Bratislava is a city that offers tourists history and culture – this is probably mentioned by every tourist guidebook. Whether online or on paper, you can read about the glory of the St. Martin’s Coronation Cathedral, the unsettling fates of Bratislava and Devín castles, the tapestries in the Primate’s Palace, the beautiful interior of the Old Town Hall and many more. What is rarely mentioned in these guidebooks, however, are the more inconspicuous parts of the city that may appear insignificant at first glance.
It is the area where the Danube and the Carpathians unite: two worlds which seem completely different, but together they create a unique atmosphere. We have decided to break down this area and show its top spots on a map. Read about our tips of the off the beaten track places to enjoy Bratislava in a unique way!
BRATISLAVA AND DANUBE
1. MARK TWAIN
Until recently, the only language you could hear coming from the bypassing cyclists, roller skaters or students in the nearby university housing, was Slovak. Today, this place attracts not only expats but tourists as well. And so Mark Twain, which used to be hidden in the shadows of the confluence of Karloveské Rameno and the Danube River, has become the meeting place for various groups of people. The sunset here is magical and bartenders Peťo and Marcel deserve a praise for being able to serve such large crowds day after day. We strongly recommend a mug of beer or Kofola at this location.
2. THE (DANUBE) BEACH
We don’t know how else to call this spot. It is practically in the city center and at same time it seems so far away from civilization. If you close your eyes, dig your hands into the sand, dip your feet into the deliciously cool Danube and listen to its stream flowing past you, you will almost feel like you are on a secluded beach and not in the vicinity of the center of Bratislava.
3. THE END OF THE WORLD (NA KONCI SVETA)
Turn left off the Danube dam at Bajdel, across the second bridge on the Biskupice side, and you will find yourself in an actual jungle where the asphalt path cuts through a thick magical forest of intertwined trees, lianas, and impenetrable bushes. At the end, you will find the real End of the World – you will leave the jungle behind and enter corn and wheat fields, replaced by old buildings in a rough shape and tall towers of Slovnaft in the distance. The fire emitting from them will leave you feeling eerie, especially in the night time.
BRATISLAVA AND CARPATHIANS
4. THE KAČÍN MEADOW
Again another place where the sound of traffic has not penetrated. To get here you will have to take on a slight incline on bike or by foot from Železná Studnička (Iron Well), but a quiet sunset over the beautiful meadow only interrupted by the sound of birds chirping awaits.
5. WHITE CROSS (BIELY KRÍŽ)
The bike ride up here is more challenging, it is ok to swear on the way ☺. But when you arrive, you will be rewarded by a large meadow, great beer, cold Kofola and, during the weekend, even great food (goulash and cabbage scones are definite favorites). This is the meeting place of all of Bratislava’s bikers and hikers – Biely Kríž.
Only a few places in Slovakia have a more beautiful view of the mighty Danube than this one. It is quite hidden from the main tourist path, but if you turn off at the right moment, a gorgeous view on the Devin Castle, a confluence of two beautiful rivers and never-ending fields of Lower Austria reaching towards the Alps will appear.
The Kamzík Tower is not the only place for a beautiful view of Bratislava penetrated by a ribbon of the Danube River. Just look for outlook spot nearby for a view of the bustling city all to yourself.
8. GAMEKEEPER’S HOUSE (HORÁREŇ) AND FUNUS
It doesn’t matter whether you decide to take the southern route from the city or the northern route from Patrónka, it will always be uphill. We recommend the southern route, it is definitely steeper but the way is more pleasant, under tall thick trees on Hlboká Street, and faster. At the end you will enjoy a great atmosphere of the most traditional Slovak pub with untraditional service, or the nearby Horáreň (“Forest Ranger Station” or “Gamekeeper’s House”) in the shadows of the Horský (Forest) Park.
HISTORY SURROUNDED BY NATURE
9. CAIRN (MOHYLA MILANA RASTISLAVA ŠTEFÁNIKA)
You might not be aware that in the center of Eurovea‘s plaza is the outset of a bicycle path which will lead you all the way to the site of a plane crash which killed one of the most famous Slovaks – the Minister of War of the First Republic of Czechoslovakia and a French army general – Milan Rastislav Štefánik. You can get to this bizarre place, crowned by a cairn and a cozy lime-tree alley, on the green bicycle path. The way there is partially decorated by a ribbon of the Danube. You will bypass Bratislava airport through corn fields from which there is a unique view of Bratislava.
This top “Bratislava” spot is not, strictly speaking, in Bratislava. However, it deserves a visit not only because of its title as the oldest pilgrimage destination in western Slovakia. Also because of the beautiful monastery and Baroque/Gothic church that lies here and, most importantly, the serenity and silence present among the chapels and shadows of the robust trees.
11. VILLA RUSTICA
The center of Bratislava is full of history and so few tourists wander to the outskirts of the city to search for more. What the center doesn’t offer, however, is this ancient archeological gem dating back to the 1st century AD! During the first centuries AD, the area of present southwestern Slovakia was occupied by Germanic tribes. Proof of this can be discovered under the Small Carpathian Mountains. There, the ruins of an ancient Roman site, entitled “Villa Rustica”, can be found. Since it is not on the usual tourist path, there is no entrance fee nor the usual bustle of large crowds of visitors.
12. BS8 BUNKER
A very strange and impressive spot at the edge of Petržalka before the gates of Austria’s village Kittsee. Proof of the power and readiness of Czechoslovakia’s army in an imaginary war against the Third Reich is today a museum. Here you can see a collection of uniforms and weapons from the Second World War, a military cemetery from the Great War and a dark reminder of the communist regime: the true Iron Curtain – an impenetrable, electrically charged barbed wire fence.
13. DANUBIANA MEULENSTEEN ART MUSEUM
At the edge of Bratislava where the setting resembles a seaside, you can find a beautiful museum nestled on a peninsula. This architectural gem and a temple of modern art lies here year-round. The experience is not only for art-lovers. No one will be able to resist the beauty of the Danube’s edge extending to widths of an ocean gulf.
Source of the photos: Expedition Slovakia
Mišo „Mižu“ is a traveler, adventurer, nature and history lover who enjoys capturing interesting moments and people with his camera. Mirka „Mimi“ is a recently repatriated nature and history lover who has returned to her home country to discover her roots. They founded Expedition Slovakia – a project which brings our country closer to foreigners living in Slovakia and abroad. Follow them for updates: official website, Facebook, Instagram.
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