Whatever the season, if your romance is hot then let Bratislava do the work for you!
This ancient and multicultural melting pot that once hosted the coronations of kings is a mere 50 minutes from Vienna and easily reachable by car, bus, or boat. Let the city’s twisting and intriguing streets mesmerise you and your sweetheart as you discover the intrigues of its castle, the cosiness of its comfortable hotels and guesthouses, and the culture of its galleries, cinemas, and performance spaces.
Bratislava’s continuously developing waterfront offers visitors plenty of opportunities to stroll along the Danube and pop into a restaurant or café for a meal or just enjoy the rushing river waters along one side and the green park along the other.
As Bratislava is a compact and easy-to-get-around city, visitors can craft a busy itinerary for both day and night. The city’s iconic castle, as well as the Slavín Monument offers lovers panoramic views of the city. Several museums and galleries exhibiting a 700-year-span of artwork and culture can be found within the city limits: there is enough art to satisfy even those with the most discriminating tastes. For those desiring a different sort of exhibit space—check out the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum–a gallery of modern art located in Čunovo south of the city which is built on a man-made island.
In terms of accommodation, Old Town hotels and small guesthouses are experts at creating the right atmosphere of amour for couples who want to spend a few romantic days in the city. Many contain small wellness centres featuring relaxing spa services and intimate whirlpool baths for two.
As if this weren’t enough, the city also abounds with cultural offerings that transcend language barriers. The Slovak National Theatre’s well-established ballet, music, and opera companies have been entrancing visitors for generations.
Bring your sweetheart to romantic Bratislava and share the delights of this ancient city on the Danube.
Whether it’s a leisurely stroll along the swiftly flowing Danube, being holed up in a cosy accommodation with your special someone, or savouring the city’s vibrant cultural offerings, Bratislava is for lovers no matter the season.
From time immemorial and in all those romantic movies, sweethearts long on love and short on cash buy their own bread, wine, and cheese for impromptu romantic picnics, and Bratislava offers many green spaces to enjoy your alfresco meal. The best places to visit are the Medická Záhrada (Medical Garden), just off the Kamenné square in the very centre of the city, and the “Presidential Gardens” behind Grassalkowich Palace on Hodžovo square, which houses the offices of the country’s president. On the other side of the Danube, the large Sad Janka Kráľa, one of the first public parks in Europe, is a popular place to go for a walk along the Danube. An added bonus is a view of Bratislava’s major landmarks from the other side of the river. Somewhat away from the city centre, but still within comfortable reach by public transport is the park in Rusovce, spreading around the Rusovce mansion.
And don’t forget the major landmark of the city: a walk up Castle Hill offers some exercise as well as the opportunity to meander through narrow streets, and check out the small cafes and bars en route. The castle will still be there to reward you with its panoramic views of the city, so relax and have a coffee with your favourite dessert on the way up. On your way back down the hill, you might enjoy a little break at the old city walls near the St. Martin’s Cathedral.
As dusk falls, those desiring another city view should take an inside tip from residents who can point out their version of Lover’s Lane—the Slavín Memorial. You can either take a bus or walk through the ancient neighbourhood that is lined with embassy mansions and other stately homes of the rich and famous in the city to get there. At night, Slavín’s green space offers an unparalleled view of illuminated Bratislava. Another such place to go for a view is the TV tower on the Koliba hill. The restaurant inside the tower offers a unique attraction: it revolves so that the diners can savour the views of Bratislava and the Small Carpathian Mountains from all angles. The SNP Bridge, also known as the UFO Bridge, with a high-rise restaurant offers a similarly panoramic view.
Down on the ground level, hotels and small guesthouses in the old town wait to create just the right atmosphere for loved up couples who want to spend a few romantic days in the city. Many house small wellness centres with spa services that can smooth out the kinks from sightseeing with a soothing massage or remove the chill from your bones with a whirlpool bath or aromatic sauna just for two.
For those whose more sophisticated tastes require art and wine to complement their romantic endeavours, the city brims with cultural opportunities that transcend language barriers.
The Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, a gallery of modern art, is located in Čunovo, in the south of the city. In the summer season, it can be easily reached by boat from the port in the centre of the city. In other seasons it is reachable by public transportation or car. Danubiana is built on a man-made island, and it offers a place to see modern art exhibitions of Slovak and foreign artists. The island, washed from all sides by the waters of the Danube, is just the place for people looking for a quiet spot and a bit of privacy away from the busy city. The art and sculpture both inside and out mesh with the surrounding Danube, and the stillness offers the silence to contemplate the art and each other. Water lovers can enjoy time around several lakes, which are part of the city. Some of them have water view restaurants such as Zlaté Piesky or Kuchajda. A more natural atmosphere with less or no commercial services can be found around Štrkovec, Draždiak or Rusovce lakes.
When back on land, investigate the Slovak National Theatre ballet and opera performances in the old or new buildings, or a concert in the Slovak National Philharmonic, all located in the centre of Bratislava. Tickets are available at the box office and on-line. If your tastes are more akin to the cinema rather than the opera house, it’s good to know that in Slovakia movies are usually subtitled rather than dubbed, so if you feel like there’s no date without a movie, you don’t need to be worried about a language barrier most of the time.
Finally, if you want to drink Slovakia’s excellent wine, you have to go to Slovakia as the country does little exporting. There is no better place to sample vintage Slovak wine than the National Collection of Wines (Národný salón vín) located in the cellar of the Museum of Viniculture of the Old Town Hall’s Apponyiho Palace. Experts select this annually updated collection of Slovakia’s 100 best wines. Various wine tasting programmes are on offer for groups and individuals. Visits and tastings can be booked online in advance.
Apart from the National Collection of Wines, there are a number of wine cellars around the city centre. They might offer less of a selection but provide a cosy place to sit down and enjoy a glass of the best local wines.
No matter what the reason or the season, Bratislava’s charms beckon lovers to discover it and also themselves.