Prague Hotels Articles

July 27, 2010

Places to visit in Slovakia

For years Bratislava had to play second fiddle to Prague as Czecholslovakia’s main city. As a result, fewer people have visited this city and this has affected the city in both positive and negative ways. Now that Bratislava is the capital of an independent Slovakia, has it’s time come?

The city is often visited as part of a Danube cruise or coach tour of the region also taking in the cities of Vienna and Budapest but is slowly becoming popular as a destination in it’s own right.

Bratislava is situated about an hour from Vienna by road and lies to the east of Austria; it is about two hours north of Budapest (though reckon on four hours by rail) and about the same distance from Prague. It is an old and scenic city but it lets it’s charms speak for themselves, in contrast to Prague, say. It’s beauty is understated but, ultimately, I prefer Bratislava.

On arrival, Bratislava bears the scars of a city which has lived under Communist rule. The outskirts of the city consist of factories with immense chimneys, high-rise housing projects and lots of grafitti. However, we were interested to note in the historic old town that there was alot of work going on and much restoration of quaint houses and churches.

We arrived by train as we were on a Eurail holiday but cheap flights to Bratislava are starting to appear. It is now possible to fly reasonably cheaply from London to Bratislava with Lufthansa or Austrian Airlines. Alternatively you could fly cheaply to Prague and travel by train or do the same from Vienna (though there are not so many cheap flights to the latter).

The hub of the city’s tram and bus system is in front of the main station and is quite easy to get to grips with. It is unlikely that you will be going far out of the city so you can buy a ten minute ticket for 12 Slovakian crowns and this will be enough to get you from one side of the centre to the other or from the near outskirts of town to the city centre. You can buy tickets from kiosks, newsagents and from yellow ticket machines on the street.

Once in the centre you will probably find it most convenient to walk. Much of the centre is pedestrianised anyway and too compact to need to do anything other than walk. Do be careful though becuase you will be tempted to wlk on the road and the trams can creep up quietly, the driver not ringing the bell to warn you he’s there until the very last minute!

The city is comprises two main areas, the old town – the stare mesto, and the new

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