While I technically spent two days in Bratislava, the rain prevented me from using up the entirety of my free time. However, let’s go back to the beginning! Leaving Budapest led to a charming train ride through the countryside, before arriving in the capital of Slovakia. Wasting no time, I set about exploring the city. Depending on your preferences, one day in Bratislava could be enough time to see everything.

one day in bratislava, slovakia

But I arrived in the early afternoon with a long list of places to visit, so I decided to spend the night. After all the walking through Budapest, I was happy to rest a bit. Mostly because I knew visiting Bratislava would be all about walking too. I can’t say I had many expectations of Bratislava but I found it to be a cute and quiet capital. The old town is pedestrian-only and dates back to the 18th century. And it is filled with marvelous buildings.

architecture in bratislava

I’ll be completely honest and admit that years ago, this enchanting café was the reason why I instantly wanted to visit Bratislava. Obviously, I was interested in the city itself but that bookshelf wall won me over. I pictured moody rainy days spent indoors, and how cozy that would be. Before I get sidetracked though, I am planning on writing a separate blog post about this place!

bistro st germain bratislava

Speaking of food, poppy seed pastries will forever remind me of Bratislava. This is something Slovakia has in common with Croatia and it took me right back to my childhood. It’s rather hard to find poppy seed pastries anywhere in Belgium, if not impossible. So you can imagine my thrill upon trying this sweet bagel at Pressburg Bajgel. You can choose between a walnut or poppy seed filling but I wanted to go down memory lane. I grew up around many pastries in Croatia, but the ones with poppy seeds were always among my favorites.

If that wasn’t enough, I also tried ice cream that features poppy seeds! Arthur Ice Cream has a flavor called Čumil, named after the famous sewer worker statue nearby. One of the most unique ice creams I ever tried, it’s a mix of cheese, poppy seed, and jam. I also enjoyed a cheesecake with similar ingredients at Pollito Cheesecake. As you might have already gathered, I ate an inordinate amount of pastries while in Bratislava.

I made sure to stop by the Bratislava castle and its gardens right before closing time. Towering over the city with its meticulously white walls, it’s a rather impressive place. You’ll find the Baroque Gardens inside the grounds of the castle and they’re free to enter. There is a small entrance fee for the castle, which I chose not to visit. I was short on time and it didn’t seem worth entering. Maybe another time! In general, it’s easy to visit all of Bratislava on foot. That’s something I loved about the city, how accessible it was.

bratislava castle
bratislava castle baroque gardens

Even though it’s a capital city, you never really get that feeling with Bratislava. While walking down the streets, it felt like a big city but somehow still calm and quiet. And I have to admit that the general atmosphere in it reminded me of Croatian cities quite a lot. Specifically, of towns in continental Croatia similar to my hometown Požega! However, Bratislava has its own specific look. An interesting mix of Baroque and neo-classical styles paired with the bygone communism era.

Even if you don’t plan on visiting the Bratislava City Museum, make sure to walk into its courtyard. It’s utterly enchanting with pretty balconies and endless flowers. It was one of my favorite places in the city. I kept looking up at all the stunning iron-wrought details. And that wooden door was probably the most beautiful door I saw in Bratislava!

beautiful architecture in bratislava

Right next to it, you’ll find a cute pink building, the Primate’s Palace. Today it serves as the seat of the mayor but you can also visit it for a small fee. If you skip out on it, make sure to check out its courtyard with a statue of St. George killing a dragon. I couldn’t stop peeking into every side street while in Bratislava, letting myself be surprised. I wanted to soak in as much of the city as possible.

primate's palace in bratislava

The Blue Church in Bratislava

blue church in bratislava

The one building in Bratislava that I wanted to see above anything else. The Church of St. Elizabeth, also known as the Blue Church. Dating back to 1908, it’s hard to find a more unique building in Bratislava than this one. The Hungarian Secession style makes the church look magical and whimsical. Like one of those distinctive illustration styles for fairy tales where the imagination goes wild. Naturally, it owes its name to the omnipresent color blue. You’ll spot it on the facade, the roof, and inside the church as well. The entrance is free and the church is a short walk away from the main square. It’s a must-see when in Bratislava!

art nouveau blue church in bratislava

Antikvariat Steiner

antikvariat steiner in bratislava

Years ago, for reasons I don’t remember anymore, I heard of Antikvariat Steiner. A used bookstore founded in 1847, I knew I had to visit. Even though a majority of the books were in Slovakian, it’s still worth a visit for the beautiful bookshelves. There is a small section with French, German, and English books. To be honest, I was quite tempted to buy one of the antique books in German!

While one day in Bratislava might suffice, I would recommend spending the night. To watch the sunrise, to see the city at night, and to let Bratislava’s charm rub off on you. Because it might just do that. With its delightful architecture, chic cafés, and cobblestone streets. So if you’re in Budapest or Vienna and looking for the perfect day trip, look no further. Catch that train for Bratislava!

My last morning in Bratislava flew by. It was raining but that didn’t stop me from running around the city one last time. I had a bus to Vienna to catch and frankly, I came close to missing it! Looking back on my time in Bratislava, I’m glad I included it in my solo trip. I stumbled upon so many gorgeous buildings and we all know historical architecture is my main motivator for travel. And I already know I’ll be back for more!

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