One of Europe’s newest capitals, yet an ancient and important city to the Austro-Hungarian empire, Slovakia’s Bratislava is a city of blended cultures, where four languages prevail on the streets, and the cuisines of half of Europe seem to mingle in the happy mish-mash of the city-centre restaurants. Home to castles and winding, almost Mediterranean streets spread across the vast Danube River, even Bratislava seems unsure of its identity just yet. Which, for the visitor, makes it all the more interesting.
The castle towers over the city on a stumpy hill, constructed in the 11th century and marking the spot where the Roman Empire once faded away. Baroque and renaissance influences have since been added, but you can still picture horses trotting across the plains and molten tar pouring down the soaring walls. There’s even a well in the heart of the castle that’s never seen water.
In fact, Bratislava is a city full of curiosities. Look carefully and you’ll find a statue peering out of a manhole cover, Europe’s narrowest house and an effigy of a member of the paparazzi getting ready to snap you as you pass (this has unfortunately been removed thanks to recession...). If one castle’s not enough, you can head a couple of kilometers upstream and find a second perched on a sandy outpost, home to many a Slovak romance, and with sumptuous views of the Danube.
For the more central sites, the rail-less Prešporáčik mini train will take you from museum to museum around the city’s cobbled streets, hop off and you might find yourself staring at the classical façade of the Primatial Palace, or the City Gallery’s tapestries, which date right back to the 1630s, and depict mythical Greek love stories.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll find anything from gnocchi to nut roll in a city nicknamed ‘one huge restaurant’; plan your ‘arriving home’ diet before you leave. Above all, though, Bratislava is an enchanting city of culture, and a worthy capital to a country that’s very much like an undiscovered Czech Republic. Which makes Bratislava Prague, without all the stag parties.
Mosonmagyaróvár is situated in the northwestern corner of the region defined by the latitude of 47-48° on the North and in the longitude of 17-18° on the East. This small region is juncti…