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Bratislava boasts dozens of quirky

statues, and one of the best loved is the
silver likeness of Ignac Lamar. But just
who is this top-hatted fellow greeting
passers with such ceaseless good cheer?
Well, Ignac was something of a ladies
man, as his cheeky grin may suggest.
But the ... casanova didn't always get it
his own way. No. Indeed, the story goes
that one day, Ignac finally met his
match - he fell head over heels in love.
But it was all doomed. Realizing that he
could not make the lady happy, he
spent the rest of his days wandering the
streets, handing flowers to ladies and
sweets to children. He eventually
passed away in 1967, and perhaps he
found true love in the afterlife...

Of the historic cities on the banks of the Danube, it's Vienna and
Budapest that usually win the most hurrahs from the hussars. But
travellers who want a break from the mighty metropolises of Central
Europe will find a laid back treat in Bratislava, the capital of
Slovakia. Once the coronation city of the Kings of Hungary,
Bratislava is an Old World gem that's sparkling anew having thrown
off the Soviet yoke. It's a beguiling city with many strings to its bow.
And for travellers keen to explore some of Europe's most lyrical
landscapes, the city provides a glorious gateway to the Carpathians
and beyond. Call us biased - but you'd be hard-pushed to find a
more pleasant bunch than the Slovaks. But first things first - click
onwards for tips on all the top places to try in Bratislava, including
bars, restaurants, hotels, shops and places to have fun.

Copyright Lifeboat Ltd.

Bratislava Guide a lot of ground, both cultural and
territorial, pick yourself up a City Card.
Recent gore-splatter movies Hostel and All public transport is included, plus
Hostel II weren't exactly what the discounts on a host of museums. You'll
Slovakian Tourist Office would have also get a free tour of the Old Town.
ordered, but readers can rest assured You can buy the cards at the airport, the
that the films were entirely fictional. (If train station and at tourist information
you spot your hostel owner wielding a points throughout the city.
power-drill, don't automatically assume
he's coming to fix your legs - the poor As always, even just a few words of the
bloke's probably just mending the language can help in winning over the
door). locals. Follow the link for a few tips.
As it goes, the real-life Bratislava is a Try and pre-order taxis. It's cheaper.
resoundingly pretty place. And unless And generally, if you have to hail, go for
they've been putting on an act, the ones with official company logos, not
Slovaks are a sweet-natured, the nameless chaps with yellow lamps.
unassuming lot who are more interested
in picking flowers than picking fights Ice Hockey is the national game of
with foreigners. Slovakia, so if you want to let off steam
Slovak style, why not check out a
Bratislava was crowned capital of match?
Slovakia in 1993. But with a history that
stretches back over a millennium, the Struggling to find a suitable flight from
city is no newcomer on the European Bratislava? Try Vienna, as shuttle buses
scene. Bounced about between the cover the short distance (45km)
Hungarians and the Austrians, the city throughout the day. And if you've got
saw the coronation of 11 Habsburg the time, you can check out the Old
sovereigns in the towering Cathedral of Habsburg capital too.
St. Martin's.
As with all cities, petty theft is not ruled
The natural focus of Bratislava is of out, especially in crowded places. If in
course the Old Town. Here, cobbled doubt, take a money belt.
alleys transport the traveller back to the
age of Beethoven and Liszt. The Royal Culture vultures pre-planning itineraries
Castle looms above, whose should bear in mind that as in much of
painstakingly restored interiors remain a Central Europe, museums are often
magnet for Slovaks and foreigners alike. closed on Mondays.

