If you are backpacking across Europe, you must visit Bratislava. Here is our Travel Guide for Bratislava 2020. Ever heard someone traveling to Europe and having Bratislava on their list? I am sure, not! It isn’t often that you hear someone including this place on their travel plan list, but it makes me wonder every time. WHY? This quiet, serene and absolutely no-nonsense city is situated in Slovakia, Central Europe and is one of the most underrated metropolises in the world. If I had a term worse than underrated, I would have used that, but unfortunately, this city doesn’t get the credit it deserves.
Nestled between Vienna and Budapest, Bratislava is a surprise in the tiny country of Slovakia. It is a breath of fresh air and sigh of relief for all those who are on a Europe trip or live in Europe and want to get out of the hustling bustling life of the touristy cities. The city is full of open spaces and so calm and you won’t be hearing any noises except the trams rattling over the streets. I think I have made the point. If you are looking for the kind of peace you do not find in the tourist vacation destinations then Bratislava is a must in your travel list. So here is my Bratislava Travel Guide for those who are willing to take a trip to this amazing city.
BRATISLAVA TRAVEL GUIDE ON A BUDGET
Now I know it isn’t easy to plan a trip there, as the internet does not have a lot of resources helping you what to do and how to budget. But what else am I here for? For today’s guide, let me tell you all about Bratislava and how you can visit it without leaving a dent in your pocket.
EVERYTHING YOU’LL FIND ON THIS BRATISLAVA TRAVEL GUIDE
- Duration for Your Bratislava Trip
- Recommended Budget
- The Good, The Bad & The In-between
- Where to Stay?
- How to Go Around?
- What to Eat & Drink?
DURATION FOR YOUR BRATISLAVA TRIP
Let’s accept that most of the people do not even consider going to Bratislava when they go on a Europe trip. Those who do, just go on a one-day trip to see what this town on Danube River looks like. However, we recommend you give at least two days to this beautiful, medieval city to get the essence of it and enjoy the intoxicating spirit of locals.
As for the weather, just with the general Europe visit recommendation, we suggest you go to Bratislava in May, June, July, August or September. Throughout these months, the average temperature is good, otherwise, the summer and winter months are extremely harsh here alike the rest of Europe too. So according to my Bratislava Travel Guide, you should be spending more than a day in Bratislava.
RECOMMENDED BUDGET for Bratislava
For a backpacker or someone who is on a strict budget, Bratislava is a great European city to stay in for a few days without giving a major dent to your pocket. It is much cheaper than the rest of Europe and you can easily spend a day at $30. You can go less and more depending on what your budget is. But this will be enough for you to spend a day in the hostel, eat average food out and travel too. I am sure this is a really decent budget for those who do not want to spend a lot on a vacation.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE IN-BETWEEN
Just as I always like to say, every place has its charm, but it has a set of things you might not like as well. The same is true for Bratislava as well. It has a lot of good points, but there are a few not-so-good ones too that you should know of.
Let’s take a look together:
What You Will Love About Bratislava
Authenticity – Once you visit Bratislava after visiting Prague or any other fairy tale European town, your first impression of the city might not be great. However, as you settle in, you realize that the place is extremely authentic. It is easy to believe in the vibe of the city; the way locals hang out at the old places and city center because everything is so natural. If you are someone who isn’t a fan of made-up stuff, this city is for you.
Small Town – While this one is a major setback for people, but for me and a lot of other people, the best thing about Bratislava is it being small. If you are someone who likes visiting small towns, closely knitted communities and people who are happy knowing the person who lives the farthest in the town then you will fall in love with this city.
Best of Both Worlds – Bratislava might be a small town, but it is in no way backward. You get the best of both worlds by visiting this metropolis. There are events, concerts, bars, crazy nightlife and everything else without the usual tourist bombardment. There is a usual calm even in the bustling parties and you will love that.
