Walking through Bratislava to the Castle
After spending a good day just resting and writing a hotel it was high time to get out and see some of Bratislava. It is quite a small capital with easy transport links, while you can get around the central tourist attractions on foot. I worked my way through the town centre and up toward the castle, which from it’s elevated position provides fantastic views.
Heading up to the castle
I took the tram into town, public transport is cheap (.7 €) here and quite frequent. I walked through the old Main Square but it was very touristy with many foreign tour groups being lead around so I didn’t spend much time there. I passed the Slovak National Theatre and proceeded up the main pedestrian avenue toward the castle.
St. Martin’s Cathedral is a few minutes from the castle but unfortunately the major highway goes straight through the middle, metres from the church. It still towers above everything around it.
The highway has a large exit/entry ramps here but then continues onto a bridge that is an attraction to itself. The most SNP or UFO bridge is well over 4 decades old now but it really doesn’t look it. It apparently lights up nicely a night if you’re into bridges at night.
The castle has several entry gates and today it is easy to walk up by foot mostly by incline and some steps. I walked in from the southeast through the oldest, most preserved Sigismund Gate. Besides the central building the area has several buildings and today includes a restaurant and nightclub. The castle itself is a large rectangular structure with a courtyard inside. Today it is a museum but the place has existed for 1000s of years, inhabited since pre-history in various forms for its strategic location.
Interestingly up here I was able to get Austrian mobile coverage. Mostly just 2.5/EDGE that seems particularly useless in Europe but eventually the phone switched to 4G/LTE with good access. There’s direct line of sight over the border, which is not too far away. You could also see Hungary, whose border is a bit further away to the south.
Grassalkovich Palace and parks
Walking back down I headed towards the slightly more modern presidential palace. The Grassalkovich Palace sits surrounded by city roads but there is an open plaza in front with pedestrian subways and malls below the road. It was a nice area to stop for a quick lunch.
Behind the palace is a large park. The recreational spaces are mostly well used here. Well I thought that until I moved to the adjacent park which had clearly seen better days. Would have been a lovely place during the summer months but now it looks well avoided.
I didn’t get to see much nightlife during this brief stay. I was probably in the wrong place. Hopefully when I return a local can help me out 😉 Mostly the city seems to shut down at a reasonable hour but little is open super-late. I went out for a late dinner once and just got something before everything shut.
My only final comment on my quick walk through was again the abundance of eduroam wifi, with university buildings spread through the city. Although far from blanket coverage it would only ever be a 5-10 minute walk away.