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Explore the capital of Slovakia – Bratislava – in a weekend says CLARE VOOGHT.

Day One

08:00  Start the day with a sweet croissant and a hot fresh coffee from Coffee & Co (coffeeco.eu), before you begin exploring the Slovakian capital.


09:00  First, hit the city centre’s main attraction, Bratislava Castle, which has been a major settlement since 3500 BC. What you can see today dates back to the 13th century and houses weaponry, antique furnishings and clocks, plus historical portraits.

Climb the castle’s biggest tower, which used to house the Hungarian crown jewels, to get views over the Danube plus the Old Town contrasted with Bratislava’s more recent architecture and the Carpathian hills.

13:00  Eat on the terrace of Primi (primi.sk), which is heated in the winter. Do battle and win with a “diet killer” fried meat or cheese dish, from £6.90, or a salmon steak, £13.

14:30  If going on an adrenaline-fuelled whitewater canoe slalom has always been on your to-do list (and why wouldn’t it be?), head out to Cunovo Water Sports Centre (canoeslalom2011.com/info/course-cunovo) on an island in the middle of the river Danube. Previously host to the Slalom World Cup, the Olympic-standard course’s best-known and most hair-raising drop is called Niagara.

Bratislava, Slovakia

18:30  Sample some typical Slovakian food at Prasna Basta (prasnabasta.sk), serving cheap and hearty meals like sheep-cheese dumplings with bacon, £5, or veal with porcini mushroom sauce, £10. Make sure you get yourself a cold Slovakian beer to go with it.

20:00  Hit the bars for the evening. Start with drinks at UFO Club (u-f-o.sk), which is set 85 metres above the ground at the top of Novy Most (New Bridge). It may look bizarre from the outside, but the view over the city more than makes up for its dodgy-looking exterior. There’s also a sightseeing deck, which was closed under communist rule to stop people looking over the border to capitalist Austria.

22:00  Then, when you’re done being sophisticated, head north-east of the Old Town for Hysteria Pub – a hilarious drinking den, with wall art depicting drunk cowboys knocking back tequila. If you're out for a late on, this place stays open until 5am on weekends.

Day Two

09:00  Wake up to bright graffiti murals in the Patio Hostel (patiohostel.com). It’s clean, right in the centre of the city’s Old Town and costs from £8.20 per night.

10:00  Satiate your hangover with breakfast in the friendly Old Market. Upstairs you’ll find a cheap cafeteria where you can come round with a coffee before heading down to shop for crafts and mementos.

11:00  Overdose on culture in the mazes of winding cobbled streets in Bratislava’s historical centre, The Old Town, with its close mix of pastel 18th-century rococo buildings and communist edifices. Keep an eye out for some quirky bronze statues around the area, like the paparazzi man hiding round the corner from the main square or Schone Naci, made in tribute to a poor mentally ill man from the early 20th century who was well known to the community. There are also statues of a soldier from Napoleon’s army and author Hans Christian Andersen.

12:30  Professing to offer the largest pizza in town, Pizza Mizza (pizzamizza.sk) is the place to grab a bite to eat at before you pick up on an afternoon adventure.

Nightlife Bratislava Slovakia

14:00  After a slow morning, you’ll be ready to blow away the cobwebs with some forest hiking. Head to Zelezna Studienka Park via the 212 bus from Hodzovo Square and walk up into the park, which is at the foothills of the Little Carpathians. Then walk (or get a cable car) up the Kamzik Hill to explore further into the legendary forests of the Little Carpathians.

16:00  Then get strapped in for a high-rope course at Lanoland in Bratislava Forest Park at Koliba (lanoland.sk). Among a group of trees that are between three and eight metres from the ground, you’ll be able to swing Tarzan-style (but obviously with protective headgear). Choose from different circuits – red for average adults, yellow for couples and black for sporty, agile types who fancy showing off their upper body strength. Costs £7 per hour.

18:30  If you’re hungry for more culture, follow the hip crowd of smoking hipsters standing around the Old Town, into the contemporary art centre A4 (a4.sk). Spend the evening watching arty movies, modern dance or live music.

20:00  Have one last Slovakian foodie blowout at Modra Hviezda (modrahviezda.sk), meaning Blue Star, just below the castle. Deer steak with rosehip sauce and apple puree bread dumplings, £16.30, or wild boar with orange sauce and mashed potatoes, £12.90, should do the trick.

Essential information

Fly from London Luton airport to Bratislava with Ryanair (ryanair.com) from £70 return (2h10) 
For other travel options and tourist information visit the Official Tourism and Travel Guide to the city. See visit.bratislava.sk/en

 


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A weekend in Bratislava, Slovakia
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