If you have a spare day or two while visiting Bratislava, why not pay a visit to places outside the city.
SHEEP AND A WOODEN VILLAGE
In Stupava, you can soon be surrounded by sheep, pigs, horses and other domestic animals in the unique bio farm, where you can also taste the national cuisine in the local restaurant or buy some food as a present. The Slovak cheeses korbáčiky and bryndza are both available in the shop, as well as žinčica (a sheep’s milk product) or home-made bread and cakes.
The farm is especially popular with families, and features a children’s playground, plus the opportunity to ride horses and ponies or to pet the various other animals. You can sample your food and drink on a small terrace area and enjoy the entertainment.
“At Easter, there was a performance on a shepherd´s pipe by some skilled musicians,” said Jana Miklošová from the farm.
In addition to the farm, you can also visit the manor house, Saint Stephen’s Church or a museum dedicated to the renowned ceramics maker Ferdiš Kostka. The area also offers plenty of hiking and cycling opportunities.
The town of Lozorno is another welcome stop if you are fleeing the hectic life. The wooden village of Abeland is situated nearby, which features a chalet, tea house and church all constructed from timber. There is a rare, relaxing atmosphere as you gaze at still ponds stocked with fish or the surrounding untarnished environment.
You can try shooting with a traditional bow and arrow, horse-riding, fencing or observing the locals go about their daily business, which they carry out dressed in period costume. You can also encounter more domestic animals, such as ducks, pigs or quails. You can also sample homemade goulash.
“All visitors are foreign for us – we made our own kingdom here, coins included,” said Igor Abel, one of the owners of Abeland. “Everybody finds something they like and we are happy making new friends.” The crowded car park confirms Abeland’s popularity.
WATER, TIGERS AND HORSES
Approximately 22 kilometres south-west of Bratislava is Senec, best known for the Slnečné jazerá (Sunny Lakes) recreational area. The town also boasts Aquapark Senec, a complex of 11 swimming pools, water attractions, beach volleyball courts, a wellness centre and sauna, providing everything for the visitor seeking a spot to relax, all the year round.
For those less interested in water tourism, however, there are other sights in the town, including the Turkish house, the Church of Saint Nicolas or the observatory, which is a part of the local school but open to visitors.
The best time to visit is late at night, when you can admire a breathtaking view of the universe. The observatory is under the supervision of the astronomical association Solar, which provides a lecture series from leading astronomers and various projects and activities. It is necessary to book visits in advance, for a maximum of 12 people.
There is more to see in the surrounding area too – if you can find it. To get to the main attraction in Kostolná pri Dunaji, visitors have to pass through the village and then take a right turn onto a dirt track.
They will be rewarded by a visit to a farm where 24 tigers and three lions now find their home.
This oasis of the endangered Siberian tiger is run by about eight volunteers and financed by voluntary contributions. Much of the money goes on the approximate 10-15kg of meat consumed by each beast each day.
“It’s better to come in the winter, when they tend to be more active,” said Michaela Kocmundová, one of the volunteers. “It’s the most natural season for them. In the summer they are hidden in their sheds.”
Although the animals are dangerous, there is no need to be afraid and no injuries have been sustained on the park.
“You can determine the mood of the tiger by specific signs, movement and noises,” said Kocmundová. “I have known this tiger, Samko, since his birth. I’m not afraid of him.”
Slightly less carnivorous animals can be found in the nearby village of Hrubá Borša, specifically at the Corporex riding school.
“It’s a great place for the children from the cities,” said Miriam Agárdiová, the owner of the school. Horses, ponies, ducks, pheasants, parrots, and even ostriches could accompany you during your stay. There is also a pony that has been known to jump at visitors like a dog. Welcome to the farm, which is popular among people of any age. Take a saddle and helmet, and climb aboard
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.
7. Mar 2014 at 0:00 | Lucia Rusnáková, Michaela Gedaiová