If you're coming from the Czech

But there's much more to Bratislava Republic, don't constantly sing the
than just old world nostalgia. Since the praise of Prague. Yes, it's a pretty place,
collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989, the but remember the Velvet Divorce cut
city has had to completely reinvent the countries in half in 1993. You
itself. And that means all the concurrent wouldn't wax lyrical about Edinburgh to
perks and pitfalls of a free-market a Glaswegian, or Madrid to a bloke from
economy. Cold War nuclear fallout Barcelona.
shelters have been transformed into hip
nightclubs offering techno and trance If you're here on a stag weekend,
shenanigans. Crumbling noblemen's remember you're not the first, so the
palaces have opened their doors to lovable rogue persona probably won't
house cosmopolitan restaurants and wash. Generally, shouting is unpopular
bars. And for those in search of retail as is fondling/heckling shapely
therapy, Bratislava now boasts an strangers. The politer you are, the more
enviable assembly of quality stores. they'll like you. All in all, the cops are
stricter on stags here than in other
Which brings us to another plus of life in countries.
Bratislava. Of course, it won't remain
this way forever, but the sky-high prices Travellers planning a trip to Slovakia
of so many other Central European should have a bash at visiting the
cities are not mirrored in the Slovak countryside. It's there that you'll find
capital just yet. some of the country's greatest
Finally, if you're curious about spending
some time in Slovakia, you'd be missing
out if you stayed solely within the city
walls. Forty percent of the country is
forested, and the Carpathian Mountain
range that sweeps across Slovakia
provides some of the most memorable
scenery on the European mainland.
Even the Poles concede that the
Slovakian side of the Tatras is the better

Bratislava Travel Tips

If you think you're going to be covering

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Travelling to Bratislava buy a road pass as soon as you get into
the country at the nearest petrol station
By air or other store. They sell for about 5
Euro. If not, you risk a 100 Euro fine
and a lot of hassle. It's a Slovakian
Bratislava's M.R. Stefanik Airport - quirk they'll never tell you about but
named after a proud turn of the century unless you're in a generous mood, we
patriot - lies just 9km north east of the think it's important you know
city. Unless you're flying a private jet P beforehand. Happy driving.
Diddy style, you'll be looking at
Lufthansa, Czech Airlines or Air
Slovakia. However, one of your best Getting around Bratislava
bets remains the low-cost Sky Europe,
which is in fact based right here in By Public Transport
Bratislava. As of October 2007, a key
route for them will be from London
Luton. Ryanair also have a link in the Generally you're not going to need to
pipeline with London Stansted. Finally, plunge yourself into parallel worlds of
and bizarre as it might sound, travellers underground trains or fighter
to Bratislava regularly fly direct to helicopters. Bratislava is a pretty
Vienna. The Austrian capital is just 45 compact place - the Old Town is entirely
km away, and there are shuttle buses pedestrianised and there is indeed no
from Vienna Airport to Bratislava metro system. However, if you're
proper. staying beyond the fringe of the Old
By rail Town you may need to hop on a bus or
tram from time to time. Daily passes
are available that give you access to all
Bratislava is plum in the centre of running services, but you can also snag
Europe, so you shouldn't get funny a shorter journey from the numerous
looks at the ticket office when you ask kiosks and yellow vending machines
about connections (unless you're that dot the city. It's 14 SKK for a ten
dressed as Kermit the Frog that is). In minute ride, 18 for half an hour. To
short, you can get here from just about avoid embarrassing scenarios, buy your
anywhere. If you're on the Central ticket beforehand and stamp it
European trail, the following websites immediately after climbing aboard.
might come in handy, with links from
Austria, Germany and the UK. Slovakia's By Taxi
internal connections are dealt with on
Slovak Rail, but you'll have to trust your Although the Old Town is technically a
sense of logic as it's all in the local no go zone for cars, taxis maintain the
lingo. right to drop you off at your hotel door.
As in most cities, avoid vehicles that
don't seem equipped with legitimate
company ID. If you order a taxi
By bus beforehand from a restaurant for
example, you're liable to get a more
reasonable fare. As a rule, genuine taxi
Seemingly gentle people can firms - and there are 15 of them in the
metamorphosize into profoundly Brat - offer cheaper rates if you call in
embittered old buggers after a night's advance. For a pre-ordered taxi, it's
sleep (or more accurately lack of sleep) about 14 SKK per km, whilst for a hailed
on a bus. Still, prices are competitive cab it's about 20. Add to this the 20
and you really feel you've earnt your SKK (0.6 EUR) starting fee and you'll
holiday when you reach the other end. soon be as wise to it all as the locals.
If you're thinking of busing it, try
Eurolines, who operate services to
Bratislava from far-flung destinations
like London and Rotterdam, as well as
local links from Prague and elsewhere.

