and the Danube from on high.
A walk (or trolleybus ride) down from the castle can pass through Hodžovo námestie (square), where you can see the Presidential Palace, guarded by the distinctive sentries. At 13:00, you can watch the changing of the guard. Close by, is the Divný Janko restaurant at Jozefská Street, which offers good cheap food (even if the service can be erratic). Remember that a lot of restaurants offer a two-course lunchtime menu for about €4.
Before you start to pack your luggage for home, why not while away the afternoon on a boat trip to Čunovo, which includes a visit to the Danubiana gallery of modern art. The boat leaves at 14:00 every Saturday and Sunday during the summer season from a jetty outside Eurovea. A return ticket costs €10 (€6 for concessions) and includes entrance to the gallery. City card holders can enjoy a further 15 percent discount.
If modern art is not your thing, you can take a boat in the other direction to explore the ruins of Devín Castle. Catch the 29 bus back to the city centre. All in all, that’s two days’ accommodation, sustenance and entertainment with change from €100. Save up again, and there’s plenty more to see next time.
This article was published in the latest edition of Bratislava City Guide , which can be obtained from our online shop. For those who would like to see it online first, you can read it for free here.
30. Aug 2013 at 0:00 | Martina Raábová