Hidden Gem of Eastern Europe: Bratislava, Slovakia


An hour away from the popular destination of Vienna, lies the Slovakian border and the capital city of Bratislava. The city is divided into two sections by the Danube River. On one side is an city that shows the past history of Soviet takeover by the bland architecture and design only based on efficiency. On the other side of the river is a beautiful historic town along with more modern areas to explore. While one clearly sounds better than the other, both have vibrant life and exciting things to do.

While the old town is a bit more tourist, you won’t be as crowded or spend nearly as much money as you would in a city like Rome or Berlin. There are lots of hostels, hotels, and Airbnb to choose from. I stayed at Wild Elephants Hostel. It’s a crazy fun party hostel with an alternative vibe, friendly staff and guests, and tons of activities. Free walking tours are given in English as well as other language options. To my surprise, I had a great time on the tour even though I tend to not like guided tours. The food in Bratislava is fantastic with many traditional options available.

Some fun things to do around the city include walking up to the Bratislava Castle, the tea house in old town built in an abandoned nuclear shelter, going swimming in nearby lakes, plus so much more.

Bratislava was a last minute addition to my backpacking trip. I even bought the bus ticket from Vienna as the bus was pulling up to the stop. It just goes to show that you can’t be afraid to explore and go off the beaten path.