By car

Motorways stream out of Bratislava in

all directions, making it a
straightforward destination if you're
coming from the Czech Republic,
Hungary and Austria. Having a car in
Slovakia will also help you get to grips
with the countryside, surely one of the
top draws for any motorist in the region.
It's only with your own set of wheels
that you can scratch the surface. From
the European perspective, driving is
much freer these days as border
controls have fallen into the background
since the EU expansion. But be sure to

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Botel Gracia Restaurant Kogo Unbuckle your swash...
Aquatic restaurant with ravishing Pogo into Kogo Sladkovicova 7
views tel: +421 (2) 54430019
This suave number is the Slovak sister
This one really comes into its own of the slick Prague eatery of the same
during the summer months, when you name. Kogo casts its net into the
can raise a toast on the upper deck in Mediterranean orbit, with favourite
true mafioso style. Moored right at the dishes such as grilled octopus or sea Pizza Mizza
foot of the Royal Castle, Botel Gracia bass in a salt crust. However, it's not all Grab a pizza the action
has plenty of food for the eye as well as fishy in the Kogo realm. The restaurant Tobrucka 5
the stomach. That said, the inner prides itself on its homemade pasta, tel: +421 (2) 52965034
sanctum is not quite so sweeping, with and the chef rustles up over 35 varieties
bland decor that would benefit from a of Italy's favourite dish. The decor is
swift overhaul. On the menu you'll find sleek enough to meet the approval of
a pretty wide range of fare to choose any wandering playboy, with a cool
from, including Central European, minimalist interior that's as smooth as a Veza Restaurant
Italian and Mexican classics. But a glass polished pebble. The well-appointed Towering treat for gastronauts
of bubbly on the rooftop remains the terrace makes dining out in summer a Cesta na Kamzik 14
clincher. real pleasure. tel: +421 (2) 44462774
Razusovu nabrezie Hviezdoslavovo nam. 21
tel: +421 (2) 54432132 tel: +421 (2) 54645094

Camouflage Malecon
Snazzy choice for gastronauts Havana in Bratislava
The best form of camouflage in this When Winter rears its head it's handy to
restaurant would be a snow white suit know that you can nip into Malecon for
with matching shirt and tie. On that a blast of Latin razzmatazz. This
note, you may have trouble spotting Havana-themed hangout packs them in
some of the waiters. But not to worry, no matter what the weather. With live
the food should taste equally inspiring bands strumming their stuff and
whatever you're wearing. Monsieur le cocktails galore, you'll soon forget that
chef whisks up all sorts of wonderful February has 27 days left to run.
dishes, from seared scallops to loin of Peckish punters have a choice of both
venison. And although housed in the tapas and more substantial fare, with
Erdody Palace, the decor is a far cry tempting dishes such as Butterfly
from old school aristo style. It's Lobster and Lasagna al Salmone on the
certainly not your cheapest pit-stop in main menu. And if you really want to go
town, but if you're in the mood for Castro, Malecon has a roster of
splashing out, this one's a distinctive hand-rolled cigars to get stuck into.
option. Namestie L. Stura 4
Venturska 1 tel: +421 (0) 910274583
tel: +421 (2) 20922722

