When the city is lit up by colorful flashing lights, when the sweet fragrance of cinnamon wafts through the air, when you warm up your frozen hands on a hot cup of punch while carols sound in the background, it is an unmistakable sign that Christmas has come to Bratislava.
The true Christmas atmosphere
A winter evening, when Christmas trees in the square are illuminated by thousands of Christmas lights, is magical not only for children but also for adults. Christmas markets in Bratislava have a long tradition, and they represent a kind of small city within a city. It is said that the local Christmas markets are cosier and less commercial than those in Vienna or Budapest. It is a place of friendly meetings and the time passes a little more slowly there. People meet over mulled wine or punch and enjoy the true Christmas atmosphere.
The Christmas atmosphere is complemented by music performance on the Main Square. Adorable red-white stalls attract visitors to traditional Slovak delicacies such as lokshe, potato pancakes, sliced bread with lard and onions, roasted beef, mulled wine or grog from local winegrowers and delicious sweets such as poppy seed strudel, hot chocolate, chestnut puree and much more.
Christmas is the season of love, joy and generosity. Thank those closest to you for the year which has gone by and bring a smile to their faces with small original gifts. If you do not know how to select the right gift, visit the Christmas markets and get some inspiration. Vendors will be happy to assist you and you certainly won’t go away empty-handed. You will find the high-quality work of Slovak craftsmen and artisans there, whether it’s porcelain, pottery, objects carved from wood or tiny crocheted angels.
In many cases, buying small things at Christmas markets also supports the charitable organizations that help those who need it the most. Christmas is not only about gifts. For many, this festal period is more associated with spiritual values. During advent, at the Cathedral of St. Martin, but also at smaller churches, Christmas concerts by local choirs and musical groups are held. Enjoy these precious moments with family or friends.
Christmas on ice
Winter in Bratislava brings many other pleasures with it. How about skating around a rink in the centre of the city under the open sky or in the glow of the Christmas tree? Ice skating rinks can be found on Hviezdoslavovo Square and Primatial Square, which you can enjoy throughout the winter. Skates, fans and an excellent atmosphere are all ensured for you on-site.
However, KHL teams definitely deserve their fans as well. Bratislava lives for hockey and every year it hosts prestigious KHL matches. The euphoria in the full ice hockey stadium, cheering with all your heart and the victory of “your” team are things you must experience for yourself. It’s a memorable hockey experience from which you will draw energy for a long time.
New Year’s Eve
If you are still hesitating about where to spend New Year’s Eve this year, Bratislava is an obvious choice. During this night, the city is immersed in celebrating the New Year and many Bratislava businesses have special offers prepared for you. It certainly pays to come out into the streets of Bratislava and enjoy the music of popular bands in the center of the city.
Shortly before midnight, the festive atmosphere culminates and people count down the seconds which divide them from the New Year together. When the clock strikes midnight, the sky over Bratislava begins with a spectacular performance. The fireworks over Bratislava castle and their reflection in the Danube is a view that you’ll love. And don’t forget to set some New Year’s resolution. For example, that you will definitely return to Bratislava within a year.