Lovely Bratislava, Slovakia
Wanting to see many of countries that were once part of the Soviet block before they are discovered by a massive onslaught of tourists, Slovakia was next up on my list. My favorite travel partner and I flew into Vienna airport and then took the bus from the airport for the one hour ride to Bratislava, Slovakia. On the bus ride to Slovakia, I was amazed at the number of wind turbines throughout the Austrian landscape; however, once you are cross the border into Slovakia, they all disappear. Bratislava is the capitol of Slovakia and located right on the Danube River. The bus drops you off close to the banks of the Danube and almost in the center of town( you look across the river and see the UFO and the bridge).
For our 3 night stay was at the lovely Hotel Danubia Gate(https://danubiagate.sk/en/). Bratislava is a very easy town to navigate, and to start our exploration, we booked a 2hr Segway tour which gave us a great overview of the city. One thing that stands out while in Bratislava are the many different quirky statues all over town. These bronze monuments were added in an attempt to add some humor and life to the communist-era architecture. We found interesting characters such as a photographer, a man coming out of a man-hole cover, and even Napoleon! On our Segways, we crossed over the Danube on the UFO (a famous landmark) Bridge and got to see the narrowest house in Slovakia.
On our second day, after a couple of wrong turns, two bus rides and a very, very long uphill walk (almost an hr), we found the “Kamzik TV Tower”. This area is a hidden gem that most tourists never visit and is challenging to reach. At the tower, we went up to the "Altitude" restaurant where the view of the country and landscape is simply SPECTACULAR!
If the view wasn’t enough, the restaurant is a 360 rotating floor so that you get a chance to see the view from all sides. Following lunch, we made our way through the forest and got to the cable car / chair lift (dual seating). The chair lift takes you down through the forest, hills and surrounding countryside. It is Soviet-era built, so it was a tad flimsy but well worth the effort.
To end our day, we visited the Slavin War Memorial built on the hill that overlooks the city. The memorial stands there to commemorate the efforts of the Red Army in the liberation of Bratislava during World War II. There are also almost 7,000 Soviet Red Army soldiers buried there and a large part of the grounds is a cemetery.
More fun things to put on your Bratislava must visit list;
-Blue Church Bratislava
-Obrazáreň pri Dóme, An abandoned church with dreamlike images in place of windows.
-Hotel Galéria Spirit; A rather unique hotel for the artistic soul a rollback to the 60’s.
-Danube walk/ cross into Austria and stand on the border.
-The Iron Curtain(the deadly border).
Put this lovely place on your list.