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Photo Friday: Bratislava, Slovakia

devin castle bratislava

Backpacking through Eastern Europe, I was able to knock quite a few countries off of my bucket-list. Many of them I fell in love with wholeheartedly and I knew then and there I would want to return one day. Other places, not so much. Yup, you guessed it, Bratislava, Slovakia was on that list of places I really don’t want to go back to.

When I was in Austria, I knew I wanted to squeeze in some time to go to Slovakia, since it was so close by. I spent the day wandering around Bratislava, which turned out to be the least memorable city I’ve ever been to. Completely irritated by lunch time, I decided to see if there were any places of interest left to me on the map. Squeezed in the bottom section of sights and activities was listed a place Devin Castle with a crazy address in Slovakian and a bus number.

I like castles and I like adventures. What did I have to lose?

So I asked around until I found out where that bus left from and hung around freezing my ass off til it came. No one spoke any English, and after a lot of pointing and shouting in my god-awful German, the bus driver and local old ladies realized where I wanted to go.

Hopping off the bus in the middle of nowhere, I began to climb a lush green hill towards the ruin of a great castle. With no one around, it felt like I stepped back in time to another age.

The sky was a perfect crisp blue as I explored the great keep. Historic Devin Castle was bathed in a golden yellow light as the sun set over the Danube river and surrounding fields, illuminating it forever in my memory as a peaceful, perfect afternoon jaunt in eastern Europe.

I guess Slovakia wasn’t so bad after all. 

Have you ever been to Slovakia or Devin Castle? Has a country ever let you down or become “forgettable” on your travels?

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18 Responses to Photo Friday: Bratislava, Slovakia

  1. kami November 16, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    I’ve been to Slovakia many times, to Bratislava itself 3 I guess and well, it’s the most boring of European capitals. 2 hours are enough to see it very well… at least there’re other nice places in the country, mostly Tatra Mountains, Spis region and Kosice. You should give Slovakia a second chance and head to that area next time!

    • Liz November 17, 2012 at 12:54 am #

      I know, I definitely need to give it a second chance, especially as I am a countryside girl at heart 🙂

  2. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas November 16, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    That opener made me laugh because of the Friends reference! Lauren and I went to Prague and Budapest one year, but skipped Bratislava. I merely used the toilet there!

    • Liz November 17, 2012 at 12:54 am #

      pretty much sums it up 😛

  3. Alex @ ifs ands & Butts November 16, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    For some reason, Vienna was really forgettable for me, but people love it so I think I need to give it another try.

    Whenever I hear Bratislava, I can’t help but think of that scene in Eurotrip.

    • Liz November 17, 2012 at 12:55 am #

      actually now that you mention it, Vienna isn’t at the top of my list either. I definitely thought of Eurotrip while I was there!

  4. Fer November 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I can’t believe you and I were in the same city when I read about your Bratislava experience. Of course it’s not a big deal -even not a regular-size deal-, but it’s cosy, at least.
    The trouble is arriving to Bratislava from Vienna. It’s more or less like going to Zamora after being in Salamanca: yeah, it’s nice, but it’s not THAT nice. So don’t expect a typical European capital city (for God’s sake, not when you arrive from Vienna!), but a small “ciudad de provincias”, as whe say in Spanish.
    Apart from that, I liked Bratislava. Maybe because it was too damn cold and foggy and empty (remember, you arrive from Vienna) or because it’s like travelling back to the Cold War era (that train station, that useless English in Eastern Europe) or because it was my 5th anniversary and I was in the mood for liking anywhere in the World. Even Bratislava.

    • Liz November 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

      well said! I definitely need to give it a second chance and maybe spend more time to get to know it better. why did you pick bratislava for your anniversary????

      I didn’t hate it, it just wasn’t too memorable for me, though I did LOVE Devín Castle! That made up for everything else! But then again, you and I love any castle, right???

      • Fer November 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

        In fact we didn’t pick Bratislava. We were staying at Vienna and we had a spare day, so we chose Bratislava instead of Salzburg just because Bratislava was nearer and it hasn’t got as much to see as Salzburg.
        FYI (in case you didn’t know), our anniversaries consist on going to cities which are/were the capital of (former) kingdoms. I know it’s bizarre, but I mean, being my girlfriend and I historians… well… er…
        Anyway, that means that in our 2011 anniversary we went to a such non-romantic place as Auschwitz. Woo-hoo.

