Once Czechoslovakia, this unique area of central Europe is now divided into the better known Czech Republic (home to one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, Prague) and its forgotten other half, Slovakia. Not to be confused with Slovenia (where our soon to be First Lady is from), Slovakia is a member of the European Union and uses the Euro for their currency. With a booming economy and friendly people, Slovakia waits for tourists either in the capital of Bratislava, the eastern city of Košice, or the breathtaking countryside.
If you choose Bratislava for your first Slovakian destination, make sure to not miss out on some of the best parts of this gorgeous city:
The Blue Church
Although a bit off the beaten path, many agree that the trip to Bratislava was made worth while by simply visiting this church. Just about a 10 minute walk east of Old Town (the main tourist area), this stunning baby blue church is one of the most popular places to visit while in Bratislava. Although you cannot go into the church, they will leave open the front doors and you can look inside and see the pews painted baby blue and the church decorated in gold. On a day with perfect weather, your photos of the blue church will match the sky.
If you hike up to the castle, you will get a gorgeous view of Bratislava, along with some great photos of the simple yet beautiful castle. For a picture of the castle from a distance, head down the bridge towards the “UFO” look out and from about half way across, you can get a great photo of the Bratislava Castle.
St. Michael’s Gate
The entrance to old town, St. Michael’s Gate immediately transports you from the bustling capital city of Bratislava to quaint and touristy old town. Enter into the old town from St. Michael’s Gate for the best way to begin your experience in old Bratislava.
As with many central European cities, the old town is the best part of the city. This is where all the best tourism happens. With restaurants and bars ranging from vegan meals to Irish pubs to fried chicken, options for food and drink are unlimited. If you are around during Christmas, stop by the main Bratislava Christmas market in the main square, Hlavne Namestie.
A beautiful palace your bound to run into on your way to or from the main train station, this palace is a special part of Bratislava, as it is the residency for the President of Slovakia. On a nice day the white building looks classically beautiful next to the blue sky.
Bratislava is becoming a more popular tourist destination for tourists but still holds onto its uniqueness. The main areas of the town are kept nice and clean, most everyone is willing to speak English to help you out, and while you are surrounded by other travelers, you can still enjoy the Bratislava without feeling too “touristy”. While Bratislava is a great place to visit, the rest of Slovakia has a lot to offer as well. Make sure to add Slovakia to your itinerary for your next trip to central Europe!
Article by Megan K. Lethbridge
January 4, 2017