Tempus Fugit
Taste Restaurant UFO Time to treat yourself
Iconic hangout with extraterrestial Time may fly, but at this restaurant you
flavour often feel that you've left the real world
This high-flying haunt looks like one of behind entirely. Set in an imaginatively
Dr.Evil's illicit hideaways. But sadly, restored mansion that comes replete
once you've taken the lift to the top with stout Renaissance arcades, Tempus
there's no sign of a bald-headed Austin Fugit is a bold blend of the old and the
Powers villain to usher you inside.(And new. Sleek modern tables sit
you even had to pay for the privilege!) comfortably by worn classical columns,
But not to worry. The eye-popping view whilst hidden chambers are enlivened
more than makes up for the lack of by murals of jungle foliage. In this
arch-villains. And there are plenty of unusual environment, guests can dine
perks for epicures too. Inside the UFO on a range of local and international
you can sip a cocktail with local movers fare, with everything from Tom Yam
and shakers, or sit down for a meal and Gung to Roast Suckling Pig on the
enjoy the view. Mediterranean and menu. Round it off with a Tempus Fugit
Asian flavours predominate here at cheesecake, served with forest fruits.
Taste, but the main draw remains the Sedlarska 5
setting. tel: +421 (2) 54414357
Novy Most
tel: +421 (2) 62520300
Traja Musketieri

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UFO Cirkus Barok Grandes Melones
Identified stationary object Get in on the act Vodka-fuelled find will melons on
One look at this lofty venue atop of the A ramshackle boathouse provides the the mind
Novy Most (New Bridge), and you'll see setting for much naughtiness at this Laurinska 3
how the saucer-shaped bar earned the popular disco just by the Hotel Danube. tel: +421 (2) 54418211
moniker UFO (even if technically it's Club purists won't be impressed, but
neither unidentified or flying). Anyhow Cirkus Barok is all about entertainment
the little green men who landed it and it certainly fulfills its mission brief.
seemed to have set off to explore the Theme parties, drinks promotions,
planet, leaving the current owners a happy hours and dance anthems of
prime opportunity to set up their every genre whip the crowd into a
restaurant-cum-club. You'll have to pay frenzy of excitement. On top of that
for the elevator up, but once at the top visitors to the Cirkus are treated to
you'll find yourself in a perfect position plenty of performance artists (amateur
to watch the sunset over Bratislava, and professional!), and things certainly
cocktail in hand. Just be sure to get get pretty spicy during their 'Erotic
there early, because UFO's often out of Parties'. Time to get in on the act!
space... Razusovo nabrezie
Novy Most tel: +421 (2) 54642091-3
tel: +421 (2) 62520300

Slang Pub
Subclub Take a dive
Swim against the mainstream Duck off of Hviezdoslav Square and into
If a slice of subculture is what you're this popular dive across from the
after then you'll most likely find it at Radisson Hotel. Inside you can expect
Subclub, Bratislava's foremost house an ample assortment of tourists,
and techno joint. The venue was once a ex-pats and locals alike not exactly
nuclear fallout bunker (inevitably), and taking advantage of the extensive beer,
a subterrranean labyrinth of corridors wine and food selection. Rather Zlaty
(eerily lit by red strip lights), Bazant is the order of the day, so grab a
punctuated by the cavernous dancefloor stool at the long bar and start getting
and bar, evoke an appropriate chatted up by overly friendly and overtly
atmosphere for a night of thumping strange stoolfellows. It's all part of the
bass and hedonism. If genres such as unpolished, absorbent atmosphere of
'minimal' and 'microhouse' don't mean this wooden wine barrel of a bar. As far
much to you then keep an eye out for as food goes try the BBQ ribs, which are
ragga, rock and drum and bass nights. a tasty departure from what you might
As long as it's not commercial you'll find expect.
it at Subclub. Hviezdoslavovo nam. 23
Nabrezie arm. gen. L. Svobodu tel: +421 (0) 908798052
tel: +421 (2) 54411183

The Dubliner
Trafo Music Bar Sports and Guinness
Another Martini darling? Every city's got at least one, and The
Bratislava's beautiful people enjoy Dubliner is a decent stab at that much
hobnobbing at this swanky joint, pitched loved institution, the Irish Pub. A
along the lines of a metropolitan homely interior of wooden tables and
nightclub that you might find in chairs, traditional hearth and the odd
high-flying cities like New York and timber beam is spiced up with the
London. A 15 metre concrete bar props customary photos, flags and
up cocktail swiggers, whilst a dance memorabilia. More importantly a large
floor supports the gyrations of various screen winds down onto which is
nymphets and naughty boys keen to projected 'the big game', meaning the
impress them. Fashion launches and Dubliner is never short of a crowd come
media parties are run-of-the-mill at match day. Needless to say if it's a slice
Trafo, so if you want to try it on with of Slovenian culture you're after then
Slovakia's finest cheekbones or rub stay clear of the Dubliner... But if you've
well-tailored shoulders with the nations just arrived in town then it's a good
not so famous celebrities, now's your place to meet some expats and sink a
chance. cheap pint of Guinness.
Venturska 1 Sedlarska 6
tel: +421 (2) 20922744 tel: +421 (2) 54410706

