Bratislava, Slovakia – The Little Big City.

Bratislava likes to call itself ”The Little Big City” – perhaps because it’s a small city but still the capital of the country, forgotten by many, unknown to others, waiting in the shadows of the big neighboring capitals ”Vienna” and ”Budapest”.

Even Bratislava’s airport is called “Vienna airport” by Ryan Air, despite being in another capital – let alone another country…

But the capital city of Slovakia still tries hard to fit into those big shoes that capital cities are expected to wear, however it is not quite succeeding.

The city really doesn’t seem like a capital city, and to be honest I don’t think they should try to make it that way either. It’s good just the way it is.

Nearly everything is within walking distance, large areas of the city are completely free of cars and the whole place has a small town feel to it.

It’s a city which seems to make adults act a bit like kids again.

Everywhere on the streets you see these quirky, fun statues and people in all ages playing and posing with them, taking silly photos and showing off to their friends.

On the main square there was some small local celebration going on with mideval games on the streets, stalls with traditional snacks and a stage where dance groups dressed from top to toe in incredible folk lore dresses were dancing traditional Slovakian folk dance.

These kind of events always enhance the experience of a city, and we got a great insight to the traditions and folklore of Slovakia.

We also saw A LOT of wedding couples…

You’d be amazed to know how many weddings we’ve accidentally attended during this trip, and even more wedding photography sessions.

In Bratislava alone we saw 5 wedding couples around the churches, and accidentally attended a baptism celebration in a bright baby blue church, which on the inside looked just like a baby’s cradle.

This bright blue church was a real fun and quirky touch, unlike any church I’ve seen.

To me, this little capital was a colorful spot on the map, full of cafes with unforgettable thick custardy hot chocolates and fun surprises around every corner … really a great place to visit and explore for a few days.

Have you been to Bratislava? If so, what did you think?

17 Responses to Bratislava, Slovakia – The Little Big City.

  1. Megan October 8, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    havent been there yet…but VERY excited to end up there in the near future!

    • Sofia - As We Travel October 13, 2011 at 11:40 am #

      It’s a beautiful city, definitely recommend a visit if you’re around the area or visiting Vienna – it’s an excellent day trip from there.

  2. Darren Alff October 8, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    I was in Bratislava in 2009 – during the middle of my 9-month bicycle tour through 17 European countries. I liked Bratislava overall. I found the people to be friendly and I really enjoyed the outskirts of the city. I had the best dumplings ever in Bratislava and enjoyed the Slovakian food overall. I would love to go back to Bratislava again and see more of the place, even though you really can see a good bit of the city in just one day.

    • Sofia - As We Travel October 13, 2011 at 11:27 am #

      Sounds like a great challenge biking through Europe, that used to be one of Nathan’s dreams. 
      That’s a great thing about Bratislava, that it is so compact that you can see most of the city only in one day, it gives you time to actually appreciate what you see rather than running between the sights trying to see as much as possible.

  3. Dean Wickham October 8, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    Most people go straight between Vienna and Budapest. It looks like Bratislava should be put on the list as a stop between the two. Looks like an interesting place.

    • Sofia - As We Travel October 13, 2011 at 11:28 am #

      I definitely think it should be a stop over for at least a day before continuing to the next city. It’s very easy to reach as well, only an hour bus ride from Vienna.

  4. Bcossa1400 October 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    Bratislava is such an amazing city, thanks for sharing your insights.

  5. TheWorldOrBust October 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    On a spring break while studying abroad in Barcelona, I took a trip to Munich – Salzburg – Budapest – Vienna and bypassed Bratislava.  I think most people probably take a week to do Vienna and Budapest and maybe just feel like they don’t have time to see Bratislava without a longer trip, well that was my case at least! Definitely want to check it out though, all those cities that border western/eastern Europe are really interesting. 

    • Sofia - As We Travel October 13, 2011 at 11:30 am #

      Yes I think so too, but the good thing about this little city is that it doesn’t take that long to cover so if you have the time you can make a day trip from Vienna and spend the day in Bratislava and then return back to Vienna again.

      I agree, the countries bordering western/eastern Europe are very interesting, in some way they have the best of both ;)

  6. Andrea October 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    I loved Bratislava even though I only had a brief visit on a day trip from Vienna. It’s a pretty city which is not overrun by tourists, just a great place to wander and relax. I’d go back.

    • Sofia - As We Travel October 13, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      It’s a charming place, and like you say not overrun by tourists. Great to hear you liked it.

  7. iLoveMySleep October 10, 2011 at 3:18 am #

    I’m very glad you liked my capital city. One of my artist friends
    is behind those fun statutes you’ve surely enjoyed. Happy travels.
    Zuzana

  8. Jeremy Branham October 12, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    I’ve been to Slovakia but not Bratislava although I’ve heard the same things – just a small town feel for a big city.  I think it has changed a lot over the years since the days of Communism.  Would love to visit it one day as it is one of the 4 capital cities on the Danube.  I’ve been to Budapest but need to do the other 3.  :)

    • Sofia - As We Travel October 13, 2011 at 11:39 am #

      I would love to see more of Slovakia, which other places would you recommend to visit?

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