Bratislava is conveniently located an hour away from Vienna (by bus) which makes it an easy addition to your ever expanding travel list.
For some very bizarre reason when I first started looking into Bratislava and Slovakia as a country, the blogs and online articles that came up in my internet browser terrified me. There were articles on safety, people trying to rip you off and as I continued my heart sunk further as I found articles stating that people of ethnic minorities weren’t safe in the country.
And then I did something that I would later regret, I read those articles. Stories of ethnic minorities getting beaten up by “skinheads”, muggings, people moving away from them when they sat down on a bench. Stories of mob bosses who owned clubs/bars and threatened people’s lives and the police not caring. The dates of the articles ran from 2009- 2012 and to be completely honest, I went to bed that night almost sure that I would be striking Slovakia off of my list.
But the next morning I was determined to find out what the place was like. I couldn’t allow the media to frighten me with their scare mongering. I couldn’t allow myself to be put off by a few stories, after all, people will tell you that Australia, the States and other multi-cultural countries have their fair share of racism. Racism is everywhere, I have personally been affected by it in the UK… and I couldn’t allow the ignorance of a few stop me from exploring this world and so, I bought a Flixbus ticket (Flixbus is a great way to travel around Europe and it’s super cheap) and headed straight for Bratislava.
When I arrived in Bratislava I was on edge for about two whole minutes and then I completely relaxed. The place is beautiful! It is a part of Europe that hasn’t been completely over run with tourists yet and it’s a stunning city to walk around in. The city itself is tiny and walking around and getting your bearings is pretty easy. The tourist office is also great for advice and maps and the staff there are also really friendly and helpful.
Things to do:
Walk around the old town
Check out the numerous churches
Try and spot the many bronze statues around the city
Head to Hrad Castle up on the hill for a view of the city
Check out the beautiful buildings
Eat and drink as much coffee and cake as possible (Slovakians really know their stuff! My favourite has to be Marhul’ovy koláč which is an apricot cake, it’s not the national cake of Slovakia, but it’s the tastiest apricot cake that I’ve had)
I honestly found the people of Bratislava to be friendly, helpful and kind and I’m genuinely glad that I went to discover it for myself. The city was lovely and despite it being cloudy, I had a great time.
As it turns out, the internet is a far scarier place than the world we live in… sometimes.