Bratislava - Abbey Travel, Ireland



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Welcome to Bratislava


Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and the country's largest city, situated on either side of the Danube River at the borders of Austria and Hungary, and within easy reach of the Czech Republic.

It is the centre for arts and culture, and boasts many museums, art galleries, palaces and ornamental churches in and around its historic old town. Bratislava also takes pride in its cultural heritage, with a musical history going back to Mozart, Beethoven and Hummel. Music concerts and ballet performances take place almost daily in the city, competing for attention with the likes of those in neighbouring Vienna, Prague and Budapest.

The city is ideal for strolling around, taking in the sites of the city. The Old Town district is crammed with historical structures representing the different cultures and nations of its past, centering on Hlavné Námestie, the town square. Numerous Baroque palaces are contained within the old town, as well as St. Martin's, an 11th-century Gothic cathedral; the town hall, housing the oldest museum in the country; and a gate preserved from the medieval city fortifications. One of the most conspicuous structures in the city is Bratislava Castle, a former frontier post for the Roman Empire situated on a plateau overlooking the Danube.

As Europe's newest capital city, Bratislava is still lagging behind Budapest and Prague in terms of popularity, but word of its picturesque charm and affordable elegance is spreading, and the city is rapidly being thrust into the limelight as a popular European city break destination. An increase in low-cost flights from around Europe is also partly responsible for its rising recognition, and lately Bratislava has also become a popular weekend destination for stag parties, primarily from the UK. The city is also the cultural capital of the region, and diversions ranging from restaurants and nightclubs to ballet and boutiques are on offer.

Information & Facts


Bratislava enjoys a continental climate with four distinct seasons, though it can often be very windy, causing a drop in temperature. Summer weather is hot and dry, while winters are cold and wet. Autumn and spring tend to be mild and pleasant, but are much shorter seasons. Average temperatures in Bratislava range from 2°C to -6°C (30°F to 25°F) in the winter months and from 19°C to 21°C (66°F to 70°) in the summer months.

Slovak is the official language, which is closely related to Czech. English and German are the most commonly spoken foreign languages, although outside Bratislava, English is not widely understood.

The unit of currency is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. The Euro replaced the koruna (SKK) as the official currency on 1 January 2009. Travellers cheques are the safest way to carry money and are accepted at all major banks and exchange offices (dollars and pounds sterling give the best exchange rates). Shops are increasingly accepting credit cards, but it is best to check beforehand. ATMs are common.

Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from March to October).

Situated on a hill 269 feet (82m) above the city, Bratislava Castle is a prominent structure on the city's skyline and provides excellent views of the city, as well as over Austria, and even Hungary in fine weather. It has been inhabited for thousands of years due to its important location on the Danube River in central Europe, and has been destroyed and rebuilt several times in its history, as well as undergoing a series of reconstructions and extensions. Four towers make up the enormous castle building, enclosing a courtyard and collections of the Slovak National Museum, as well as a Treasure Chamber.

Perched 696 feet (212m) above the confluence of the Morava and Danube Rivers, Devin Castle is one of the most important archaeological sites in Slovakia. The oldest traces of settlement date back to 5,000 BC, and for centuries this mighty fortress citadel was impenetrable, until the arrival of Napoleon's troops who managed to sack it in 1809. Its image is depicted on postage stamps and Slovakian money. The village of Devin is also quaint and worth visiting, with a number of shops and restaurants. The river, while photogenic, is a haven for mosquitoes, so visitors are advised to arm themselves with effective insect repellent.

The majestic peaks of the High Tatras are a must-see in Slovakia, stretching through Tatra National Park, across the northern part of the country in the Carpathian Mountains near Poland. The mountains, valleys, and lakes of the Tatras offer innumerable opportunities for hiking, cycling, skiing, swimming, rafting, and relaxing in a pristine natural environment. Small but increasingly popular resorts in the area include Strbské Pleso, Smokovce, and Tatranská Lomnica. There are scenic cable cars and funiculars scattered about, including those at Lomnický Stít and Hrebienok.

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