Nature – Nature is the staple of Europe, but Bratislava has raw, unexplored natural beauty. If you are someone who enjoys calm, solitude and just walking in the beautiful nature without being interrupted, there is a lot that you will find here and I am sure that would make you want to extend your trip to the city.
What You Might Not Like About Bratislava
Language – Because the city does not have a lot of tourism, the locals aren’t well-versed in English. You might find it a little difficult to communicate with people, as they do not have a decent command of the language and that can turn frustrating at times.
Food Quality – Yes, this might be a bummer if you are a foodie. The overall food quality in Bratislava isn’t decent. If you compare the food to other European countries or cities, you might find the quality to be a lot inferior.
Driving- The drivers are super rude and do not care about the pedestrians walking peacefully by the road. It is almost strange for the cars to stop when you are at the zebra crossing, so local drivers will leave you frustrated.
WHERE TO STAY in Bratislava?
There is no lack of budget hotels and hostels in Bratislava. While you might be living in the shared hostels in the meager budget of $10, you might be able to find a room here, even though it might not be lavish. For a budgeted trip, we suggest you go to Booking.com, Hostel World and Agoda.com to see the ones that fit your budget and provide you with the facilities and amenities you require. Try to stay away from the regular touristy spots (there are not so many) so you can save some money.
Another amazing way to stay at a decent place without paying a penny is Couchsurfing. Go to the website and see the hosts who have good reviews and you will be comfortable staying with. This way, you will be able to befriend locals, get recommendations to visit some amazing places and a place to crash at night, and all of that for free.
HOW TO GO AROUND in Bratislava?
Bratislava is more of a bustling village than a proper capital if you ask me honestly. This is the reason; you can easily walk around most of the places and might not need proper transportation or commute. You can see the entire Old Town center and the relevant places in a half-day and that too on foot. For the places that are outside the city center, you can take tram or bus and that is super cheap – almost quarter a dollar.
Just like other parts of Europe, make sure you buy your ticket in advance and validate it when traveling. If your ticket isn’t validated and the transport official checks it, you can be fined for up to $50, and I am sure that will completely out of your budget. So, be wise, follow the rules to save your money.
Moreover, there is no Uber in Bratislava but there is another ridesharing app called Bolt. It works in several other European cities too. The cost of each ride is around $3, so it isn’t that expensive if you have to go to the far-off areas.
WHAT TO EAT AND DRINK?
There is one thing we all know, every time we go to a restaurant, we order Chinese, Thai, Indian, Turkish cuisine, etc. but never Slovak. Right? So, Slovak food is something you will eat for the first time when you visit the city. The cuisine is rich with pork, breaded chicken, roast meats, goulash, and hearty bowl of soups. There are some local specialties like Bryndzove Halusky, which is gnocchi with melted sheep cheese and bacon. All in all, the eating option are many and you might end up enjoying the local food too. Do not eat in the city center and the rich towns and you will be able to get special meals for as low as $4.
NIGHTLIFE of Bratislava
This small village sort of capital city might look dead to the first-timer’s eye, but it is not. While the sun goes down and people run away to their homes early, the Slovakia capital’s nightlife starts then. You just need to scratch a bit underneath Bratislava’s exterior and you will be able to find many wild, fun and crazy pubs, bars and, clubs.
Moreover, there are some underground music clubs as well. By underground, I literally mean underground clubs, such as the popular SubClub located inside the bunkers and buildings. If you want an extremely late-night music scene, fun and hanging out with the locals, do hang out. They might have an edgy atmosphere, but don’t worry, as Bratislava is completely safe. You can ask your accommodation manager for the nearest recommendations.
I am sure I might have convinced you to spare a few days and travel to Bratislava when you are in Europe the next time, or if you live in Europe right now. Rest aside, it is one of the safest places you will ever be to and you will undoubtedly have the most peaceful and unexpectedly enjoyable time of your life. I hope my Bratislava Travel Guide has clarified a few of your concerns now.
Do let me know in the comments if you are planning to visit and if you have any additional questions. Till then, happy Bratislava budget vacation planning!