  5. Shannon November 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    I was in Bratislava this past spring. Really only went there because it was cheaper to fly out of than Vienna. The city center was pretty cute, but other than that…blah. Although, I did eat my first bagel in 6 months in Bratislava, so that was exciting.

    • Liz November 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

      bahahaha. Yeah so many people fly in and out of there instead of Vienna. BAGELS!! That was def. on my top list of things I miss while living in Spain!!! Bagels bagels bagels!

  6. Maya December 9, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    I suggest to do a little research next time when you head to Slovakia. There are a lot of cities and places MORE interesting than Bratislava. You’ve probably picked the worst one and also number one city to visit for most travellers (have no idea why).

    • Liz December 10, 2013 at 2:38 am #

      If I had to guess I’d say it’s because Bratislava is an easy day trip for Vienna, that’s why I went – I wasn’t planning a trip around Slovakia, it was a spur of the moment decision AND thus get off your high horse – next time you can plan my trip for me, deal?

  7. Catherine November 25, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    Hi! Well, I am Slovak…aaaand…I shouldn´t say that, but you´re right, Bratislava is a really boring place, I don´t like it at all 😀 It´s a pity that many tourists visit only this city in my country. Of course, it´s near Viena, a good one-day trip, but then they tend to think that if the capital is so boring, the rest of the country must be even worse. But trust me, it´s not truth. You should give it a second chance. You´ve mentioned you´re a countryside girl, so I strongly recommend you to visit Hight Tatras mountains, Košice city (even smaller than Bratislava, but definitely more charming), Domica cave, and Banská Štiavnica region. In general, if you want to spend some time in chaming quiet places, to have some peace and quiet in a beautiful nature, Slovakia is a good option. If you will think about coming here, you can let me know, I can give you some tips&tricks (´cos I know how difficult is to find all necessary information about Slovakia in English).
    I really like your blog, currently I´m planning my trip to Spain and your articles help me a lot to decide where to go and what not to miss.
    Take care and have a good time on your journeys! 🙂

  8. Stanka December 28, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    I am from Slovakia as well and I agree that we have much better places than Bratislava which are worth to see. It´s a pitty that most tourists visit just only capital and make an opinion.
    I don´t like Bratislava so much, but I love our nature and many of smaller cities 🙂

  9. Danka August 1, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

    So I went through your destinations and I was like billion times sure you won’t have any posts about Slovakia. Nobody does! And then I saw it and my heart jumped. Seriously, my favorite blogger has been to my country. No way! But, unfortunately, you did what most people do – checked out the capital, found out that is the most boring European capital and left completely disappointed. Well, I have promised myself that one day, when my blog and SM audience is big enough, I will show people that Slovakia is more than Bratislava. Bratislava sucks big time and it just gives my country the crappiest reputation! The rest of the country is magical! I know you are a NZ fan and I have been there and to be honest, Queenstown reminded me of Slovakia – the north part. High Tatras are beautiful mountains and they have so much to offer! Unfortunately the tourism is Slovakia is a dirty business and it is not promoted the way it should be! One day, when we are friends (haha) I will take to the most beautiful places and you will forget about crappy Bratislava and will fall in love with this tiny Easter European country.

  10. Anica/Anika from Moldavia December 8, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

    Many years ago I traveled to Slovakia.
    I liked Presov/East/ and we took the train from Kosice to the West- Vsetin/CZ/
    somewhere through the mountains.
    The young lady at the train station in Kosice-
    the speaker announcing the departures- had a divine voice !
    Than – the most spectacular scenery !
    A Fantastic blue sky crossing the country from East to West!
    I love the mountains !
    Bratislava was a nice city with friendly people.
    When you travel you want to discover something different
    and not judge but to try to understand local people and their ambiance.
    I would like to go back to Slovakia one day.
    Be happy everywhere !

  11. Elle June 4, 2016 at 3:25 am #

    It’s funny because I stayed in Bratislava for 4 days back in 2013 with a friend (we both really wanted to visit for a while), and even though we went in February when it was freezing cold, we loved it. We did the opposite of what most people did and went to Vienna on a day trip and found that really disappointing. We much preferred Bratislava and I’d definitely go back again.

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