Back in the Summer of 2013, my family and I drove down through Europe to Croatia, stopping in several cities on the way. One of those cities immediately stole my heart and gave me my first moment of “I HAVE to come back!!”. That city was Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. When I was finally back in that area earlier in January this year, I decided to do a day trip to Bratislava and experience the magic once again.
I took a Eurolines bus from Budapest, which cost me just 18 euros for a return ticket. I had to walk 4 km. to the bus station and the ride was about 3 hours each way, but I knew that it would be worth it.
I was only in Bratislava for two nights, when my family and I were there, but the old city center sold me on its charm and cozy atmosphere. Of course, I knew that this time would be different, given that it was minus degrees and January instead of July, but I just couldn’t miss an opportunity to go back to one of my favourite cities.
During the summer, Bratislava is full of life and the streets are always packed. I imagined it to be the same in winter, but naturally, without the tourists and the good weather, it wasn’t. But still I wasn’t disappointed. Bratislava is magical at any time of the year.
When I first got to Bratislava, thick fog was covering the city and although I knew that I wouldn’t be able to see much, I decided to walk up to Bratislava Castle, built in the 9th century. I knew that the view from the castle is great and in clear weather, it’s even possible to see Austria and Hungary! Unfortunately, I wasn’t that lucky this time around. The fog covered the castle as I walked to it, and when I got there, all I could see was fog, fog and fog. I was disappointed, as I had really missed that view, but the fog did make for some pretty amazing pictures.
I walked back down and entered the old town, the part of the city with the most life during the summer, but in winter time, it’s dead. There are very few tourists and a few more locals, but nothing like the atmosphere that there is in the summer. Still, the charm was there. I walked around the cobbled streets for a few hours, before settling down on a café to get a bit of warmth.
One thing that I hadn’t seen in 2013, was the famous Church of St. Elisabeth, also known as the Blue Church. The church is a Hungarian Secessionist Catholic church in Art Nouveau style and is very popular for weddings. I actually think it looks like a beautiful, big wedding cake!
Later on, the fog finally lifted a bit, so I decided to try my luck and walk back up to the castle once again! This time was successful and I got to see the view that I had been craving for two and a half years! It was just as beautiful as I remembered.
Since I was already up there, I decided to stay for another half an hour to watch the sunset and get a view of Bratislava by night. Unfortunately, it was too foggy to see the sun, but the night view was well worth the wait in the rain.
Afterwards, I walked back to the old town and explored it a bit in the dark, before going back to the bus station and catching the bus back to Budapest. Another adventure in Slovakia had ended, but it was definitely not the last one. I want to see so much more of Slovakia some day. I’m already in love with the capital, so I can only imagine how gorgeous the rest of the country must be.