1. Christmas markets
The true winter atmosphere literally comes to life at the annual Christmas markets happening at Hlavné Námestie and Hviezdoslavovo Námestie, at Bratislava Castle, in the courtyard of the Old Town Hall and at Eurovea. While browsing stalls filled with wonderful presents for those people close to you, definitely take the time to enjoy fantastic punch with homemade “lokshe” – potato pancakes with various sweet and sour fillings – and remember to check out the traditional Bratislava rolls, too. Almost every day, a rich program of culture awaits you at the several stages that have been set up, together with magical decorations throughout the city to leave smiles on everyone’s faces.
2. Skating at square Hviezdoslavovo námestie
An essential feature of any winter and Christmas season fun is an outdoor ice rink where every one of all ages can have fun skating. No matter whether you are just learning to skate or an experienced skater, there is room for anyone to enjoy true winter fun right in the center of town. And if you don’t have your own skates, you can always rent a pair for a small charge. If you happen to be a hockey fan, check out one of the Kontinental Hockey League matches that are going to be held this year in Bratislava.
3. New Year’s Eve with fireworks above the Danube
How better to finish off the old year than by watching glorious fireworks sparkling over Bratislava Castle and reflecting off the water of the Danube. Celebrate the arrival of the New Year with friends in the city center by enjoying a music program or having a drink in the comfort of one of Bratislava’s hotels and restaurants offering special packages for the end of the year.
4. Walking along the Danube
Looking at the Danube flowing slowly past the city as you walk along the embankment is the perfect way to relax. Enjoy the pleasant neighborhood around River Park or the newly-built Zuckermandl center, where you can take a moment to relax over a coffee or a snack. If you opt not to drive, ride in one of Bratislava’s modern trams and let it take you to the charming center of town – and there is no charge to ride city transit if you are carrying the Bratislava CARD.
5. View from the Old Town Hall
Beautifully lit up Hlavné Námestie decorated with a majestic Christmas tree and a view of Bratislava in winter is indeed an incredible sight not to be missed. Moreover, the Christmas markets are just a hop, skip and a jump away, so after you climb down from the Old Town Hall tower you can reward yourself up with a hearty meal.
6. Culinary Experiences
Winter in Bratislava has something even for gourmets. Now is the time to try such local specialties as goose, veal cutlets and thick goulash, to fill your stomach and warm you up in cold weather. Select from restaurants like Savoy, Zylinder or Leberfinger, and you’ll definitely go away with enthusiasm for the dining experience these places offer.
7. Cultural Experiences
Come and have your spirit be warmed by such cultural experiences as opera, ballet and musical performances at the Slovak National Theater and played by the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra. The traditional winter performances of The Nutcracker will be taking place at the Slovak National Theater until January, just the story to appeal to even the youngest. And certainly don’t miss the pleasant-listening chamber music and symphony orchestra concerts performed by the Slovak Philharmonic either.
8. Fashion/Design Shopping
Christmas (and unquestionably the time after Christmas, too) includes shopping for family and friends. The best gifts you can find are ready and waiting at Eurovea, the shopping mall right on the Danube where you can choose from many world-known and local brands. It doesn’t matter whether you are gifting design socks, books or delicious coffee as presents, you can find everything at Eurovea. And if you wish to buy something original, then come visit the design shops such as Slávica or Slowatch in the very center of the city and you won’t leave empty-handed.
Winter is the time to visit Bratislava’s many museums and galleries, ever ready to delight even the most discerning art enthusiasts. Danubiana Meulesteen Art Museum is presenting “My Friend Picasso”, an exhibition of the world of Spanish artistic genius Pablo Picasso through pictures taken by photographs of Edward Quinn. At Nedbalka Gallery, you can view the creative work of Slovak modern art legends known here as the “Galandovci”. Many eye-catching exhibitions can be found at any of the city’s museums and art galleries, all of which offer free admission to Bratislava CARD holders.
Relax and indulge yourself at Bratislava’s parks and gardens, which even in winter are still full of charm and magic, whether you find them covered with snow or not. Visit the Bratislava Forest Park, where you can take a cable car between Železná Studnička and Kamzík, or enjoy riding a sleigh over the gorgeous snowy landscape. Meanwhile Horský Park, only a few minutes away from the city center, offers a place for the ultimate peaceful winter holiday. Welcome to a winter fairytale country.