There are some great deals to Bratislava in the off-peak months
Bratislava is one of Europe’s lesser known capital cities but, perhaps for that very reason, can offer some of the best value to be found by someone looking for an interesting city-break destination. Capital of Slovakia, Bratislava lies astride the mighty River Danube. The centre of Bratislava is charming but compact and it offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy a short break in delightful surroundings without feeling the need to race around ticking off all of the famous sights, as in some cities.
The River Danube is, of course, one of the city’s main assets. There are several cafés along its banks, within walking distance of the centre. The pedestrian decks of the New and OldBridges are good places to watch the river traffic, including huge Danube barges, glide past.
One of the main tourist sights is Bratislava Castle. Situated on a hill above the old town, the castle dominates the city of Bratislava. Visitors can walk or take a short bus ride up to the castle, which hosts temporary historical exhibitions and from whose ramparts you can see nearby Hungary, Austria and the Danube valley. Current attractions include an archaeological exhibition “Treasures of Slovakia’s Long-Gone Past”, several historical exhibitions (history, furniture, clocks) and a music exhibition.
It’s worth spending a full day wandering around the streets of the old town with its charming buildings which display a range of styles, most of which have been carefully restored in recent years. The pedestrianised streets and courtyards offer a perfect place to pause to enjoy a coffee and watch the world go by from a street café.
Eating out in Bratislava can represent great value, although as in any city it’s often worth looking at restaurants in quieter side streets rather than in the main streets of the old town. Traditional Slovak food with its Czech and Hungarian influences is hearty and heavy on meat (especially pork), potatoes, dumplings, thick sauces and cheeses. If you’re looking for vegetables – there’s always cabbage, often in the form of sauerkraut. Popular choices for a main course include venison in cinnamon sauce, venison stew with rosemary and dumplings, roast duck with red cabbage and potato pancakes, and gnocchi with Slovak sheep cheese and bacon.
During the off-peak season there are some superb hotel deals to be found in Bratislava. The 5* Boutique Hotel Marrols offers visitors a luxury experience for a fraction of the price you might expect to pay for a hotel of its class. This hotel is perfectly located in the heart of the city just a few minutes walk from the River Danube – ideal for a short city break.