Slovakia’s capital was once described by author Hans Christian Andersen as a fairytale city. Sitting on the banks of the River Danube, Bratislava lives up to its reputation with beautiful and colourful architecture, storied history and welcoming people. One of the best places to stay is in the Old Town (Staré Mesto). The five-star, boutique Roset Hotel has large and luxurious rooms and apartments from £115 per night, or try the popular and stylish LOFT Hotel from £60 per night.
Sampling some traditional Slovakian dishes such as bryndza halusky (cheesy potato dumplings), goulash soup, and stuffed pierogi dumplings is a must. Hradna Hviezda serves up traditional food in the courtyard of Bratislava Castle, or try Modra Hviezda in the Old Town. GLOBO Restaurant & Wine Bar is the go-to for fine dining or, for something cheap and on the go, grab a burrito, meat in a cone, or triple-fried chips from Orbis Street Food.
Be sure to try Borovička, a traditional Slovakian drink made with juniper. For cocktails, see the quirky SPIN Me Around bar where imaginative bartenders mix unique drinks. Bratislavsky Mestiansky Pivovar is a popular microbrewery. Grand Cru Wine Gallery is a great spot to sample the best Slovak tipples and, for something unique, Drink in Gallery Andy is a tiny bar/art gallery built inside a tram.
The city is home to some truly stunning architecture. Chief among them is The Blue Church, a whimsical Art Nouveau structure just east of the Old Town on Bezručova Street. A key feature of the city’s skyline is Bratislava Castle, home to a museum and magnificent gardens that are certainly worth a visit. Walking along the cobbled streets of the Old Town will transport you back in time. The colourful area is packed with shops, fountains, monuments, outdoor cafes and gelato shops. West of the Old Town lies the impressive St Martin’s Cathedral, and Slavín war memorial, built on the city’s highest hill, offers the ultimate view of Bratislava’s skyline and is a poignant tribute to the Soviet troops killed while liberating the city in 1945.