By Victor Gotevbe
It is Autumn and several families around the world are preparing for the Christmas Break or holidays. Travel agents are working hard to plan trips for various clients either for relaxation and or even business retreats depending on the Client’s needs. Usually, at this time major holiday destinations are selected in America, Asia and Europe. However, Diplomatic Watch would like to point to a destination that you probably never thought of. A place of history, architecture, tradition, culture, art, drinks, food and nightlife. Yes, BRATISLAVA, capital city of Slovakia. I thought I knew my geography so well and with the privilege to visit some interesting locations around the world. This one captivated our attention during our breakfast meeting at the residence of His Excellency, Peter Holasek, Ambassador of Slovakia to Nigeria. After breakfast with him he handed over to us copies of Bratislava city guide; inviting us to come experience top attractions in Bratislava.
With fewer than half a million people, Bratislava ranks to Europe’s most relaxed capitals because everything is in close vicinity, reachable within few minutes walking distance. Even other 2 capital cities are very close – Vienna (80km) and Budapest (200km) – reachable also by a boat on the river Danube. Bratislava has always been a flourishing and prosperous town, which has made the most of its strategic position on the Danube and at the intersections of important European trade routes.
Following the fall of communism in 1989, Bratislava could at last develop as a free town and re-establish its close relations with Vienna. Slovakia became a member of the European Union in 2004, the final impediment to the rapid development of the cross-border Euro-region was removed as late as 2007 when a motorway on the Austrian side came into operation and Slovakia became part of the Schengen group.
Why you should visit
The city is safe, friendly, hassle-free and there is always something worth doing; whether you’re there for an afternoon, a week or a year.
The city itself has its old-town charm, sophisticated restaurants, traditional pubs, good music ranging from jazz to opera, stylish people, and a human scale which means that as a visitor you will not spend half your day trekking in and out of underground stations or getting from the airport into town.
Suprisingly Close/ Exceptionally smart
Bratislava is also an exceptionally smart city with a bourgeoning start up eco-system and a stellar global reputation as an innovation hub. Bratislava hase ESET is a world leader in anti-virus software while Pixel Federation, founded in the city in 2007, develops online games played in over 200 countries in the world.
The Home of Myths and legends
The lives of people around the world are forever intertwined with the legends, myths, and ghost stories that permeate their land. Every city has its mysterious places, its age old yarns and its historical characters, whose stories have been twisted and embellished into tales to tell the grandchildren or to liven up to a trip around the city streets. The capital of Slovakia is no exception. Indeed, seemingly every building, square per street in Bratsilsava has its own long and unlikely tale.
Culture everywhere you look
Bratislava is not only the administrative capital of Slovakia, it is also the centre of the country’s cultural life. It has a lot of Galleries if you are museum goer or gallery lover situated in ex-palaces of noblemen, so the historical experience mixes with art, both old and modern.
Culture life is also rich in Bratislava as far as concerts, festivals and exhibitions are concerned. The highlight of every season is the re-enactment of coronations of Hungarian kings and queens. The Bratislava Jazz Days festival also draws the best jazzmen to Slovakia from all over the world.
Culture vultures will find world-class modern art and fabulous international ballet and opera companies with rock-bottom ticket prices.
Best Deals and Discounts
The Bratislava tourist office offers a discount card, called Bratislava City Card, which allows visitors free travel by public transport and discounts from 5 percent upwards at participating museums, galleries, and restaurants.
There are also free tours to the Old Town and beyond leave twice daily from beside the statue of Hviezdoslava in Hviezdoslavovo Square.
The first Sunday of the month- state museums and galleries are free to enter.
There are a few free WiFi Zones across the city. You can also get online in buses displaying a WiFi sign.
BRATISLAVA on a low budget
Many foreigners come to Slovakia for a weekend to have fun, enjoy the summer days and try a taste of a new country. And they also hope to do so without breaking the bank. Bratislava is idea for bargain travel, and with a few tips from the locals or fellow travellers, you can find accommodation, food and entertainment for little more than 100 euros. Some tourists consider it a cheap city relatively speaking. There are several hostels not far from the city centre. Only three or four minutes by foot from the train station.
Getting around Bratislava is relatively simple. It has a lot of attractions that are in walking distance from one another. There are plenty of places to visit that do not demand any entrance fee.
Sleepy Bratislava by Day; Raucous Party-Slava by Night
Every city has a club, but not every city has a subclub. Subclubs is only one out of hundreds of places to spend a buzzing night in Bratislava, acity that has often dubbed Party-Slava for its vast array of bars and clubs.
Foodies can indulge tasting the full range of Middle Europe’s renowned cuisine in the charming and atmospheric restaurants, a heritage of shared Austrian-Hungarian history. Choices range from traditional Slovak cuisine to Austrian schnitzel and Hungarian goulash soup.
Wines from the Bratislava Region are, a reason enough to come to the area. Denizens of the dark will find many night-time hangouts offering enough diversity to suit every taste. The music scene is fresh and the club scene vibrant and very laid back.
When all is said and done, Bratislava lives up to its reputation as a truly cosmopolitan city.
So, why Bratislava?
Again, the answer is simple – because it’s all there. History, architecture, tradition, culture, art, drinks, food and nightlife. And, it’s all very accessible. See you in Bratislava.