Updated August 15, 2020.
It’s Faraway Friday! This week it’s all about one of my favorite cities in the world, and the last city I visited before meeting my future husband: Bratislava, Slovakia! Here are 10 reasons I loved it, and perhaps 10 reasons you will, too!
10. St. Michael’s Gate
This gate is the only remaining city gate, and it is Bratislava’s barbican gate–or fortified gateway to defend against would-be attackers. It’s a symbol of the city’s multi-century history, and it’s a great landmark for directions–you can see it from almost anywhere!
9. The Danube
The Danube River is one of the most well-known in Europe and flows through more countries than any other river in the world–10! River cruises wind along this river, and you can take in some breath-taking views from one of the other “must sees” on this list: Devin Castle.
More here: Solo Travel: Slovakia
8. Devin Castle Ruins
This took a little while to get to and a little figuring on public transportation, but it was so worth the effort! The locals were so kind and helpful, and they all wanted to make sure I got there to see it all, so getting directions was easy, and the bus driver made sure I got out at the right spot! I was humbled by the sweet, helpful people in an area of the world that used to be “forbidden” to those in the Western World. Seeing these beautiful, dramatic ruins on a cliff overlooking the Danube was something I will always remember. There is a small museum inside, and so much history to find out about here at Devin Castle! When I returned from my four-city, three-country solo trip, this photo was my laptop’s wallpaper for months. Look at that turret!
Read on: Ruined: Beauty in the Broken Places
What’s a Shtoor? Well, it’s a coffee shop, but also a person! Both are awesome. Mr. Shtoor was the first person to ever write down the Slovakian language. Shtoor the coffee shop had excellent coffee, pastries, and sandwiches. I liked it so much I went back twice!
Read on: What to Eat in Bratislava
Bratislava’s architecture spans from the 14th century (or maybe before!) to the 20th century. It’s truly a case study in architecture through the years. It’s all very different, but it all works, too! I loved seeing the different styles, and I’m really not even an architecture buff!
5. Napoleon’s Cannon Ball
Speaking of lasting impressions, you can see Napoleon’s 1809 cannon ball lodged in the side of a building. When they repaint the building as needed, they also paint the cannon ball black so we’ll always be able to spot it!
Boy, did I ever love the Eastern European food! Dumplings, cheeses, bacon… it’s like being in the American South! Halusky (“huh-loo-shkee”) is a dumpling dish made with creamy cheese, milk, potato dumplings, and topped with chopped bacon. Just what I needed after a long day of walking!
Keep eating: Iconic Eats of the World
3. The Smurf Church
No lie–the locals call it the “Smurf Church”! It’s blue, and the art nouveau style kind of makes it look like a marshmallow, and it’s lovely! Want to get married here? You can get on the waitlist, but it will take a few years! It’s real name is the Church of St. Elizabeth, and it was built in 1913.
2. The Statues
My tour guide told me that Bratislava has more statues than any other city in the world. I’m sure some cities might contest that point, but there are a LOT of statues here! Some significant, some just for fun, but all of them are photo ops! You will also find plenty of statue impersonators while you’re in town, too. See if you can tell the different on your trip!
Read on: How to Plan Long-term Travel in Europe
1. Bratislava Castle
Devin Castle is impressive, but Bratislava Castle is the symbol of the city. It’s absolutely beautiful with its pristine white walls and red rooftops, and it’s at the highest place in the city, so you can’t miss it! There is a museum inside, so don’t miss it!
Are you ready for your own trip to Bratislava? I highly recommend it! It remains on of my favorite cities in the world, even more than 5 years after my trip!
Want more? Check out my Slovakia Page!
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