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Slovak Philharmonic
String along for some classical bliss
Haydn, Liszt, Bartok and Beethoven all
made the trip to Bratislava in times
past, and it seems only right that one of
the most beautiful buildings in town is
the Philharmonic Hall. The baroque belle
plays host to the creme de la creme of
Bratislava's concerts, so if you're in
search of some musical bliss, look no
further. As it goes, the 'Reduta' building
wasn't always home to the Philharmonic
- the edifice has served variously as a
Habsburg granary and one of
Bratislava's very first cinemas. Major
renovation works are planned for 2008
but the annual Bratislava Music Festival
will continue to run.
Palackeho 2
tel: +421 (2) 54433352

St. Martin's Cathedral

Gothic great with royal pedigree
Few buildings in Bratislava are as
steeped in history as St. Martin's. Some
nineteen Hungarian kings and queens
were crowned in the cathedral during
the years 1563-1830. And on a musical
note, Beethoven premiered his moody
Missa Solemnis right here. The stout
Gothic edifice hasn't had the easiest of
rides though. There was considerable
alarm in recent years over the rumbling
reverberations of nearby traffic.
Concerted efforts had to be made to
consolidate the structure. However, this
hasn't stopped the cathedral from
remaining a favourite for classical
concerts, as well as the focal point for
the city's spiritual life. Long may she
continue to prosper.
Rudnavovo nam

Royal Castle
Clamber up for a royal view
Crowning a renegade hill that seems to
have escaped from the Little
Carpathians, the Royal Castle has
adorned Bratislava since time
immemorial. The first stone fort was
raised here in the tenth century but it
was rebuilt many times over the years.
During the early modern era the edifice
was the main castle of the Kingdom of
Hungary, but desecration during the
Napoleonic Wars all but finished the
place, and committed reconstruction did
not begin again until as late as 1953.
Today, you don't have to be a
moustachioed nobleman to gain access,
as a museum welcomes all comers.
Bratislavsky hrad
tel: +421 (2) 54411444

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tel: +421 (2) 5443 2021

Fill those suitcases!
Einsteinova ul. 18
tel: +421 (2) 68 266 111
Hotel Spirit
Polus City Centre Madcap mansion with bags of
Hey, Big Spender... character
Vajnorska 100 Vancurova 1
tel: +421 (2) 49 10 2030 tel: +421 (2) 54777561

Tesco Hotel Marrols

The Eiffel Tower of Bratislava Old World elegance
Kamenne namestie 1/A Tobrucka 4
tel: +421 (2) 59218444 tel: +421 (2) 57784600

Start giving a folk
Obchodna 64 Botel Gracia
tel: +421 (2) 527 31351 Floating hotel with fantastic view Razusovu nabrezie
tel: +421 (2) 54432132
Stara Trznica
Stara Trznica HOSTELS
Patio Hostel
Popular pitstop for backpackers
Spitalska 35
tel: +421 (2) 52925797

Dino Park
Before weaklings inherited the Downtown Backpackers
earth Join the revellers Downtown
Mlynska dolina 1 Panenska 31
tel: +421 (2) 65422848 tel: +421 (2) 54641191

Bratislava Zoo
Where the wild things are
Mlynska dolina 1
tel: +421 (2) 60102111

Bobova Draha
Cool runnings
Sartorisova 10
tel: +421 (2) 5477 1025

Casino Cafe Reduta

Get that chip off your shoulder
Medena 3

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